Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hay Bales!

Today I painted the fourth in a series of west Texas landscapes. I've really enjoyed this project. I can imagine that many people would not find a lot of beauty in this part of our state. However, I do. And I really like the painting! I'm not sure it's finished. I'll have to look at it a while to decide. Hopefully, this time next week I'll post a photo of all four paintings framed and hanging. Coach has requested that we add a bit of 'rustic' to our decor. So today I added a cowhide under the dining room table and chairs. What you think about this combination? I'm in hopes that the landscapes will bring more of the same!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Best Brownies

Another family favorite! An easy brownie that's finger licking good. Stir up a batch today.

2 sticks margarine
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt margarine in a 13 x 9 inch pan in 350 oven. Beat eggs, add sugar, beat in melted margarine. Add flour, cocoa, salt and vanilla, beat well, add pecans. Pour into pan (where margarine was melted). Bake at 350 for about 30 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake. May serve them plain or with icing.
2 tablespoons margarine
2 squares chocolate
3 tablespoons hot water
2 cups powdered sugar
chopped pecans

Melt margarine and chocolate, add water, stir in powdered sugar (until icing spreads easily). Spread on brownies while they are warm. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired. 16 brownies

Thursday, April 16, 2009

West Texas #3

Here is yesterday's painting, third is a current study of west Texas landscapes. The fore ground was quite a challenge, but at the moment I am happy with it...the painting and I are at peace.

Monday, April 13, 2009

West Texas Landscapes...coming right up!

Now that the 'Home Makeover' is done. It's time to paint again!

In the livng room there are 4 frames hanging on the wall, below. I bought them awhile back simply for the frames with plans of someday, filling them with my own art!

Well, two weeks ago I got finally got started on a series of west Texas landscapes.

This first painting depicts a much needed thunderstorm rolling in over a cotton crop. In this region of the country, draught is a constant foe, so when the heavens open and rain pours, the farmer whispers a word of thanks and acknowledges...

His Reign

Last week I started painting the second one. I snapped a picture and thought it was finished but when I studied the photograph, I could see it was not! So it waits patiently on the easel. I will finish it tomorrow but I want to go ahead and show you. I'll post another photo when it's complete.I'm really enjoying painting these landscapes. There is something powerful about quiet simplicity.

update 4/16

OK , I'm frustrated! I'm having lighting issues today. I've been inside, outside, flash and no flash and taken and downloaded it 3 times with no improvement) Nothing about this painting changed from the first photo but the fore ground which now looks less puffy and perfect. Everything else is the same. I love it in person...but not in this photo. Don't you just hate it when people whine?

On a better note... here is the painting from yesterday. The fore ground was T-r-i-c-k-y!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Funny Farm!

This year our family reunion, held annually on Easter weekend was down at the Farm. Which was a little confusing considering no one in the family has a farm. To make matters worse, Google disclosed 'the Farm' was located @ 914 Shady Lane, Austin Texas, 3 miles east of downtown. ...mmmmm? However, I am pleased to report that upon arrival we did find fresh flowers, crockery, chickens, vegetable garden, barbeque, watermelon, lot's of dogs, country music, wild critters,and a lot of friendly faces.

However there were a few differences. Like this big sign. Which invites the public to pick there wn vegetables.Sprouting plants! Growing crops! I mean flowers...and vegetables!

But please don't smoke near the tomatoes. Apparently it's not good for them...something about a virus. Sounds like the tomatoes are trying to send a 'public service annoucement'! That's them all wrapped up behind the live scarecrow! Frankly,I think they're a little embarrassed.
Coming up next! Crop painting....not to be confused with crop dusting. I'm currently painting # 2 in a series of cotton fields. I'm discovering the powerful beauty of simplicity. I'm not sure how many I will paint but the best 4 will hang in our home. Maybe you will help me decide?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Best Chocolate Pie!

Last Thursday I got up at 5:30 am to make three of these 'delish' pies for a luncheon. They were such a big hit that I promised I would post the recipe! If you like your chocolate pie, dark and rich you're going to love this one! But before I share the ingredients I must acknowledge the special woman that gave it to me. Her name...Johnnie Onita Hughes, but I had the pleasure of calling her grandmother. She was loved for many things, including beautiful pies and cakes. Once, when I was in college, I spent a week with her during which she taught me the art of pie making. Consequently, I can not make this pie (or see a purple iris) without remembering her. So it is with great delight that I share my grandmother's, Fudgey Chocolate Pie. It's the best I've ever eaten!

make 1, 9 inch pie

2 cups granulated sugar

4 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons (rounded) Hershey's Cocoa

pinch of salt

2 cups of whole milk

2 egg yolks

Mix all of the dry ingredients into a medium saucepan. Stir until well

combined. Then add 1/2 of the milk (1 cup) and 2 egg yolks to the dry

ingredients and stir well into a smooth thick paste. Stir in remaining 1 cup of milk

and cook over medium to medium-low heat. Stirring constantly until mixture

begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from heat. Cool. Stir occasionally and pour into a

baked pie crust.

If you are a meringue fan carry on .... , but if you prefer whipped cream then cover

the pie w/ buttered wax paper and refrigerate until cool. Before serving, whip

heavy cream in an electric mixer. When cream begins to thicken, sweeten with

1/2 cup of sugar, plus 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Spread on top of chilled pie

and serve with a smile.

I'd like to make an important recommendation. If you are going to go to the

trouble to make this pie, bake a decent pie crust for heaven's sake! At the very

least, use Betty Crocker's Pie Crust Mix, which is far better than refrigerator or

frozen crusts. Trust me on this.

If your pie plate is a 9" deep dish or larger, double the recipe and make more

whipped cream.

One last thing. For a thicker chocolate custard filling use Pet canned milk instead

fresh milk.