Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Color of Genius

As many of us continue to experience unusually extreme winter weather, 
I am wondering if you are craving some wild and delicious color right about now?


I know I am!

In the previous post I spoke of rich comfort food, 
but two days of a spring-like melt last week, and I am greedy for more of the same...

So, bright greens and salads have replaced stews and hearty soups, and
spring cleaning has officially begun, with the hope of ushering in an early spring thaw....

(since we had snow last May, how we would love to see the season come on time this year!


How about some beautiful color inspiration by the extraordinary  Henri Matisse...

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts just opened an exhibit of Matisse masterworks.
 (on loan from the Baltimore Museum of Art)
This collection features works from the Cone Collection, "assembled by two Baltimore sisters–
Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone."
 After purchasing their first Matisse, they built one of the world's largest collections of his art.

"The Lute" 1943

Born on December 31st, 1869 in Northern France, M. Matisse studied law, (and passed the bar), but this was never his passion. It was only after he was recovering from an illness, and his artist mother had given him art supplies, did he discover his true calling.

"La Danse" 1909

“From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” 


His mother was a wise woman, telling him to listen to his 
emotions, instead of necessarily adhering to any rules of art.
He certainly heeded this advice,
(lucky for us)
and became one of the leaders of  the "Fauvism"movement.
A mode of expressionism, it emphasizes free brush strokes, vivid color, pure emotion, mood, feeling...
(I will add...JOY!)
 There is so much more information on the artists of this informal, most wonderfully free and creative art movement...way too much for me to post here...but this LINK is a great start.
 Matisse was classically trained, and the paintings below will certainly attest to his wide range of skill and talent...

"Woman Reading" 1894

"The Dinner Table" 1896
You can see Cezanne's influence here...
(she reminds me of a young Mrs. Patmore!)

It was while visiting the French Riviera in 1904, that Matisse had a creative breakthrough, painting with "simplified" brushstrokes and wild, saturated colors....
Although this may look like a simple technique, 
it takes great skill to achieve such balance and beauty.  

"The Open Window Collioure" 1905

"We move towards serenity through the simplification of ideas and form.......Details lessen the purity of lines, they harm the emotional intensity, and we choose to reject them. It is a question of learning - and perhaps relearning the 'handwriting' of lines. The aim of painting is not to reflect history, because this can be found in books. We have a higher conception. Through it, the artist expresses his inner vision.


Perhaps his theory can be applied to more than just art...


"Blue Nude" 1952,  paper cutout

Working on "La Serpentine" 1909

"La Serpentine" 1909

"Purple Robe and Anemones" 1937

Matisse was inspired by poetry, and on many mornings he would read the masters before beginning his work for the day....

For him, poetry was like oxygen: 
"just as when you leap out of bed you fill your lungs with fresh air." 
This kept him young at heart — like a sensual elixir of youth.

Merci, M. Matisse...
Here's to staying forever inspired and young at heart!

Much love and wishes for a happy week to dear friends and readers in all corners of our wild and colorful world...



Monday, February 10, 2014

Cooking with Dzintra

A very happy February to you!
Do you celebrate Valentine's Day?


(I love the sweet vintage cards)

Are you enjoying the Olympics?
I'd love to know your opinion of the opening ceremony...
I really thought the artistic side of it was very true to the culture...and what a brave little girl!

A Donna Hay cook up with my dear blog friend Dzintra was in order this past weekend, as I tried to stay cozy during yet another burst of arctic air.

Dzintra lives in I imagine myself basking in the warmth 
of their Summer right about now!
Please visit Dzintra HERE to see what gorgeous goodies she prepared. If anyone would like to join in these cook ups, just let her know...

This time we prepared our meals from the October/November Issue

It is the Spring issue, and the theme is "Fresh"

I'm all for food that puts me in a Spring mood, but since I needed a bit of thawing out, I chose to prepare a couple of dishes on the rich side, specifically using eggs.
 Eggs are a comfort food in our house.
(Perhaps it's a Russian thing?)

The main dish was very tasty....

"Artichoke, Spring Onion, and Feta Frittatas"

Of course, spring onions are not available here, so I just chopped a bit of yellow onion. So yummy.

The tomato salad called for fresh basil...another rare commodity this time of year...cilantro gave a nice little kick.

For dessert...

"Blueberry and Lemon Curd Bread and Butter Pudding"

 Is there any food more comforting than bread pudding?

This was an explosion of flavor...sublime....

The tanginess of the lemon and wild blueberries balanced out the rich and sweet pudding.
Next time I will attempt to make lemon curd from scratch, but for this recipe I found one that was incredibly delicious, and the only brand in the stores without artificial ingredients.


So far, each Donna Hay recipe has been a winner...
Here is her WEBSITE if you would like to learn more...
The cookbooks can be purchased on AMAZON.
Thank you Dzintra!

Bon Appetit, and wishes for a lovely week!

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