A Giant Leap

I am a February birthday and just treated myself to a book titled "The Principles of Uncertainty" by Maira Kalman. It is based on her blog she has been writing and illustrating for the New York Times this past year. Although one can read it in its entirety online, it is very special to have a hand held copy, more precious... and it is precious. I devoured it in one sitting. As the New York Times Book Review mentioned a couple of weeks ago, finally a children's book for adults by Maira Kalman. She grapples with the most pressing questions in an honest and direct way, with a flavor as sweet as her honey bundt cake recipe. She sees such beauty on her New York streets, from "a pink soft ice cream of a woman" at the opera to an assortment of sofas she documents with her camera. She has the most wonderful collections including "things that fall out of books". Her perspective is enlightening, rejuvenating, and exhilarating. Her words are so unique as is her painting style. I could go on... but you're better off enjoying it for yourself, either online or in print.

When I started in textile design there were no computers. All designs were hand painted with gouache. Although the computer is a much more economical way to design, I miss the experience of working with gouache. Looking at the illustrations in the book inspired me to play with my paints. I was at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and noticed these gorgeous beets. The orange ones stacked up against the red ones... the colors were unbelievable. I bought two bunches... photographed them, drew them, painted them (in gouache) and printed them with Akua inks. Oh, and then I cooked them, my improvisation of borscht... it was yummy. I am so happy with the final print. I think I just took a giant leap, I feel like I am at the beginning of a journey, one I have been longing for, going back to my roots.... exploring and documenting the things in everyday life that inspire me and rediscovering why I started drawing in the first place.

(please click on images to see details)

Beet soup:
4 strips of bacon
two cloves garlic
one small onion
1-2 cups chopped beets
1-2 cups water
1-2 cups stock
one medium potato, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
two stalks of celery, chopped
two carrots, chopped

Cook the bacon in the soup pot, drain most of the fat, cook the chopped onion and garlic, add the water and stock, add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a good hour. Serve, top with a generous helping of sour cream.
Get some really good bread for dipping. Close your eyes and hum. It is that good.


alice k. said...

This must be the most inspiring post I've ever read!
Delicious, in more ways than one!

Red Fish Circle said...

Thanks Alice, for your very kind comment.

Joan said...

I love your paintings and hope that you will do (and share) more of them. Beets are beautiful!
I can't wait for our local farmer's market to start again--should be sometime this month. Come on, spring!

coloredsock said...

hey Amy, love your beet print! so fun. beet energy! i just juiced some beets, carrots and ginger, and woah, it was like, ZING! energy galore. i'd love to see you do another beet print after drinking it--haha. i'll try out your recipe, minus the bacon--i've never made borscht but have been wanting to ever since i pulled my first beet out of the garden last year! also, happy birthday!!! i'm bummed i didn't know. hope it was beautiful. i LOVE that Maira Kalman's book (gosh, i love all her books). but that one is the most inspiring to me--just like you said--to record the simple, fun things of each day, and the odd ramblings of my brain... xojenny

Mellissa - wondermommy said...

I love that you are going back to your roots and paiting roots. Beautiful! Thank you for the recipe, too.

Red Fish Circle said...

Thanks for the b-day wishes and welcome back Jenny! I thought you might be a fan of this book.
Melissa, I laughed at your clever comment, I really should have put roots in quotation marks.
It was subliminal, I am sure.

Red Fish Circle said...

Oh and thanks also Joan for commenting. Spring days are here intermittently, we have been digging in our garden all day today!

Mary said...

Hi Amy, the book sounds really interesting!! Also, I love your beet drawings and print! WOW!! Love the colors. Also checked out your new creatures and critters prints, love them all! I am searching for a store to purchase "On a Whim" - Dawn "Owls", just LOVE THAT FABRIC!! Keep up the great work!

Judy Rys said...

Love the play on words! Makes me want to get my paints out and root through my veggie bin.

bettyninja said...

I too find your print to be inspiring. The colors are just so vivid.

tiel said...

i've seen this book and wondered if I should get it. I am going OS soon, so might buy it for the plane trips.

happy Birthday Amy, I hope that you enjoyed the day. I like to buy myself something too...and something for my mum.


GypsyWagons said...

Hi Red Fish Circle,

Beets are my favorite vegetable! I used to weave patterns of them into rugs twenty years ago, when I was a weaver.

My sister gave me a copy of that book for Christmas. I have gone back and looked at many of her New Yorker magazine covers on her web site. I love her work as well.

Thank you for your kind words about my tiny quilts on Flickr. I have just started a blog as well...www.gypsywagons.blogspot.com you might want to take a look. I have seen your fabrics and have many of them in my fabric stash!

What a thrill to communicate with you!


Beegirl said...

Your beet prints are lovely! So glad to have come across your blog!

Red Fish Circle said...

thanks so much everyone for your lovely comments.

Clear Pink said...

my husband and kids love beets, i'll have to give this a try. thanks!

M. said...

So beautiful! I am really inspired by your monoprint and want to begin experimenting with that technique too. May I ask what kind of paint /ink you used? And whether it was with a real press and plate set up, or improvised with home materials (ie rolling pin etc...)