Italian Baked Apple Recipe

At Alla Corte Degli Angeli hotel they served the most delicious baked apples on the breakfast buffet. They were kind enough to give me their recipe. I have transcribed the recipe here for you.

 

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Artist’s Home Choices

When we travel I am slways on the lookout for homes for sales that can be turned into Haven’s for Artists. On this trip I have found 3 very different properties for you to consider to runaway to with me. We’ll make art all day and wile away our days talking artist’s talk, like “What color of yellow do you prefer?”

Consider these homes: 

25 rooms, includes studio space and wine making equipment. 

25 rooms, includes studio space and wine making equipment. 

Small villa in town, good lighting, however only 20 rooms and no vineyards. 

Small villa in town, good lighting, however only 20 rooms and no vineyards. 

Excellent view of the Arno River, contains classrooms and plenty of small apartments. 

Excellent view of the Arno River, contains classrooms and plenty of small apartments. 

Let me know your opinion and I will get started on negotiations and planning for our Communal Home for Stressed-Out Runaway Artists.

Gelato

Everyone loves gelato, right? Imagine yourself in a small hilltop town strolling down the main road. The air is cool and crisp and leaves are falling from the trees. You might have just had soup for lunch and then stroll down this road in Radda in Chianti for a cone or cup of gelato. What flavor are you having?

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My Discovery of Painting Juice

Artists search for inspiration wherever they go. Some find it on a mountaintop, some are motivated to paint by a beautiful sunset in Greece, others seek inspiration from a guru.  

I found painting juice on a back road in Tucany in the Toliani Winery tasting room. After I tasted 5 different varieties of Toliani wines, I painted with a new zeal, my brushstrokes loosened up and I saw vivid scenes I wanted to paint everywhere. I may have seen a few pink elephants as well. 

 

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Art Students at Work in Lucca

My job as an art teacher depends on the attitude of my students. One must always work to keep the attitude of one’s students at a positive level. 

For observation and drawing of people on the move, we all sat in a cafe and sketched moving people. 

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The attitude and and the artwork was super!

 

Pisa Leaning and Watercolor

Visiting Pisa was one of the highlights of our week in Northern Tuscany. The leaning tower does not disapoint. The buldings are made of white marble and the tower reaches to awesome heights and touches the sky. We sketched the tower and used our angle finders to determine the angle to draw.

My watercolor sketch of the tower. 

My watercolor sketch of the tower. 

Angle finders at work. 

Angle finders at work. 

The funniest thing about visiting Pisa was all the people having their pictures taken so it appeared that they were holding up the tower.  

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What Color Watercolor Blue To Paint the Mediterranean?

We visited the Cinque Terre, the 5 towns that overlook the Tyrean sea, a portion of the Mediterranean yesterday. You can hike between some of them or take a train or boat to visit them. 

Rona in front of the shoreline at Monterossa. 

Rona in front of the shoreline at Monterossa. 

We took the boat to see all the villages from the ocean looking back. I have never seen such colors of blue and the colors were constantly changing.  

When you travel with other painters you always have someone to discuss paint colors with. Dave suggested mixing different blues together, I want to use colbalt turquoise light and marine blue and French ultramarine blue and perhaps thalo and viridian with a touch of scarlet lake. 

 

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What color(s) would you use? 

Villas, Painting and Pasta

We took up residence in a B&B on a quiet street in the walled town of Lucca for the first week of our worshop in Tuscany. We were starving when we arrived, but luck was with us and we found a restaurant that served pasta.

So many beautiful shapes of pasta are made in Italy. I may have to taste all of the shapes.  After a meal and a rest we met up for our first art lesson where everyone told me what kind of painting they wanted to do during the workshop and what kinds of subjects they wanted to paint.   My advice on travel painting in the field is to only bite off enough that you can chew, or to choose to draw and paint what you see depending  on your level and time limits. One window is acceptable and a tree if you have time, you don’t have to eat the entire villa.

So many beautiful shapes of pasta are made in Italy. I may have to taste all of the shapes.

After a meal and a rest we met up for our first art lesson where everyone told me what kind of painting they wanted to do during the workshop and what kinds of subjects they wanted to paint. 

