Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vanishing of the Bees

A couple of weeks ago I stopped by Ruby Garden to see what was growing. Many vegetables are done for the season so gardeners have planted a lot of flowers in place of the veggies. There were so many butterflies and bumble bees. I use to never pay attention to a butterfly or a bee. I thought the butterfly was boring and a bee would sting me. But having spent some of my summer on a farm, I started to really understand how beautiful every living thing is and how we all affect one another. A friend of mine just got back from a sustainable farm in Hawaii and he told me that he looks at plants in a different way now and he can identify them. I feel like I am beginning to understand the natural world more and appreciate everything about it. When only a few months ago a bee was an enemy, the sun was too hot, the wind was too windy and if I'd seen one tree, I'd seen em all. To not feel so detached from the world around me is an amazing feeling. My days are much more peaceful and inspiring. So much is beautiful and exciting to me now.

I had heard about bees dying or vanishing but had never taken the time to learn about it. But a couple nights ago I finally decided I should learn. I watched this documentary called"Vanishing Of The Bees" to get some information and I was horribly surprised. Bees are actually vanishing and people aren't too sure why. One week a colony of bees will be flourishing and two weeks later the farmer finds a bunch dead and the rest gone. This is called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Many of the farmers believe it may be due to the pesticides in plants. When they go to collect the nectar the pesticide gets in their system and disorients them so that they aren't as sure of what to do and possibly how to get back home. This also makes them more susceptible to disease. It is yet again another example of how mass production and pesticides is ruining the order of the natural world.

Right now you can watch the documentary on Netflix in the instant section.

Butterflies let you get very close...I had about 20 pictures to choose from. They were all over the garden! And two weeks ago, when I was on the farm, there were a ton of caterpillars...so it must be butterfly season. I even found a fluffy brown caterpillar on Rachel's hat.

And the hard working Bee.

'The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others." -Saint John Chrysostom

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Paintings From a Year Ago and the BFA Show

I have been doing a lot of cleaning now that things are slowing down a bit. While cleaning I came across some paintings I did in September last year. At the time, everything was still very unclear (not that everything is clear now) and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do or say with my artwork. But during that confusion I continued to paint so Mr. Kennedy didn't think I was a bum. heh.

I had this idea that I would paint a bunch of tiny paintings and then make a collage out of them. But that idea, along with many others, turned into something else.

This is an image of my work at the BFA show last Thursday. I was very pleased with the look of my four pieces together. I really love talking to people about my artwork. I have trouble talking about all kinds of things but my artwork is one thing that is getting easier and easier to tell people about.

A close up of The Vegan Eats an Egg and in the back, on the left is Harvesting the Blue Potato, on the right is 80 Becomes 40.

A closeup of Harvesting the Blue Potato.

Diversity of the Tomato with it's 12 new tomatoes! It looks a lot better now that I added some more tomatoes.

A close up of 80 Becomes 40.

It's interesting to see where I started and where I am at now. I wonder how different my work will be next September.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rosa Bianca Heirloom Eggplants

In the middle of August I went to start an eggplant inspired piece when I received a phone call that made me realize I had two shows coming up and that I had so much to do. I put it aside and haven't had a chance to get back to it till now. The shows are done...and I am relieved. I can rest and make artwork again. I will post images from the BFA show in my next post.

These are two beautiful Rosa Bianca Heirloom Eggplants I bought from the farmer's market back in early August. I was so surprised by their shapes and colors. Right after this picture was taken they were sliced and made into vegan eggplant parmesan.

I knew I only had a matter of time before they went bad so I did as many watercolor paintings I needed to do to make sure I captured everything I saw in the eggplants. I was interested in their silhouette and their creamy yellows, many purples and that great brown shape in the middle (not sure what that is called).

So this is what I was up to today. I am using the water color studies to make these abstract fabric eggplants. I will make many and then sew them to something...I am not sure yet. First I have to make many of these before I decide what to do next. It is a lot of fun to be free of copying an eggplant from life or photograph. Instead, I use my memory of what I enjoyed most when I looked at these eggplants and the result is something new that slightly resembles the eggplant but also creates a new perspective.

I am so happy to be using fabric completely for once instead of mixing it with other mediums. I was greatly inspired by Rebecca Ringquist when I saw her work at the Packer Schopf Gallery in May. It was a lovely way to start my internship.

These crazy eyes are the result of a hectic last few months. Maybe now I can pick up the apartment...

I have had a great summer and I am excited to be experiencing fall for the first time in 19 years before school got in the way.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chickens and Turkeys at Midnight Sun Organics Farm!

Jacob and I had a great time at Midnight Sun Organics farm in Grayslake, Illinois. I got to know the Nick and Becky, the farmers and meet their turkeys and chickens.

When we first got off the truck to see the turkeys they ran to us, all together. It was hilarious. Then suddenly they decided they must all run away from us! They did this a few times. They are very curious and get more and more cute the longer you watch them. We got to go in their area and they really didn't mind. I guess these guys are still young. Nick had said they were only 4 inches tall three weeks ago...Jacob says he said six weeks ago...but I think he said three. Either way they got big fast.

I met some chickens! These are not Nick and Becky's chickens (those photos didn't come out very nice) but these ladies...and a few gentlemen were so beautiful. I am really inspired by their colors and hope to start a piece with their colors soon.

I saw a rooster crow. I can't wait to someday have some chickens of my own. They can be very nasty to each other though...

A chicken glowing in the sun. It was a great day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New fabric postcards for BFA show!

I have made more postcards for the upcoming BFA show, this Thursday, September 15th, from 5-8pm. They are a bit more clean this time and much like a postcard with a front and back. The only image on these ones will be Diversity of the Tomato.



These are the many peppers I found in my CSA bag this week from Midnight Sun Organics. They were so beautiful.

I cooked them with potatoes, onions, and tomatoes from the farm. It's my favorite breakfast, Vegan Benedict. I simply saute the chopped potatoes, garlic and onions in canola oil until the potatoes get soft, then add in the peppers, including a jalepeno. After a few minutes of sauteing them I add a tomato and normally some cilantro or greens. Then the sauce is some nutritional yeast, whole wheat flour, chilli powder, onion, garlic powder and some soy milk. I heat that up in a pan until it gets thick. Throw the veggies on a toasted english muffin, add the sauce and dip in some hot sauce or salsa. It's really good and simple.

I bought some eggs from my local health food store. These eggs come from Stewardson, IL. at Triple S Farms. I normally get my eggs from Midnight Sun Organics but I get to the market too late and they are always gone.

And with leftovers from my benedict I added them to some egg and ate it with Tobasco sauce this morning.

I went to the farm last Tuesday and we had a vegan potluck. Keagan brought homemade spanish rice and ratatouille, rachel brought homemade beet and lentil salad, Adam brought homemade sauerkraut, I brought a blend of quinoa, orzo, israeli couscous with marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomato, and basil and Jami brought a very yummy homemade apple pie! It was the best lunch.

After lunch we picked the last few tomatoes of the season from the vines. Then we covered the tiny, recently planted arugula with Reemay. Reemay is a lightweight synthetic cover that is placed above a row of crops on a supporting framework (we used wire hoops) and left in place for several weeks until the crops are well-established. Sun and water can still get in and it protects the plants from insects, light frosts, strong winds, and hail. I found all of that on wikipedia...it looks like this..

I will be visiting Midnight Sun Organics tomorrow with Jacob and my sister and I hope I get some photographs to show you guys. I am really excited!