Just Add Water…Colors

I first read about an artist named Sara Midda in a magazine article many years ago.  She painted tiny detailed watercolors of flowers, fruit, vegetables and other garden delights.  In her second book, “Sara Midda’s South of France A Sketchbook”  the pastel stripes on the cover give you an idea of the soft colors to be found inside.  Upon opening it you discover whimsical paintings of her observations of the region.



It is not only an inspiring book that makes you want to get out your paints and paper, but it is a treat to browse through slowly from page to page and soak up the feeling of the Mediterranean.


I once visited the home of the artist Claude Monet in Giverny, France.  Although he painted in oil, his gardens looked like a watercolor painting.  I could see why he was so inspired by them.




Monet decorated his entire kitchen in blue and yellow.


I am hopeless when it comes to buying tiny souvenirs.


There is a beautiful book called “Monet’s Giverny” by William H. Gerdts that talks about the extensive colony of artists who came to paint there.


Inspired by my love of tiny things I’ve tried painting some small pictures with water color and also attempted some larger ones.  I find it very challenging.  It’s not one of those mediums that leaves a lot of room for error correction, especially if I’m feeling impatient and don’t allow the paint to dry before adding more color.





In my last post I promised to give the recipe for Norway’s National Cake also called the “World’s Best Cake,” so here it is.

Sweet Paul Eat and Make

1 stick plus 2 & 1/2 tablsps butter, 1 & 2/3 cup sugar, 1 & 1/3 cup flour, 1 teasp baking powder, 5 eggs, 1/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 vanilla bean

Mix butter and 2/3 cup sugar together.  Add flour and baking powder.  Mix in egg yolks and milk.  Put the batter in an 8×12 inch baking pan, grease sides with butter or use parchment paper.  In a large clean bowl beat egg whites and remaining 1 cup sugar to soft peaks with a mixer.  Spread on top of the cake layer.  Sprinkle with the almond slices.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the meringue is golden brown and puffed.  Cool and transfer to a cutting board.  When the cake is cool, put the cream in a bowl with the vanilla seeds.  Discard the vanilla pod.  Beat to soft peaks with a mixer.   Cut the cake in half crosswise with a serrated knife.  Place one half of the cake on a serving tray and cover with the cream.  Place the other half, meringue side up, on top.  Let the cake sit for one hour in the fridge before serving.










Mixing it Up

I like paint, paper, canvas, fabric and sewing by hand.  And sometimes I like to mix them up together.  Here, I collected leaves from my yard to use as stamps and then added hand stitching.






The bright colors in a book titled “Living in Morrocco” by Lisl Dennis and Landt Dennis inspired me to make a stencil for a row of pitchers embellished with gold thread.




While browsing through the fabric at a local store, I was drawn to designs that resembled water color paintings.  I bought some and cut it into strips.  Then I got out my water colors, painted on paper, cut more strips, and sewed them all together.



Sometimes I don’t like a painting when I’m finished with it, so I cut it up and save the small sections that I like.  Recently I put some of those together in a collage.  It’s like using up your scraps of fabric for a quilt.




One of the most incredible mixed media art exhibits I’ve ever seen was the work of El Anatsui Gawu at the Fowler Museum at UCLA.  Pieces of recycled aluminum from the tops of beverage bottles were sewn together in a pattern using copper wire.  The finished work covered an entire wall (a huge wall) and hung draped like a massive piece of cloth.  It was jaw droppingly beautiful.



You can be creative using anything around you, whatever your environment provides.  Just play and have fun.


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