New work.

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Happy summer everyone!

I’m joining Group 8 Gallery up in Jackson, NH. The gallery is re-opening soon after over a month of renovations! Later in the summer we’ll have an official opening, but until then you’re welcome to come by on the weekends when we’re open to check out the artists’ (myself included) new work. I’ll write again soon when we have a set opening date, and of course let you know when the party is later this summer. Until then, I hope you’re all making the most of the warm weather.

Thanks for checking out my site!
April

New season, new work.

Hello everyone,
I have some work in an upcoming art show at Tin Mountain Conservation Center! The show is sponsored by the Saco Valley Land Trust, and they have invited artists to create work inspired by one of their newest land trust properties, Westons Farm.  Here is the link to the art show information, the opening is on Friday, April 4th from 5:00-7:30PM. This image below is one that will be in the show. The following image is one that I created for a private commission.

Enjoy!

 

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A recipe.

That zucchini? Yeah. That one that your friend generously gave you from her garden but that you can’t bring yourself to eat because you’re tired of zucchini and maybe not that crazy about them anyway…and because maybe it sat for a month and is weird and soft now… I’ve come up with a way to eat it. Though food occupies my mind most of the day, I don’t post recipes on here because of the tedious directions I’d need to type out. I’m going to do this for you now. This is a pizza. This pizza is not for the faint of heart and it is by no stretch of the imagination what some might call a “flatbread”.

(Thank you Word press for your autocorrect spellcheck. Thank you now and forever.)

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For the crust:
a medium/smallish zucchini or summer squash
white flour
whole wheat flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. or 1 packet of yeast
1 cup of warm water

Swirl the yeast, salt and water in a large, warm bowl until all is dissolved. Let this sit for a few minutes, maybe even ten minutes, until the yeast blooms on the surface of the water. It will look frothy and foamy. Maybe this step is just for fun and maybe it isn’t. If it doesn’t bloom, carry on with the recipe anyway. I always do. While you’re waiting for this yeast “science” to happen you can shred the zucchini on a cheese grater. You’re going to toss it in with the yeast/water mixture and eventually knead it into the pizza crust. This is the part where we make the unappealing zucchini disappear so that you’ll be able to eat it once and for all. Go ahead and shred the zucchini (Like the time when that guy(or lady or whoever) you really liked shredded your heart. Like that. Food comforts, so keep making the dang pizza.) Mix the zucchini, salt and olive oil into the yeast/water/sugar mixture and stir to combine.

Now, for those of you who are regular bread bakers and pizza crust makers, this next part will be a breeze (unless the bread you make always turns out badly). For those of you who are not, don’t worry. It takes a little finesse, but you can knead this dough to perfection just like the rest of them. Start by stirring 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour into the yeast mixture. Mix it well and then continue to stir in only white flour, a little bit at a time, until the dough comes together in one mass and looks like you could handle it without it sticking to your hands too much. Dust some flour onto a clean work surface and dump the dough onto it. Knead the dough to perfection. You’ll continue to add white flour as you work it. Don’t add too much! It is OK to have the dough on the looser side. After a few minutes have passed and the dough no longer aggressively sticks to your hands and it has become wonderfully smooth and elastic, scrape out the bowl you mixed it in, swirl some olive oil in it, and put the dough back in there. Flip it once so that both sides are oiled, cover it with a towel, and let it rise in a warm place for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

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This is what I put on my pizza tonight and it was good:
shredded mozzarella, plus maybe a little cheddar and parmesan
roasted Serrano chilis
sautéed mushrooms with fresh parsley and a little salt (Enough so that you can eat most of them and still have some left to top your pizza. Know thyself.)
thinly sliced onion
your favorite tomato sauce (If your tomato sauce is not good, your pizza will not be good.)

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a pizza pan or a cookie sheet and ever so gently, like it is the most important thing you’ll do all evening, dump the risen dough onto your work surface and stretch it evenly to fit your pan. Put it onto the pan. Put your chosen tomato sauce, cheeses, and toppings on the dough. If you’d like to go the extra mile here you might try basting the crust with olive oil and then sprinkling some parmesan cheese on it. Sprinkle whatever herbs you like on top of everything else (basil, parsley, oregano or black pepper) and throw the whole mess into the oven for 10-20 minutes. Bake the pizza until the crust and cheese are deeply browned and your whole house smells like you’ve just done something beautiful. If the pizza is watery in the center because you loaded it up with so many toppings, just let it set for a few minutes out of the oven before you cut into it. Ideally, the addition of the shredded zucchini to the crust will make it perfectly crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Eat some of the pizza, but not before you have fully experienced it otherwise by smelling, photographing, gazing upon and listening to it. Share some of it with whoever is around. In the morning you can re-heat a slice in the toaster and put a fried egg on top. If you put an egg on it you can call it breakfast. You may especially call it breakfast if you have coffee too.

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Did I mention…

Did I forget to mention that Frontside Grind has allowed me to hang some of my drawings at their café?  I think did.  I encourage you to head on over for an Americano served to you by the best baristas in town who keep it more real than anyone else you know.  Let them save your life with coffee.

They’ve got my business cards behind the counter too, if you’d like one!

Thank you sincerely and always for your support,

April

 

This owl baby, a sibling and the mum were outside my house a couple weeks ago.

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Trying to keep everyone happy.

The title of this post is actually written for my plants.  Maybe it is a metaphor for the rest of my life- I’ve been really busy lately, but mostly it is written for the plants.  I’m trying to keep everyone happy.  They’re who I like to sit with while I have dinner, or coffee in the morning.  They’ve moved with me through the years all  over the northeast.  Most recently though, they have moved out the porch.  They’re all getting bigger now and their leaves are firm and colorful.  I take this to mean that they’re doing well.  They all need to be re-potted.

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But there’s always going to be something, even if everyone looks great.  That’s just how it is.  For example, I wish the tips of this one’s leaves would turn reddish, so I know he’s really REALLY happy.

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I wish I would be diligent enough so that the thing where this Mother of Thousands flops over and grows up again wouldn’t happen.  It does continue to grow it’s babies on the tips of it’s leaves though (on a recent trip from MA to NH they all fell off, so you won’t see any in the picture) so I know he’s happy.

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And this one has never flowered for me, even though it grows like a weed and looks really healthy, and even though I’ve catered to it for over four years.

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These two do alright.  I haven’t had them too long.  The red flowering one came that way, so I can’t take credit for that (likely) chemical-induced flowering.  The tiny coffee plant has done quite well and grown some shiny new leaves this spring.  Honestly, I’m just happy that he’s alive since I have no idea what to do for him and this really isn’t the climate for a coffee plant.

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And then there’s this new painting, little again, about 5″x7″.  The image is a bit chaotic for my taste, but that’s life.  When in doubt, paint something brightly pink or citron yellow and call it a day.  The end.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures.  It’d be fabulous if you posted some photos of your gardens too!

New painting.

Good morning!

I’ve added a new painting to Artwork 1.  Just a little guy, about 5×7″.  I would also like to share with you a picture of the strawberry-rhubarb pie I made this morning.  More mini-paintings to come within the month!

Happy summer, everyone!

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A memory.

To find an Ovenbird nest was like magic.  You’d hear the distant skittering call of the female and come upon them to find her carrying a twig, if you were lucky.  The pair worked in perfect harmony  in the warmth and saturation of a new summer forest.  The sun warmed the birds’ olive backs and their trim spring plumage held back the moisture in the air.  The morning was humid.

The male will sing his reassurance softly above the female as she builds their nest and you know that you have found something worth seeing.  The weight of the feeling that the entire forest exists simply to cradle the birds in this space sinks into you.  He lets the quiet notes, sung just for her this time, descend to the forest floor where his mate is building.  She hears how he is strong, he will defend their territory, and of how he will tend the nest with her this season.  She knows he will pass these traits to their chicks.

She builds thoughtfully as he encourages her, letting out a whinny of scattered notes and fluttering a few feet across the leaf litter when she becomes excited.  She’s feeling exhuberant with the energy of this spring morning, the beginning of this season’s attempt to secure her genes in the future pool.  Her nest will be well placed and sturdy, for she is a strong female too.  This year she has chosen to build in a sea of wood ferns.  The tightly woven dome and basin of her nest are built into the side of one of the fern’s hummocks.  For a few moments the male flies down to join her and the pair walks off to forage together, strengthening their bond.  They walk side by side, a few feet apart as they bend and hop to pluck insects from leaves and stems.

Again the sun is warm and the forest has created a quiet space for the nesting birds.  You have come upon them and it appears that they are the only thing happening in the world.  All else stops as you watch in quiet awe, as they regard you with one eye, a backwards glance, and return to their business.  They will continue to work if you keep your distance.

When the female returns to building and the male to singing, she places a few final twigs to finish her structure.  She steps inside the perfectly circular opening to rearrange a few things and take note of the nest’s lining- enough for the eggs and chicks that are soon to come.  She steps back from the nest now and in one deliberate motion she jumps up to grab the tip of a fern frond and then bends to tuck it in to the side of the nest, a last attempt to make her home invisible.

The male flies down again to meet the female and the pair walks off to forage once more, leaving the nest.  You take the opportunity to move a step closer and admire their work, feeling the longing and need for the ability to create something so perfectly functional and so beautifully temporary.

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