Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Skipping Ahead

A more "serious" post is still in the typing, so here is a bit of a teeny green start of what I hope will be a series. 

I've never worked "big," though I admire those who do. I tend to head for the other direction. These 3" x 3" canvases were bought to play with, so play I will try. Have to use those tiny brushes sometime! What, you don't have art supplies you never use?? Oh, come on.

Here's the start of a little green bruin.

Just blocking in shapes now. And have to decide on how far to take this bitty piece.

It HAS been fun to create in different scale.
And another mini work in progress has taken a route to completion.
Might be opening up possibilities for larger paintings in a "new for me" style.

But also:
Must not forget to apply for art fairs.
Must order mats. 
Must finish stuff for taxes.
Must ship orders.

But can cross BLOG off To Do List from three days ago.
Baby steps.

Thoughts with all who are dealing with Weather throughout so many parts of the country.
Few folks, outside of the "industry" know that many art fair booths were destroyed in recent Florida storms.
And many others' plans are being mucked up by snow storms now.

We've been "lucky" this season here in Upper Midwest. So far.

Thank you for continued reading of my rambles, and encouraging me to keep typing. 

It's ten AM here, and the tea kettle is calling.
May we all do a bit to make the world a kinder place today.

Hugs to all who need them!

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Friday, January 15, 2016

More Finishing

The Hound of Accountability is wanting a reckoning.

Some Things Finished:

1) jar of artichoke salad
2) December issue of Smithsonian magazine
3) counting up of art fair receipt books

And even some art.

While prepping a piece for matting and framing I looked down and saw some writing at the bottom.

Three writings from different times:
No, I don't recall the order in which words were scribbled.)

* Making it up as you go along is harder than it looks.
* Some grasp at small straws.
   Some dance with the moon.
* Glenn Gould playing Bach.

I love to listen to Glenn Gould play Bach...

Of course the bear and moon will be framed with none of these words visible. But now these sentences will probably be jotted down on the backing paper. 

For me words and images frequently dance together, and if one or the other does not get noted immediately, well, POOF!!, gone. Often forever.

So, in addition to the MANY sketchbooks around, there are always small notebooks of various sizes and theme here, too. And if I will be going out to walk or play tennis there is most often several scraps of paper and a Sharpie or other pen in a pocket. Just in case.

Don't let a grand idea or comforting thought escape because you have no way of taking note. Yes, your arm or hand will do in a pinch.

That's the morning's lesson/reminder.

The studio is yelling at me now. Will report back in a couple of Finishing hours.

Remember to write stuff down!

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Roasting Green Beans

For most of my life I have LOVED peas but HATED most beans. It's a psychological thing. I will not explain.

However, life can change, and now I am converted. Beans are peachy keen! Most of them anyway - limas are still iffy...

Anyway, after learning to appreciate the kale chip, I now have moved on to appreciating roasted green beans more so. They have more "being," they don't create kale chip dust, and eating them is more like eating something than like eating green air.

The process I use for roasting green beans is much the same as I use for making kale chips. Here's a quick peek.

1) Beans:

Just pick up a pound or so of fresh green beans from where ever you buy your produce. If you garden consider growing your own.
Rinse beans and snip off each end. Yes, you can do this in front of the TV.

2)  Pan: As with kale chips, beans will toast faster if done on a wire pizza pan. The open structure helps heat surround vegetable and is less work to clean. Not that washing a regular pizza pan is hard labor, but wiping down one of these is less. Ours were found at garage sales or thrift shops. If you don't have the wire type any pizza pan or cooking sheet will do. Spray a light coating of oil on pan, or form parchment paper to surface. You know the drill.
Place beans in single layer on pan. A few less beans than shown here might be better for quicker roasting. I have two pans and the beans had to squeeze on to these two pans (time was a factor), so....

Oh, pre-heat oven to..... I've tried several different temperatures. Today's try was at 290 degrees F. I make kate chips at 260. And once oven was set as high as 350? No, I can't remember. Yes, feel free to experiment. Lower and slower is better than higher and on fire (haha).

