Monday, September 17, 2012

Affordable Canvas Prints

I'm pleased to announce that affordable gallery wrapped canvas prints are now available. For years customers have been asking for high quality canvas prints of my original paintings, and they are finally available for $95 each. There are currently 10 different paintings available. More will be available in the near future. If you have a request for a particular painting just let me know and I'll get to it first.

-My original paintings are professionally printed on gallery wrapped canvas
-The canvas are 16x20 inches
-The sides are gallery wrapped and are 1.5" inches thick 
-The sides are painted so no framing is necessary
-The canvas are ready to hang "as-is" 

Posted below is a gallery of the canvas prints currently available. 
Click on the image to see more pictures: 

Stormy Mountain

Me and Dad

Ivy Lady

Barcelona Balcony

Monet's Water Lilies

Cherry Tree 
Gold Cherry Blossoms

Birch Trees in the Fall
Birch Trees in the Snow

Forest at Dawn 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tomato Juice

The tomato garden is exploding red, orange and yellow. We've been picking gorgeous tomatoes in every shade from eight or more different varietals. Thanks to these record NC temperatures, they are actually hot to the touch and taste already broiled fresh off the vine. We've been making salsas, eating them sliced for every meal, sauces and juicing. The tomato juice is my favorite, so I wanted to share some images of what my dad and I juiced today. 

The basket above is what I picked today. 

The yellow and little green ones you see are ripe, even though they aren't red. Just a different kind of varietal. 

Start by cleaning, cutting and boiling down the tomatos to soften the skin. 

When the skins start to fall off, you're ready to juice. 

Transfer the slightly cook tomatos to a stainer and mush down the tomatoes to get all their yummy juices. You don't use the pulp for the juice. I save the pulp to make tomato stock for cooking rice or lentils, a few tablespoons added to fresh chopped tomatoes also helps to make fabulous salas. 

Simmer down the juice and add a few pinches of salt, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and some lemon juice. Think of all the ingredients you'd find in a bottle of V8. This homemade juice tastes a thousand times better and has hardly any ingredients. 

You don't have to simmer the juice for long, just a few minutes on low temps. Then using a funnel pour the hot juice into large jars and refrigerate. 

Drink when chilled. Great for breakfasts or add a shot of Absolute Pepper vodka and serve in a martini glass with the rim dusted with Old Bay and impress your Bloody Mary drinking friends with a Tomato Juice Martini. You can call it a Bloody Mary Elizabeth :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Haiti: A Photo Update

Back in March I had the pleasure of traveling to Haiti for an art-teaching trip. You can read details about the trip in this older post here.
I've just received images of the students work on display in the gift shop in Haiti and had to share. I think the artists are doing a wonderful job. Keep up the fabulous painting guys!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sneak Peak: Secret Garden

When I was young, the Secret Garden was one of my favorite books. It must have been one of my mother's favorites as well, because she decided to create one. 

It started with a lot of bare land. My parents and my husband have been very busy turning acres of weeds and hard clay ground into a garden that will soon be worthy of showcasing in Southern Living. 

These photos are only of the back yard. The front yard is where I was married 2 years ago. The back yard is were the Secret Garden is. You can see part of the green, round structure behind the little pond in the picture below. There are winding pathways all throughout the property lined with lush flower beds and thoughtful details. 


In this photo below you can see the opening of the Secret Garden. There will soon be a special custom-built gate installed under the archway.

I'm a real wuss in the heat, what with all the bugs and sweat so I tend to stay indoors painting until early evenings, but I have enjoyed the fruits of everyone's labor. We have been eating out of the farm, and eating quite well. We have lots of different types of basil for pesto, which I'll soon be selling locally. The recipe has already been perfected, we just have to stop eating it so fast so other people can have some too. I've taken to smothering all my raw veggies with the stuff. It's so addictive--and thankfully healthy as our favorite version is actually a vegan pesto. It's so fresh that you don't miss the cheese. 

There is a baby orchard with 25 different types of Apple trees, Peach trees, Pears, Cherries and 3 different types of Fig trees. We already have a few apples and lots of pears. Later, we will be making Apple Butter, Cider, Fig preserves and of course lots and lots of pies. There is also a pumpkin patch along with watermelons, cantaloupes and sunflowers. There's my handsome husband hard at work with the weed-eater around one of the baby Apple trees. 

The farm part of the garden has all sorts of veggies. Snap Peas, English peas, Garlic, Onions, Squash, Zucchini, all sorts of different Peppers, Okra, Corn and of course, tomatoes. My brother has taken on the tomato project and we have close to a hundred different tomato plants. During the summer we all pretty much live off tomatoes--it doesn't get much better than a tomato, avocado and pesto sandwich.

You can see in the background, the back, outside wall of the Secret Garden. I'm only showing a teaser of the garden because it will have it's full debut with a special party. But right now it has a fountain, a built-in fire-pit and outdoor oven for some incredible twilight cooked meals. The walled garden has lights, speakers for music, outdoor dining tables, and some fabulous outdoor furniture finds. And of course all sorts of stunning flowers.

