Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's for dinner!?

I got this recipe from my daily "Real Simple" emailings. Enchiladas used to baffle me. When you order them out, they come all arranged on the plate with beans, rice, guacamole, cheese, maybe some shredded lettuce. Intimidating! I have discovered, though, that they are really not too difficult to make. I made them for the second time last night before Seinfeld was over (a.k.a. less than 30 minutes!). YUM. Depending on which ingredients you buy-- such as whole wheat tortillas or reduced/fat free sour cream--they really aren't too unhealthy either!

You will need:
tortillas (3 or 4, whole wheat is healthier!)
salsa verde
sour cream (fat free?!)
cilantro (fresh would be better but I just use a ton of the dry flakes instead)
corn or mixed veggies
Boneless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Forgive me for not having exact measurements....With this recipe, it all depends on how many you want to make, how much filling you want in each tortilla, etc. Consider the first batch an experiment.
  • In one pot, simmer salsa verde and sour cream on low ( I think its about one cup each) and add a decent amount of cilantro.
  • In another pot, boil the chicken until cooked. Shred as best you can...
  • In a bowl: mix veggies, a lot of cheese (maybe a little over a cup each, in my case extra cheese). Add the chicken and HALF of the salsa verde/sour cream/cilantro sauce. Stir up!
  • Pour some of the sauce into a greased baking dish. Add fillings to tortillas, roll up, and place side by side in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce on top. Add more cheese on top, of course!
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or so. Check them frequently so they don't burn!


Friday, November 19, 2010

*Friday Dance*

"God and other artists are all a little obscure" -Oscar Wilde

The past week or so has been an artsy whirlwind.
I hardly picked up my paint brushes all summer and now I don't want to put them down! I probably look exhausted at work because I have a really hard time going to sleep early. Too many project possibilities floating around in my head. Currently I have no pieces in progress for other people, which is rather nice. I'm getting back to the basics of painting and drawing and producing--although I miss the purpose, structure, and deadlines that come with a commission. So here is the past week or so, in a photographic nutshell!

One of my best friends and fellow artist, Mara, got two pieces in an art show at Gallery West in Old Town Alexandria. This piece got Honorable Mention! So proud!!!

The very next day, Mara and I convoyed up to Maryland Institute Collge of Art (MICA) for their grad school info session. I am hopefully going to appy for the Low Residency MA which is a program for "artist/ teachers" so they say. You spend two summers on campus for 6 intense weeks of studio and ed classes and then complete the rest of the work online during 1 academic school year. It seem pretty exclusive and rather pricey but amazing! We'll see...

And then I began these flower postcards a few weeks ago. While sifting through old art supplies I found a set of blank watercolor paper postcards. They even have the lines on the back for addresses. So I began a mini series of flower paintings! They are sealed with matte medium which makes them sturdy and waterproof but I'm thinking they might be too nice to send through the mail.....

I'm also trying to take better photographs for Etsy so I tried some different set ups around the apartment...I like that my favorite Berenstain Bears mug snuck into this one.

The afternoon sunlight is lovely! Does this one show off the painting enough?

And while my garlic bread was defrosting on my radiator last night, I began the 4th and final one--the red tulips in the bottom right hand corner here...still taped down. Not sure of the background color but so far, I think it's coming along nicely!

Happy Friday!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Crock Pot Comfort Food

In the teacher's lounge last week, while heating up some leftover potato cheese soup and adding the bag of toppings I prepared at home, I realized that I take food a little more seriously than most... I think I am a foodie! When eating, I am thinking ahead to my next meal--what am I going to make? How can I spice it up? And more importantly, do I have the ingredients? I get markedly depressed if I bring a boring lunch to school, although now and then a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with raspberry jelly really hits the spot (See! I had to specify what type of jelly)...No l*ean cuis*ine's in the freezer or take out menu's in my kitchen. I mentioned to someone how cooking is my therapy and in that case, it seems I am in need of therapy on a daily basis!


I already know what I am making tonight for dinner BUT I am already equally excited to smell this potato soup cooking on my day off tomorrow.

