Monday, 8 August 2016

Monday - a new month...

The start of a new week and the start of a new month and this month is our hottest and it is living up to its reputation - it is hot and sticky and we are all feeling it.  I was so pleased that it was cool chez Knips this morning - so lovely to be sat in and sharing a pleasant morning of art with Sheila.

I have finally finished my picture of the ballet shoes and this one has found itself a home which is so exciting - how great that someone else likes a picture I have done!  'Shoes' will be collected at the weekend and I hope the recipient loves it.

Sheila has started work on a new picture this week - a very different subject matter having just finished a lovely picture of cheetah cubs which you can see on her blog Follow Me and My Life in Art and if you go back on the posts you can see how the picture started and progressed to its completion.  You can also see some of the gourd work that her husband Klaus has done - he has taken gourd carving to a whole new level from what Sheila and I did two years ago.

So here is my lovely friend Sheila concentrating hard on drawing out her new project which is a cute picture of a little old man and a large ginger cat which has a fairy-tale quality.

 The completion of a picture always leaves us with a big decision as to what to do next!  I like to have a recipient in mind so my next picture will be for Elena's younger daughter Lola who when asked said she wanted a picture of a rose and a butterfly.

I found a lovely picture but when I came to print it out it wasn't good enough to use as there wasn't enough detail to it.  I searched and searched but couldn't find anything so thought I would just get my 'Shoes' completed today and then search again when I had more time.

For each picture which we create we generally have a photograph or a printout as our reference point - I like to keep all of these in a plastic folder as a reminder of what I have done in the past and how many I have done!!

I cannot believe that I had not realised that my reference folder is decorated front and back with a picture of a...
...rose and a butterfly - blooming hell why hadn't I remembered when I was frantically looking for reference picture for Lola earlier this morning - there it was all the time sitting in my art folder!

Sheila very kindly sorted me out so that I could start drawing out my new picture and get started.  What we do is take a black and white photocopy of the reference picture and then with the aid of some carbon paper we mark out some salient points of reference - as many or as little as we think we need so that perspective and proportion and position is correct.

It is best not to have too many lines or to keep them just dark enough to see otherwise it can be difficult to hide the reference lines on the completed picture.  So this morning I finished 'Shoes' and I started the new picture which will not have the postcard style background as that is too much like hard work and I am not sure Lola will be bothered anyway!

Yesterday Dad gave me a bag of figs he had picked from their garden.  In the space of a day even though I had kept them in the fridge they had over ripened and so I decided i would make something with them.

John is not a lover of figs - it is the bitty texture but I love them although not when they are verging on mush!

We are having a toast embargo at the moment so we don't really need much by way of jam so I looked for a chutney kind of recipe but failed so decided to tweak one that I did find by adding some chili to heat it up.

Poor Rob is almost out of my infamous lemon pickle which he is currently sparingly spreading on his cheese - lemons are not in season at the moment so are super expensive so I was hoping I might be able to make some sort of chutney with the figs that might replace the lemon pickle until I can start making it again!

It is incredibly easy to make chutneys and jams in the microwave if you get the mix right and cook it long enough so that the preserve sets.  This was basically fig, orange, cinnamon, ginger, cloves butter and chilli!

Chopped up, mixed together and left to sit for half an hour and then cooked in the microwave long enough so that it would coat a spoon.

John was my litmus test - I got him to lick the spoon and he decided it was nice - nice enough to spoon onto a bit of cheese! In fact nice enough to spice up the red wine gravy I was making for tea!!!

Today, August 1st, is apparently Yorkshire Day and being married to a Yorkshireman we were having a tea which you would never in a million years associate with temperatures sitting in the mid 30s...

Tonight Matthew we were going to have...
...roast potatoes, sausages in a caramelized onion and red wine gravy sitting in a Yorkshire pudding with garden peas!

So if that is what my Yorkshireman wants that is what my Yorkshireman got and boy did he enjoy it - and for me it is such a pleasure to cook a meal which is devoured with such relish.

The tarragon chicken meal we brought home from Mum and Dad's last night is just being pushed back one night and we will have it tomorrow!

We are having a quiet week this week and relish the fact that we are in together for several days on the trot - so do the cats who are so much happier when we are around!!

This was sunset tonight - taken by John from the roof terrace - how beautiful is that? and how lucky are we?

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