I had this incredable expereince last weekend. I went to a painting class where we learned how to paint with oil on canvas to music. I know, you're probably thinking that's a little granola of me (ie: superhippy) but hold on a moment here, let me set the stage for you.
We arrived late, it was getting dark outside, there was a slight chill in the air. Inside her studio though was warm, candles burning and small white lights stung from above glowed down on us.Wine and chocolate dipped strawberries where laid out as was five stations with four canvases and brushes. Dez explained how to use oil paint, briefly as not to over think the whole process and the process was really what we were there for. She would play a song half way through while we listened and thought about what colours that song evoked for us. Then once all were settled in their area, she would play the song in its entirety twice through. We did not talk but allowed whatever feelings coming up to flow onto the canvas. Yea, totally trippy man!
I was amazed at how easy it was, how I didn't think what I was painting at all. It seemed as though my brush, sponge, and sometimes hands flew over the cloth knowing its full destination. There was no competition and no feelings of inadequacy. After the second play we put our brushes down, stood back, and appreciated each work on its own and wondered what its path was or what it was trying to say to us. I felt like Michelangelo. And still do when I look at my work from that night. It represents the truth in me and that's what I know it to be. The great teacher is my good friend Deseré who is truely in her flow when she speaks of art.
Here are her words on
Catharsis through Abstraction.
We are all born of creation.
As we age, we can forget how to be playful with our creative side.
Striving for the conquest of its form
over the catharsis of its experience.
Fear thirsts for the opportunity to serve the ego,
it becomes habitual to move in ways that protect us
Here we have item two on our 'Things you should never buy' list.
This is so basic and really so good for you it seems pointless to pay a company to screw-it-up mess with a good thing. Salad dressing is basically oil and vinegar.
Always use the best oil, Extra-virgin Olive Oil. Buy what you can afford but only buy the brands that come in dark bottles, the oil goes rancid easily and lasts longer in darkness; also like coffee, its better to buy often to keep it fresh. Vinegar is where you can really not have enough. A good stocked pantry will include: Balsamic, white wine, red wine, apple cider, and seasoned rice vinegar. Start with one and buy a different one everytime you shop. Vinegar lasts a lot longer.
The Basic Recipe:
½ cup EVOO (Extra-virgin Olive Oil)
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grainy mustard,
1 tsp maple syrup
salt and pepper.
Shake in a glass jar(jam jar works) and serve. Can be used for days afterwards, do not put in fridge as EVOO solidifies when cold. The trick is to test the dressing-like with a carrot stick and put in mouth! I never measure but go on taste alone. Do you want a light dressing? Try it with white wine vinegar. Less sweet? Skip the syrup. Thicker? Change mustard and add balsamic reduction (a speciality item available in cheese stores and certain food stores). Its all about trial, if you add too much vinegar then just add more EVOO. I’ve used lemon EVOO for a change and its quite delish(my own made up word).
Now You can eat that salad or freshly sliced tomatoes and know that there are no sneeky chemicals, milk-by-products, rancid oil or any of the other yucky stuff sitting on the shelf for ridiculously long times at the grocery store.
Oh, and save money, its far cheaper to make it yourself (it requires more upfront cash to stock up).
Ok, so should and never are probably far too extreme for this conversation. What I mean is things that are sooooo easy to make it might surprise you and possibly you might want to make them.
Just a thought.
Today's item is Granola bars.
You'll need peanut butter (almond butter should work too) and honey. The rest is up to you.
We like oats, (or rice puffs, wheat puffs etc.), dried fruit (cranberries, blueberries chopped apricots), some seeds (pumpkins, sesame, chia, flax), chopped nuts and some chocolate chips. I change it up, keep them guessing!
Melt peanut butter and honey in a large pot on medium heat. Two cups PB, half cup honey. Take off heat once PB starts to melt and stir until fully melted. Add your flavours. Start with your filler, oats or cereal, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups then everything else. Keep in mind dried fruit is high in sugar, especially store bought cranberries so when tallying up the sweet factor you might want to include chocolate chips and dried fruit (commercial PB will also have more sugar than homemade-which I don't do...yet). You want it thick enough that it is difficult to stir. Spread parchment or wax paper inside 8x8 pan with enough to flap over edges. Pour mixture in. Wet back of metal spoon to flatten mixture. Throw in fridge for an hour.
Pull out of pan with edges and lay on cutting board. I find using a pizza roller the easiest way to cut into bars. Using wax paper, wrap individually and layer inside a freezer container. Label granola bars and throw in freezer(15 mins to thaw). Tell hungry children where's it at.
I decided to paint a canvas for my living room. Something colourful, cheerful but serene.
I was giddy or perhaps nervous. I dropped the kids off at a friend’s and came home.
I heated up last night's spaghetti, ate it fast as though a pushy waiter was standing behind me impatiently waiting to take my plate. I toasted a croissant-burnt it, set the smoke detector off and between the beeps it warned me in both french and english that I had burnt my toast, yet again.
I made a pot of tea, I stared at the not-yet-boiled kettle making faces in the stainless steel. I poured some treats left-over from my birthday into a little bowl. I checked pinterest one more time in case I had forgotten what a summery-fun tree looked like. I knew I was stalling but like my old car on a freezing winter day, I was slow to shift.
I piled my tea, treats, and a tall glass of water on a tray and headed down to the (sewing room)
I turned U2 on loud…I lost track of time…the light fluffy tree on my canvas kept growing blacker and the darkness moved swiftly over the board uncontained by my brush.
Black, Black, Black I need more black! I rummaged through my paints, ah-ha! Found some.
Now maybe the heat was turned down low in the basement or perhaps it was the sugar-caffeine mixture coursing through my veins, but I had goosebumps. And I felt on fire.
I can’t look at it up close. Up close its no good. Its juvenile, amateurish.
I take a photo of it and I’m shocked that I …I…like it. Yes, I do think I like it. It needs more but the bones are there, I nod to myself.
I tweak a little extra white here, a little more black there. I stand back knowing it was time to step away for awhile for the paint to dry and me to land.
We all have a fire inside, sometimes there are flames, sometimes just embers.
But today I set a bonfire alight, the kind the park ranger comes over to warn your campsite about.
I don’t know where it will take me tomorrow but I know I need more black. I’ve accepted the black.