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)
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.