My advice on travel painting in the field is to only bite off enough that you can chew, or to choose to draw and paint what you see depending  on your level and time limits. One window is acceptable and a tree if you have time, you don’t have to eat the entire villa.

Villa Torrigiani, our first stop on the day out where all of us painted whatever we wanted.

Villa Torrigiani, our first stop on the day out where all of us painted whatever we wanted.

Journey to Italy for Tuscany Watercolor Workshop

Somehow when I went to board the airplane in Paris in order to fly to Florence, my seat on the flight had gotten canceled.

I saw this beautiful cart from the Laduree Bakery and stopped worrying about starving if I had to wait overnight in the Paris airport because I knew I would not starve and I would have a subject to sketch.

It all worked out cause they found me a flight in first class. 

 

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Aurora Borealis Watercolor

A student suggested I paint aurora borealis in the night sky behind the cottage we were painting. I asked the students who were watching my demo for sugestions about how I could paint the sky.  Students always give me new ideas for my paintings. 

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Desparate for Cookies Watercolor Recipe

Last week we dug out this recipe when we needed some cookies asap and had no patience to make some from scratch.  A harried mother had divulged this recipe to me years ago. 

 

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Muses & a Watercolor Recipe 4 U

I woke up this morning determined to follow my muse where ever it takes me. In the kitchen I saw some extremely ripe bananas. My instincts told me to make banana bread. Are my instincts the same as my muse? Is my muse, my instincts? Readers of this blog, please give me your opinion.

If there is such a thing as a muse, where do you get one? You know I am all about trying to find solutions to your problem of discovering ways to paint often. Maybe you can get a muse. Or maybe even better, I can sell muses from my website. I am going to work on this.

Anyway, after I had made 2 loaves of banana bread (which is quite easy to make and low fat, I think), I was again directed by my muse, I think…. She/he/it pushed me into my studio where I picked up my pencil, pen and brush and made you an illustrated recipe.

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Playing with Color and Pumpkin Painting

This painting is the result of a demo I started in my Thursday class. I was trying to show my students how to not be afraid of trying painting color shapes, different textures and colors to use for shading. I like to ask the students for suggestions as I go along and paint using their suggestions. It makes the process of creating a painting more collaborative. 

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Envelope Painting

We are almost knee deep in the holiday season and I found something that you might enjoy doing for your holiday cards, gifts and presents, perhaps.

I follow the blog, The Postmans Knock written by this very organized , talented calligrapher named Lindsey. She posts her beautifully addressed and painted envelopes and offered an envelop template  (might have been free!) that I printed out and then traced onto 90lb. watercolor paper. See the results of my 1st painted envelop below.

 

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Why Would You Take My Art Class?

Have you been thinking about signing up for an art class? These days you have many choices if you want to learn how to paint. You can find a class online, watch free Youtube instructional videos, google painting and drawing instruction and find websites, books and dvds that will teach you art skills.

Or you can attend a good old fashioned art class where you leave your house, tote your art supplies to a place where you sit down with other actual people and watch and listen to a live teacher.  

Speaking from my experience of learning to paint, finding a live teacher who knows not only their subject but also how to teach it to you, is the best and quickest way to learn.  Attending a class in the flesh gives you a chance to learn from the students in the class and the teacher.  Plus once a skill has been explained and demonstrated to you so you can see exactly how the teacher moves their brush, how wet their paper is and lots of other details, you need to get feedback from your teacher on how you are practicing the skill in class.  

Sometimes an instructor can study what you’ve practiced and give you a correction or tip that helps you paint better. I try to circulate around the class and look at everyone’s work and make helpful comments.   

I often remind students to tilt their paper up if there washes are lumpy. This simple correction improves a wash right away.  I am not being picky or critical, I’m just trying to point out a correction to improve your painting.

Sometimes if I sense a student is frustrated and tense I make a joke to relax them and remind them, “Watercolor is not rocket science, anyone can learn if they practice their skills. I may add a story about an unnamed student who started painting with me and now sells lots of paintings where ever she goes.  You need to find a teacher that you enjoy learning from and see improvement in your work from taking their class. 

Here are two of my favorite evaluations from a recent class I taught that made me happy because I think I am helping my students. 