3) Roasting:
After placing beans on pan use vegetable oil spray to coat beans. Spraying one side of bean does the trick. Then just sprinkle table salt to taste. I find that finer crystals stick onto a bean's surface than the courser grains of Kosher salt. You may want to try chili powder, garlic powder, etc. i haven't done so - yet.

I do roast two pans at a time - checking first after 20 minutes, and then every 15, 10, 5, and so on. Beans roast differently because of size and moisture content. I like a final texture that's quite dry, but slightly chewy beans are good, too. Yes, I have burned some to a grey stick crisp. If you like your marshmallows charred, well, black bean sticks might be for you! Generally, though the results should look like this:

Even after the beans reach this point I often turn the oven off and leave the beans in to get even crispier.


Place the crunchy little critters in an air-tight container (or not). These babies are ready for easy healthy snacking.
It's amazing how quickly one can chomp through a former one-pound pile of green beans once they have been roasted. Pace yourself. Enjoy.

Now it's time to go treat myself to a big bag of potato chips - ha, just kidding. Maybe tomorrow. For now we have a lovely bowl full of crunchy salty roasted green beans - woo hoo!!

Blog time is over. It's time to paint some bears.

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Monday, January 11, 2016


Food for thought.
               Food for Sunday, January 11, 2016

Page from my Food Journal - (started 10/30/15)

A 6" x 6" page can hold LOTS of information. Much to ponder. And witness to awareness.

As with wedding vows - For Better and/or For Worse.

Ever onward. So it goes. Food..........
And, yes, that hot chocolate, chocolate-flavored vodka, and whipped cream from a can was MOST delicious...

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Saturday, Dec.9th -


Eight days in January over and only Four Things Finished.
But lots of things done....

(Chat with Self)
Must knuckle down.
But there is a dog show to attend.
And travels to be traveled.
And football to be watched.

No excuses.

But but but.


Say YES to Finishing a Thing or Things today - even if this keeps you awake till tomorrow.

But first go pet that helpful pup.


It can be Odd but Mighty things we do!

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios


Friday, January 8, 2016


Blog 200 Times this year??
Finish 30 Things this month???


Squirrel!!! (Really.)

Time to put on some good music and see what the brain spews.
Stuff HAS been finished - a pastel "portrait" of a bear is one such thing.

This guy was started probably in early Fall. I can't remember. I'd not worked on a pastel piece in quite a while. Sometimes, often?, an artist wonders if one still has anything left. So I found a medium-sized piece of black paper that has some tooth to it and started in. I'm a bad Planner. Sometimes that's good - sometimes I wish I would plan more. No - most often I'm a "grab a color, make a shape, see what happens" artist. I would not recommend this way of working. It's not how I work all of the time. But.... most.

So this bear  started out with an outline, bold colors as background, and no color to center of face. A bit of idea but no plan. When work was left that first day there were large areas of black paper still showing, but the bruin was breathing - a little.

And so it sat on studio - for months and months. Many other priorities.

Until January's Challenge. 
I looked around at MANY unfinished pieces in the studio. This one said "Pick ME. Me. Please?" That helps. OK - here goes.

1) Block out time to work on art.
2) Set piece up and consider options.
3) Pick up a piece of soft pastel and make that first mark. And another and another.

After blocking in his snout it was time to decide on expression.  Once the eyes were detailed and a few refection dots were in place this bear's personality started showing through. Whether working on an actual portrait or a whimsical fantasy piece never downplay the importance of a subject's eyes.

                                    Well, hello there, bear. 

Then it was time for a hot cup of tea.

 I don't know how many artists and craftspeople can concentrate solid hours at their tasks. I usually can't. Thirty minutes at a time on any one piece is about my limit. However, there are many papers and canvases in progress in the studio. So if one piece is put down another can be picked up.

The plan was to finish this piece before day's end. Such a goal DOES help me focus. So after a break - back to the bear.

