It has certainly been an enjoyable summer, in my mind. There are always difficult things going on in the world, that is for sure, but I choose to focus a bit more on the wonderful abundance around me. How can I make a positive difference in the world, if I let negative influences make me miserable? And so, it has truly been an very enjoyable summer! The balance of moisture and sunshine has been almost perfect in this area which is of concern every growing season. The gardens look great! Even with the weeds.
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Fun Vacation Photos
Here are a few fun vacation photos in no particular order, from our trip to Arizona and Texas.
That’s it, folks! Hope you enjoyed the fun vacation photos!
Mysteries Under a Blanket
Mysteries under a blanket could refer to a few things….
You can guess what I am actually thinking about here. Nothing naughty….
I absolutely love the mystery that a fresh blanket of snow creates as it is laid over the varied contours of the garden, field and forest. Each snowflake joins together to form beautiful marshmallow-like shapes and hollows. These little vignettes evoke questions in my mind about what the snow might be covering. Is there a creature or two hiding under there?
Why else would I spend time in the dead of winter, searching for inspiration, while having to endure frosty fingers and a runny nose? It would be a shame to miss such wonderful things to contemplate: soft, yet frigid shapes, cold shiny crystals and diamonds, sculptural, temporary, ever changing, ethereal. And then one day, usually without fanfare, they are gone.
Such fleeting beauty is worth exploring and capturing on canvas. At least I am not required to paint it stationed outdoors in the sub-zero temps! I am not sure I am THAT dedicated…. The digital camera does a great job of capturing enough of the detail for me to work with in the comforts of my studio. My fingers are saved!
A Forgiving Process creating mysteries under a blanket
It is a fun challenge to create pillow-y soft looking shapes on a flat surface. Layer by layer, the canvas takes on a 3-D look. We generally think of it as white, but it always amazes me how much color can be found in snow. The colors will vary each day, location and time of day. All of the subtle arrays of hue take time to see, understand and add to the painting in just the right amount in the right place.
My aim is not to copy the photo, but to make my painting look ‘believable’. Put a layer of paint on the canvas and add another color or shape. Oops! I’ve made a mistake. I will then try to block it out with more layers and then enhance what’s working. Eventually something lovely is created through this push and pull process. Mysteries under a blanket are always interesting to think about and will inspire me for years to come.
A Momentous Occasion!
This summer, we had the pleasure of participating in a momentous occasion with our family.
On August 27, our niece, Sabrina (Shane’s side of the family) married Damien on the farm where Sabrina was raised. It was a truly wonderful wedding, beautiful in all aspects, despite the cooler, rainy weather. The cloudy conditions made for great photos!
The site where Sabrina and Damien were wed is on the same piece of ground where Sabrina’s great grandparents had farmed. There is a lot of family history on this piece of land to which the Pastor referenced during the ceremony.
Free Press Article by Dolly Bolen
Please click on the link below to read the story. It may take a little while to load.
Reprinted with permission from The Free Press.
The Food Was Amazing!
Many people who attended my Art And a Country Garden event commented that the food was amazing again this year. The only item I baked were the chunky-monkey banana cookies, which have become a recent family favorite. As promised, below are some of the recipes you asked for. Enjoy!
(photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
Curried Carrot Soup (prepared by Yolande Stark of Tipi Creek Farms) This was the orange colored cold soup served in little canning jars.
2 Tablespoons butter
1 pound chopped carrot,
1 chopped onion,
1 large shallot (optional),
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 heaping teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups broth
Saute above ingredients until soft. Puree in blender until creamy.
Add 1/2 cup coconut milk and 1 1/2 – 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice to pureed soup.
Serve warm or cold, garnished with seasoned, roasted pumpkin seeds, fresh cilantro or fresh parsley (all optional)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar or to taste
1/4 cup quality cocoa powder
12 ounces chocolate chips
1/3 cup tapioca or arrowroot flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla
extra chocolate chips for topping
chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)
Melt together chocolate chips and butter. Let cool and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well but don’t over beat or brownies will be rather dry. Spoon into greased or parchment lined 8″ x 8″ pan. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top of batter, instead of icing later. Bake at 350 F until done in the center. Try not to over bake. (if over baked, let cool until just warm and cover pan with plastic wrap overnight, sometimes this helps to restore moisture) This recipe can easily be doubled and frozen.
After cleaning and chopping rhubarb, put into large pot and cover with 6 or 8 inches of (filtered) water. Bring to a gentle boil for about 5 minutes and then simmer for about 1/2 hour, stirring once in a while.
Let cool for about 1/2 hour. Use a fine siv/colander/cheese cloth (whatever you have) and strain out as much liquid as possible. If you don’t want rhubarb solids to appear in the final juice, strain a second time through a cloth.
Otherwise you can just sweeten to taste with any sweetener you desire.
My Oma made this every year, and as kids, we LOVED it!
Here is the banana cookie recipe I developed which may be easily modified to suit your taste:
I will be guessing here as I never measure these ingredients out.
The trick is to make the dough a very thick consistency.
They also freeze well.6 ripe bananas mashed (I use the mixer)
3 heaping cups of shredded coconut
1 or 2 eggs (optional)
1/2 cup coconut oil melted (or avocado oil or butter or a combination)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Cinnamon to taste (optional but will make the cookies taste sweeter and less need for sugar)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
Stir in pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, dried cranberries, raisins, nuts, chocolate chips, hemp seeds, protein powder ( I use hemp seed powder of pumpkin seed powder)
Throw in whatever you can think of!
Bake at 325 – 350 degrees F for about 20 mins to 1/2 hour? It really depends on how much coconut flour you have used.
Re-visit Art And a Country Garden
Here is a chance for you to to re-visit my Art And a Country Garden event. Or, if you didn’t make it, then you might enjoy a look at the highlights.
It was a big relief that the weather co-operated for most of the weekend which, of course, helped the attendance to be about as good as last year.
39 new artworks were created for this show along with several new magnets. The Walter Foster art instruction book was also finally available. My good friend Julie, who had worked with me on this event since April, helped to organize and hang the paintings, which took us over 4 hours. It was quite a challenge for us to decide which pieces to group together and which ones would not be included in the exhibit. As always, I was surprised that there were plenty of artworks to fill the space!
I believe these two are counting the blackbirds in the painting “Song of the Red Wing Blackbirds” for the scavenger hunt. (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
Woohoo! Lots of visitors! This is always so exciting to see. (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
Here, Dolly Bolen is about to interview me for the Morinville Free Press. My sister-in-law, Fran is happily photobombing! And… that’s not my beer…. (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
When the weather was nice on Saturday, this made an interesting addition to the garden. However, a storm blew in during the late afternoon and my quick thinking helpers rescued it from the wind and rain. I had forgotten all about it sitting out there! (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
A new, enthusiastic friend shows off her copy of the Walter foster art instruction book that I had contributed to. I hope everyone who purchased the book gains lots of helpful painting tips from it! (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
On Saturday afternoon, I demonstrated a few painting techniques in front of a small audience. I had prepared 2 canvases with the same painting earlier in the week so as to show the progression of the techniques I often use for close-up nature scenes. (photo thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
Since the weather was not conducive to outdoor performance, Alison sang and played guitar for us in the studio Sunday afternoon, which was very enjoyable for all. (photo thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
It was so wonderful and amazing that people came from as far away as Barrhead, Sherwood Park and even further to see the show. How very cool is that?! (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
Karen and Barb, generously lending their time and efforts to help me out! In all, at least 20 different people had pitched in in preparation before and worked during the event. Here’s hoping I can repay them all, or at least play it forward. (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
These ladies are going on a scavenger hunt! (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
Many people like Bud, almost always attend my shows. How lucky am I to have their ongoing support? (photo Thanks to Memory Roth Photography)
Hopefully, you enjoyed this little report and are inspired to attend in July of 2018!
