Thursday, June 30, 2016

LAW 100: Milestones

Okay, so i have been away for most of the month, sorry about that. I caught a nasty summer cold than, being the sweet, gentle, sharing kind of girl that i am, i shared it with Mungo. Duh! Wouldn't you think after 30 plus years we would be immune to each other's diseases, apparently not. But truly that was not where i wanted to go with this story. We've experienced some wonderful food, i am truly in love with the whole Vietnam carmel protein thing. We've done bluefish, amazing, and last night chicken thighs! Oh my! Hopefully when we try this on pork ribs(real soon now) i will remember to take pictures so i can share it with.

ICAD 22, "Dividing Between"

But, just to tantalize your tastebuds, take about 3/4 cup of brown sugar, a 1/3 cup each, fish sauce, rice vinegar, a big bunch of  minced garlic and ginger, along with a couple of minced shallots. Take 3 or 4 chicken thighs, bone in or not as you choose, just remember to adjust your cooking time, and sear them in about 2 tb oil, your choice, i would use coconut here, add about 1/4 of the sauce that i forgot to tell you to make with the above ingredients, duh…… and continue to braise at a fairly high heat, spooning the carmel sauce over the meat. Depending on the size of your chicken, bone in or not, this could take anywhere from 20 minutes to almost an hour. Patience is key here; you are looking for both a color change, from golden brown to almost black, but a consistency change as well. The carmel sauce will bubble along merrily, way to liquid and then, presto, the alchemy of heat applies and it is a wonderful thick, unctuous sauce. It is time to drop a bunch of sliced green onion, jalapenos, and basil on to the chicken, and dinner is ready.

ICAD 24, "Screen Test"

We had company for dinner last night, the evening was topped off by a rainstorm and a beautiful double rainbow.

Rainbows from the stern deck

Yeah me! i have finally hit the magic number of 100 posts for this blog. i can't imagine making a commitment to writing this every day. i have however managed to participate in the 2016 ICAD challenge: a piece
e of art everyday or the months of June and July. We are coming up on the half way point with that and i'm stilling with the program. I have for the most part gone of prompt, and am making collages that mostly resonate to the theme of the Divided Mind. So, here are a few from the last week or so.

ICAD 23, "Question of Identity"

I will update my gailelwell site with more in depth info about the work. Happy 100 to me!

ICAD 25, "Seeing with a Blind Eye"

more later,

ICAD 28, Cats & Dogs, "True Nature"

Saturday, June 11, 2016

LAW 99: ICAD 2016

So, through the good offices of a Facebook friend i was introduced to the world of ICAD. Which is quite simply a lovely 61 day art challenge. The challenge, to make a work of art on an index card every day for 61 days. There are daily prompts, weekly themes and an over arching element that ties everything together; if you choose to go that way.
ICAD 1 mixtape


For some people the prompt is an unbelievably useful tool, providing a much needed trigger for creativity and inspiration. For others it can be a road block to getting things done. Whether you use the prompts, or go off into the wild blue by yourself, either way, or some combination of both it's all cool.

The point is MAKE THE ART, experiment, play, take chances. Post your work, get positive feedback, and it all is, meet interesting people, make friends.

Get the drift? It's a no brainer, no lose situation.


I started thinking that i was going to play across the board, particularly with materials; a week and a half in i can tell that i am probably going to stick to collage. The smaller size, 4 x 6" is a challenge in and of itself. I intend to use as much painted background and drawing techniques in the collages as i  can force myself into. I've always been something of a purist with my collage work. Along the way i will set myself daily challenges, as well as tempting to work to the daily theme. This is definitely outside of my comfort zone. I have always felt that my strongest work is improvisational in nature.

Sitting down with a blank piece of paper and a folder of random imagery is my favorite way to get started. Perhaps this challenge comes at a fortunate moment. I haven't added to my portfolio of collage materials in some time. I'm getting pretty familiar with what i have, so it is getting more difficult to surprise myself with new juxtapositions.



My intention is to build separate  page here on Life Art Water for the ICAD challenge. I plan on doing updates weekly. So if you want to check it out……

More later,
Morgainne(that would be me, Gail)

PS: Will do these weekly from now on so you don't have so much to look at at once.


Monday, June 6, 2016

LAW 98: Know thy Farmer!

Oh yea, summer is in full swing. There are many signs and portents, ticks, mosquitos, more boats in the marina, parties every weekend; but best of all the sudden explosion of fresh, ripe, local food!

Friday we went down to Zahradka's, knowing that the strawberries were at their peak. We were not wrong. Upon entering the farm stand and zeroing in on the aforementioned strawberries we were offered the opportunity to pick our own for half the picked price. How could i go wrong? Mungo was a little leery, with his only pick your own experience being many years ago in the snake infested fields of Florida. I prevailed.

Strawberry Booty!

A short drive, i think it would have been easier to walk, through the fields part us to yes, Strawberry Fields forever. Strawberries as far as the eye could see. With only one other person for competition. Well there were chickens and Guinea Fowl, but they were only interested in the bugs. Yes, we get our eggs here as well. Nothing better than eggs from a happy free range chicken. Half an hour later we had barely scratched the surface of one row of strawberries, but we did have a full flat of berries. Now, what to do with 8 quarts of strawberries?

1. Eat a whole quart just sitting around watching the water.
2. Use two quarts for a killer trifle for the party on Saturday.
3. Eat another quart for breakfast and snackies because they are so awesome.
4. Slice and freeze three quarts for later use.
5. Use the last quart to make the most killer awesome, no churn strawberry ice cream i have ever had, I kid you not!
Yes, radishes as big as… great for pickles!

Mungo does not know what to think, as i have made dessert twice in a row. Definitely not my usual mode. Aah, but they were so good! We actually started with dessert at the party as we were pretty sure that it wouldn't last. It didn't.

bucket of green goodness

Our friend Catfish joined us for dinner last night; Seafood Gumbo, divine! We finished the night off with two helpings each of the Strawberry ice cream. We didn't want it to languish in the freezer. My hats off to the site, dishinwithdi, i admit to being skeptical. i didn't think that a no churn ice cream would have an acceptable, much less great texture. It did. Try it, easy as pie, well easy and worth the few minutes of effort it took.

strawberry ice cream ready for the freezer

I could go on and on about all the great food from this weekend, but, really, i don't think you should be forced into attempting to eat your screen.

More later,

PS, don't forget to check out The Floating Empire and WildShore Press.

As you can see Magellan loves his scratcher.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

LAW 97: Another commission complete!

Wow! What a relief to have finally finished this commission yesterday. It is at once a relief and a letdown. Over the Thanksgiving holidays my good friend and most excellent American poet, Brian Felder, commissioned me to create two journals out of his 'retired' Marine dress uniform, one to go to him, and one to a good friend he made while in 'Nam.

The parameters i had to work with were, the material itself. We decided to use the lining of the 'blouse' for the front and end papers. His shoulder insignia would be the decorative element on the front cover, and the binding had to replicate the background colors of the Vietnam service medal, which is also the colors of the ARVN(army of South Vietnam) flag.

Brian's second book, spine view

The original idea was to find a paper of the correct yellow, and of a sufficient weight to stand up to 'field work'. No such paper seemed to exist, so we comprised on a ribbon 'binding' on the spine of each signature. This actually worked quite well, providing a substantial degree of protection for the paper along the binding edge. As an FYI, it also makes it much, much more difficult to bind. I will do it again, if someone asks, nicely, and of course agrees to pay a significant premium for this service.

This is first time i have done a multiple color binding up and down the spine of the book. I was resistant to the idea as i knew that there would be technical issues that would annoy me. But like a good little artist working on a paying commission i did do what the customer asked for. If any of you out there have done any book binding using the Coptic or Saddle stitch you will immediately realize why i did not wish to go this route. I will admit however, that it did work, and although the additional tie offs in each signature added bulk, it was not as bad as i feared. Yes, i would do it again. Yes, for an additional $$….

Inside front cover, what fun to cut out!

The idea was to use these lovely silk paintings for a decorative element, as a front piece. The paintings come from 'Tourist' Christmas Cards sold to the American GI's, usually at the PXs. It wasn't until i actually was about halfway through the second book that i realized that i could easily cut up, down actually, the frame around the silk painting. I couldn't see using the card as is, as they were too large for the space. So i rather laboriously cut out the dragon and inner frame. It is really pretty amazing what you can do with a little patience and an exacto knife.

Inside back cover, functional pocket

Altogether i am pleased with the result. The back inside cover has a 'breast' pocket attached. I sure that it will  useful element of the book. Any how, another commission done, i took the day off yesterday. I lounged about, read, allowed Mungo to make supper for us, and finished the day off with a sunset cruise in the Dharma Duck. Magellan, the most magnificent ship's cat went with us for the first time. I am please to report that he had a lovely time, didn't freak out. We are looking forward to many more cat accompanied sails in the future.

Magellan, as figurehead, yes i know it's usually a woman!

If you are interested in seeing some of the other books i have made please visit LAW's 49 through 55, where you will find most of them. Or if it rocks your boat you could always talk to me about making a special book, just for you.

more later,