Because my bears aren't realistic I'm free to play with color and form. My silent chats include discussing proper depiction of anatomy vs creating a form that might appear more artful, should the over-all temperature of painting be "warm" or "cool," should shapes remain broad or should they be chopped into smaller areas of color. 

Other questions:
What kind of music do I want as background? 
Should I re-set the timer?
How will I know when he's done?

Eventually the paper was filled with layers of pastel. I decided to let facial features float in a furry mix of colors, darken the ears, and put a few more flecks in the eyes. Playing with angling the paper behind the mat created a bit more drama than with the original position. Who is to know that the paper's not squared up? (Yes, I will tell the eventual buyer if this bruin is sold.)

Title time. After posting the finished pastel on Facebook I invited friends and family to suggest names.  Votes were taken and"Bernard" won out!

Welcome to the finished "Bernard." Pictured in 11" x 14" mat.

Not perfect, but perfectly fine.

Four acrylic on canvases and two oil paintings are hinting their turns are next.

But first, it's time for tea.

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Monday, January 4, 2016

January Personal Challenge - Finish 30 Things

If you can start a something and, more often than not,  see it through to completion I salute you.

I am, like so many others, a Starter. Of many things. Paintings and other art doings, various projects, books, piles. So many Starts. So few Finishes.

This January's personal Challenge: Complete 30 Starts. Stuff that was started in 2015. Or.... long before.

Where shall I start? On the work desk, of course. Why? Because, once again, there is no place to work. This is an In/Out Box. No, not one of those new-fangled sheets for learning Math. Hiding is a vintage wooden box for use in holding stuff coming in or stuff going out. Problem is it comes in and stays in. Here was status earlier in the day:

What box??? Certainly you can spot that lower left-hand corner. No? Well, there are a few things piling up on the helpful office aid.

Time to set that kitchen timer, start sorting, and see what happens.

What happened? I probably stopped and heated up the tea kettle. That is quite the sobering stack. But a Challenge is a Challenge. It's only paper. Lots and lots and lots of paper....

Important papers: art fair applications, good finished drawings, useful articles long ignored. Notes about the passings of close friends and family? Yes, in this pile. Numerous quick sketches for greeting cards? MANY. Sort sort. Put in proper places and binders.

Unimportant papers: grocery lists, long-out-dated "to do" notes on torn envelopes. A newspaper column concerning a tennis match now two years done. Into the trash - yes.

The stuff in between: greeting cards from friends and family. More articles. Directions to places. Possible places to sell bears. Decisions to be made. Keep? Toss? Decisions MADE.

So many bits and pieces - carry on, carry on. Discoveries of hidden quotes - write words in quote notebook and toss away those little piece of papers. That plastic bag filled with possible pages for next book. Oh, so this is where it'd been "hiding." No excuse now to get on with THAT project. A small unused red napkin? Well surely there was a reason.

After a good part of the morning - and  two or three more cups of tea - ta da!

                               The Miracle of The Empty Box!!!!!!!!

Yes, soon it will hold other papers, but not those from '15 and before. Now it is a tool again, and I must be diligent in its use. Before it hindered (not through fault of its own!), now it can help.

One Thing Finished. 
Twenty-nine to go. 

I feel a wee tad accomplished.

A New Year. A New Challenge. On to the options that both hold.

I don't have a clean slate, but the desk has a clean spot.

Life is one day better. Whew.

Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Saturday, January 2, 2016

1) Poem

As per my sister's request, here is the poem scribbled earlier this morning (after serious 1 - 4 AM Insomnia):

I salute the deeper wrinkles
I address  the lighter ones
(sometimes the word comes easier,
sometimes it never comes)

I'm munching an Old-Fashioned
I should not be eating
It makes the heart beat harder
But it keeps my odd thoughts meeting

The day awaits the doings
The tea cup's full and hot
Wrinkles or no wrinkles
It's the only day we'e got

OK, dear sister, tell me your thoughts - LOL.

Happy New Year ! 
and Fare-thee-well,
Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios