Pratt Creek and other Restoration

IMG_03761

Restoration is being done on Pratt Creek and other waterways on the ranch to restore fish and wildlife habitats. It’s an exciting project that is bringing back salmon and steelhead that have not spawned there for many, many years. It’s amazing what people can do when they just put in the effort.

IMG_03721

Many people and organizations are responsible for the project besides us land owners, including The Nature Conservancy, BPA, Trout Unlmtd., and private Trusts and the Department of Energy.

IMG_03771

How nice to be able to make a difference in a positive way! Feeling very inspired at the moment.

IMG_03751

Fudge Brownies with Walnuts

Making Brownies

Yesterday afternoon I was going to go to the beach in Chicago. But because the weather was unusually cold and wet, plans were changed. I ended up home wearing wool socks and making brownies.

I don’t know about you. But I find there are two camps for brownies. The cake brownie with frosting. Then the chewy, fudge brownie with nuts. This brownie is in the second category.

Since I haven’t shared a recipe in awhile, I’ll share one now.

The brownies are almost like a flourless chocolate cake (just 1/4 cup of flour). The brownies come out soft and oozing molten chocolate. But once set and chilled in the fridge, become dense and fudge-like, with intense chocolate flavor melded with the tang of the secret ingredient (sour cream).

The recipe is adapted from a food processor cook book I had in the 1980’s. I cannot remember the author more find the book. But I did a long time ago write down the basic ingredients and made up the rest. It’s best to use the best chocolate available. I used Ghiradelli chocolate chips and bars, real butter and vanilla, and walnuts. I also make sure my sour cream is made with real cream and not fillers like gelatin or corn starch. (Check the label).

Fudge Brownies with Walnuts
Super dense and moist brownies with intense chocolate flavor and walnuts.
Servings Prep Time
16 2-inch bars 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 2-inch bars 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Fudge Brownies with Walnuts
Super dense and moist brownies with intense chocolate flavor and walnuts.
Servings Prep Time
16 2-inch bars 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
16 2-inch bars 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: 2-inch bars
Instructions
  1. Use 1 TB butter to coat an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Then dust with the cocoa powder. Set aside Preheat oven to 300 F degrees. Grind 8 oz chocolate to powder in food processor or blender. Then melt with butter and sugar in small saucepan. Let stand for five minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, salt, baking powder). Add melted chocolate mixture and sour cream to batter. Stir until barely mixed. Then add walnuts and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and spread with rubber spatula. Bake at 300 F degrees for 50 minutes or until set. Cool completely before serving.
Share this Recipe
 
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Happy Memorial Day

crosses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today was Memorial Day here in the USA. The day started out with a parade. Even though it was raining, the parade went on.

parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have many ancestors who have fought for my country starting over 400 years ago with the US Revolutionary War and continuing up until recently.

My grandfather served in WWII, landing at Omaha Beach and fighting in the Battle of St Lo and the Battle of the Bulge.

grandfather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the parade went on, the rain got heavier. So everyone gathered inside the Wilder Mansion for the Memorial Service.

memorial service

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a nice tribute to the men who have served, fought, and given their lives in service of our country. I feel grateful for their sacrifice.

My Studio Camera

Nikon Camera
The camera I use in my studio was given to me by my photographer daughter, Audrey. It’s a Nikon D40 DSLR camera that she used in high school. It’s now mine. I use it exclusively in my art studio for taking reference photos and images of art for the internet.

Nikon D40 camera

As you can plainly see, it’s been around the block a time or two. The viewfinder is covered in paint. In fact, the entire camera (save the lens glass) is covered in some form and color of paint.

I once took the camera out to a function with friends and was explaining that it was my art studio camera. One of the guys asked, “So you painted it??” Yeah. Last time I took it out of the studio.

So why am I sharing it shamelessly here on the internet? To show my human side I guess. I consider this collateral damage for my profession. And while I am sure there are many artists with pristine equipment, this is just one of those areas I tend to get a little dirty. I also have paint on my studio Mac keyboard, metal rulers, studio doorknobs, bookshelves, and storage bins.

My studio

If you have questions, well so do I. I have lots of questions. Like how did this happen? I tried at first to wipe all signs of fingerprints off this piece of equipment. How did I get from shiny and clean to this? How have I managed to keep the paint off the lens glass? (That’s an easy one actually. The paint is everywhere I touch.) Why am I sharing this? Because I like you and trust you with this little secret. Have a nice day.

Watercolor Journey

watercolor paints

I’ve been exploring watercolors recently. They are quite different in process than working with oil paints. But I am liking the way they look with florals and even birds. I paint always in a painterly and sometimes abstract style. I am finding the way to accommodate my painting style with the watercolor paints. It took a while for me to figure out which paper I prefer (hot press), and which brushes I like the best (the larger ones). But I am enjoying the journey.

The watercolor paint tubes are tiny.

watercolor paints

Here are a few I purchased. The sales clerk put the tiny paints in a cute little tiny box to keep them safe. I am keeping the box because it is just adorable. hahaha.

tiny box

Here you can see the size compared to the eraser and rubber bands.

Check back soon for pictures of watercolor paintings!

United States State Bird Series

delaware blue hen painting

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am in the middle of a state bird series. Each of the United States has its own state bird. I am painting all 50 state birds this year. I am about half way through the series. (I sometimes incorporate the state tree into the painting also). Here is a sampling of the lot. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of a few familiar, but some unusual, birds to paint. (Above is the Delaware Blue Hen)

brown pelican painting

Louisiana Brown Pelican

cactus wren arizona painting

Arizona Cactus Wren

california quail painting

California Quail

iowa goldfinch painting

Iowa Goldfinch

hawaii nene goose painting

Hawaii Nene Goose

Michigan Robin painting

Michigan Robin

Robin Connecticut State Bird painting

Connecticut Robin

indiana state cardinal

Indiana Cardinal

Enjoy the continued series in the upcoming weeks! I’ll post a collection of the second half after they are finished.

Oil Painting Class

Elmhurst Art Museum

Last call for spring oil painting class at Elmhurst Art Museum. This is a great class for beginners and those who want to review oil painting basics. I will be teaching the oil painting class. The course runs for six weeks and is held at the Elmhurst Art Museum on Tuesday evenings starting at 6:30 pm. Hope you can join us!

If you are not familiar, Elmhurst is about 10 miles west of the City of Chicago and the museum is on a museum “campus” at Wilder Park. The campus also includes the Lizzadro Museum, Wilder Mansion, Elmhurst Conservatory, and Elmhurst Public Library. If you have a day off and are nearby, it’s a nice place to visit for the day regardless of whether you sign up for the class above.

Last Few Days for Prints on ETSY

Packages

Due to the high volume of print orders, I am outsourcing my prints so I can concentrate on my original works. I will have more information regarding where to find select prints in the near future. In the meantime, I want to tell all my ETSY print customers how much I have enjoyed meeting and working with you. I hope that some of you will stay and try my originals on ETSY if you haven’t already. And I also hope you will continue to enjoy and find my future prints via these other outlets (details coming soon!)

Above is a typical day’s fulfillment of orders through all my online sales. I usually spend about three hours daily packaging and shipping orders. I want to reduce this time so I can focus on my painting.

I will still offer prints at the One of a Kind art show in Chicago this coming December. I will have more news on my blog regarding my prints in the upcoming weeks ahead.

Prints

Thank you, all, for your orders (you know who you are ;) ).

Stuff Found While Looking Around

barn swallow no. 12
Just some random but interesting stuff found while looking around. (The barn swallow painting is a recently painted piece of mine.)

A very cool lego painting stop-motion movie.

Who knew doodling could make you smarter and that doodling improved creativity.

Marc Kushner, an architect, on why the buildings of the future will be shaped by you.

At EAM

imageIf you happen to be in the west suburban Chicago area, stop by Elmhurst Art Museum to see the latest exhibits.

Ending March 20 is solo show by EAG member Charlotte Cziperle.  The show is called “Contemplation”.

The mostly oil paintings in the show consist of abstract pieces in earthy colors with varying textural qualities to landscape and floral pieces.

The show ends March 20.  So hurry in and take a look before it is gone.