Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

July 7, 2017

What it means to be an artist and a vegan

40aprons.com
My first homemade vegan blueberry pie! 

A little less than six months ago I became a vegan. It's just occurred to me how being a vegan is sort of on par with being an artist... People tend to react in very similar ways.

When you tell people you're an artist, right away they put you into a stereotypical category that may or may not have anything to do with you. Temporarily they may start using words like artsy, crafty, eccentric and even weird, all the while recounting every family member or friend's relative or neighbor they know of who is also an artist. They will insist on giving you advice you didn't ask for and don't want, about making more money and getting more exposure, and will often exclaim how little they personally know about it and how they "can't even draw a stick figure", indicating in some degrading passive/aggressive way that being an artist is way too special* for them and thank goodness they don't have to have anything to do with it. 

*a.k.a abnormal


I think it would shock and bewilder people even more if they knew anything about what being an artist is really like. Let me get all defensive for a minute and say that artists just happen to have the hardest working, most conscientious, community minded, concerned, empathetic, risk taking will power and nerves of steel you'll ever encounter in your life! One day I would like to respond to the question what do you do with the answer; I stand in a quiet empty room by myself for 5 hours a day contemplating my existence. I build frames and staple fabric to them so I can paint pictures and argue with myself over how to properly express my ideas visually. I spend hours, days and months working on things that I end up destroying. I obsessively examine my purpose, my inner voice, and how to make even a tiny ripple in the overall world around me. I attempt to define and redefine an imaginary dialogue with artists who've lived two hundred years ago, artists who are here now, and artists who aren't even alive yet. And then I hang it all up for strangers to ogle and critique. What do you do? 

Hmmmm... Maybe this is proving that artists really are weird, but I think it's the other way around. Maybe everyone else is the weirdo in this scenario. 

Anyway, when you tell certain people you are a vegan, and it definitely depends on who it is, as "the times they are a changin'"... some people are immediately suspicious and put off, even annoyed, like oh, you're one of those* people. There are a lot of questions asked that require proper justification. And then there is, again, lots of advice that you didn't ask for and don't want. 
Humans crave the familiar, and fear the unknown, and there's just no way around it.

*a.k.a special*

*a.k.a abnormal



I became a vegan for one simple reason, to be healthier. It just made sense to me. 

I may not decide to be a vegan my whole life, but in the end, it's not all that complicated, and really, neither is being an artist.



P.S Get the recipe for vegan blueberry pie here at 40aprons.com 



August 25, 2015

Is happiness a talent?

That seals it. I need to go to Italy soon... very soon.

Spaghetti Carbonara
Life is taking an unexpected turn toward trying new things. Like Spaghetti Carbonara. and Elizabeth Gilbert. I know. Spaghetti Carbonara is not a new discovery, but it's new to me, and let me add that it is an absolute revelation. Not sure why I've never made it or ever eaten it. And here's where a good blogger would research all sorts of historic details about the origin of the recipe, but I don't have time for that now and it's not really what this post is about... Anyway, like the Carbonara, Elizabeth Gilbert is also a revelation. Author of Eat Pray Love which book (also not new but new to me) I am now midway through has some very interesting insights. I admit I watched the movie, which is irrelevant, and I also admit I only checked the book out of the local library because I liked a recent article about seduction she wrote for the New York Times Magazine, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/magazine/confessions-of-a-seduction-addict.html
Regardless. Here I am midway through characters like Luca Spaghetti and phrases about genius Italian culture like,
The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work... The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement... Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich.
If you've read my blog you know that the beauty of doing nothing is a wonderful goal I do wish to achieve, 
but the thing that caught my attention most was the idea of happiness actually being a talent. 

As if you could be born with this talent or not born with it. As if there could maybe even be the possibility of learning how to do it better, or do it at all.
It got me thinking about my own happiness or unhappiness. And then of course, how does this translate into my artwork...
I don't know if I'd consider myself a happy person or if I have a talent for making happy paintings... but lo and behold I just found an entry in my journal from last December telling myself how happy I was and that I thought I was actually making happy paintings! Who knew.

Do I even want to be making happy paintings?

Samantha Palmeri painting
"abstract painting #7"
Samantha Palmeri painting
"abstract painting #9" two paintings I imagine I labeled at the time as happy
I've read some interesting theories about what makes for more popular art. As in what do collectors like to purchase, and what do commercial galleries like to sell, etc. It has been suggested that brown paintings do not sell, blue paintings do sell, red paintings are exciting, and if you can't fit it in the elevator you're probably not taking it home with you.
Ms. Gilbert remarks that,
Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment.
As the two words arts and entertainment are so entwined in American culture, it doesn't seem that far off that art, fine art even, is a form of entertainment. Not that the pleasure you get from a wonderful piece of art could really be considered entertainment, but at the same time you need to want to spend most evenings hanging out with it. Enjoyment. Entertainment... it's close.
So then the question is, do people want to be happy and hang happier paintings on their walls??
Death and murder make up a huge part of our entertainment as well.  
I imagine that there must be a comparable number of melancholy art collectors as there are happy ones, right? 

I for one have no intention of choosing my paint colors based on statistical data that I do not presently remember the source of. I do admit, however, that I spend a lot of time thinking about things like this. In fact it crosses my mind each time I unload a very murky brownish mustard color off my paintbrush. I am a painter who loves color and puts a lot of meaning into the colors I choose and the emotional effects they will have on the viewer. So I can't really help it.

Anyway it turns out, and I am happy to report, that in the theme of trying new things, along with planning my trip to Italy, the crisis of happy or unhappy and brown versus blue is currently being solved, at least temporarily, with plans for a new series of paintings... all in black and white.

Samantha Palmeri painting
"ADT" what will turn out to be one of the last paintings I made before the new black and white series






April 10, 2014

It may not always start in the art studio, but somehow, eventually, it all gets there!


..been going to the local library a lot lately. 

Being that to me the local indicates Manahawkin New Jersey, you have to understand that there are not a whole lot of cultural reading materials available (and I'll get to that word cultural in another post I'm working on). The only art books are on knitting, crafts, and the most general art history chronologies. Occasionally there'll be something so unexpected you'd think someone slipped it in there when no one was looking- A rare head turner like Gerhard Richter: Panorama by Achim Borchardt-Hume, which I've taken out twice already.

One has to get truly creative when poring through the non-fiction shelves, and amazing as it is there are plenty of gems to be found. You just have to look. 

Lately I've been looking in the cooking section and other random areas. 

My new absolute favorite book to read before going to bed, and one I'm hoping I can somehow permanently renew, is All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins.



I think I accidentally picked it up because I thought part of the title was "Encyclopedia of the Exquisite" which peaked my interest, but it turns out I didn't notice the words "Author of" above that. Either way, it is just as well an encyclopedia of the exquisite with every chapter a remarkable tidbit of life from every era, genre and subject in the world, like "feasting on fresh crab" at 12:50pm in China's Ming era (1368-1644), and Henry David Thoreau breaking from his solitude every day to eat lunch at his mother's house, 12:20pm. The author's incredible wealth of knowledgeable information, not to mention wit and charm, is very contagious and has prompted me to pull a few forgotten gems from my own dusty bookshelf. 

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers by Jessica Theroux has been another pleasant surprise and has prompted me to seriously consider writing a cookbook with my own 91 year old Italian grandmother. What I really liked about the stories had much less to do with cooking than with the art of living itself. And of course I couldn't help but relate some of the author's challenges to some of those I face in the art studio.

Last but not least this week I picked up The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano. A little revelation by a woman who used to run one of the most successful champagne companies in the world. I've always felt that a cookbook is only as good as the stories the cook can tell about the food they're making, and here I was captured by the author's charming childhood memories of France. The most endearing character in the book was not breakfast lunch or dinner but lovely Tante Berthe who reminded me a lot of my great aunt Edith. The first recipe in the book is called Magical Breakfast Cream and is said to keep you satisfied for half the day and healthy as can be. So I tried it. I kept checking to see if I'd forgotten something because it was, well, not exactly what I was expecting. Anyway, today for lunch I decided to give it another try after reading about all the variations one could attempt. Delicious!

So here is my version of 
Magical Breakfast Cream:

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (2% Fage)
1 teaspoon organic flaxseed oil (Flax Liquid Gold)
Juice and pulp of 1 Clementine
1 teaspoon organic honey
2 tablespoons shredded wheat (100% whole wheat with no salt or sugar)
1 tablespoon coursely chopped almonds
Pinch of ground cinnamon
& my secret ingredient that makes everything better: a drizzle of almond extract
Start with the yogurt in a bowl and mix each ingredient separately into it. Eat right away!

I know I know, what does magical breakfast cream have to do with art, right? Well, all I can say is, these things are part of an art wrestler's life too. Sometimes we're led to find truth and meaning in roundabout ways. It may not always start in the art studio, but somehow, eventually, it all gets there!



August 9, 2013

The Quarter-Acre Farm

I've just finished reading a wonderful book,
The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year by Spring Warren, 2011.
I'm hoping to read more from this witty and informative writer. The book reads very much like a blog/journal with each chapter a new conquest in home farming. The recipes are amazing, and her recount of the geese, the bunnies and the kids is hilarious. Some of her garden antics are so funny they had me laughing out loud.

I was so inspired by her story I immediately started weeding out my own veggie garden. Only a few years ago it was a lovely patch of fenced in gravel and antique brick-bordered beds of homemade compost, flowers, and vegetables galore.

2010

2010































It has since fallen way way to the wayside.

2013
I've only gotten half way through the weeds and haven't even begun to tackle the actual beds, but being able to see the gravel again is reassuring!

Even if I can't grow anything edible in my garden of weeds, I still took a couple of cues from Ms. Warren this week. Instead of letting the beautiful organic peppers I spent an arm and a leg for in Shoprite rot away in the refrigerator drawer, I decided to cut them up and pack them in the freezer. I also indulged in incredible homemade sun dried tomatoes. Every crispy juicy sweet and savory bite was well worth having to heat up the house all day with the oven for! While I was at it I roasted some sweet potatoes and zucchini with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.


Cut up fresh tomatoes 1/4" thick. Spread out on pans
(these are lined with parchment paper). Sprinkle with salt,
pepper, olive oil and crushed red pepper (optional).
Bake at 250 degrees for 3-4 hours.
My trip to the Manahawkin Farmer's Market this morning sealed the deal that we need more good stuff like this in the world. I may not be ripping out the front lawn yet, but I felt darn good about spending my last $12 in support of the real farmers around here...

For more inspiration, check out Food Not Lawns, a global community of avant gardeners turning yards into gardens and neighborhoods into communities.
http://www.foodnotlawns.com/about-us.html