First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have jumped in and given me your TBC ideas, it is so gratefully appreciated! Of course, it’s dawned on me slowly but surely that I now have to find a way to make some of these into paintings, which is harder than it first seemed! Eek! But, it’s a challenge, and I’m looking forward to it. 🙂 Something a little different for me…

Although I really ought to be working on stuff for my upcoming shows, I have taken a little break to take part in the Virtual Paintout competition again, after skipping a couple months. This month’s location is the Brit/French Channel isle of Jersey. My first impression of Jersey is that it has a lot of very pretty tree-lined drives, which you might recall I am awfully partial to. However, I did a tree-lined drive for the Ireland challenge, so thought I should do something different this time. After a lot of searching, I finally settled on a slightly minimalist/abstract view of a beach scene. I was struck by the shape and colour of the wall in the mid-ground particularly, the little S-shaped curve and the stark blue shadows. I just thought I’d do a really tiny little painting and it would take me no time…

How wrong I was! It took me HOURS. I don’t know why I keep thinking that small paintings are easy and quick. They almost never are. I think it’s the fact that such fine detail is required in such limited surface space that makes it fiddly and tedious, like trying to draw a portrait on the head of a nail or something. All I can say is that I was not meant to be a miniaturist, nor was I meant to be an architect or anything else that requires the ability and desire to draw straight lines. I ended up having to go for a soak in a hot bath to soothe my crooked, screaming spine after sitting hunched over a tiny canvas all evening. But I’m pleased enough with the result. I am considering doing at least another Jersey painting, as there were a couple interesting scenes that I wanted to try and paint. Here’s the Google Streetview reference.

Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore

That was not my only creative endeavour last night, oh no! I have a bunch of over-ripe bananas in my kitchen and have been wondering what to do with them for a few days now… I didn’t want to make traditional banana bread, because that’s boring. But I remembered the old vegan challah bread recipe I tried a while ago, and thought that might be nice. So I made a loaf (just half this recipe). At first I thought it was going to be a disaster. The only dried active yeast I had was… erm… so past its best before date that I’d probably give health & safety officers a heart attack if they knew. I doctored it a bit with a sprinkle of new fast action yeast, to hopefully give it a little kick, and just prayed for a minor miracle, that my yeast still had some oomph left in it yet. So I kneaded and got it in a bowl and waited an hour for the first rise. When I finally checked it, it hadn’t risen… at all. Well, it was kind of too late now, so I just decided to soldier on. I punched it down and braided it and got it on the baking tray and left it for its second rise cycle. When I checked it… same thing. Hadn’t budged. I nearly cried. But then I figured, well, it might come out as hard as rock, but I can use it as a doorstop or something. So I baked it. And it came out beautifully! The yeast gods were looking favourably on me that day, I guess. Or at least with pity, in the end… Mmm. I’m looking forward to trying it out as French toast this weekend! 🙂

Vegan Challah

Vegan Challah

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