  • 8 cups diced potatoes ( I used small red potatoes and didn't peel them which made it a little more chunky)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) chicken broth ( Speaking from personal experience, make sure your can opener works so you don't have to punch a whole in the top with a pair of pliers....)
  • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted (I actually bought cream of mushroom instead and it was just as delicious!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

Add first five ingredients to the slow cooker... and, if you're anything like me, add some (A LOT) garlic... and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. THEN add the cream cheese, stirring until it melts! I actually used a pastry masher to smooth it out before adding the cream cheese but that wasn't really necessary.

Goes REALLY well with bacon bits, green onions, and cheddar cheese on top. MMMMM.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Busy bee these days.
Now I know why some artists are near hermits. You get an incredible amount of work done if you stay in and focus, even if that means that you may start to talk to inanimate things in your apartment...
I spent much of the weekend on my couch watching various Lifetime movies and football games while finishing up these paintings. My couch has the indent to prove it.

Each square is 6" x 6" with a thicker 1.5" inch edge--also painted! They will be varnished as soon as it stops raining and I can take them outside. I already listed them for sale on Etsy actually! I haven't had a sale in awhile (perhaps because I haven't listed anything new in months) so I'm feeling very pessimistically optimistic!

We shall see!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Can I just stay home and work on this today?!

New work!

I took the original photograph while hiking in the area...and a man walked right through with perfect timing. The lighting and the combination of feelings of loneliness and contentment made this irresistible. Not to mention how the fall weather gearing up outside is quite inspiring for such a scene.

The photograph itself shows a complete black silhouette but I just had to go back in and add detail. It started as just a very large drawing...primarily charcoal with a strong coating of dollar store hairspray..unscented of course! And then I got carried away with different materials...
The colors are washes of watered down acrylic paint and detail was added with sharpie markers. My sharpies kept dying and getting dried out with charcoal dust. So last night I started going back into the lines with black paint while enjoying the cheesiest of Lifetime movies.

So far so good I think. Updated pictures in normal lighting coming soon! And since it is on paper, a lovely standard frame may be in its future.
Side note...I have discovered another joy of living alone. I can leave my art stuff everywhere all over the floor in front of the TV and no one will care. YES!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Happy Friday!

My students often misinterpret each other's artwork. I had to stifle the laughter when two students called me over to tell on one another. They had been working on family portraits, which made for some interesting pictures and comments, such as "Oh that's my Mom, she is holding a drink, pink lemonade actually." (The drink, drawn very detailed, closely resembles a margarita complete with umbrella stirrer). I would like some of that lemonade.

Anyhow, back to the two tattle tales.
Student #1: Miss Fontaine, he said my Mom is fat."
Student #2: (rolling eyes) "I didn't say she is fat, I said that in your picture she looks fat."

Have a good weekend!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Walk in the Woods...In progress

Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

119. Trees

I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
I have been working on this painting for a year or two now. I can't even remember exactly when I began. I am using a rather poorly developed photograph I took while on vacation in Cook's Forest, PA where my extended family "retreats" every June. Every year we hike the same trails, stop for "scramble breaks" in the same spots, sing the same songs around the campfire, and head to the ice cream store every night.
I suddenly realized the other night, however, that this painting has an entire new level of personal meaning. The two figures walking along "Toms Run Road" are my Dad and my grandfather. Grandpa passed away a little over a month ago. Finishing this painting will be so bittersweet.
I know Grandpa will be there every year from now on, in spirit, as he always has been in person. He may be reciting the poem above and will definitely be carrying his trusty walking stick, just as he is in this painting!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Who knew a studio apartment could be so fabulous!

Thought I might share some pics of my little studio. I have decided that I really like older spaces. The details give it an extra level of charm and inspire my artsy side. The kitchen and art corner are currently not neat enough to merit any photography so I'll post some of those another time.....I really love having a studio, particularly one with hardwood floors and giant windows.
It is just big enough for me, perfect amount of space and still very cozy!


The sunset the other night was breathtaking with the silhouette of the neighborhood!
I bet the view of me hanging out my window to get the best angle was even more interesting...

Sadly, on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings I am awake early enough to see the moon!
Silly early childcare at school.

Pre-curtains, the huge windows let in so much light!
And having a corner unit means double the windows.
Have no fear, even with curtains it is just as airy.

I would like to thank my crazy Greek landlord for convincing me to rent this space. I wake up every day thinking "Wait a second...I live in Delaware" BUT "Hey what a fabulous apartment!"

It is so incredibly me!

And I just discovered this past weekend with friends visiting that it can also "comfortably" sleep 7 (wall to wall air mattresses do count as comfortable).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh September

OH goodness. Where do I begin?

Good news--I have started painting again so more artwork coming soon.

Other news... in a nutshell...
  • I walked past my car the other day, thinking it wasn't mine because of the Delaware license plate
  • I am "dis engaged" but it's for the best
  • I have a new apartment-- the loveliest studio you have ever seen, now complete with curtains! Pics coming soon.
  • I have become an expert in parallel parking, even on dark rainy nights.
  • My new school and co-workers are fantastic and run on "Greek time" which is perfect for my meandering nature
  • I have discovered that while I am capable of carrying a TV up four flights of stairs AND putting a couch together, I had to take my car to PepBoys to get my license plate changed--silly bolts.
  • My family and friends are the BEST and the reason that I am still sane. Lucky girl right here!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back to the Sketchbook

Last week was the traditional family trip to the forest. If you see a Ve*riz*on Wireless coverage map and find the hole in their cell coverage in PA, that is exactly where our cabins are. Making a phone call requires a 15 minute drive to the top of a hill--OR a short hike up the steepest trail nearby and up 10 flights of stairs to the top of this fire tower!!!

The drive up with my sister was wonderful and despite our cabin being right next to state route (very loud trucks) the week made for a great vacation!! I had forgotten how relaxing it is to just draw. I found myself thinking of what I tell my students--"You're not done yet! You have a little more time so try to find at least 5 more details you can add"--which lead to some detailed little drawings in my sketchbook!

I'm feeling some large scale drawings coming soon!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer's a comin!

Memorial Day Weekend also included a visit to Erie, PA and the Presque Isle peninsula--LOVELY despite the thunderstorm that cut our beach walk terribly short....
And of course if you are on the peninsula, you have to stop at Sarah's for a root beer float!
I don't think this frankfurter was here the last time I came because I certainly would have remembered seeing it and/or taking pictures with it....

Happy Wednesday!
6 more school days left---YEEHAW.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Big Move

When renting a B*u*dget Truck, first make sure that the place where you are supposed to pick the truck up from is:
1. Still a "B*ud*get Truck Carrier"
2. Still generally in business.
Thank goodness there was another location 30 min away...
Aside from that initial hitch in the plans, the big move to Delaware went smoothly!! Everything fit and was unloaded by 7pm Just in time for a hockey game at 8 ( I forget which game....)

Isn't he handsome!!
Although I wouldn't recommend taking photos too often while speeding up 95 N..

Over the Key Bridge--Gorgeous view of the Chesapeake indeed!

With the moving and job searching and crazy end of the school year, I haven't had too much time to create some new artwork... Looking forward to July and hopefully some serious "studio" time--in between pool visits, part time babysitting, and more pool time of course....... :D

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Leaning Bellini... Venice, actually!!!

In Progress!
8 X 10 acrylic on canvas

Try working on this while enjoying a glass (or two) of wine...
Interesting sense of direction indeed.
I have now vicariously traveled to Venice...on a slant!!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Going Gourmet

Do you FONDUE?!
As a going away party of sorts, my roommates pulled out all the stops for a fondue party :D
Oh I will miss them--And their fondue pots.....

Honestly this would make a fabulous painting, I think--possible summer series?!
Delicious and colorful.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lovely print--Just sold!!

After a bit of a dry spell on Etsy, I just sold an 11 X 14 print of this photograph!
I would like to thank my good friend Britney for waking me up at 6 am on my spring break to see this sunrise :P even though it was below 40 and we were completely bundled up!!
I never imagined the lighting at sunrise would be so perfect and bright! Lovely!

And speaking of things perfect and bright:

*sparkle sparkle*

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One lucky girl right here :)

What is that sparkly thing on my left hand that keeps catching my eye?!!!

Yes you guessed correctly...We are engaged!
PW got down on one knee and popped the question right next to the Washington monument on Friday night...So romantic!!!!
I am one extremely lucky gal and we are so so excited!

We are waiting a bit for the big day--say, spring of 2012?!
Which leaves me plenty of time to look at a variety of dresses....How about these?

Platinum: PL313 wedding dress

Sattelite TV
Giant BowHead
Cathedral Hat

All of my plan time for the rest of this school year is now doomed for sure...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

All Finished for My Sister!

