Sunday, March 18, 2012

May the light of your soul guide you




My new lamp
Our guest bedroom receives  reflected light from the palm tree which sways and dances in the gentle breeze. Also reflected are the diamond shaped sparkles from the salt water canal - the wall literally dances on a sunny day.  The room has tall ceilings and there is a balcony.
View from balcony - each day the water differs in colour depending on light
We painted the room in Skylight (Farrow & Ball).  I am now shopping in my own house for pieces to fit in this room.
 In a break between painting, on location, in Sarasota this week, I spied this lamp - it is antique statuary and the shade is a bridal veil from 1926 - I fell in love with it and it came home with me. The lamp I love (my husband has reserved his opinion) The existing wrought iron bed I found at a farm auction many years ago.  The tapestry (not yet sewn to the pillow) was found in Venice, Italy.  The little cottage  I painted in encaustic and is part of my Irish cottages series. This is how the left hand side of the bed looks presently (I'm unsure) 
Should I use this lamp?

The rooster lamp was created by Ziva who painted the rooster and then hand-painted the shade.  Do I use a rooster in the bedroom?

More shopping around my house for potential items

Irish cottage series in encaustic by Helen Tilston
Still life painting by Helen Tilston

Waterford crystal lamp - Our Lady of Sorrows, Helen Tilston I would like to use this lamp but it is part of a pair in the living room
Chantry Island Southampton painted by Helen Tilston

A triptych being painted by Violetta, Mary Rose and Helen - this will fit perfectly above my bed

I wonder if Violetta and Mary Rose would let me have this painting for above my bed.  It is a commissioned piece and highly unlikely.


I welcome your input on my guest room.



Saturday, March 10, 2012

I feel like a Mistress

Helen Tilston painting en plein air
He wants me to paint the view from their home.  It cannot be painted en plein aire for a very good reason.  The painting is a surprise present for his wife.  The home is beautiful.  His wife spends most days working in the home.
However, when she leaves for a given number of hours, he calls me.  I then go to the home and paint. Orders are that the neighbours must not see me, as they may "spill the beans" to his wife.
I would make a lousy mistress.  The secrecy of the whole affair is causing me undue stress.
My living room in shadow
I need to return to the home and I hope "she" has a long appointment this week.  I am missing information, such as the light in the shadows.  Photos do not tell the whole story and my sketch does not have all the information. 
When I begin to feel a little self pity, I think of Monet and Sorolla who endured humiliation and rejection and who had hungry families to feed.   I am grateful for all commissions and supporters of my art.

Have you ever had to sneak around?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Moroccan Dinner for Friends

Moroccan - Food Lover's Collection


She is a Journalist with a curious and enquiring mind. She accompanied her husband on a  a recent medical conference to Morocco where her husband was a speaker.  Against the advice of the  Concierge, she took a taxi to the spice market in Casablanca and purchased all types of exotic spices. She survived the market, however, the airline lost her luggage

She is a friend whose generosity knows no bonds. It was high time to invite them to dinner.

My tagine - a gift from my Moroccan friend


It was decided that a Tagine of lamb with apricots, prunes and honey would be the main course. I have a beautiful serving tagine which a Moroccan friend gifted me.

Tagine of Lamb  Serves 6

2 lb/1 kg shoulder of lamb trimmed and cubed
2-3 tblsp. olive or argan oil
1 oz/25g fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
large pinch of saffron threads
2 tsp round cinnamon
1 onion, finely choppede
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1 cup plumped dried pitted prunes, soaked in lukewarm water for 1 hr
1 cup plumped dried apricots, soaked in lukewarm water for 1 hr.
2 large tbsp runny honey
sale and pepper


Put the lamp in a large tagine or heavy bottomed flameproof cassserole. A the oil ginger, saffron cinnamon, onion garlic and sale and pepper to taste. Pour in enough water to cover. Cover and simmer for 2 hrs topping off the water if necessary till meat is very tender.

Drain the prunes and apricots and add them to the tagine Stir in the honey, re-cover and simmer for an additional 30 mins or until the sauce has reduced. Serve hot with buttery couscous and a salad.
I have also made this dish with chicken and it is equally delicious.

We had drinks on the balcony and watched the sunset.  Dinner was delicious and we talked in and laughed till the early morning.

Do you enjoy Moroccan food?