BFF

14 10 2014

Knocked out a new piece this weekend – 8″x10″ acrylic – a girl and her giant snail buddy chillin’ in the sun, drinkin’ some lemonade. :) I gave them matching “tattoos” and not sure how I feel about that yet. Was going to put stuff inside the hearts but didn’t have a brush small enough for the girl’s. I want to do a whole bunch of giant animal friends paintings!

Hangin' out in the summer

Hangin’ out in the summer





Last Peaches of Summer

30 09 2014
mmm...peaches!

mmm…peaches!

There is nothing like a fresh, juicy peach in the tail end of summer, especially one from Georgia! I ended up in late August with a whole bag of them and, being on an “afternoon tea” kick (obsessed with all treats little and delicious), I got this craving for peach tarts. Now, peaches are fine on their own, but every now and then it’s fun to do something different.

Never having made tarts before, I pieced together different recipes.

Pre-made crust sounded much easier than from scratch. I ended up with this graham crust – the only kind of this size Publix seemed to offer. Now, this wasn’t bad; the taste was fine. But the graham crumbled apart super easily, so I had to leave the tarts in the tins.

peach tarts2

I really like the fruit tarts at Le Croissant Gourmet in Winter Park, so instead of the easier marscapone no-bake filling, I opted for a custard/pastry cream recipe. Seemed more authentic to me. You have to boil milk (2 cups) and sugar (1/4 cup), and separately whisk an egg and 2 egg yolks – then add 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cornstarch (for thickening) to the eggs. Then you combine both, mixing (so the hot egg won’t cook), and then pour back into a pan and cook over the stove. The whole time you’re at a low boil and stirring. Eventually it turns into this disgustingly gloppy stuff, but apparently that means your doing it right. You take it off the heat and add a bit of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of butter, stirring until it’s mixed in. Personally, I don’t know about the butter. I feel like it might not be necessary. Then the extra weird part is, when you put it all into a container to chill in the fridge, you put plastic wrap on top – and pat it down so it touches the gloppy stuff.

And that’s more than the average person ever wanted to hear about custard.

pressing the wrap to the custard stuff - ick

pressing the wrap to the custard stuff – ick

From that point, it was easy. You just spoon the custard stuff into the pastry shells and top with fruit. I tried some with the peaches peeled and some not. Taste is the same, though with peel is harder to cut if you need to eat in in multiple bites (like these.)

filling the shells...

filling the shells…

making glaze

making glaze

You could be done there, I guess, but to really be official, make a glaze – this makes it glossy and sort of seals things in. I used 1 tablespoon of water and 1/2 cup of peach jam/preserves – mix that over a stove for a bit. Voila!

pretty completed tart on the left, 3 more to glaze! :)

pretty completed tart on the left, 3 more to glaze! :)

fluffy, rich, and delicious!

fluffy, rich, and delicious!





Floral

18 09 2014

I’ve been MIA lately due to getting sick for a couple weeks. Yuck! Received some flowers while sick and decided to do a quick painting of them:

Lillies

Lillies

I’m sure orange in the background over purple seems like a weird choice; I promise it looks better in person. But ultimately, my goal was to try to capture the effect of a painting I did in high school of flowers using acrylic and molding paste. I sold it before I could take a picture, and I’ve never painted in that style since. Of course…I forgot it was molding paste and tried to use gel medium instead. Not the same! At all. I shall blame it on being sick.





Tea at The Gryphon

1 09 2014

Exactly 1 year ago today, I was in England and had nearly reached London coming from Portsmouth. The next day we finally had tea (in Selfridges, see here), but I never got to try full afternoon tea in England. Been sort of obsessed with finding it for the past few weeks. Sadly, Jacksonville only has 2 tea places, one of which has great food but isn’t exactly traditional. Then I found The Gryphon.

savannah gryphon2

I visited Savannah, Georgia yesterday where The Gryphon Tea Room is located right across from the art college’s (SCAD’s) student shop. It used to be a Pharmacy at the turn of the century.

savannah gryphon1

On Sundays they’re open from 11 – 3. We arrived at 2. I was worried it would be on the late side but ended up being perfect (minus a few items being off the menu since they’d had a crowd that day); we got one of the best tables.

savannah gryphon20

Parking is hard – we found a lot that was free on weekends, though conveniently it didn’t say that anywhere. We only found out when someone told us after fumbling at the credit-only pay machine for 5 minutes.

mortar and pestle

mortar and pestle

books everywhere...

books everywhere…

Gorgeous!!

Gorgeous!!

