Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Joyce's Oatmeal Bread

I've been blogging for several years, but just recently I started PegPaints to feature my art. I made my original blog private so I can post pictures of my grandchildren and share them with family and friends.

One of the first bloggers I "met" online was Joyce at FlourPowerJoyce.blogspot.com. I really enjoyed reading her posts; they were always guaranteed to make me smile! I got to know her better when I asked if I could use a photo she took at an Atlanta Braves game as a reference for a painting. She graciously allowed me to use her picture. I finished the painting and gave it away... without taking a final photo!

unfinished 8x10 oil on canvas from Joyce's photo
(with more blue underpainting)
Unfortunately, Joyce has stopped posting but I still keep up with her via email. Luckily, her wonderful blog is still there with all its great recipes. Her oatmeal bread is one of my favorite recipes. It's a very easy yeast bread that I make often... notice the words "no-knead." We enjoy it as a sweet, delicious toast for breakfast. I'm re-posting the recipe, mainly so I won't loose and my family and friends can find the recipe, but the original post is HERE on Joyce's blog. Enjoy!

No-Knead Oatmeal Bread

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
6 cups all purpose flour

In a large bowl stir together sugar, salt and oats.
Add boiling water and butter; let stand until lukewarm.

Sprinkle yeast into 1/4 up warm water and stir until dissolved.
Add yeast mixture to oat mixture.
Stir in flour 1 cup at a time.
Dough will be sticky.

Transfer to a greased bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in bulk.
Lift and drop into bowl three to four times.

Grease two 9- by 5 by 3-inch loaf pans and divide dough into two equal portions.
Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Bake in a preheated over at 450 F. for 10 minutes.
Lower oven to 350 F. and bake for anothher 45 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped withe your finder.

Remove bread immediately from pans and cool on wire racks. Yields 2 loaves.

O is for Oatmeal Bread! If you've never made yeast bread, this is an easy recipe to try. You'll be so glad you did!

I'm linking this post to Alphabe-Thursday at Jenny Matlock's blog.

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, February 21, 2013

N is for Nashville

One of my favorite television shows is "Nashville" and since I live in the Nashville area, I thought it might be fun to give you a little background information about the city and some of the local sites seen on the show.

The Batman Building
An easily identifiable building in Nashville's skyline is affectionately known as the Batman Building. It's really the AT&T tower and houses the offices of that company. Wikipedia says it is the tallest building in Tennessee too.

The Ryman Auditorium
Built in the late 1800's, the Ryman Auditorium was the home of the Grand Ole Opry until 1974 when the Opryland theme park was built. Even though the theme park is gone, replaced by Opry Mills shopping center, the Opry remains in its new home there; it's known as the Grand Ole Opry House. However, the Opry returns to the Ryman downtown during the winter months each year. Known as the Mother Church of country music, it is a big deal for a country music star to play at the Ryman.

Like most Nashville residents, I've lived here all my life and never been to the Opry!

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge
Another famous place you might see on "Nashville" is Tootsie's, a honky-tonk within walking distance of the Ryman. Up and coming musicians play on the stage there, and when the Opry was at the Ryman, stars would often stop by the bar for a drink after performing. If you fly into Nashville, you may notice Tootsie's bar in the airport. It features live music, but somehow it just not the same as the original location, still in business on Lower Broad.

Nashville's Musica Statue

The Musica statue was the backdrop for a scene on the show recently. Located in the Music Row area where most of the recording companies have offices, it is sometimes referred to by local residents as the "naked statue."  (Be sure to pronounce that NECK-KID.)

On St. Patrick's Day and other holidays, you may find the statues dressed for the occasion. Dressing them is apparently a clandestine affair, done secretly at night! You can see them decorated with red Solo cups in honor of Toby Keith's song HERE.

Scarlett and other characters on the show "Nashville" often perform at the Bluebird Cafe. The Bluebird is a live music venue located in a strip mall in the Green Hills area of town right next to a furniture store and a children's clothing shop. If you click THIS LINK, you can see that the show built a replica of the cafe for use in shooting those scenes! I guess filming at the real location would have caused too much disruption? If you visit Nashville and seek out the Bluebird, be sure to shop across the road in the Hills Center. The shops there are very upscale and it's fun to browse.

