Friday, January 22, 2010

distracted by chilies

I have another still life that I should be working on but I have been distracted by some chilies. I spied these in the grocery store the other day and I couldn't resist. I take rather a long time in the produce section as I gaze at and admire the patterns on the cabbage leaves, the deep rich colour of eggplants, the shapes and curves of artichoke leaves...

I have been patiently waiting in my studio for some sunshine. Well the sun is shining bright and the photo shoot is complete. The above photo is an example of where I was playing with the grouping as well as trying to capture the shiny highlights on the side of the chilies. I was less concerned about the shadows. I have other photos where getting just the right shadow shapes were important. Perhaps we never outgrow playing with our food! :-)

I now have oodles of pictures on my camera waiting to be sorted through. I don't plan on doing a chili piece soon but it shall be waiting in the wings. In the meantime, one of the chilies has already made it into a dish for supper. One of the wonderful things about being self employed and working from my home is that I can be here during the day to get soups or stews simmering on the woodstove. This afternoon I have assembled the ingredients for a barley risotto into my slowcooker - with a red chili added for some extra flavour and heat. I am thinking of the smoked salmon in the freezer to eat with it, cooked with some capers and sundried tomatoes perhaps... Did I mention the goat cheese that will be melted on top of the risotto? :-) Smells are starting to waft up to my studio! My tag line on the header of this blog says 'add beauty to your life' - well my eyes have feasted on beautiful chilies and my nose is enjoying the smell of toasted barley, garlic, chili and onion. My taste buds get their turn later!

Talk about adding beauty to life - gosh this morning was my favourite sort of winter morning for a walk. There had been a hoar frost and everything was coated in sparkling ice crystals. We had also had a skiff of snow and there were fresh animal tracks everywhere. Both prey and predators had been out and about in full force in the wee hours of the day. Being able to track animals is just one of the many reasons I love winter. This morning I could see where all of the snowshoe hares had been. A fox had been out as well as coyotes. There were so many tracks crisscrossing all over the place, I don't know how they didn't all actually bump into each other! :-) Of course my dog has to reassert his position as the top canine in the 'hood' (foxes are members of a tribe under the Canidae species) and he wasted no time in executing some strategic peeing maneuvers over his territory.

If you have never tried tracking animals, why not grab an animal tracking book and head out to your favourite wild place this weekend? I can recommend Olaus J. Murie's book Animal Tracks (a Peterson Field guide, note this is for North American animals). My copy is old and while it has been revised a few times, I am sure it is still a fabulous resource. The book also helps to identify scat (animal poop for the urban readers).

Time to get back to that other still life. This one isn't edible (more about that later). So, have you eaten a still life this week?


Ramona Davidson said...

That is an exciting picture. I love the colors, highlights, and shadows. Hope to see what you do with it one day.

Ann said...

I'd love your recipe for barley risotto! The peppers look terrific. I don't know how many pictures of produce I have just waiting for me to do something - draw or paint. Great post!

Christine said...

Not only are you a great cp artist, but from the sound of it you are also one terrific cook (and creative writer..cause you made my mouth water too with your description) ;o)
Looking forward to seeing your next art piece! ~Christine

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Ramona, if the chilies make it to the drafting table, I shall definitely show what develops! :-) Thanks for stopping by!!

Hi Ann - you are such a cutie in your new pic!! I shall give the barley risotto recipe in my next post - just in case you don't check back to the comments! :-) It is real easy, mainly you just cook the barley in some stock and you add whatever else you like.

Hi Christine, I wish you could have tasted it all - it was yummy. Actually I am a good cook.(Humble too ha ha)I really enjoy creating in the kitchen. Like art, you need to learn the basics and then after that you just need the courage to experiment. At this point I am fearless in the kitchen! Honestly I think it just comes down to living life passionately. And how could one not get excited about food, or snow, or animal tracks? :-)

Lynda Schumacher said...

Hey Teresa, love your photo of the chillies - very interesting, right down to the various colors in the shadows.

Carlynne said...

Love this photo Teresa, I'm getting hungry and it's too late now to eat!

I need to come hang out at your blog more often, shame on me. You have so much to offer - lots of interesting stuff and beautiful work.

And.... thanks for your comments on my stuff. It's very much appreciated.
have a great weekend!

Lisa Duncan said...

Great photo! I love all the reflected colors in the shadows.

Paula Pertile said...

Can't wait to see the chili piece! I dawdle in the produce aisle too. :~)
The risotto sounds heavenly. What time did you say dinner was?

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Lynda, I love those colours in the shadows too!

What Carlynne?! You don't check my blog every morning immediately upon waking? LOL I am delighted that you stop in when you can. Oh and gosh I don't think it is ever too late to eat!

Lisa, hello and wecome to the comments section!! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I know, I love those reflected colours too!

Hey Paula, anytime you are in Ottawa it shall be meal time!!!

Jeanette said...

I love the colours and reflected colours in this photo Teresa. Something with chilies will be wonderful to paint and I have a few photos in the wings too. :)

I wander the produce section of the supermarket as well, and the greenhouse in season to see what catches my eye. I will never have enough time to do them all.

Dinner sounded wonderful. There are definite benefits to being able to work from home.

Jennifer Rose said...

that photo has such great colours to it :D

I really like trying to figure out the tracks I see and then finding out if I was right or wrong (usually wrong lol)

Teresa said...

What a great post! Sorry I missed that meal! Enjoyed reading your descriptive account of your walk... I'm longing for snow... but none in sight. This morning it was so muggy we were using the A/C. Yuck.

Jan said...

Wow, Teresa! I get distracted in the produce department also and just delight in the fiery red chilies you've posted! Can't wait to see your still life from them.

Thanks for the book recommendation also. Even for someone who's lived in the country for a lifetime, I still get stymied by some prints and especially scat! This past summer we kept having some piles on our wraparound porch that we couldn't identify - come to find out, it was a frog! Who'd a thunk? lol

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Jeanette, I am patiently waiting for the day we have a greenhouse here (we have a lot of projects that are more urgent, but it will happen eventually). And yes don't we all have way more ideas than we will ever have time? Sigh! As for working from home, of course I didn't mention the lack of vacation pay or paid sick leave or pension plans! :-)

Hi Jennifer Rose - tracking is a lot like sleuthing. Sometimes the clues we get aren't so great. Enjoyable all the same. :-)

Teresa - A/C? Are you kidding me? You have my sympathy, muggy weather indeed. As you said yuck!

My goodness Jan a frog? Now that is too funny. I am going to go and see if my book shows any frog scat!

Leslie Hawes said...

This photo makes me want to draw!!
You'll have fun making art from this!
We don't get the "tracks in the snow" experience here in the desert, but it rained a few days ago, and we get tracks in the wet sand.
You're do they keep from bumping into one another?