This week I worked on a new pastel using my Bearded Iris from my flower garden as my subject. The flower garden is a small patch surrounded by a fence to keep the deer out. It contains three Rose bushes, Iris, Lillies, Hollyhocks and Clematis plus hanging baskets of Petunias. Every so often I’ll plant sunflowers but that’s doesn’t go well, because the squirrels and chipmunks dig up the seeds before the sunflowers can take root. These days I start sunflowers indoors and plant them outside as a seedlings so the squirrels can’t change my garden plans.
Here’s a pic of this heavenly spot where the Iris grow:
Next week the weather is going to take a drastic change and go from the delightful 70’s to the 50’s with temps at night dipping in to the low 30’s. There’s even snow forecasted! The garden will be over with next week, so I figured this would be a good time to paint a new pastel in memory of this year’s abundant beauty. I used a photo reference for this piece because the Iris are long gone for this year.
I have a new pastel tray thanks to my husband, who built it for me. It will be fun filling it up with pastels. Right now it looks like I don’t have any pastels to speak of, but every color I need is there. The shelving has wheels so I can move the pastels close to my easel.
Here’s a pic of the finished piece. The watermark is not on the pastel and is done for online purposes. “Bearded Iris” Pastel is 7” x 9.5”. I’m super pleased with how it turned out.
If you like this new work, hit the “Like” button below. You don’t have to leave a comment, but clicking on the “Like” button let’s me know I have readers out there who enjoy reading my posts. The more readers, the more posts I will create. Otherwise, if I’m talking to myself, then there won’t be any posts.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a super weekend! Go out and enjoy the fall colors! Much Love ~ Rhonda
With Fall around the corner, the garden is winding down. All veggies are in ripen mode and I am harvesting tomatoes like crazy. I thought I’d share my Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe if you are looking for something new to do with all those fresh-picked tomatoes you have from your garden! One can only eat so much salad, right?
You can use fresh tomatoes from your local farmer’s market if you aren’t growing your own. I prefer Roma tomatoes because they have fewer seeds and a little more pulp. But as you can see, I also use regular tomatoes for their juice.
Here are the ingredients for the roasted tomato sauce recipe:
1 lb. Fresh Tomatoes (or more, depending on how much sauce you want to make)
1 or 2 large onions (2 if you’re going big)
1 to 2 heads of garlic (separate cloves and use all)
4 to 6 tblsp. of Virgin Olive oil
1 tsp. Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
1 tsp. crushed dry Basil
1 to 2 tsp. sugar
Here’s what you do:
Slice all tomatoes into halves and place them in a roasting pan with the skin sides up in one layer. Cut the onion into quarters and add to the pan. Next, separate your garlic into cloves and slightly mash, then add to the roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over all ingredients then add the salt, pepper, basil, and sugar. (Adjust oil and seasonings accordingly if you are making a bigger batch than mine.)
Now get your hands in there and mix up all the tomatoes, onion, garlic, etc. so that everything is nicely coated in the olive oil and spices. What a mess, but so much fun! Your pan will look like this:
Now you are ready to roast the tomatoes:
Pop your pan into a preheated 350-degree oven and roast for 45 minutes or until the skins begin to blacken. Be careful when you open the oven door at the end of roasting because a bit of smoke may come out. Your kitchen will smell like heaven! This is what the roasted tomatoes look like when finished roasting:
Allow the pan of tomatoes to cool a bit until able to safely handle. You can then pour all the ingredients into a pot and use an immersion blender to blend everything into a sauce. Or if you don’t have an immersion blender, place the roasted ingredients into a high capacity upright blender to make your sauce. I use my Vitamix because it makes quick work of the blending process, chopping all the tomato seeds, onions, and garlic into a thick sauce.
Use the roasted tomato sauce immediately or save for later:
If you are planning on using your sauce immediately, adjust seasonings to taste and if it’s too thick, add a bit of water or your favorite red wine. At this point, you can also add in other spices like oregano, allspice and more basil. Cook the sauce on the stovetop for 20 minutes to incorporate your additions, then pour over your favorite cooked pasta. For pizza sauce, do not add any other liquid.
