Tuesday, September 29, 2009


We returned last week from a wonderful driving tour through the Atlantic Provinces of Canada--Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island and New Burnswick. Nine days and 2,400 miles after we left, we pulled into our driveway, unfolded our bodies and rejoiced that we had made the decision to go!

Not only was the food wonderful, the music and dancing captivating, the golf courses amazing, and the people just so friendly, but the landscape was remarkable in its spaciousness and simplicity.

We visited Peggy's Cove, where the rocky coast is worn by the sea into smooth,
rounded shapes that invite climbing and meditation.

The Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island, was in some places serene...

and in others, dramatic.

Looking at the spacious landscapes--so much sky and land--I only wished for more time and the opportunity to go out and paint, paint, paint!

Food for the Artist Soul

Watching the fog lift this morning was magical.....out of dense mist slowly unfolded the changing foliage right before my eyes. I may not paint it, but it's somehow entered my being.

This past weekend another kind of feeding occurred. Not only were there plenty of opportunities to eat fantastic food at the wedding festivities we attended in Washington DC, but the galleries called......and I answered.

I'm not quite sure how I managed to see three galleries in the space of 48 hours between lavish celebrations and family connecting, but it felt too good to miss. My brother Greg and I took off for the East Wing of the National Gallery as soon as we had settled in. It was my second visit to the fantastic space designed by Pei, with a huge majestic Calder mobile gently moving above, that pays homage to the truly wonderful modern work within. It was like feasting at a never ending banquet.

Saturday morning was a visit to the Phillips Collection with my mother. Again, my favorite period of work, mid-20th century, was there in abundance. I was definitely getting full!

Finally, Sunday afternoon just before heading to the airport, Chris and I stopped in the fascinating Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian. Their invitational show featured four contemporary artists whose originality and wit made me laugh and filled me with awe. (Just imagine a guy who knits body suits for superheros, then sits and knits while wearing his outfits as part of performance art!)

Home again, I am inspired, hopefully not too much slowed down by all the imbibing over the weekend. Experiencing new tastes seems to be so good for the soul!
Barbara Bartlett

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Endless Possibilities

I'm going back to some work that's been waiting.....very patiently, thank goodness. My 35 small rectangles seem to be nearer to completion and I've arranged them differently on the wall so they have a little more breathing room. It seems to help.

(These colors are much brighter than in reality...I haven't been able to get it right with my camera, always a frustration.)

So the next steps will be adding final layers of paint, then playing with their positions to help them compliment one another. The possibilities are endless. Maybe the piece will end up being an interactive one, where viewers can move them as they want to. On second thought, maybe not! I'm not sure I'm willing to relinquish that much control.

Barbara Bartlett

Friday, September 18, 2009

Body Art

Cynthia Emerlye:
Last month I received a commission to design a tattoo for a mother with two children: Ivy and Pumpkin. Normally I don't do this kind of thing, but she offered a good price and I figured it is pretty much like designing a logo, which I do from time to time. Here is the result:

Original Line Drawing blacked in.

Blacked-in drawing digitally inverted.
This is one version of the tattoo. A second version is a composite of the line and the filled version, as seen below.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Painter's Day without Electricity

Last Saturday was a quiet, rainy day. Rain meant no farmers’ market for me.

five trees c egbert

It was a perfect day to work on the unfinished painting waiting on the easel in my studio. When I saw our six tree orchard in the painting I wondered if our apples were ripe. From previous owners I knew the orchard had been a source of apples at least since the 1940’s when growing fruit and vegetables was a patriot effort. I walked to the orchard in the rain and came home with a basket filled with fragrant fresh apples from the old trees.

apple branch

What could be more fitting, then, than to look for a recipe in the 1930 edition of the Chicago Daily News Cook Book that had belonged to my mother-in-law?

cookbook 01

In the section titled Cakes and Cookies I found a recipe handwritten on grease stained piece of brown paper. Although, I had been planning to make an apple pie this very short recipe titled “Crumb Cake with Fruit” was intriguing. It read, “Use fingers to mix together one and a half cups flour, half a cup sugar, half a cup butter, and a pinch salt. Add spice. Save three-quarters cup of crumbs. Put rest into bottom of pan. Put sweetened fruit on top. Sprinkle rest of crumbs around. Bake until golden.”

Pretty simple. But how big a pan, how long should it bake and at what temperature? I would have to fill in the details. Here's how I did it.

