Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pancakes to the Rescue!

When the grandchildren come over unexpectedly and I don't have anything in the house to feed them that they especially like, I can always fall back on pancakes.  One of the pieces of kitchen equipment that  makes this really easy is a cross burner griddle.  I can churn out a lot of pancakes pretty quickly to satisfy their sudden starvation.

I have lots of different recipes, many with hidden ingredients that boost their nutritional value:  pumpkin pancakes, cottage cheese pancakes, whole grain pancakes.  Fortunately, the kids are not picky about that.  And I often have a mix on hand for a really quick meal.

More important to them than the recipe I use is the shapes we'll make.  Lately, it's been sea creatures.  This last week I ended up pouring out sharks of various varieties; Marcus is really into sharks.  We'll be driving somewhere and he'll say, "Let's name as many sharks as we can.  You go first."  And we'll come up with a growing list.  Even Ethan is identifying the generic shark, with great glee.  I also made some whales , a few octupi, seahorses, even a couple of mola mola.

Since my favorite part of a pancake is the crispy edges, making things that have more convoluted shapes seems to increase my enjoyment, too!

And then there are the toppings!  Oh my!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vacation Work

Doesn't this sound like an oxymoron?  When I go on vacation, I always pack some art supplies .  I know other artists who do this, too.  But there's a limit to what we can take.   A larger issue is that we may be inspired to do very different kinds of work.  I don't like to impose an agenda on this time - I like to see what develops.  So I don't always know what to choose to bring along.

Al and I go back to the same place every year.  We know where we're staying, where we'll pick up food, what the options are for  recreation and entertainment.  But, of course, the experience is totally different from year to year.  The weather is a huge variable.  New people enter our lives.  New creatures leave their imprints on our hearts.

Even though I have a good sense of where I'll set up my "studio", I don't know until I get there what is going to spark the creative juices.

So this year I arrived with some watercolors and acrylics, brushes, paper, sketching materials.  And I waited a couple of days.  Nothing.  It was gorgeous weather.  The view from the deck of our cabin was glorious.  We savored the delicious fresh fish, lovely organic vegetables.  We took wonderful walks, picking berries, gathering stones, nourishing ourselves with the scenery, revelling in the relaxed rhythms.

Then the full moon rose over the Bay of Fundy.  It was so magnificent!  And I knew what my project would be.  I got some preliminary work painting done, and have a lot of work still to do at home before it will be completed.  But it was so engaging.  And it felt right for that time and place.  It actually enhanced my appreciation of being there.  We tend to think of work as taking away from our play time, our pleasure.  But in the best of worlds it deepens our experiences, satisfies us in a way that superficial "fun" would not.  It is a practice in patience to to wait for the creativity to emerge.  And it is a matter of trust.