 In addition to the main farm, we have lots of little herb, flower and veggies plots. Some of the yummies growing are broccoli, about 6 different types of lettuces, and every herb you could imagine. Nick and I love to cook so having fresh herbs on hand are a requirement. They are so expensive fresh at the grocery store, if it weren't for the garden we'd go broke seasoning our dishes. 

It's so nice to be able to step outback and collect lettuce and a pinch of fresh dill for your turkey sandwich. Maybe pick a few snap peas for some fresh crunch. Say hello to a ladybug and a butterfly and then pick a pretty flower on your way back inside. Thanks family for creating such an awesome space. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Faux Stained Glass

I found an old thrift store glass frame in the garage and tried my hand at creating faux stained glass. I used some glass stains and copper puff paint I had around the house. I then hot-glued the glass into the frame. It was really easy to do, and only took about 2 hours for this piece. I think I'll start making some more of these with more attention to the design. These irises were freehand and inspired from my mom's garden.

I used a sponge-like application with the paint to create the texture in the large clearer sections of glass. It's not clear, but rather a combination of yellows, pinks and oranges, but the paint is very translucent.

The "leading" is simply puff paint. I used copper because that's all I had on hand.
 I'll try this again using black so it looks more authentic. I didn't spend a dime on creating piece so I'm pretty pleased with the results. Now I just need to find more cheap picture frames. 

I like how even though this is a faux piece, the reflection of the colors against the window sill looks like authentic stained glass. The pictures sadly don't show the beautiful luminosity of the painted glass. In person, the sunlight looks so beautiful shinning through the colored layers. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

How to Paint a Hummingbird in 12 steps

I love painting on platters. They allow me to create detailed paintings on something that can be used for everyday celebrations. When painting on canvases, I like big landscapes with lots of texture and color and thick layers of paint. But then when painting on ceramics, often less is more. A simple flower or a delicate bird is a beautiful statement against the white of a plate or platter.

A few weeks ago I wrote about teaching a class in Haiti. I have received word that their work is selling well! This of course makes me feel wonderful, and as promised I'm now going to share an easy step-by-step photo tutorial of how you can make your own hummingbird platter at home. And if you don't like how yours turns out (although I'm sure it's lovely, you're just a tough critic on yourself) you can always reserve one of mine here: Hummingbird Platter.

You don't have to paint on ceramics. You can paint this pretty bird on water color paper, on a canvas, glass, wood, cloth, whatever you fancy. This is simply to demonstrate how easy layering colors and texture can be and when you do it step by step, even if you aren't an experienced painter, you can create a beautiful work of art, in just 12 easy steps.

The only thing that you need to make sure you use is paint that is not too opaque. You will need to layer your colors over one another so stick to paints that are thin and have a translucent quality to them. Water colors would work very well. If you are attempting this on ceramics, then I recommend purchasing ceramic paints from your local craft store.

Okay, enough talk. Let's paint!

Step 1: Outline your bird with a bright green. You can cut out a paper outline of a bird you like the shape of and simply trace it onto your surface with a tiny paint-brush. 

Step 2: Fill in the lower part of the bird with a medium to dark blue

Step 3: Add in the branch with a medium brown. You can create as many branches as you'd like.

Step 4: Paint over the entire green and blue parts with a thin layer of translucent bright yellow. It's hard to tell that I did anything in the photo, but this step helps to create depth and a sort of "glowing" effect so the feathers of the bird look like they are reflecting sunlight.

Step 5: Fill in the tail with a garnet red or warm purple. Start defining some of the tail feathers that overlap the green and blue. 

Step 6: Out line the branch with a very dark brown and create irregular lines to mimic bark. Also use the same dark blue as before and create tiny half-moons or little smiles all over the green and blue. This is where you start defining the little tiny feathers that cover the hummingbird. Also with the blue, fill in the beak of the bird as well as outline the eye. You create the eye by painting a circle within on oval.  (Yes, I'm cheating here and it's technically more than one step) 

Step 7: Use a black to create line lines that define the tail feathers. Also, with the black fill in the circle of the eye (not the oval, leave some green visible). Also fill in the beak. Make sure the end of the beak stays thin and long. We don't want any chubby beaks. 

Step 8: Just like the smiles you did in blue before, repeat them in white, all over. The tinier the better. You can also more clearly define the overlapping green feathers over the red tail feathers. Also use the white to accent the eye and beak.

Step 9: Fill in the red tail feathers completely with a thin layer of darker purple or red. We want the color to be rich and full so you can't see any brushstrokes. Don't be afraid to paint directly over the black lines.

Step 10: Remember all those tiny white "smiles" you painted in step 8?  Cover them up with a translucent bright green. That's right, just paint over all the white. What this does is creates subtle layering and contrast. 

Step 11: Repeat with the same white "smiles" again over the green and blue. This may seem redundant, but it's these extra tiny steps of detail that make the difference between a simple hummingbird, and a stunning hummingbird with lots of details and visual texture. 

 Step 12: Just like before, paint over all the tiny white smiles. This time use the bright yellow. Now you have tiny feathers in shades of blue, green and yellow that create that stunning iridescent glow of the hummingbird. And you're done!