A learning curve..

I have always maintained that every canvas has a soul and that that soul has a definite voice.

I stared at the blank white canvas in front of me and saw, in my mind’s eye of course, a turban. Yes, a turban. Of course it wanted to be a turban! What else could it be?! :D

Picking up a brush, I began painting a turban (yes, I have been promised a hefty sum of money for every time I use the word turban and so onward and forward with….the TURBAN! HA! Gotcha!) So where was I? Ah yes, the turban.. *giggle*

So I slap dashed my way through…wait for it…wait for it….the turban (!!!!) and a face began to emerge. I spent 30 glorious minutes fiddling with the shadows and then had to close shop because it was time to put away the paint brushes and pick up the spatulas.

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Now, I am part of an artist’s group, a group of wonderful, wonderful ladies, each one talented and funny and kind and supportive and much loved, that meets once a month to share art and food and funny little tidbits and anecdotes. But the main objective of the meeting is the Critique. We bring in a piece (or pieces) of art that we are working on, or have finished, or are stuck on, and ask for advice or we simply share it. I shared this piece yesterday and they helped me see that the shadows were all wrong!

I have attended 4 wonderful and immensely informative Artist’s workshops taught by the prolific artist, Barb Smucker, but I have not studied to be an artist nor am I even a prolific one. I dabble every so often when the urge to feel the paint on my fingers is too strong. And when I do paint, it really is in a slap dash manner. I never know where I am going next or what I aught to do. I never stop to consider the light and shadow effect. I just paint. :P

So fortunately for me, they were able to guide me in the right direction.

And as I began to work on the shadows, she emerged more fully. But as she emerged, her eyes began to trouble me. They looked like empty sockets.

Ghostly, alien…

Eyes

{I wish I had taken more photos during the process. They really did look weird.}

I had no choice but to open them because I tried every which way to make them look ‘non-alien’ and failed. Maybe she was done meditating and wanted to look out upon the world? To say hello? And so, after much scraping and dabbing and polishing and smoothening, this is what she looks like now…this is who she wanted to be….

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My first, somewhat life like painting, of a person! YAYE!!!

{There is something about the nose, too, that is bothering me, but I cannot quite put my fingers on it. Any ideas???}

But this….

Lips

 

….is my favourite part of the painting!!

This painting was a learning curve for me. Every dab of paint was an AHA! moment. All those little nuances of light and shadow.. I never knew until now how every brush stroke can make a difference to a painting. It was a revelation!

I am so happy with the way it turned out!! And it was all a happy accident too!

A very happy accident! :)

Cheers to revelations and happy accidents!

Simple meals.

Some days, one’s palette craves for something simple and elegant. Unpretentious, soulful and deeply satisfying.

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Pasta with olive oil, garlic and fresh parsley.

1/4 cup olive oil

{We use Pompeian Olive Oil which is hands down the best we’ve had so far.}

7 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise

4 Morning Star sausage links, at room temperature and finely chopped

1/2 a bunch of parsley, finely chopped

1/2 package of Angel Hair Pasta, cooked and drained

Heat oil, add the garlic and saute for a few minutes.

Add the sausage and stir quickly for a couple of minutes. You will have to stir or the sausage will stick to the pan.

Add salt to taste and the pasta. Toss until well coated.

Add parsley and serve.

Accompanied by…..

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Rosemary, Olive oil Focaccia.

Mixing

2 3/4 cups lukewarm water

2 tbsp (2 packets) granulated yeast

1 1/2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp dried rosemary

1/2 cup olives, finely chopped

6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix yeast, salt, sugar, olive oil, rosemary, olives with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon, a 14 cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you are not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.

Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 12 days.

{I usually make only half this recipe.}

Baking

{Using half the recipe}

Twenty minutes before baking, pre-heat oven to 425 F.

Grease a cookie sheet with a little bit of olive oil or line with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Set aside.

Dust the surface of the dough with a little flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.

Gently shape it into a rectangular shape using your hands and place it onto the cookie sheet. Continue pressing lightly and spreading the dough across the sheet until you cover most of the surface area.

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Drizzle a wee bit of olive oil over the dough and let it rest and rise, uncovered, for 20  minutes.

After the Focaccia has rested, place the cookie sheet on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust is medium brown.

{I only have to bake it for about 20 minutes.}

Cut into slices and serve warm.

This recipe is from the book ‘Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day‘ by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.