Hillsboro Village
Last week on the show, some of the characters met on a street corner in Hillsboro Village. It is another good shopping area near Vanderbilt University with interesting, funky shops like Pangea and Fire Finch and fun restaurants like Fido (great coffee and muffins) and the Pancake Pantry (be prepared to wait in line.)

I think it's kind of cool to see familiar places in Nashville featured on the television show, so I'm linking this post to Alphabe-Thursday.

Jenny Matlock

Several years ago, I painted the Nashville skyline. I think I like cattle better. They don't have so many tiny windows!
24x36 oil on canvas

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Art Class Friends, Part 2

Christine, a member of my art group whose intricate pencil drawings you saw in my recent post HERE, is struggling with her first ever oil painting. Of course, Christine picked a rather difficult subject... trees! 

Another member of our group, Jo, brought in a finished painting of... you guessed it... trees! Christine was so happy that she could see how Jo painted the leaves, the branches, and the trunks. 

16x20 oil on canvas
by Jo Griffith

Christine wanted to see the details of Jo's painting so I took these close up photos with my phone.

I love all the colors of the leaves. Do you notice how Jo outlined some groups of leaves to make them appear as branches?

The trunks of the trees have details of light and dark bark. Look at those leaves floating in the water... so pretty!

The background foliage is sometimes the hardest part. Jo painted the small bushes in the foreground lighter. The ones that are more distant are darker and less distinct. That makes them look farther away... a cool trick that good artists know!

pencil drawing by Jo

Jo does both oil paintings AND pencil drawings. Her trees are spectacular! Here you can see her working on one with a reference photo beside her work. Be sure to check out her blog JoGriffithArt.com to see more of her work that is for sale!

Another member of our art class is Anita. Like me, she paints mostly for her family and friends. We might be a lot slower than Jo. Knowing Christine, I think she might be joining us in the slow section of our class, but there's nothing wrong with being slow... our art just takes a bit longer, that's all!

unfinished 36x24 oil on canvas by Anita

This painting is for Anita's daughter. In class this week, she was painting candles... hundreds of them! The intricate details take a lot of patience and time but the painting will be beautiful when it's finished!

unfinished 30x30 oil on canvas by Peg
I'm still working on my colorful steer. Sometimes a photo of your work can help you see areas that need more work...  his knee, his neck, and rear legs. It's a work in progress for sure! I'm not satisfied with the background either. Lighter, darker... it's time to experiment! I'll get it finished but I'm in no hurry. I'll just keep working until I'm happy with it!

Addendum: I just found this wonderful blog post at Things That Inspire featuring the art on display at the 2013 Artists Market in Atlanta. There are so many "things to inspire" artists... take a look HERE!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meet Wayne, Pa's new lead steer

A Replacement for Charlie Brown

About the time we lost Charlie Brown, Pa bought a very gentle, normal-sized Charolais steer. He also bought a group of steers who were a bit wild. They wouldn't come to the barn to get feed. Instead, they'd run the other way. He put the gentle steer in the field with them in hopes of calming them down.

Wayne, early in his career as "lead steer."

Pa struggled. He waffled. Then he caved. He made the deadly mistake of naming the gentle steer. Wayne became the "lead steer" on a trial basis.

That was in 2010, shortly before the wedding of our youngest daughter. At the wedding reception which was held on our farm, the granddaughter of his cousin Mary Ann came up to Pa and asked in her sweet, little girl voice, "Where's Charlie Brown?" 

Pa gently told her, "Charlie Brown is not here any more, but now we have Wayne." Surprisingly, the wedding photographer captured the moment. 

So Wayne stayed, and like his predecessor Charlie Brown, he has been growing and growing.

Wayne is now a lot larger than all his friends.

Wayne is not as shy as CB was. He allows photographs and is friendly enough to come near the fence but he won't let you touch him.

Recently, I took this photo and decided to paint Wayne.

36x18 oil on canvas

I hope Wayne looks more like himself than he did when you saw the underpainting HERE. If he stays around as long as Charlie Brown did, I'm sure Wayne will have a few more portraits done!

I'm linking this post to Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer. If you'd like to read my earlier post about Charlie Brown, please click HERE.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Charlie Brown, Lead Steer

This is the story of Charlie Brown, a small reddish brown calf born on our farm about 20 years ago. Charlie's mom died when he was only three days old. None of the other cows would adopt him so he became a bottle calf. Our youngest daughter was assigned the task of bottle feeding him twice a day. She was in the fourth or fifth grade at the time and she named him after her favorite cartoon character because... well... he was brown.

Charlie Brown grew up and, much later than he should have, finally abandoned his bottle. He became a steer and joined the herd on the farm. He grew bigger and bigger, but our daughter maintained her affection for CB and admonished her dad, "Be sure you don't sell Charlie Brown!" For some reason, Pa actually listened to her.

Now, I should add here that steers serve no useful purpose on a farm; they are meat animals. It amazed me that Pa agreed to keep Charlie Brown, but his "excuse" was that CB had a purpose. Charlie was the "lead steer." When Pa would call the cattle, CB would lead them up to the barn. This worked great for feeding the cattle or checking on them to be sure nobody was missing, but sometimes Charlie didn't like what happened at the barn. Occasionally, all his friends would be loaded on a truck heading for a feedyard in the west. Poor Charlie was always left behind.

Charlie Brown ate and ate. He grew and grew... and he got smarter and smarter.

Charlie figured out that if he brought the herd to the barn, all his buddies might leave. CB tried a different approach. When Pa would call the cattle to the barn, Charlie Brown started taking them in the opposite direction... to the far corner of the very back field!

But Pa still didn't sell him. He just moved Charlie to a different farm where there was no faraway field. While he had CB on the truck, Pa decided to weigh him. Charlie Brown weighed 2,300 pounds!

By this time, our daughter had gone away to college. Charlie Brown stayed  on the farm even though he no longer served as a lead steer.

Charlie became the star attraction for children who visited the farm. He was a big hit at family reunions.

However, CB must have realized he was a celebrity. He didn't like the paparazzi. He RAN when he saw a camera!

It's hard to run when you're that big! Mostly, Charlie was content to graze with his friends. At 17 years old, he was getting elderly. His teeth were no longer as good and his weight began to drag him down.

An altercation with a much younger bull did him in. Charlie injured his hip.

Winter was coming on and Charlie refused to walk to the barn to get his feed. 

For a while, Pa carried feed to him but he grew worse. Sadly, we knew it was time for Charlie to go.

The next time our daughter was home, we took lots of photos of Charlie with her. We didn't tell her that she was saying good-bye. 

We all miss Charlie Brown so much. He lived a long, long life of luxury compared to most of the steers that come and go on the farm.

We like to say he was "outstanding" in his field!

16x20 oil on canvas
This painting of Charlie Brown now hangs in our dining room. Pa picked out another very gentle steer who has the potential of growing as big as CB. His name is Wayne and you can read more about him later!

I'm linking this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday. The letter L is for Lead Steer!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wayne and Friend... in their underpaintings!

I started a couple of new paintings today. They're both paintings of cattle on our farm. Here you see a colorful steer... in BLUE! I like to paint the first layer in complimentary colors. This steer is reddish brown so I used blue to add color dynamics.

30x30 oil on canvas, unfinished underpainting
Last year, Pa put together a group of oddly colored steers, and right before they left the farm heading for a feedlot in Nebraska, he had me take photos of them. I'm finally getting around to painting the first one.

Reference Photos

The second painting is of a big gentle steer that Pa named Wayne. Now, it's not often that Pa gives a steer a name. Most get only numbers around here. Pa says naming a steer is bad for business because you usually get attached to them. 

18x36 oil on canvas, unfinished underpainting
That's what happened with Wayne. But before I can tell you Wayne's story and show you the finished painting, I need to tell you about his predecessor, Charlie Brown. Stay tuned for a tale about a 2600-pound lead steer who lived on our farm for seventeen years!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Little Lambs for a new baby girl!

I have a beautiful new granddaughter... 7 pounds 12 ounces of adorable sweetness!

Who wants to paint when you can do this?

Last fall I painted these little lambs for her nursery. It's hung with a big pink satin bow. I hope our little one has sweet dreams when she looks up at it! Of course, I'll have to put her down first!

18x24 oil on canvas