Another painting is finished and ready to go to its new home at my sister's house.
Such a loyal patron!!

Painting on this scale is such a treat! I have been so busy lately I haven't had too too much time to paint! I stayed up way past my bedtime the other night just because I hadn't picked up a brush in a week= serious withdrawl :P
And I'm moving at the end of May so I'll have to balance packing and painting the next few weeks!

Hopefully things will slow down so I can have more time in my art corner...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Collage Attempt....In Progress

I've decided to try "painting with paper" for a change!
I've been following the blog of Megan Coyle, a local artist, and love her collage work. Had to try it out! It reminds me of a puzzle...I am thinking of painting a on top of the collage, too. We'll see!

I have stacks of old issues of ArtNews magazines so I was finding bits and pieces from other artworks to use! Not bad for a first attempt and it definitely has a long way to go.... What do you think Megan?!

Happy Friday :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

To sell or to keep?!

8 X 10 Acrylic on Canvas

Small painting, done from a photograph but painted outside this past Sunday!
Unbelievable beautiful weather so I just couldn't bear to paint inside. I was going to touch it up but I like the spontaneity and quick brush strokes. It definitely doesn't look overworked yet still is very complete!
So...To sell or to keep? I already have a light colored wooden frame that fits perfectly...

Monday, April 12, 2010


Two recipes that PW and I tried this weekend instead of eating out :D
Thank you Real Simple magazine!!!

Potato crusted Salmon:

1 lb salmon, cut into 4 pieces
1 or 2 tbsp flour
1 cup or maybe a smidge more FROZEN shredded hash browns
1 tbsp olive oil, heated in the skillet

Season salmon with salt and pepper
Stir together flour and frozen hashbrowns
Place salmon in flour/hashbrown mix and press so that the potatoes stick to the salmon
Place salmon very carefully in the pan and press potatoes on the other side!
Cook until potatoes are brown and crispy on both sides!!!

Green Bean Salad

Approx 3/4 lb Fresh Green Beans (steam until tender and then cool with cold water)
Olive Oil (1 TBSP?)
Lemon Juice (1 TBSP?)
Calamata Olives (1/2 cup halved..I put more in because I love olives!)
Grape Tomatoes (1 cup halved)

Mix together and enjoy!

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spring Break in Vermont!

I tend to choose unusual spring break locations. This year, Vermont proved to be the right place! Plenty of quality time with family AND record highs in the 70s! Just to name some high points:

3 hr delay added to the 11 hour trip up because the train hit a tree
Solving Soduku with Grama each morning
Ben and Jerrys, Cabot Creamery, YUM
Learning a new crochet stitch
Tante Linda's peanut butter and chocolate fudge
Grama's home made donuts
Painting "en plein air"
Seeing a real sugar house and fresh maple syrup
Old photos
Shopping at the co-op, which mysteriously smelled like a certain substance... Made for a "feel good" shopping experience :P
"GRACE" GrassRoots Arts Community Effort in the old Firehouse!

Can't wait to plan another trip soon...and some pictures of course!
And more art posts coming soon....I cleaned up my studio yesterday and have so many ideas with all the random images and materials I found!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Break!

Spring is here!
Thank heavens for the relatively warm weather
Time for outdoor Sunday lunch on the waterfront with PW!

New painting!
Grapes from Napa Valley anyone? For sale soon on Etsy...

Could these flowers be any more bold and beautiful?
Especially in the early morning light..

And time to grow various plants in the window of course..
The middle one will (hopefully) be strawberries!
7 more hours and one minute until Spring break... yes I am counting the minutes....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Happy Friday:)

So ready for the weekend--even though I do believe it will be as busy as this week has been!
This gorgeous little flower bloomed in my classroom yesterday after the plant looked half dead all winter... AMAZING! And just in time for the first day of spring!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Up for Auction at PawCasso

A Day at the Winery
Acrylic on Canvas Board, 18 X 14
Three Satin Dresses
Digital Print 8 X 10

So excited to have these two pieces accepted for the Homeward Trails "PawCasso" art auction on April 24th. Wonderful cause, not to mention great exposure for my work! Tickets are only $50...Yes Iknow "only" but it seems as though it will be more than worth it :-)