You can also pour the sauce into prepared canning jars and can according to your favorite method. Or if you don’t like to can, like me, allow the sauce jars to come to room temperature and then freeze. Just remember to leave enough headroom in the jar, so the jars won’t crack in the freezer. The roasted tomato sauce freezes very well, in fact, I still have jars of frozen sauce from last year’s harvest.
“Canned Tomatoes” oil painting:
Last year, as an homage to my tomato harvest I painted this painting of canned whole tomatoes. The painting hangs in my kitchen.
The “Canned Tomatoes” oil painting was inspired by the hot jars sitting on the counter after I had used a water bath canning method, which I no longer use. I don’t care for the added acidity that citric acid creates when canning. So now I just freeze my jars and all is good!
A few blog posts ago I shared a recipe for tomato salsa. Did you make salsa? If you did, let me know how it turned out in the comments below.
I’m looking forward to Fall and doing some Plein air paintings of the beautiful trees in all their glory. In the meantime, I’ve been working on some previous paintings and trying to wrap things up so I can paint something new!
Until we meet again ~ Much Love
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The end of Summer is upon us as Fall gently unfolds. Crisp mornings and shorter evenings say Summer is almost over. Summer has been wonderful this year because the temperatures haven’t been too extreme. There were only 6 or 7 days of temperatures in the high 80’s, barely breaking 90. We were blessed with more rain than normal too, which kept the wildfire season to a minimum.
Vegetable Gardening has been challenging!
The veggie garden has had a bit of trouble with the up and down temperatures, but luckily, my tomatoes in the greenhouse produced a decent crop and are ripening quickly. The green peppers suffered a bit and didn’t grow as big as in the past, and the same with the onions and garlic. I’ve been busy processing herbs and making spaghetti sauces and tomato salsa, with this year’s bounty.
Here’s my recipe for salsa:
2 Cups diced tomatoes, 1 cup diced bell pepper, 1 cup diced onion, 6 cloves diced garlic, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. sea salt, pepper to taste, 1 tbsp. Lime juice.
I like to use Roma tomatoes since they have fewer seeds and a more vibrant taste, but you can use whatever tomato variety you like. I used green bell pepper, but you can use red or yellow if you prefer. Also, if you like spicy foods, add in 1/4 tsp. of chopped fresh jalapeno pepper with seeds. I don’t care for spicy food, so I omit the jalapeno pepper. Optional, 1 to 2 tbsp. of chopped fresh Cilantro.
Dice the onion, garlic and green pepper and add to a stockpot with 1/2 tsp. salt.
Sweat the onions, garlic and green pepper on the stovetop until just barely transparent. Add chopped tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients. Cook gently over medium heat for five minutes stirring once or twice to incorporate all ingredients. You aren’t making spaghetti sauce, so you want to be sure to stir gently so the tomato holds shape and doesn’t liquify. Taste to adjust seasoning if necessary, then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature then place salsa into canning jars, or storage containers. Store in the refrigerator and the Salsa will keep for a week. Serve with tortilla chips, or put on tacos, and even over eggs.
It’s so satisfying to grow your own food and make dishes with fresh ingredients that you know haven’t any pesticides in them.
The potatoes should be ready to harvest in another few weeks. This year I planted Yukon Gold, Russet and Red potatoes for the first time. I’m hopeful all went well and we will have an abundant crop. The Butternut and Acorn squashes are beginning to ripen and I am looking forward to making my favorite squash recipe for dinner. I’ll share that later.
I hope you have had a wonderful summer! Did you plant a garden or have a fabulous adventure this Summer? Are you sad to see the end of Summer or are you looking forward to Fall? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Next post, I’ll share my latest Plein air adventure.
“In art, intentions have no place; only results. In good art, the results do not have to be explained. As a matter of fact, there is but one kind of art and that is good art. There is no comfortable halfway station; it is either fine, or it is not art.”
John F. Carlson “Carslon’s Guide to Landscape Painting”
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