Monday, June 18, 2018

A Recipe from the Past & a Castle in 2019!

(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for a castle surprise!)

Yesterday, I looked through my many newspaper clippings for recipes for an upcoming dinner party. I stumbled upon some that had belonged to my mother-in-law (from 1970...almost 50 years ago!) and got a kick out of reading through them.  Here's one, just as a For Example:

The Graham Cracker Cake sounds easy enough to try!  
GRAHAM CRACKER CAKE

1 lb. box graham crackers, crushed fine.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. pecans, chopped
2 c. raisins
1 c. milk
1/4 lb butter
1 Tbsp vanilla flavoring

Cream butter and sugar. Add milk and flavoring. Add crackers, raisins and pecans. Mix well.  Bake in well-greased cake pan for 1 hr or until done at 350 degrees.

My most astute readers will have noticed that, although the eggs show up in the list of ingredients, it doesn't mention WHEN to add them.  :)  

When would YOU add those 4 eggs??!!

            _____________________________________________

And listen to this...in 2019, I'm teaching at a castle in France!
And YOU can come with me!
Early Bird fees apply!
Won't you please share my post with a friend??
Non-painting spouses are also invited!  Yay!




If 2018 is a better travel time for you, I still have 2 spots open in both my France and Venice workshops! You could even do them back-to-back!

READ MY LATEST POST HERE

Friday, March 16, 2018

Hemingway's Key West

I just came back from Key West.  Loved the little cottages with picket fences and the fabulous restaurants we ate at!  I see a new series on the horizon!







Meet Rhett & Scarlett (or maybe the reverse??).
They live at the Butterfly Conservatory, which is a Must See.

Hemingway's House. 
He built a 6' high brick fence around his house to keep out the "riff raff" after Key West started using him in their promotions for why you should visit the island.



I'm now listening to the audiobook called "Last Train to Paradise" which is about Key West and the railroad. Whereas I thought it was going to be a documentary, I was pleasantly surprised to "hear" that it's actually a novel based on reality....and the opening paragraphs involve Ernest Hemingway himself!  I plan on listening while painting my Key West series!  (and thanks to Kim Minichiello who recommended the book to me, and who came to Key West with me, along with Anne Peterson)!  It was a spontaneous trip that didn't disappoint!

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Is Big Really Better?


    Meet Kim Minichiello, a watercolor artist from Windermere, FL (and a friend...more about that later!)

"Hong Kong Happy Hour" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor on paper, 12"h x 18"w
     Me:  You paint in oils and in watercolors.  Which is your favorite and why.

Kim:  I painted more in oils than watercolor a few years ago.  Then when I knew we were going to move to Hong Kong, and we would be doing a lot of traveling, I had the desire to keep a watercolor sketchbook travel journal.  So essentially, I used the skills I had for oil painting, drawing, composition, color mixing, value and edges, and just adapted it to the new medium.  Plein air sketching is really how I got started painting in watercolor. At one point, I wanted to challenge myself to work on larger paintings after working in sketchbooks.  Once I did that, I really fell in love with watercolor and it has become my primary medium.  

I love the portability of it for plein air painting and sketching, as well as the feeling of water and pigment flowing on the paper, sometimes in unpredictable ways, and the challenge of learning how to control it to get the effects that I want. I feel a lot more planning goes into a watercolor painting  to figure out the best way the painting is to be painted. For example foreground first or last, each section at a time or work on the painting as a whole. The design and that planning are just as enjoyable for me as the actual painting process.  I also just love paper, and enjoy painting on it. For oils, I like the thicker viscosity of the paint and enjoy moving the paint around with loose brush work like putting icing on a cake! 

"Star Struck" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor mounted on board, 12" x 12" x 2"
Me:  What’s the largest sized watercolor you’ve ever painted?  What subject did you choose?  Why did you paint it that big?  Was it a commission or were you painting to enter a show?

Kim:  The largest watercolor I have ever painted is a 36” square piece titled "Lion Dance".  It was inspired by the Lion Dance performances my family and I saw during the Chinese New Year celebration right after we moved to Hong Kong.  

We were at the Cultural Heritage Museum in the area of the museum that celebrates the various festivals that take place at different times of the year in Hong Kong.   It was an intimate setting and the performance was loud, kinetic, colorful and full of life.  I got a lot of great pictures and wanted to do a painting that was bold, colorful and “in your face” if you will.  Painting the main mask of the dance costume large just seemed appropriate to the feeling I wanted to convey, reflecting a memory of a unique time in a city that was always mesmerizing to me and made me feel happy to be there.  

I painted "Lion Dance" for no other purpose than for myself, to reflect on my time in Hong Kong and enjoy the process of painting big! However, it has had the opportunity to have appeared in a few shows, with pretty steep shipping costs!

"Lion Dance" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor 36" x 36"
Me:  Were the challenges different when painting that large versus painting small?  How so, and how did you overcome them?

Kim:  When I work on a composition, I guess I have an intuitive feeling on the size I would like the subject matter to be.  I only limit myself to the width of a roll of paper.  I have not taken advantage of the 45” width but plan to someday, as well as trying some elephant sheets!  

The challenge to painting large is having the space to accommodate a large painting while you are working on it.   I feel fortunate to have a very large drafting table I use as my painting table, as well as a padded layout table built from 2 x 4’s and plywood I used to do textile work on.  When working large, it’s a bit trickier in watercolor than any other media. You will have areas that require larger washes.  I make sure I use large brushes that hold more water, as well as mix up larger puddles or cups of paint to have at the ready when I start to paint that area.  There is nothing worse than running out of paint when you are in the middle of painting a wash in a large area!  

I feel working wet in wet helps for large washes as well.  As far as painting small, I have painted pieces as small as 6 x 6 and 5 x 7 and even smaller in a sketchbook.   My biggest challenge for me now are my eyes!  I’m far sighted and wear reading glasses to paint. Just the last 2 paintings I have worked on, I have had to introduce a new pair of stronger reading glasses to paint details.  Right now, I’m doing the “glasses dance” between the two pairs while I’m painting!  I still try to use the biggest brush possible when I’m painting small, it helps me not to get too nit-picky.  For me, the key to painting big is to use BIG brushes and mix up lots of paint. The key to painting small is I try to not get too detailed.  I try to break things into simple shapes and suggest rather than render every little detail.

"La Fille de Lavirotte" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor 15"h x 11"w
Me:  Which associations have you "lettered" in and how many times did you try? (Note:  It takes 3 accepted entries to qualify you to show the Society's letters behind your signature. No small feat!)

Kim: I’m a signature member of the Georgia Watercolor Society(GWS) which has a national show,  the Louisiana Watercolor Society (LWS) and the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society (PWS) which both have international shows.  I feel I must have had really good judge karma for those shows, because I got in each show the first time I entered and then the two years after, so it only took me three years.  

I’m also one year away from getting signature in the Florida Watercolor Society(FWS).  This one has taken a bit longer.  I got in the first time I entered but have had a dry spell with that one for a few years.    

I have had lots of acceptances into various shows, but have also had my share of rejections. What one judge rejects one time, another one will like it and want it in a show.  A fellow FWS artist and friend entered the FWS show one year and got rejected.  The next year she entered the same painting, different judge, and received the top, best in show award!  You just never know!  

Recently, I've been accepted into the American Watercolor Society 151st Exhibition, won one of the top awards, and my painting was selected for the 2018 AWS Traveling Exhibition.  

The same painting also won third place in two categories in the International American Art Awards competition.  However it has also been rejected from a few shows.  I feel the moral of the story is, if you believe in the work, keep entering!  Don’t let a few rejections dissuade you from entering other shows or any show at all.
"Chanoyu Maiko" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor, 32"h x 20"w
Me:  You came to Montreal with me last July.  What expectations did you have, and what observations did you make after the trip was over?

Kim:  I was so excited to explore your home town, and spend time with all of our WAM Members.  I find traveling with you all is so inspiring in so many ways!  I feel we really give clarity to and inspire each other, especially when we are all together.  Every trip we take, I look forward to a good dose of that as well as enjoying each other's company.  I love exploring and learning the history and story of a place.  For me, it can be very random. What I see might inspire me to take an idea further and create a painting or series of paintings.   I also like to get my museum fix when I travel.  I’m a museum junkie!

I don’t know if I had any expectations other than I thought maybe the older more historic area of town might be smaller and more quaint like a European village. Even so, it felt very historic yet meshed with  the vibe of the metropolitan feeling of the city in a good way!  I really enjoyed my time there and would definitely go back!  

One bonus for me is that I could practice my French since everyone is pretty fluent in both French and English.  That way, if you get stuck you can always revert to English.

Overall it can’t be beat!  You have a great city experience that feels a bit foreign from the U.S. so you sort of get a European fix without going too far.  

Culturally it was wonderful, loved spending time in the museums as well as exploring some residential areas.  Didn’t have a bad meal...the food was great! I highly recommend the Botanical Gardens there, which include a Planetarium and Insectorium near the Olympic Park Stadium.  Since my husband and I are Formula One Racing Fans, we may go to the Canadian Grand Prix there some day too!

 
Award winning artist, Kim Minichiello
I hope you enjoyed meeting Kim.  I'm proud to call her my friend.  She is currently VP on the Board of the Florida Watercolor Society and will be President in 2019.  She and I are both members of WAM: Women. Artists. Mentors (follow our Facebook page HERE). Other members are Carrie Waller, Debra Keirce and Maria Bennett Hock.

And to see more of Kim's fabulous work, to check out her classes or to sign up for her Newsletter, visit her website HERE.


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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tippette #37 - Watercolor Sticks

Tippette = Snippet of a Tip (in watercolor). Tell a friend!

This morning I tried a new "tool".  It's Winsor & Newton's Professional Watercolour....pigment in stick form.



In the top picture, on the left, I drew with the watercolor stick into a wet puddle.  On the right, I drew onto dry paper, then wet part of it.  In that section, the color almost disappeared.

I could see using these sticks to draw en plein air, then painting over and into it (they're totally compatible with your regular watercolors).  The drawing lines would kind of disappear, if that's your goal.

This particular color is Burnt Sienna.

p.s. I did this exercise in my new Strathmore #483-5 travel sketchbook which I plan on taking to Key West with me tomorrow!  Note: It does pay to shop around because the link I just gave you to Amazon shows the sketchbook to be about $10 whereas I found it elsewhere on line for $19.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Found Treasures, Immortalized

I love to browse at Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity.  I need nothing.  But I always can find something.

Someone's cast off silverware (now mine!)
Here are three 6"h x 12"w watercolor paintings I did of some of these utensils. The paintings are on their way to the photographer's. 

"Spooning"
"Stick a Fork in It"
"Will the Real Butter Knife Please Stand Up?"


And here are 3 progress shots (I kept forgetting to slow down and take more pictures).



Progress shots:  "Stick a Fork in It"


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Friday, February 2, 2018

What's Going on BEHIND the Painting?

Not sure I've shown you this particular painting but I thought you'd like to see what I painted onto the BACK of my translucent Yupo.  (You DO KNOW that I paint onto the back, don't you??)



I paint sort of random marks on the back.
Then I flip it over and paint on the front.
Then I might flip it back and forth some more till I'm happy with the outcome.

"Backlit Moment II" by Helen K Beacham Fine Art
Watercolor on Yupo - In a Private Collection.


You might also like this related post:



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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Nugget Awards

I love teaching because I always come away with little nuggets (= cool stuff I didn't know about) that my students share with me. I taught last weekend, so I came away with a few more! So just like that, I decided to invent the Nugget Awards!

Nugget Award #1 goes to Lori W!

Lori mentioned how much she's loving 2 new watercolor paints she's recently bought.  One is Holbein Peach Black and the other is Daniel Smith's Green Gold.  I use Holbein Leaf Green but I'm going to have to add the Green Gold to my arsenal.  You can see how it can be useful in a less diluted form in the image below.  And Peach Black definitely has possibilities (although I'll never EVER use up all the blacks I already own. I just don't use black very often because it's such a dead color but this one has a little life to it). Do YOU have a favorite black, and do you like to use it straight??



Nugget Award #2?...Lori again!

Lori uses knitting needles to apply masking fluid! The Dollar Store carries them in a variety of sizes for pennies. Priceless! (why keep different sizes?  Because the bigger the needle, or twig in my case, the more masking fluid it holds and the bigger area you can cover).

And Nugget Award #3?  It goes to Claudia H.!

I always keep a value finder handy, especially as my painting nears The End.  Tell me which of these 2 looks you would prefer me to sport from now on!





These are VALUE FINDER GLASSES which are marketed to Quilters because who knew?....it's just as important to have strong values in your quilts as it is in your paintings!

You might also like 

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Markets in Venice and Montreal

Fish heads decorate the columns at the Rialto fish market....
Grand Canal in Venice.
Photo by Helen K Beacham 2016


"Rialto Market: After Hours"
Watercolor on Watercolor Canvas
by Helen K Beacham Fine Art
Available.


And the Markets in Montreal???  Read about the "Little Italy" Farmer's Market in my Home Town! Just click HERE.
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Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year! What are you doing the rest of the year!?



I grew up hearing "what you do today, you will do the rest of the year".  What are YOU doing today?

I will be cooking for my family, and painting!  Here are a few Studio pieces that need finishing up!

A sampling of what I'm working on.

ON THE GLUTEN-FREE MENU TODAY
(click on the links for recipes)



Seasoned broccoli (minus the sugar for this particular meal)

Apple & Cranberry Cake (my grandmother's recipe below)

In order to make the cake gluten free, I substituted wheat flour for King Arthur's GLUTEN FREE Measure for Measure flour.  This flour seemed to require more liquid added (to achieve the same consistency), so I did that and I've adjusted the ingredients here accordingly for you.  Enjoy your day and the rest of your year!

GLUTEN FREE APPLE & CRANBERRY CAKE

350 DEGREES.           13 x 9 GLASS pan, sprayed with Pam.
Bake 55-60 minutes.

4+ large Apples, peeled and cut into slices
1 cup fresh cranberries
Zest of lemon
Cinnamon to taste
1 1/4 c. Sugar
3 eggs
12 oz vegetable oil
4 oz milk
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 ½ c. King Arthur's GLUTEN FREE Measure for Measure flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 packet Raw Sugar

1.  Mix sugar and eggs with spatula (you can use a beater or mix by hand).
2.  Add oil, milk & vanilla, and follow up with flour and baking powder.
3.  Peel & slice apples into 13 x 9 glass pan.  Add cranberries & lemon zest. 
4.  Add cinnamon on top.
5.  Pour batter over apples.
6.  Add more lemon zest if desired.
7.  Sprinkle raw sugar over top of batter (or regular sugar)…it helps form a crunchy crust.

Bake at 350 degrees.  Check after 55 minutes.  Crust should be firm and browning.  Bake another 5 minutes if it doesn’t feel done.  If the pan is larger than 13 x9, it will take 50-55 minutes instead.


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