A Momentary Disappointment
My work has officially been published in a fancy book!!
Almost a year ago I was approached by the Walter Foster Company to be a contributing artist for their new painting instruction book, “The Art of Painting Flowers in Oil & Acrylic”. One of the editors found my work on a photo sharing website called Pinterest, which is in itself a miracle, given the millions of photos and artists that post on the site. Never having done anything like this before, I had envisioned, that a number of mistakes requiring a series of do-overs would be made. They were a great company to work with and had only asked for minor revisions to two of the four painting projects that were requested. Turns out that it was a lot of fun and I learned so much about the whole process of creating step by step instructional material, consistent photography and the absolute need for clear communication among other things. Figuring out how it is that I do what I do and articulate it in writing, was probably the most difficult part.
In mid-October a dozen of these books arrived unexpectedly. They were due in mid-November so it was a wonderful crown on top of an already great day!!
Until I opened the book…..
Low and behold, there was a full page print out of an orange tiger lily that I had painted as one of the projects for people to follow. It was really neat to see it in this beautiful, glossy full color book. As I was drinking it all in, suddenly I discovered a glaring error in the photo. On one of the last steps for creating this painting I had supplied a photo of how to use painters’ tape to decide on the placement of a leaf that was not in the reference photo. This piece of tape, plain as day flaunted itself at me in what was suppose to be the finished piece. Oh well, the rest of it should be fine. I’ll get over it. Continuing through to the end of that project, there it is again!! That piece of painters tape, large and naked as can be, sitting on the last photo of the tiger lily painting where the final step was suppose to appear….. wow. Ok. And to think that this was one of the projects that I was asked to re-work….
The next project looks good! What a relief! it is a multi- colored pansy and it is satisfying to see how it came together. I can forgive the tiger lily fiasco.
I then turn the page and … oh no! They flipped the next project completely on its side. Well that’s strange and also disappointing since the photos were submitted to them right side up. Hmmm. Most people would not notice, I suppose, except for avid gardeners. Otherwise it is not terrible, except that the design is less striking and maybe a bit confusing with it oriented the wrong way. It’s time to make supper so I put the book down and mull over whether or not I should say anything to the publisher. I kind of chuckle about the whole thing and try to recall if the editor had sent me proofs that were somehow missed in all of my busy-ness.
After supper, I am curious about the rest of the book and what the other artists had presented. There is a wide array of styles and techniques portrayed, which should be helpful to new and intermediate painters. On the last page of the book the artist’s biographies appear alphabetically and I set about reading them in order. Looks like there are some well-established and accomplished artists included in this book, and it feels good to share the space with them.
My biography is list listed second to last and I set about reading it as well.
What? Why does it sound so strange? Did I write this? I don’t remember writing this. It seems juvenile and lists details that are not at all pertinent for an international audience. Checking the original file that was sent to them, I see that the whole thing was re-written without my knowledge. Ok, now I had better talk to the publisher….
Gazette Artist of the Month
It was an honor to be featured as the St. Albert Gazette’s ‘Artist of the Month’ for October 2015! Since early September I had been communicating with Jessica at the Art Gallery of St. Albert to arrange my bringing in new paintings for their Art Rental and Sales program. She asked if I would be at all interested in being featured during the month of October. I was really excited by the prospect of sharing my work with a wider audience. The Gazette sent a photographer to the Gallery and two showed up! Scott Hayes, the Gazette’s arts and culture reporter, also came to the gallery and made the interview process fun and stress free.
Below is a copy of the article written by Scott Hayes which was printed in the October 14, 2015 edition. I was thrilled with the article he wrote and I hope you enjoy it too!
Perhaps it was meant to be that Judy Schafers has been into art her entire life. she has always loved to paint and always loved the beauteous bounty of nature too.
After all, she joked, she couldn’t exactly have a career in hockey.
“I was really bad at sports!” she laughed. “I was good at this. It was the path of least resistance.”
Yes, art has been a part of her life sine she was a teenager, even winning her awards while she was still in high school. Painting only became a serious pastime after she got married more than 30 years ago. They moved to a farm near Villeneuve, an idyllic settlement that was ideal in its setting too. After all, what’s better for a nature-loving artist than surrounding her with nature and giving her plenty of room to work? There’s lots of inspiration where she lives. Her main artistic influence has always been Mother Nature, she said, adding that she only has to look outside the door of her Prairie Sky Studio to see her next landscape, floral or abstract composition. There are endless possibilities.
“Art has really helped me to grow the other side of me,” the former wallflower said. In fact, she grows many of her subjects. There’s wheat and fava beans in the fields plus a big ol’ flower patch on the side and a vegetable garden for her dinner table. Between the farming and the painting, it’s any wonder if she’ll ever have clean fingernails.
“Until I cut them off,” she said with a hearty laugh. “I go to the bank with paint on my hands.”
The rustic life of an artist is indeed one of dirt and paint, and endless growing opportunities. She was a shy kid, she confessed, and would have continued to be content in her shyness as an adult if it weren’t for people encouraging her to show her work in public.
“I decided that, you know what, if the house is filling up then I need to figure out what to do with this stuff.”
That was a good call. It led to her first exhibit at an art store in Grandin Mall in 1992. She hasn’t looked back since. Schafers has taken a bumper crop of art awards including first and third places in the masters category at this year’s Open Art Competition, put on by the Allied Arts Council of Spruce Grove. She took first and second places for the masters there last year too. The well-known figure on St. Albert’s arts scene has many other accolades and has been featured on many gallery walls across this city and throughout the surrounding area.
In addition to residing within numerous corporate collections from the United States to Australia, to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She even does a ‘blooming’ business taking commissions mostly for nature scenes.
Schafers is represented by the Daffodil Gallery in Edmonton. Her work is also available for sale or rent at the Art Gallery of St. Albert
People can learn more by visiting her website at www.judyleilaschafersfineart.com.
There you have it!
It was really interesting and surprising to hear that the Art Gallery of St. Albert reported a noticeable increase in people visiting the gallery and asking to see my work during the few days after this article ran. It was kind of hard for me to believe, but very cool at the same time! Another win-win for the Gallery and I; the painting of the green aspen leaves was rented out a few days after the feature was published!
A Golden Time
About 3 weeks ago I took a little trip to Golden Colorado, travelling for the first time on my own.
The main purpose of the trip was to attend a seminar related to growing and maintaining my art business. It was hosted by Alyson B. Stanfield, whose advice I have been following for a number of years. There were approximately 80 other artists in attendance form all over the US and only one other Candadian. It was surprising how we had never met, nor heard of each other. She lives less than an hour away! It was a great pleasure to meet her and everyone else who attended.
There was quite a mixture of artists, some who were very advanced in their careers and others who were just beginning their art businesses. Everyone was friendly and open to sharing their knowledge and experience. One of the social highlights was the enthusiastic trading of gorgeous business and post cards!
We were guided to think about why we make art, why we might want to share it and the level of commitment required to be successful. Other topics included how to talk about our art and why others might be interested in what we do. There was also information on some of the nuts and bolts such as good computer software for artwork inventory and tips on how to give great customer service among many other topics. Various experts in the art industry were available for advice as well.
The Table Mountain Inn in Golden is where the event took place and where I stayed. It was a beautiful hotel, very professionally run. Alyson and her team thought of everything and pampered us while we were there. Golden seems to be a very charming little town from the little bit that I saw. It has a distinct old west flavor. I would go back again, given the opportunity!
Now that I have some solo travel success under my belt, who knows what my next little adventure might be?