In a Doodle Daze …

I began this picture a few days ago and have enjoyed adding to it each day. My favourite aspect of it is either the ‘rays’ coming from the sun or the lilac checked hill with the heart flowers growing up it. I can see many influences from previous paintings that I’ve previously done: the collage balloon; the hills; the sun’s ray and the swirls. I wasn’t sure that so many different things could work in one image but I’m really happy with the result:

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I think my next challenge will be to use similar tones throughout a picture whilst having lots of detailed pattern and ‘zen doodle’ throughout.

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A Week of Sunshine …

It’s been a long time coming but the sunshine is finally here, I’m not sure how long it will last but am determined to make the most of it. We’ve been eating outside (food tastes so much better outdoors for some reason), I’ve planted some more seeds in a (very) mini greenhouse and when we had friends over for lunch yesterday, we spent the whole day in the garden, chatting away the hours.

The painting that I’ve been doing over the past three days has turned in to a bit of an abstract. I’ve been inspired by the flowers and foliage that seems to have had a sudden growth spurt over the past week or so, I was also inspired by thoughts of the seaside, sailing boats and crashing waves. All of these thoughts somehow ended up in one painting:

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The best use of a tea towel (or two), ever I think:
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I found these two beauties last weekend and decided they were too lovely to be used for drying dishes, they look much better handing on the doors of our ‘shudio’!
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The start of summer heralds altogether much fresher and tastier food.

Here we have a very simple pasta dish, served with smoky lardons, goats cheese, red onions and a chipotle chilli sauce. The smokiness of the lardons was very much enhanced by that of the chipotle sauce:flare-iphoto-export-389547292 I’m not sure what to call this next dish, it’s a kind of a curry (cumin, ginger, turmeric and coriander were all used) but it’s also a broth. We normally have coconut milk in our prawn curries but as we had none, I had to improvise. Cooking the noodles in a vegetable stock and then ladling this into the bowls, on top of the prawns meant that we had a very fresh tasting, zingy meal:flare-iphoto-export-389547629 I took this photo, simply because it was a gorgeously lazy sunday morning and whilst everyone else was still asleep, I treated myself to a ‘full-on’ freshly ground cup of coffee with vanilla syrup, frothy milk and cocoa sprinkles:flare-iphoto-export-389547832 Lunch yesterday was a quiche lorraine, green salad, foccacia and a beetroot salad. The quiche recipe did however come from Heston Blumenthal’s ‘At home with Heston’ book and it took forever to make. Not only did the pastry have to be refrigerated once and frozen twice (I know!), the filling had to reach 63℃ on the hob and then 70℃ once it was in its pastry case in the oven. The onions had to cook for an hour too – this was definitely a recipe to make ahead. I was hopeful that all the effort would be worth it and the proof of the quiche is in the eating:flare-iphoto-export-389548116 I have to say that it was completely delicious, never before have I tasted a quiche with such a depth of flavour, it was amazing.

To follow, we had Chocolate Fondants. This was the second time I have made them and this time I followed Raymond Blanc’s recipe which is in the current edition of ‘delicious’ magazine. In contrast to the quiche, it was ridiculously easy to make and the timings worked perfectly:flare-iphoto-export-389548417 Here’s the very mini greenhouse that I mentioned earlier, I did say it was very mini:flare-iphoto-export-389548568

In a Tangle …

I had a go at a ‘zentangle’ today. I did some research first, to make sure I had a t least a vague idea of what I was supposed to be doing. Zentangles, it seems, can be any kind of repetitive pattern. These patterns look even more effective when they are put together. I was determined to leave some blank space on my paper, I was also adamant that when painting some of the patterns, I would leave some of them white.

As you can see, I failed on both counts:

ZentangleThis was done in my watercolour book, as part of my ‘sketchbook challenge’. Circles were once again the theme. I really enjoyed doing this today.