Friday, April 22, 2011

New Art

I think this is my new favorite piece. It is based off my own face, and shadows cast on it at the time.
Chalk pastel, 18x24 in

This is a still life of sorts, based on a sculpture I made. I used some of the methods I learned by viewing some of Picasso's work.
Mixed Media/ Conte Crayon, 18x24

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Dose of Irony, in Honor of Holy Week

"You know those Roman prefects, they're practically little Caesars. And they like pizza"

Oh, the irony.

Easy Homemade Lemon Chicken Recipe

Cooking is one of my absolute favorite things to do.
I have been cooking for most of my life (starting with making cookies with my mom in elementary school), so naturally I have learned the skills necesary for culinary improvisation.

A few nights ago, I put these skills to the test, and made lemon chicken, without a recipe.

It turned out wonderfully, so I decided to share it here. It only uses a  few ingredients:

Chinese 5 spices (explained below), or any other spice you prefer
Lemon juice
More cornstarch
Sesame seeds (optional)
Salt to taste

For the chicken itself, all you have to do is cut up the chicken (breasts are probably easiest to use) into smaller pieces, then coat it in a mixture of cornstarch and Chinese 5 spices.
Now to explain what that means.
 ... is what a jar of Chinese 5 spices looks like. I am not sure where my mom got it, but it would be available at an international grocery store, and possibly a regular grocery store.
It is great to have around for all sorts of recipes, although, it can be mimicked by a blend of regular spices such as garlic or cumin, with a dash of cinamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
You only need a pinch or two of spice, although you can use more.
You can use any spice that pairs well with chicken, and it will work. This is just my suggestion.

The next thing to do is fry the chicken. This can be done in a regular pan, with a generous amount of oil OR you can use a deep fryer, if one is available. In fact, that would probably work better. I have one, but I did not want to go through the trouble to use it.

You can have the pan on a burner set to high, or medium. It really depends on how much time you think you will need for the next step.

Now you cook the lemon sauce. This is what really makes this dish.

Put about a glassful of lemon juice, enough honey to sweeten the juice (taste it to find out), and a spoonful of cornstarch that is already mixed in with a bit of water or lemon juice, in a small saucepan.

Cook on high or medium until it is thick, and bubbling.

When the chicken is done, pour the sauce over the chicken, and if you want spinkle some sesame seeds on top of this. You can find sesame seeds at an international grocerie store, or a foreign foods section of a regular grocerie store.

I apologize for my lack of measurements. I never measure when I make up stuff.
 Estimated, the ingredients are as follows:

2-3 chicken breasts
As much cornstarch as it takes the cover the chicken, about 1/2 cup to a cup

A pinch of whatever spice you use
1/4 cup of oil for frying without a deep  fryer
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of honey
2 tablespoons of cornstarch for the sauce
A pinch of salt
LOTS of sesame seeds
(I love sesame seeds!)

And here is what the finished product looks like...

I apologize for the unsightly styrofoam plate. I just really did not want to do dishes :)

But seriously, this turned out to be so delectable. :)

I kind of want to make more now....

But in any case, enjoy!


For years I have wanted to try making bonsai. Now, I have actually started.
Bonsai, the art of styling miniature trees, technically originated in ancient china. It is in Japan, however, that was developed into the art form it is today.
And, I did not realize this until i did some research, but there is quite an artistic community devoted the care, growing, and creative styling of miniature trees. I also found out that one of the main goals of this art is to mimic tree forms found in nature.

After doing a bit of research, I went to a nursery down the road and got a dogwood bush. Yes, a bush. At first I thought it was a tree, and by the time its shrubiness became apparent, I had already become attached to this adorable little plant. Also, I found --also in the course of my research-- that many types of shrubs work as bonsai as well.

I took the tree home, and started the process of shaping the branches with wire. This technique uses the natural adaptability of plants to create a desired shape by coiling wire around branches, bending them a certain way, and keeping the wire in place for 3-6 months.

I did not think to take a picture of the dogwood before doing this, but it really looked just like any sapling or young shrub.

Here is a picture of how I decided to style the tree:

This is based on a style known as "partial cascade". In about 3 months I will take off the wire, and see what to do next.
I also planted some japanese maple seeds, which will take several years, and various steps, to get to a point where I can do anything with them.
But for now, I can safely say that I will be trying more of this art in the future.

The Gardening Bug bit me.

The other day, I decided to start a potted garden. I have always really enjoyed gardening, partly because my mom and I would always plant flowers together when I was a kid. Now that I am older, I have discovered how much fun it is to do this on my own as well.

So, I went to Lowes, and picked out several plants, which I later put into some pots I already had.
Naturally, I also gave each plant a name. How could not; they all have distinct qualities, and each has its own pizazz.

This is Izze. The name just jumped at me when I saw her purpley-pink speckles.

This is Ramona. She is a baby orchid that has not bloomed yet. She'll be quite lovely when she does, though :)

These little green ivy plants are named Dori, Ori, and Nori.
(If you caught the reference to "The Hobbit", props to you.)

This orange speckled fellow is named Rico.

And here you have it.

I can definitely say that I have been hooked on gardening.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Minneapolis Billboard Graffiti: BRILLIANT!!!

I am doing a research paper on the subculture surrounding Graffiti. Interesting topic, let me tell you. And I stumbled across this litte materpiece-er, HORRIBLE VANDALISM---- ok, come on. I love graffiti. Always have. It used to be a guilty pleasure, but now I am reading this marvelous book on its history and culture by Gregory J. Snyder (who, by the way, became immersed in the culture in order to study it, and is now an assistant profffesor at a university in New York), and I realize that there is a good bit of thought and art put into a lot of it.

ANYWHO.... I found this clever little ditty... take a look-see

BEFORE ^^^^^


AFTER!!!! ^^^^^


Email is so awesome!

I had totally forgotten, until today, how fantastic it feels to sit down and write an email, and then the excitement that comes when I recieve a reply.
Facebook... you have officially been PWNED. (In other words, REPLACED, for you non-gamers out there.)
Try emailing for a change, or if you're really ambitious, write a plain old letter. That's right, snail mail.

But yes. Email is just that great.