Monday, October 24, 2016

P is For Peek

On a crispy autumn morning while driving to yoga class, I stopped by briefly to capture the sun peeking through the trees. It felt like sun salutation in a different way.

It is letter P on ABC Wednesday and I chose the word PEEK.

Linked to this week's Image-in-ing and ABC Wednesday

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chalkboard Art Halloween and Fall Theme

Halloween Chalkboard Art

 Halloween Themed Chalkboard Art

It is October and pretty much all the challenges that I participate are running with Halloween theme. Which is okay because it makes making art quite fun. For some mysterious reason, I have been doing all the Halloween challenges in the form of chalkboard art. It means that I can create any amount of art using just two supplies: one chalkboard and a few chalk pieces. I really do not  have to worry about running out of paper or paint :)

Linked to: Try it on Tuesday
Art Journal Journey

October Themed Chalkboard Art
Chalkboard Art

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dyed, Painted, Doodled and Stitched Canvas Storage Accessories

Canvas Storage Accessories

I so liked the painted and doodled canvas cloth, about which I posted last week, I wanted to more of it. So, I did. This time I used Dr. Ph. Martin's India ink. I diluted the ink quiet a bit as it is highly pigmented and covered both sides of the canvas cloth with it. When it dried, I used Prisma brush pens to draw the doodles. I finished it with a lot of highlights using white acrylic paint. This time I wanted to  make a couple of storage items with it. I made a zippered pouch and a storage bin. Both came out quiet well, especially the zippered pouch. I was concerned that my junky Singer Esteem II will not cooperate using a zipper foot but much to my surprise it did. Now I am emboldened to make more of these pouches as I have about a dozen of metallic zippers left over from a previous project. I feel quiet excited about it :)

Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eva and Kristin for hosting.

Painted, Doodled and Stitched Storage Bin

Painted, Doodled and Stitched Zipper Pouch

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Halloween Chalkboard Art

Do-Something-Everyday, Oct 19 2016

Halloween offers  such endless possibilities for making fun art using many different mediums. Here is my take using chalkboard art. For substrate I used chalkboard oil cloth and regular colored chalks for drawing. I did a lot of rubbing and wiping somewhat intentionally for a grunged up look. 

The cool thing about chalkboard art is that it is ephemeral. You can erase the old to create a new one.

Linked to Moo-Mania Halloween Party

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

InkTober Challenge: Canvas Floor Cloth, Painted and Doodled

Do-Something-Everyday, October 13, 2014

I created this canvas floor cloth as an alternative to area rug for my studio. I had all the materials on hand: yards of canvas that I had bought for making painted journal covers, bottles of acrylic and India inks and dozens of Sharpie pens. It seemed that this could be a project where I could put all of these to good use. Plus, as this project was likely to take several days, it also fitted well into the InkTober challenge (I was circumventing the challenge a little bit, I admit). Since I wanted to finish this project within a week or so, I decided that I will not overthink or overplan the design and that I would fill it with whatever doodles that popped in my head at that moment. I used a couple of doodles from the official Zentangle patterns and the rest were all my own.

 I used the following materials:

1. One 36" by 60" unprimed canvas cloth
2. Daler Rowney FW Acryli Inks (Indian Yellow and Purple Lake)
3. Sharpie Markers (Fine Point)
4. Acrylic paint (white)

The design process itself was quiet simple. I painted the canvas cloth with acrylic inks first. Then, using doodled the patterns using Sharpie markers. Finally, I added white highlights where I thought the design was too dark.

Overall, I enjoyed making it very much. It was like coloring a giant page. Except for one thing: the pungent odor of the markers irritated my sinuses and eyes a lot. I thought of switching to Prisma brush pens but found Sharpie to be best tool for this. Next time I do something I like this, I will wear a mask. Below are some process shots.


Thanks for visiting. Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eva and Kristin for hosting.

Also, may thanks to those who responded to the question on these vegetable illustration last week. The first one was okra which many of you got. The second one is called bitter gourd, which is used Indian and Chinese cooking. As a follow up to that post, I wrote another post on okra titled Tips and Techniques for Cooking with Okra. If you have the time, check it out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cooking With Okra: Tips and Techniques


Cooking With Okra: Tips and Techniques

Okra, also called ladies' finger, is a favored vegetable in Indian cuisine. My mother used to cook in three different ways: stir fried, stuffed and as crispy toppings on yogurt. As a curry, it partners well with both rice and roti.

Here in the US, it is not a popular vegetable (except in the South) and is almost never found in the regular grocery stores. Which is a pity because okra is a nutritious vegetable high in dietary fiber and rich in vitamins and beta carotene. Okra is off putting to many because it becomes slimy or gooey during the cooking process. But prepared in the right way, it can be a tasty and nutritious addition to your vegetarian options. Below are some tips and techniques for getting the best out of this vegetable.

A. Choosing the best okra at the market or Growing Your Own

Okra is a summer plant and it tastes best when it is in season. When shopping for okra, look for one that is green, immature and slender. Thick and mature pods are woody and fibrous and unpleasant to eat. The freshness of an okra pod can be determined by bending and snapping its tip. A tender okra will break cleanly whereas a mature one will not (see below).

In the late 90s, before okra was abundantly available in Indian grocery stores, I used to grow okra in my vegetable garden. If you live in a place that has at least eight weeks of warm weather (day time temperatures above 70 deg), you can grow okra in your backyard. Okra is remarkably easy to grow. All it need is lots of sun and water during the growing season. It produces multiple harvests in a single season and as long as the pods are picked frequently, it will reproduce itself abundantly. 

B. Preparing Okra for Cooking Without the Sliminess

Okra gets slimy when it comes into contact with water and becomes moist. There are several ways to prepare slime-free okra. I have developed a method that works well for me: First I wash and drain them in a colander (I do wash them to remove dirt and any residual pesticides). Then I thoroughly wipe them dry with paper towels. Finally, I air dry them for about 30 minutes. Using a dry cutting board and knife I cut them without fear of any gooey liquid oozing out.

3. Cooking Okra

I cook okras in the typical Indian way. I saute using the standard Indian spices and oil. Again, there is no water involved in the cooking. Cooking them in high heat with oil creates a texture that is wonderfully crispy outside while tender inside.

Stir Fry Okra 

Okra with Tomatoes

Yogurt Topped with Crispy Okra

If you have any questions after reading this post, feel free to contact or comment.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

InkTober 2016

Do-Something-Everyday, October 6, 2016

If it is October then it is InkTober on social media. I  heard about InkTober for the first time last year. It was created by Jake Parker in which every October artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. He "first created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve my inking skills and develop positive drawing habits". 

I decided to join in this year and here are three of the six I have drawn so far. The top one is an inky doodle I did while on conversation with my daughter on the phone. The two below are illustrations that I took undertook in the true spirit of InkTober which was to improve my botanical drawing skills, especially herbs and vegetables. You may or may not recognize the vegetables below as they are more commonly used in Asian and African/Caribbean cooking. If you do, please put their names in the comment. 

Thanks for visiting. Linked to Paint Party Friday. Thanks to Eva and Kristin for hosting.