Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy Halloween-why do we dress as witches

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Halloween, All saints, Toussaint, Eid Al Adha, Shemini Atzeret what do they have in common?  Read on.....

This watercolour witch is riding a watercolour paintbrush....
Interestingly, halloween matches the French "Toussaint" where you traditionally go with your family to visit the tomb of your ancestors/departed family.  It involves a lot less candy.....

So why is this holiday asssociated with witches and grim reapers?

In astronomy, halloween represents the halfway point between the autumnal equinox and winter solstice, the last of four "cross-quarter" days on the solar calendar.  It was the end of the year, beginning of the new one for the celts. And in esoteric tradition the day of the year where the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest. 

The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living, because at Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into the otherworld. People gathered to sacrifice animals, fruits, and vegetables.

Shemini Atzeret in the Jewish religion is around the same time and marks the end of the year's weekly readings of the Torah (Five Books of Moses) in the synagogue, and the beginning of the new cycle of reading.
Eid Al-Adha for Muslims concludes the annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. 
Many more religions have major celebration linked to end/beginning of year around Halloween.

We will be spending Halloween going around West Hampstead and Hampstead with a group of Pokemon dressed teenagers.  I guess it good that these happy teenagers don't really like to dress in ghoulish styles.  But I'll be sure to explain to them why they shouldn't look too cheerful when going to bed less the Hallloween spirits find them too delicious!  (That a good halloween scary story isn't it!)
I'll be dressed as a witch, like every year before!

(Cropped picture below to see better cheeks and ragged hat!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Edible French Preview

We received yesterday the watercolor originals back from the Editor with the first hard copies of Edible French!  JOY! :)
Clotilde created a mini-site here with a preview.  It is on sale on Amazon.com or Amazon UK if you are so inclined and Anthropologie in the US is set to carry it.




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dream Map

This is a little island I made up. Nice to go there for the holidays. But cliffs of pirate hazards to be avoided!!  What is your ideal spot?









Saturday, July 26, 2014

Pasteils de Nata

This is "tarte au flan" in a miniature, richer and cinnamony-er version. Lots of egg yolks for a deep yellow soft set custard,  with a slightly burnt sugar crust on top.  The dough is flaky crunchy and buttery. No short crust here.
They are all over in Lisbon, on every cafe counter, and often served with a deep black expresso. These ones were still hot when bought them. 
The trick I was told is to make the sides of the puff pastry crust thicker by taking a disk and flattening the center to push the dough to the sides. 







Thursday, July 10, 2014

Artist in Residence-Fortune Green

How lovely to be chosen as artist in residence by the Friends of Fortune Green!  You can see the full site There.

The Friends are dedicated to making the green beautiful and useable. During its history this green was threatened and the residents pulled together to buy it in the late 19th century.  More of its history can be found Here
It remains a public park to this day and local resident still care for it through the Friends of Fortune Green.

I made a first painting representing a map of Fortune Green. Oddly it is in the clear shape of a fox's head. There is a fox sculpture in the western area and I was told it is a fox hangout at night!  A good coincidence!

Watch out for my sketching class in the green on July 31. Should be fun!







Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sketching and moving - avocado and clementine.

First time I can sketch after we moved house. It took a month to unearth the painting supplies. I painted what was at hand in the fruit bowl, on the kitchen table since there is no other painting space right now.
My Hyde Park stick was also right there in my pen box. I found it a while ago in hyde park, carved exactly as is. The soft wood nib is perfect for ink drawings, as its purple end shows.