Monday, June 30, 2014

I've been everywhere, man

Been gone for a while. Went to Lexington, Kentucky in early June. So much to see and do there.

This is the inside of Rick's White Light Diner, which was featured on Guy Fieri's Food Network show called Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It's a small place near a bridge that goes over the Kentucky River. 

Rick's White Light specializes in Cajun food. Yeh, Cher. And we know it's authentic from having lived a year and a half in Cajun Territory, La Place, LA in St. John the Baptist Parrish, just over the I-10 bridge that stretches over the bayou from Kenner. No wonder they call New Orleans The Big Easy. Sometimes traffic would snarl on that bridge, but no worries. People would get out of their car. Most had a cooler and then a party would break out as we watched a gator or two swim under the bridge. Larry always said that the people there are so friendly that if Russia invaded America at that point, they'd get no further because they'd throw a crab boil for them!

While munching on an oyster Po' Boy (on in-house fresh baked French bread), I glanced up and there on the wall was Rick's diploma from the CIA. No, he's not an undercover spy, as far as I know anyway - CIA stands for the Culinary Institute of America. Remember when the CIA had a TV show? Used to love to watch it. Quite an achievement there, Rick!

We were lucky that the owner, Rick, was back from his Florida vacation. That's his daughter in the photos above. As soon as she finished her shift, she was taking off for the beach. Amelia Island, I think. Nice place with lots of Spanish moss in the trees.

We visited Claiborne Farm and got a tour. Can you believe they brought out Orb for us to pet and stand beside? Orb is last year's Kentucky Derby winner. Claiborne has had more KY Derby winners than any other stables. In fact, Secretariat's last resting place is on that farm. 

The names on the harnesses and stall doors read like a Kentucky blue blood thoroughbred who's who. The name on this harness is First Samurai.

The son-in-law of a friend owns Lexington Beerworks, so of course, we had to pay his establishment a visit. Great pizzas there, too.

This is the outside of Lexington Beerworks. Looks like a painting waiting to happen. I was astonished at all the historic architecture in this area of downtown Lexington. It rivals Chicago. Next time, an architectural tour is in order.

We walked a few blocks from his place up to Atomic Cafe. From the outside, it looks small, but then you walk through the restaurant, there's a whole lot going on outside, including two full bars and a stage. It was starting to get dark when I snapped this photo. Don't know why there's a red dot in the corner. Maybe turning this one into a painting would bring good luck.

So Lexington reminded us of New Orleans in more ways than one, because of Rick's Cajun food and also because the courtyard restaurants open up big to the outside like the Atomic Cafe. H-mmm, there's also a river that runs through it like the Crescent City.

Sad to leave, but c'est la vie. Here's one for you from the Atomic Cafe. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It started with a smudge angel

It started in Greenville, SC when my sister, Sandy, her friend (and now my friend), Fran, and I were having lunch out on the patio of a restaurant. Fran, already alert to spotting angels, called our attention to a smudge on the side of an ice machine that looked like an angel and then she snapped this photo:

In addition to angels, Fran's become sensitive to finding and photographing hearts. Now I see angels and hearts everywhere and sometimes they even turn up in my artwork. Here's a photo by Frank Safranek, a fellow member of the Cloud Appreciation Society:

Here's another one, a heart with angel wings, that appeared on Fran's dresser one morning.

It was a beautiful day at Jacksonville Beach, Florida. I was attending a Dreama Tolle Perry art workshop and hadn't been to Jacksonville since living there in the 1970's. After spending the day with unfamiliar colors and brushstrokes, I had to see the ocean to clear my head. Glancing down, there it was, a trail of hearts in the sand. I love these gentle reminders from the universe.

What brought you to art? What keeps you here, walking the road of stones as well as delights? Bet it was your heart. I'm wearing a heart locket today that makes a lovely sound when I move that reminds me to stay true. Give yourself a reminder today to use the light of love to peer into your heart, take your dreams down off the shelf and dust them off. Gently, ever so softly - listen for the song that only your heart can sing today.

"Don't follow a trend. Follow your heart." - Krist Novoselic, musician

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The story of Miss Chicken Peckrica

Chicken Peckrica     © Joan Terrell
14"H x 11"W   Framed
An original oil painting on stretched canvas

The title of this painting is a play on Chicken Paprika, with “rica” indicating the feminine “rich” in Spanish.

Ms. Peckrica is a Hungarian Guinea fowl and is an admirer of the famous Hungarian Gabor sisters. Note the jaunty angle of the protrusion that sits atop the helmet-like comb. It is reminiscent of a paprika pepper.

Ms. Peckrica’s body contains the white spots, known as pearls, typical of Guinea fowl, which mirror the strings of pearls she wears fresh from her morning shopping trip.

Her wattle has been the subject of much gossip in the barnyard and many a plain hen has suspected that Ms. Peckrica has had it "enhanced."

Those blue eyes have been known to charm many a French tufted foot golden rooster. Now that's something to crow about!

She was last spotted flirting at an Atlanta artist colony named The Goat Farm. See yesterday's post to see what she's up to these days, that little minx. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A fowl tale

This weekend's Mike Rooney plein air workshop was held in Atlanta at an artist colony named The Goat Farm. My fellow students and I were serenaded by multiple roosters, including one French tufted foot golden rooster. A really handsome fellow. Then I saw her. At first she pretended not to notice me as she busied herself in the barnyard, but eventually, she came closer. I snapped a photo to prove to you that she really does exist. Miss Chicken Peckrica.

Miss Peckrica has quite a story and I don't mean to gossip, but the good parts will be revealed tomorrow. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cigar box pochades

I was in a Mike Rooney plein air workshop this weekend (see a link to his blog over to the right). Plein air is a French expression that means "in the open air" or outside. I call it taking my art supplies for a walk. A whole industry has been built up from creating artwork outside and a person can spend a lot of money on "guerrilla" easels, umbrellas, this and that. 

It's good for an artist who is dedicated to plein air to have those things, but if you just want to give the great outdoors a try to see if you like it, here's how to do so on the cheap... make your own cigar box pochade, another French term that generally means "quick color sketch." 

Here is a photo of my watercolor cigar box pochade. All of the items shown fit inside the box. The little color sketches are 2.5" x 3.5" and are called ACEOs (Art Card Originals and Editions). Although the same size as ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), ACEOs are sold whereas ATCs are traded freely without charge. From time to time, I sell my watercolor ACEOs on eBay. H-mmm, that reminds me, maybe I should look into setting up an eBay shop. After all, I love online art auctions myself.

A cigar store gave me this cardboard box. Sometimes they charge $2 or so per box. The red grosgrain ribbon is glued into each interior side and onto the top to keep the hinge of the box from falling apart. I mainly use watercolor pencils and a water filled brush. The water filled brushes are the trick. I wouldn't say I'm clumsy, but I've been known to topple more than one glass of water by catching my arm on a brush handle. Just unscrew the brush end, fill the ample handle with water, re-attach the brush end and you've got an instant water supply. 

Here is my cigar box pochade for oils and it is a fancy wooden one with gold-color metal hinges. I glued a strip of balsa wood onto the lid so I could rest a canvas panel on it like a "real" easel. Got the cute white thumb palette at a craft store. See the 7-day prescription pill holder? Squeeze out a different color of oil paint into each day (don't forget white) and off you go. I added small metal leak proof cups for odorless mineral spirits. Short handed brushes are available or just shorten the handles of some old brushes.

So off you go into the wild blue yonder. Keep a cigar box pochade in your car, have fun and let me know how it went!