Friday, October 30, 2009

Watercolor and Charcoal Study

I have been busy lately! Trying new techniques, styles, still trying to find my way! Here is a piece that I did during a watercolor study. Adding the watercolors on heavy, allowing them to drip, and in effect, it kind of looks like a tear. I love the softness of the watercolors verses the harsh black of the charcoal. I'm not too happy with the face, but I like the effect that it had. I will definitely try this technique again, but try to blend them more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I must be crazy

I am going back to school! As excited as I am about it, I also think that I have lost my mind. I have not taken an art class since I graduated from KU in 2001. I have a friend in the program and she assures me that this will be a good step for me. I know I need to work on technique and I need instruction!

I imagine myself being that kid in class that is drawing stick figures and think they are a masterpiece while I am surrounded by Picasso's. I actually have had a dream about it. I haven't had the showing up to school naked dream yet, so I guess thats something huh?

So January brings the start of me going to Fontbonnne to get my second Masters, my last month of coaching basketball for the high school, and the beginning of a new year. 2010 is going to come in with a bang!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ohhh. Whitey's

Nick and I went to a white trash party and made White Castle's Patee. Anyone who knows Nick and I, you know our minor love for the treats in little white boxes. I mean, that is where we had our first kiss. In the drive thru. How sad are we?

Believe it or not, this stuff was pretty good! We put the ketchup on the top and served it with crackers.

White Castle Pate

15 White Castle regular (no cheese) hamburgers, boxes removed
2 tbs Worchestershire
1 package of cream cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a blender or food, blend hamburgers three at a time with water as needed,scraping sides as you go. Add the Worchestshire. Finished product should look like refried beans. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with Crisco vegetable shortening (avoid butter ormargarine, as these will cause the pate to brown too much).Turn the pate mixture into the loaf pan, and smooth with spatula. Bake45 minutes. After removing from oven, immediately turn pate onto a servingplate. Allow to cool, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate. When ready to serve, frost pate with softened cream cheese or sour cream. Serve as a spread with thin slices of French bread or crackers.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Baby Deem

My relationship with Julie has been a funny one. Four years ago, I answered a posting on craigslist for a girl in U-City that was looking for someone to hang out with. I think the posting might have even said she needed a happy hour buddy. Of course, I stepped right up. We hit it off right away. We even went on a cruise together. We both went through a really wierd stage in our lives where we grew apart. It was something that we probably needed to do. Now, Julie is one of my best friends.

The whole time I have known Julie, her and her husband Ryan have always said they never wanted children. So I was a little suprised when last year, she had told me that they changed their minds. But none the less, they will be great parents and I can't wait to see the little girl they are going to pop out here in the next month or so.

So for her gift, I wanted to do something special. I found a quote by Vincent Van Gogh that I fell in love with. "If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle."

I put the quote in a tree along with the with the year. Both of their last names are patterned through the piece. I guess I would call it a Where's Waldo of baby gifts. I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Best Buttercream Frosting Ever

This stuff is good, not to sweet, but gives that rich buttery taste. I have used it a few times as decorating icing. I'm not going to lie, I got this one from my sister in law Diana. I helped her make her cakes for her son's birthday parties. Thanks girl!

2 cups butter
8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.
Add salt, vanilla, and 6 ounces whipping cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add additional 2 ounces whipping cream if necessary. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Engagement Present

It seems like most of my paintings in the last few weeks have been for presents for people. My good friend Lauren that now lives in Philly had an engagement party recently and I painted a picture of her and her fiance. It was hard to paint a picture of him because every time I see him (which has only once), he has had a hat on. But you get the idea. Congratulations Lauren!

Monday, October 12, 2009

White Chicken Chili

Hmmmmmmm.... Weather is cold, time to get the soups and chilis going! This is my first shot at making white chili. It was really good. I served it with cornbread.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers 2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth 3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
3 (15 ounce) cans white beans 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup white corn kernels

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly cook and stir the onion until tender. Mix in the garlic, jalapeno, green chile peppers, cumin, oregano and cayenne. Continue to cook and stir the mixture until tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in the chicken broth, chicken and white beans. If you like your soup thicker, you can puree one of the cans of beans to make it a little thicker. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mixture from heat. Slowly stir in the cheese until melted. Serve warm.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Getting in the swing of things

I am experimenting with colors, textures, and overlapping images. This is a new work of art that I am working on. I have shown in a previous post just the drawing. It is coming along.

I no longer like the background color, so I am going to change that, not sure to what yet. I guess Picasso went through his blue period, I am in my yellow. Errrr.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

CCF Spicy Cashew Chicken

Cheesecake Factory Spicy Cashew Chicken

5 1/2 ounce Chicken Tenders, 1 inch pieces
1 oz Rice Flour
3 oz Rice Flour Batter
1 1/2 oz Canola Oil 4 pz Cashew Sauce
2 oz Cashews 1 oz Green Onions, chopped
12 oz White Rice
1 tsp Black & White sesame seeds
1 sprig Italian Parsley, chopped


1. Dredge chicken in rice flour

2. Coat chicken pieces evenly in rice flour batter

3. Add canola oil to a hot sauté pan and heat to a sizzle

4. Add chicken pieces to hot sauté pan and flatten with a spatula

5. Cook until golden brown and crunchy (be careful because some pieces could darken quickly from hot spots in the pan)

6. Flip chicken, brown the other side. If the pieces have stuck together then break them apart at this time.

7. Drizzle the Cashew Sauce around the edge of the sauté pan, not on top of the chicken.

8. Add cashews and green onions and toss to incorporate, do not cook because the green onions will wilt.

9. Place hot rice in a pasta bowl and pour chicken mixture over rice

10. Sprinkle sesame seeds and garnish with Italian parsleyRice Flour BatterAdd water to rice flour until the consistency of cornstarch

Cashew Sauce (large batch – restaurant recipe)1/2 gallon Soy Sauce, 1 can (#10) Hoisin Sauce, 2 1/2 cups Chile Garlic Paste, 7 cups Granulated sugar ,1 quart Rice Wine Vinegar, 1/2 gallon Garlic, minced, 1 1/2 quarts Sherry Wine, 1 oz Chili flakes, crushed. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix using a wire whip attachment.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cheesecake Factory Recipes

For those of you that did not know, I worked at the Cheesecake Factory for two years. In that two years, I made some friends that I will have for the rest of my life. One being my old roomate of three years Tiffany. Tiffany came over a for dinner and I thought of the idea of making something we both loved from Cheesecake Factory. Avacado eggrolls! They tasted just like the real thing. Everytime we go to Cheesecake Factory, Tiff gets the same thing, Spicy Cashew Chicken, so I thought I would try my hand at that. Pretty damn good if I must toot my own horn! Hope you guys try these. Both are super easy!

Copycat Cheesecake
Factory's Avocado Egg Rolls

SERVES 2 -4 , 3 eggrolls

dipping sauce
3-4 teaspoons
white vinegar

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon
tamarind pulp

1/2 cup honey
1 pinch
powdered saffron
1/2 cup chopped cashews
2/3 cup
fresh cilantro

2 garlic cloves
green onions
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon
ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup
olive oil

egg rolls
1 large
, peeled, pitted, & diced
2 tablespoons
sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
, chopped
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1/2 teaspoon
fresh cilantro, chopped
1 pinch

3 egg roll wraps
egg, beaten

  • Stir together vinegars, tamarind, honey, and saffron in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute.
  • Stir until tamarind is dissolved.
  • In a blender, Puree tamarind mixture, cashews, 2/3 cup cilantro, garlic, onions, sugar, pepper, and cumin.
  • Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in oil. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Gently stir together avocado, tomatoes, onion, 1/2 teaspoon cilantro, and salt.
  • Distribute filling evenly onto center of each egg roll wrapper.
  • Position a wrapper so that a corner is pointing toward you; fold the bottom corner up, 1/4 of the way over the filling.
  • Brush remaining corners and edges of the wrapper with egg, roll up from side to side, fold top corner over all and press to seal.
  • Repeat with remaining wrappers.
  • Continue by deep-frying the egg rolls in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Drain on brown paper bags.
  • Slice egg rolls diagonally across middle and serve with prepared dipping sauce!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Leah!

It was my friends birthday a couple weeks ago and we had a little get together at my house. Two hours before the party started, I realized that I did not get her anything, so what does Leah love above all other things? Her dog Stella.

A couple of years ago, I did caricature portraits of all of my friends. I did one for Leah (she is a drama teacher). So I decided to do a similar portrait of her baby girl. No, the drawing is not messed up, that is what the dog looks like. It is a Chinese Crested mix.

Ok God...I get it.

God works in mysterious ways. I had a great (but busy) weekend. Saturday Nick and I had the opportunity to go to the taste of St. Louis. It was really neat. The old art group that I used to be a part of (Art Dimensions) was there. They had a good number of their artists showing their work and doing demonstrations at the show. It was never really a group that I felt a part of. I did two shows with them, each time, they did not put me in the program, and once, they even lost one of my pieces of work. Regardless, I still was a little bit envious of the artists that were showing.

Sunday, my plan was to spend the whole day painting. As I got on my painting camo and went downstairs to paint, I found every other thing to do. I sat down, looked at the current work I was working on and just couldn't get into it. I had a really negative attitude for some reason. I just kind of threw my hands up and decided that I am just wasting my time by trying to do this art thing. I spend a lot of time and money doing it, and maybe it is just a goal that is not obtainable at this time.

After doing laundry, arguing with DirectTv, and cleaning the basement. I made myself sit down and paint for a couple of hours then I had that feeling again. That feeling of complete rest and relaxation as I painted. I have been so busy running around, doing school plans, and finding everything else to do besides what I truly love to do.

An hour later, I was making dinner and I got a phone call from a woman named Sheila and her friend James. James and Sheila both have bought paintings from be 6 years ago when I showed at the Taste of the Central West End. They remembered me, and want to see my new works. They were at the Taste of St. Louis looking for me in hopes that I was displaying my artwork. It was a good feeling. One that I need to remember when I am going through my downtime. Hell, if I didn't have these personal struggles on a weekly basis, I don't think I could create at all.