{With a couple of modifications by moi.}

And this was followed by……

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Banana Almond Milkshake

2 ripe bananas

1 cup Vitamin D milk

1 cup Almond milk

1 (5.3 oz) Dannon Oikos original yogurt, any flavor

A dash of vanilla essence (optional)

Put in a blender and blend. It is yummy!! Not too sweet, but sweet enough. <3

So sayeth the grasshopper.

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Come,

rest your wingtips

and quench your thirst

with me

for I am much weary of travail;

The blades were long

and many;

Now I would rest

by you

and pay heed to your tales

of which there must be many;

And yet,

you must hasten

for the moon is nigh

and soon,

all shall be silence.

Mirror Mirror…

ha! who was that?
said i to the mirror
from the corner of my eye.
look me in the eye
said the mirror
and i might tell you.
oh no you wont,
you sly thing said i….
you never do.
ok then said the mirror
who would you like it to be?
why, me of course.
you? said the mirror..
you are more than i know
and less than you think.
so what does that make me?
said i to the mirror, utterly perplexed.
show me your heart said the mirror
and i might tell you.

Just one of those things…

It was diluted, the day.
Walking,
rows of vines between us
and the summer haze.
Washed out skies
and pale silhouettes
of mountains
and things…
withered, robust.
Drifting closer
and apart
the crunch of soil
beneath our feet
and the mad clamor of our souls
reaching,
reaching for one another.

Ponte Vineyard Inn

After rather a hectic few days, we spent two very beautiful and peaceful days in Ponte Vineyard Inn.

Ponte

Located about 15 minutes from Old Town, Temecula, Ponte Vineyard opened its doors to its guests in 2012.

It has an elegant charm with its red roof, porticoes, cypresses and stucco exterior.

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This beautiful stairway leads to additional rooms on the top floor.

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And this one, to….

The Cellar Lounge , a bar/lounge/restaurant, which has live performances on Saturdays. And their rice croquets and veggie flatbreads are delicious!

{Sorry I do not have any photos for the Cellar Lounge because, unfortunately, it was too dark for my cell phone camera.}

It has two other restaurants…

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The Bouquet‘ located within the main building with an outdoor and an indoor seating….

and…

 ‘The Restaurant at Ponte‘, located behind the winery, next to the ‘Barn’, where they sell their wine and host wine tastings.

{I do not have any photos for ‘The Restaurant at Ponte’ either because we did not dine there and I quite simply forgot to peek in to take a photo.}

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The Barn.

The inner courtyard of the Ponte Vineyard is perfectly stunning with its little garden, its pond, and willows, the mountains in the distance and rows upon rows of grapevines. It was very quiet under the willows, and cool. It was a perfect spot for me to catch up on some reading while gazing, every now and then, upon the grey blue of the mountains.

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The rooms are marvelous too! Very spacious.

Ours opened out onto a small patio surrounded by grapevines replete with sleepy little dragons (well, tiny little lizards really).

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Sipping coffee on the patio the next morning, we saw this pretty sight.

Hot air balloons!! Taking off into the morning light! Wish we had known about this before. We might have hitched a ride into the skies!

But instead we settled, very happily I might add, for conversations with a winged one….

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while we each sipped on the nectar of our choice.

Temecula, San Diego

I know in my last post I said we were off to Palmsprings next but I believe I was quite asleep when I typed that because our next stop was Temecula. We took the Sunrise Highway, a National Scenic Byway, through the Cleveland National Forest,  on our way to Temecula and boy, was it worth the extra drive!!! It was a long and winding road with absolutely stunning views!! And I saw my first orange trees along the way! That was so exciting!!

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The photos really do not do them much justice.

The drive was over too soon and we found ourselves in Old Town, Temecula. It is a sweet little town with a main street filled with old style shops, plenty of restaurants, also an olive oil tasting company, a wine tasting place, a science camp place for kids, antique shops. We stopped in at the Sweet Shop because our son’s sweet tooth had gone into overdrive.

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The owner of the store was so sweet that when he heard that I had never had a pop rocks candy, he treated me to one. Isn’t that sweet??

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And after buying some fresh strawberries, nuts and oranges from a local produce store, we went in for some wine tasting at the Temecula Valley Cheese Company.

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It was so windy!! But it was a wonderful cool windy. And with an old guy strumming on his guitar, crooning old Beatles songs, chilled glasses of wine and yummy cheeses teasing our palates and a fabulous view, we did not mind the wind at all! It was all fabulously mellow.

And its only going to get better at our next stop ~ Pointe Vineyards.