Tuesday, April 24, 2012

...Hate Me Because I Have Steak.

Once I began cooking regularly I understood more the term "Culinary Arts".  By no means do I place myself in that category, but seeing the art in cooking not only enhanced my enjoyment of it but also inspired me to experiment.  Just as I play with color and texture in clothing, light and composition in photography, I can play with flavor and balance in food. 

To survive we must eat, to survive in good spirits we should eat well.  Food deprivation is torturous, over-indulgence is unhealthy.  The key is moderation.  Eat anything you want, but not everything you want (more or less). 

Today I wanted steak.  Not just any steak, Daniel's Broiler steak.  Instead of flying to Seattle to fulfill the craving I did my best at home.  Of the three grocery store options here one happens to sell pretty good beef tenderloin and a selection of fresh produce impressive for this area.  I selected some fresh, brown button mushrooms because they complement beef so well and a bag of frozen, shelled edamame because digestively they balance the steak.

For the most part, I believe simple ingredients and simple steps create wholesome, tasty meals.  There are always exceptions, this is not one.  I seasoned the filet with fresh ground sea salt and black pepper and quickly pan-seered the outside in melted butter.  Real butter.  Then I threw it on a pre-heated broiler pan in my beloved toaster oven and broiled it on one side for a few minutes, flipped it and did the other side for just a couple minutes.  It ended up on the medium side of medium-rare because I was cooking the mushrooms a little different than usual and my timing was off, but it's a thick cut and didn't suffer much.

Adding to the browned butter I threw in a clove of roughly chopped garlic, some splashes of Worcestershire sauce and a sprinkling of celery seed.  Why celery seed?  Why not?  I had it, it smelled fresh and mild so as not to overpower other flavors and I thought it would work well with the salt.  They make celery salt so they must compliment, right?  See, that is where creativity come in to play.  While sauteing the mushrooms I microwaved the bag of edamame for less time than recommended because I like it closer to raw then fully cooked.  Once done I put a handful in the pan to mix with the sauce for a minute.  That's it.

I paired it with a run of the mill California Cabernet Sauvignon to balance out the cost of the meat, so it worked with the meal but was not a stand out.  In the warm days of Texas we chill our reds because by the time we carry the glass to the table it's at cellar temp.  Just a nugget of local info.

[Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lemon Fizz.

When one person inspires another the benefits are mutual.  The inspired can find motivation and excitement to begin, continue or complete a project that leaves them satisfied and accomplished.  Or maybe just fill an empty afternoon.  The inspirer, if they are aware of their affect, may gain confidence in knowing they have made a positive impact in someone's life.  In turn that may bring a feeling of validation in their own skills and creativity which may lead to inspiration of their own.  See how this works?  It's lovely.

I regularly read and participate in Photography On The Net, a forum geared towards Canon camera users.  With participants worldwide, from point-and-shoot amateurs to seasoned professionals in every field, there is a vast amount of information and inspiration available for those who seek it.  A couple days ago in a thread I follow a fellow proud 450D user shared a recent photo she had taken, Lemon Bubbles.  She kindly granted permission to share the link.  I was instantly drawn to the fresh, summer-like colors in it and knew I wanted to play with them.

First, I went to COLOURlovers to make a palette, which is fun to do for any reason.  If you have any interest in color or are looking for ideas and inspiration it is certainly a website to bookmark.  With her photo open in one window and the palette maker in another, I found a set I liked and named it Lemon Fizz.

With the palette in mind, I went to my work space where I already had some collage pieces pulled out with similar colors because aqua and teal are current favorites.  I looked for more and hours later completed the following piece, which I remembered to date this time.  It is 8" x 9.5"

Interestingly enough, I did the following collage on September 4, 2004 and used part of the same image with the yellow, bubbly ice cubes.

You never know how strong or long a specific inspiration will stick around, or how it may invoke or evolve other inspiration.  I hope in time this blog may show that evolution.  We will see where it goes.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Present, Past and Way Past.

To begin the collage sharing portion I will share my most recent since the oldest I have found isn't worthy of a first post.  I completed this one last week I believe, it is undated because I have not mounted it on a backing yet. 

Blue, brown and orange are colors I love playing with especially when metallics are mixed in.  The blue frame is a piece I've been looking at for a while and since I am experimenting with smaller sizes I have finally been able to use it.  Original is 5" x 7".

The following is older, early to mid 2000's.  The small postcard size (5.5" x 3.75") made this just a fun project, not serious.  The gas mask inspired it and since the piece was so small I didn't want it's prominence hidden on a larger surface.  The combination of poor glue choice and the fact that it's been kicking around in a shoebox for years has resulted in a wrinkled surface.

Lastly, one if the oldest I have found is from a series of bookmarks I made for my winter 1998 term in college.  It is only two simple pieces on construction paper, home-laminated with clear packing tape and because some personal qualities never change, it is precisely 9' x 3".  Fortunately I labeled the back with my name, term, and course, MGMT 300.  I have not run across any of the others.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Collaging has been a creative release throughout my life.  I've never considered it serious art but as an accessible medium for playing with colors in various combinations.  Pieces I use come from many different magazines and catalogs which I acquire in various ways whether I purchase them to read, salvage them from recycling bins, or re-purpose them from friends and doctor's offices.

Inspiration for a collage grows in two ways.  Usually I have a current favorite color combination that I want to play with or an idea for one.  Then I browse through my file crate of sorted colors and see if anything jumps out in my selected colors and I flip through whatever magazines and catalogs I have laying about.  The other method begins with a particular piece I run across that is interesting or has the potential for a good base or background.  Then I begin my search for complimenting pieces.

The idea to share them online occurred after two separate, unrelated meetings with new acquaintances.  The first happened after I decided to pass on my crate stacked with many years of Arizona Highways magazines.  I kept them because of the incredible photography but since I don't use them to collage they were just taking up space and weight with every move.  I knew someone would want them so I posted it in a web forum and before I knew it a young woman showed interest.  When she came over I inquired why she wanted them and it turns out that she collages.  I loved hearing that and I hope she is finding inspiration in them.

The second incident was during my first attendance at a local art guild meeting.  I consider photography as my more serious art but when asked what I did I offhandedly mentioned my magazine collaging which was met with curious interest.  I admit it took me by surprise because we were in a room filled with incredible photographs, paintings, sculpture and all types of beautiful and unique art. But as I was listening, talking and asking questions I realized that everyone there expressed their creativity and played with color in their own way through various mediums though experimentation -- just like me.

After encountering the collaging young woman I decided to scan my collages into JPG files.  After the art guild meeting I decided to start a new blog to share my creative endeavors and experimentation, whether through photography, fashion, writing and as you will be seeing shortly, magazine collage. 

Most of my collages are dated, some are not.  I will begin with the earliest ones I have collected, beginning around 2001.  I have not digitally altered any of the files, only cropped out white space on the edges.  As I find older examples I will scan and share those too.  Some of what you will see may be strange, bold, boring, silly or provocative, but every single one displays color, composition and precision.