Apple Crumb Cake

Although it was called a cake, with four cups of fruit it seemed more like a pie, so I decided to bake it at pie temperature - 425 degrees.

As suggested I used my fingers to combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter until the mixture looked like coarse sand. For the spice, I added half a teaspoon of ground cardamom.

I reserved three-quarters of a cup of the crumbs and pressed the remainder into the bottom of a nine-inch spring form pan. I peeled and sliced four cups of apples and stirred in half a cup of sugar. I put the fruit on top of the crumb layer and sprinkled the reserved crumbs on to the fruit. I put the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any drips, put the cake in the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes and, hearing the oil paints calling, headed to my studio.

Five minutes later the house suddenly went dark and quiet. We had no electricity. It was too dark to paint and the cake was in an electric oven with no power. What to do? I decided to leave home, at least for a few hours and deal with the cake later.

When I returned, the electricity had come on. I opened the cold oven and saw the pale, unbaked cake. Rather than declaring defeat and putting the cake in the compost, I turned the oven back on, set the timer for 45 minutes and waited. When the timer buzzed, the cake was golden brown, bubbling with juice, and the scent of apples and cardamom filled the kitchen. Amazing – a cake that’s dependable even when the electricity isn’t.

I don’t recommend interrupting a baking cycle for four hours. I do, however, recommend this simple fruit cake. It is easier to make than pie and requires no special equipment. Served warm, with a bit of ice cream it’s perfect for dessert.

It can also serve as the centerpiece of a Yankee breakfast if you agree with this definition of a Yankee. To a foreigner, a Yankee is an American, to an American, a Yankee is a northerner, to a northerner, a Yankee is somebody from New England, to a New Englander, a Yankee is somebody from Vermont, and to a Vermonter, a Yankee is somebody who eats apple pie for breakfast.

You’re in for a treat whether you serve this cake as breakfast or dessert.

note: The oil painting at the top is not the unfinished landscape I planned to work on. I haven't gotten back to that one since the power failure..

- Carol Egbert

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pears Close Up

Last week when I wrote about my current show at Woodstock Coffee and Tea I included a shot of the work hanging on the wall. But, hmmmm--it seems that it's not easy to see the work itself! So, here it is, up close and personal as they say--six pear still lifes that play with the idea of pears with personalities and relationships....






and finally, "Hide"

Monday, September 7, 2009

Moving on?

It feels like it's almost time to move on to another kind of work. I may finish up the wood pieces that are in process and clean my work table, which is totally covered at this point. Impossible to do anything else until some things get put away! And I can always come back to these rather odd but satisfying explorations anytime I want to.

Barbara Bartlett

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Gilfeather Turnip

I have painted pears, apples, lemons and peaches, landscapes, still life, dogs and fish, common subjects for many painters. I have also painted less common subjects - jelly shoes, umbrellas, hairdryers and blenders. I'm not sure how to list turnips - common or uncommon, but I can list it as soon to be appearing in a magazine.

The Gilfeather Turnip Festival takes place each October in Vermont and will be the subject of a story in the Fall issue of Edible Green Mountains. This painting will illustrate the story. Food and art collide again!

---Carol Egbert

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Butterflies" - Accidental Color

Cynthia Emerlye: I cut this large mandala a few nights ago and photographed it this morning. It is a somewhat dreary day so I just set it below a window and figured I would photoshop it into shape later.
When I saw the result, I was intrigued. Hmmm. Blue! The blue tint the dim light gave to this is interesting. So I scanned it into Photoshop and replaced the blue with white, then red, then green just to see what it would look like. This opens up new possibilities. I may fool around with this technique in the future.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pears at Woodstock Coffee and Tea

Woodstock Coffee and Tea is a great little shop in downtown Woodstock where Mary and her staff serve absolutely scrumptious coffees, teas and smoothies--to say nothing of the pastries!

This morning, with the help of Wayne, who stopped by for his daily visit and shared his expert opinion, I hung six pear watercolors for the month of September. And here they are....

These pear still lifes use space, light and composition to fashion a small world where the viewer is invited to imagine relationships, conversations, and human contexts amongst the pears. The titles, reading clockwise from the top left are: "Together", "Gossip, "Triplets", Outsider", "Follow" and "Hide".

Come by, relax over a delicious cup of whatever your choice of beverage might be and check out the paintings in person!