The stained glass over the chandelier/lamp is so beautiful; what a centerpiece!

savannah gryphon4

savannah gryphon12

The entire place is just as eye-catching. It has an old world ornateness that you almost never see this far into the south.

savannah gryphon14

Their afternoon tea is $18 per person. They had maybe 8 kinds of tea to choose from. I choose one with orange and berry tones – called a something Autumn. Don’t remember exactly.

cell phone picture, blah, but you get the idea

cell phone picture, blah, but you get the idea

The tea set-up, above,  before food arrives…

savannah gryphon10

What I’ve been waiting for! A 3-tiered vision of yumminess.

cream and jam for the scone

cream and jam for the scone

The cream was amazing – tasted like clotted cream, just like a whipped sweet butter.

cranberry scone

cranberry scone

The scone tasted fresh and was perfect with the cream and jam…though I prefer just cream.

Tea sandwich!

Tea sandwich!

2 of these (above) were cucumber; the other 2 were chicken salad.

1 of 4 little desserts

1 of 4 little desserts

I thought this dessert was a macaron at first, but it wasn’t really. It was a denser poppyseed cookie with strawberry icing in the middle. Very good! The others were a sort of shortbread cookie with a thin layer of jam in the middle, a chocolate cup with a melty caramel, and a rich chocolate mousse cup topped with a raspberry.

The bill comes inside of an old book rather than a billfold.

The bill comes inside of an old book rather than a standard black billfold thing.

I can’t get over how gorgeous the entire room was:

one of 2 couch-type areas above the rest of the seating

one of 2 couch-type areas above the rest of the seating

savannah gryphon5

This was the main event, but we did walk around the rest of Savannah. It’s very old south, old Georgia. Oglethorpe is everywhere.

savannah3

savannah2

savannah18

savannah23

savannah1

I really enjoyed The Gryphon and would recommend it to anyone. They have brunch as well on Sundays, which I’ve heard is delicious. :)





Northanger Abbey

27 08 2014

According to WordPress it’s the 3 year anniversary of this blog. Who knew? Anyway:

Weirdest. Movie. Ever.

Weirdest. Movie. Ever.

I saw this 86 (or 87?) version of Northanger Abbey recently and man, was it weird. It didn’t help that I saw the 07 version first (JJ Field!), which is actually pretty cute and endearing. The 80’s version is like…wailing saxophone music, little boys doing cartwheels, staring around with enormous eyes in fields of mist, and a random French character with a moon on her face. Pretty accurate summary. I think their casting choice for Mr. Tilney is odd/bit creepy too. His face is hard to draw…it’s round with this fluffy halo of blond fly-away hair and non-angular features.





Le Michel

22 08 2014

french street

Latest tablet experiment  – blocking in color/shadow without line work AND a scene vs. portrait. Lots of improvement needed, but I like it. :) Based on a photo I took in Strasbourg, France last year.





Caves of Florida

18 08 2014

Back in May after my B-day, I took a trip to see the Florida caves for the first time. (Yes, this is much belated.) Who even knew there were caves in Florida? That aren’t underwater that is. The only above-water caves in the state are at Florida Caverns State Park, see here.

Swamp on the drive in...

Swamp on the drive in…

It’s outside of Tallahassee, a 4 hour drive from Jacksonville. It had severely rained the day before, so there were an unbelievable amount of mosquitos and over 1/3 of the caves were flooded, but it was still worth the trip.

statue in front of the path to the Visitor's Center

statue in front of the path to the Visitor’s Center

the first cave entrance

the first cave entrance

We had to pass the first entrance and enter the second to skirt around the flooded areas.

descending into the caves

descending into the caves

They do tour groups frequently – I think every 1/2 hour. It’s not a thing where you can just go on your own, but the tour is helpful anyway as the guide was very knowledgeable.

Some areas were much wider than I expected!

Some areas were much wider than I expected!

I had my low light lens, but it doesn’t do well in close quarters since it’s a set focal length. So I had to break out the cell phone for some of the pics (like the above grainy one.)

 

stalactites!

stalactites!

 

They call this the "wedding cake," and they actually do have weddings here, but for small parties only.

They call this the “wedding cake,” and they actually do have weddings here, but for small parties only.

plenty of lights...in some areas, the minors inlaid bits of ceramic plates in the rock to reflect light and spread light around more.

plenty of lights…in some areas, the miners inlaid bits of ceramic plates in the rock to reflect light and spread light around more.

impressive

impressive

All the lights are standard white/orange. I think they should mix it up with some blues/reds/greens. Thank you, Photoshop.

All the lights are standard white/orange. I think they should mix it up with some blues/reds/greens. Thank you, Photoshop.

more pretty....

more pretty….

I don’t really have a pic of it, but in some areas the stalagmites are gray or black colored. The guide said that oil in human skin causes it to react that way over time, so you should avoid touching anything.

still pool of water

still pool of water

Pretty sure a bat is lurking in there.

Pretty sure a bat is lurking in there.

It was pretty awesome. Can’t imagine being tasked with digging that all out in mostly darkness.

 








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers

%d bloggers like this: