Friday, December 14, 2012

December traditions

Kath Schifano, card, Botanic garden
Home made cards are much more than a challenge now that the kids are grown and no longer illustrating sweet Christmas scenes for us to copy and glue. We have home made our cards for more than 25 years, with a couple of skipped years due to too much to do!

Each year we try to create a card image, fully expecting to get it all together in August or September, but that has NEVER happened, not once, even when I knew what picture would be on the cards! It has become our December 'hurry up' project and tradition, right after cookie baking.

This is a Buffalo Botanic Gardens painting from this season, the first of my pictures with colors that might work, even if it was not holiday themed. Since then, I went to the gardens to sketch three times to try for another image, coming home with approximately 10 plans and drawings, none of which suited my purpose. The gardens are now wall to wall with poinsettias and Christmas themed decor, absolutely entertaining and beautiful. This is a large leaf office type plant, the waxy leaves are richly colored and the red spathes in the center are a lovely surprise from an already handsome plant.

So, Merry Christmas! This is the image on our 2012 Christmas postcard, the reverse side has a lovely snowflake motif that Carl created, and tonight I will write my notes. I am saving some without the Christmas message for my own use, sending notes and postcards may be so 20th century, but I love it all year long.

December's Surprise, pastel 12x16  c.2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Not Just Paint. not just cookies

People often look at my artwork and say they wish they were artistic or creative, but art is more than paint, and these people all have their own skills. Many of my art students went on to work as hairdressers, florists, toy, jewelry and clothing designers, window dressers and in film and theater working on costumes, makeup and sets. There are so many ways to express your creativity, including how one dresses or decorates their home.

As for me, I nearly quit my paint habit in December when plein air season (warm enough to paint out) is over to move into the 'creative' kitchen. Not a fan of shopping in stores, I spend days in the kitchen baking homemade gifts, containers of cookies galore, incorporating color design, flavor blending and shape considerations with baking expertise before I begin the wrapping and ribbons. 

 Each year I make trays of traditional favorites such as Cuccidatis (filled with fig, date, raisin and more), Chocolate Spice, Wagon Wheels and Thumbprints, but I also try new ones.
  Always a favorite to eat whenever I go to NYC, I made my first Linzer Tarts and a new swirl cookie with raspberry this week.
 The Checkerboards are not new, but they are chocolate mint for the first time. This is also the first time I (reluctantly) added food coloring in my cookies, just three drops of green in the mint flavored batter made a pretty cookie with a visual mint hint.
 Merry Christmas!