 

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I have 3 different classes starting in September. 

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Sept. 6th at Escondido Adult School, Sept. 8th at MiraCosta College/San Elijo and Sunday, Sept. 9th at Artist&Craftsman Shop in Hillcrest. See my class page for more details. 

Time Problem Solution

You and I are busy people with lists, goals and activities.  We are always trying to find some time for painting.  I’ve been listening to books about time management as I drive around doing errands. I’ve learned some strategies that may help us find time to paint.

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Today I have set the timer on my phone for 40 minutes. My plan is to paint until the timer buzzes.  Fortunately, an elephant who models in her spare time, is available to pose for me.  I’d write more, but my 40 minutes is running out.  Tell me what happens with you if you try this timing solution to get some painting time.

The Pursuit of Watercolor IMperfection

I just watched a video made by Winsor Newton on adding gum arabic to your watercolor paint when painting outside.  It was a very educational video. I think I might try adding some gum arabic to my watercolor water jar or my paint mixes when I paint outside. Gum arabic slows down the drying time of your paints.

At the end of the video along with the credits the sentence appeared that said, “ Winsor Newton, the pursuit of excellence.”

Its alright for the Winsor Newton people to go for excellence, we need good paints and brushes etc.  BUT,  I don’t think its a good idea for us watercolorists to pursue excellence. I think excellence stresses us out and ties our brushes in a twist (mentally). I find it much better to pursue something 1/2 way between mediocraty and very good. Plus if I can remind myself to focus on the painting process and concentrate on what I am learning and try out new ideas my paintings are a success whether they look like it or not. In the classes I teach, I talk about not expecting perfect paintings.

This Summer I’ve been teaching a class at MiraCosta College called “Developing the Habit of Watercolor Sketchbook Practice.” 

Everyone in the class does their paintings in  an Aquabee mixed media ( a few have other brands) sketchbook. I give out assignments that can be done several different ways so the students can practice lots of different ways to approach painting the subject. I think its working, (the evaluations haven’t been done yet). 

unfinished painting for this weeks assignment, beach and ocean painting.

unfinished painting for this weeks assignment, beach and ocean painting.

Paint A Cool Painting to Stay Cool

It occurred to me that there might be a body mind connection involved when we watercolor. We might be able to utilize this connection to cool ourselves down during this hot spell. 

Do me a favor and experiment on yourselves today. Select some cool colors from your paint box (think blues, lavenders, greys or anything that reminds you of the ocean.). I have no idea if the subject you paint will effect your body temperature or make you feel cooler. Report your finds to me as soon as you complete your research (painting).

Painted this scene from the Isle of Skye using thalo blue and burnt sienna. 

Painted this scene from the Isle of Skye using thalo blue and burnt sienna. 

De-Stress Painting

Are you busy today? Are you staying cool? Are you on vacation? Or are you at home or work dreaming of being on vacation?  Did you know that if you can unearth some photos you took on your last vacation now, you can de-stress and relive some of your memories by doing a little painting from your photo?

You can print out your photo on printer paper and fold it into quarters. Draw the same size quarters on your painting paper. Now, draw what you see only in the top, left hand corner, then the top right hand quarter, etc. Draw only what you like in the photo and cut out what you don't like.  IMPORTANT! Once you get your drawing done on your paper, erase your lines that divided the paper into quarters. If you paint over your quarter marking lines, you are toast and the lines are there to stay.  However, you can always paint the quarter shapes as a clever background and claim you meant to do that. (I've done this many times.)

If you like using apps on your phone or ipad you can get the GRID# app for free and figure out how to put a digital grid over your digital image.

Once you have your drawing on your paper and at this stage if you want to go over your pencil lines with ink, go for it. Ink adds lots to watercolor paintings.

When you are ready to paint if you are befuddled as to what colors to mix and use for your vacation location, just look up at my page header above and click on the shop button.  That will take you over to my newly opened shop where I am selling custom paint sets for painting anywhere and to teach you the fun da mentals of color mixing.  *** Ollie the beagle has insisted I give the first 5 shoppers who order a kit a free mini sketchbook filled with watercolor and sketching paper.

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