Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mona's Refrigerator Rolls

monas rolls crv
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
My husband' only sister was named Mona. For many years, she and her husband ran Bob's Cafe in Grace, Idaho She was well known for NOT sharing her recipes--I never got the one for homemade sweet mustard. She said guys came into the cafe for that mustard, and if their wives could make it at home, she and Bob would lose business. There is even a story, possibly apocryphal, that she gave a recipe to an insistent person once--with an inportant ingredienty left out.
She did give me this recipe, though, and I copied it into a steno notebook that has other recipes of that era. either written in, or clipped and pasted. The handwriting is recognizably mine; my handwriting still looks very much like this.This page is the dirtiest in the notebook, and testifies to the many times I have made it. It also demonstrates what 50 years will do to paper that is not acid-free. This notebook, and the Betty Crocker that was a wedding gift got us through our first few years of wedded life. Kraft's Macaronit and Cheese Dinner was 11 cents at the PX in Lawton, Oklahoma. My husband was drafted into an artillery unit there right after we were married, I served this mac and cheese with frozen peas about once a week; 'twas a very thrifty meal. Said husband gently explained to me that he was tired of it, adn would like just a bit more variety.
I got the notebook out today to cpoy the recipe for my niece, Ekaterina, who is getting married soon. I can't go to her kitchen shower, but I will send this, my best recipe. I will write clearer directions about punching down the dough in the morning and how to bake. I am at an age where daughter-in-laws cook Thanksgivng Dinner for me, but I still usually make these rolls.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Folding stool for travel painting

Actually, it is not as large as it looks in this photo. Because of the chain and the cross-bracing, it is quite strong. VERY low, though, and the seat is VERY small. Perhaps it will be useful in Greece, I have been practicing sitting down and getting up without anything to hang onto. And I can actually do it; but I haven't painted anything yet while sitting there.
I like the sun-glints in this photo.
I have been meaning to mention the Daily Dose of Imagery at One can sign up for a new photo in your inbox every day at his web site; or just go there frequently and look. I enjoy getting them. The gorgeously sharp and well-conceived photos he takes with his wide-angle lens almost never fail to hit the mark. He sees things that you might never notice and frames them perfectly. He's won quite a few prizes as the best photo site on the web! Check it out!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Easter Joy

Easter Joy 2
Originally uploaded by jhhymas

It's been a while since Easter and I am still working on the photos. We had quite a lovely egg-coloring session, thanks to daughter-in-law J. who brought the supplies. The beautiful focus and attention of a child this age is so pure and lovely to be around! I'm going to visit her and the little sister next week.
I've been tired and cross today for no real reason. I got another list of the birds of Greece. I doubt I'll see many of them. I asked the trip leader which birds he saw on his last trip and he mentioned the pier mascot pelican on Mykonos and lots of pigeons! Oh, well . . .
A dog named Amber has been reading this blog. Woof, Amber!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Yard with pale yellow fragrant rhododendron

Today was a birdy day. I like them and this is all about it.

Birdwatching Near a Soccer Field in Late Spring

Yesterday there was a lone mockingbird feeding in the grass with the small flock of starlings. Today it’s a black phoebe with the starling flock. They feed on the ground while the phoebe hawks from the top of the chainlink fence that separates the field from the YMCA parking lot. Its bill is shockingly short and thin; I always forget what a small sharp bill the black phoebe has. Now here’s a single golden-crown sparrow, then—look!— another; they are fussing around in the duff under the row of young redwood trees along the fence.
And—quick—over there in the grass, a house finch with an extra-bright red head. The bills of the starlings are a brilliant yellow in this season; their fresh dark feathers gleam and shine. A few have the dull remnants of juvenal plumage, and one smaller youngster is still completely brown.

What draws these birds to this suburban space?To this lawn-chemicaled and mown school soccer field and this line of not terribly-healthy-looking redwood trees? The smallest tree is dead, but seems to be sprouting an infinitesimal bit of green a few inches above the ground. The only birds that use the trees at all are the phoebe, who really prefers the fence, and—once only—the
golden-crown. The sparrows stir the duff, and the phoebe flies
out repeatedly for insects, but all the rest are poking though the grass. I can’t see anything to eat there, but my binoculars are at home.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Teapot and Juliette

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Here's the charcoal teapot from the drawing class. It's rather an insouciant little ceramic, I think. I am still working on the promised diagram of proportions for the human body.
This afternoon, Placido Domingo conducted Gounod's Opera Romeo and Juliette. Anna Netrebko was Juliette. The production had a lot of striking tableaux, a turntable zodiac and gorgeous costumes, and the music was very beautiful. Domingo looks older than when I last saw him--he is such a consummate musician! I wasn't planning to watch afternoon TV, but there you are. . .

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Blues of January just past

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Water and sky--who would believe this was on January 10th? It's the magic of California, for sure. Even though I have lived here for more than 40 years, it still thrills me. Today I found out that two dear friends--that I used to work with, side by side, at one of the neatest times of my life--are reading this blog. Which is thrilling, but also means I need to work harder. I feel I am losing myself in a welter of things I want to write about and only serving up sketchy outlines.
Speaking of sketching, I took a one-day drawing class this afternoon and picked up some useful tips. The main one--to practice by drawing all the time--is something I already knew, but alas, find harder to do than looking at the new New Yorker. Or, an art book, or whatever . . .
This teacher, JS, uses eight ovals for the height of the human body. I tried it and it worked out pretty well. Did you know that the pupils of the eyes are about halfway between your chin and the top of your head. It's hard to believe, but easy to check. I'll try to fix a sample for this blog to show where the knees are, erc. It's a little surprising, because (perhaps) we see our own legs foreshortened, or we allot more space to some of the parts than they really occupy for other reasons. Other things just make sense, like, mostly, men have broader shoulders and more well defined leg muscles than women.
The guy that's leading the watercolor trip to Greece says that if you draw with a pen and just keep on moving, you will develop your eye and you hand faster than it you keep working on one drawing until you erase a hole in the paper. This makes sense; these sorts of pen lines also appeal to me, Today we use a charcoal pencil or a conte grayon and we did erase a little, but not as much as we might have done with th pencil. I really liked the feel of the charcoal pencil stroking on the paper. I'll be trying more of that.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rooftop view

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This is about shapes and a limited range of colors. I can't explain why I like it, but I do. Tomorrow, I'll try a watercolor sketch of it. To practice. I have been squeezing some tube watercolors into a portable palette to take with me to Greece. Greece! The trip leader, RRD, told us that Greek shake their heads for "yes" and "no" opposite to the way we do, and that in addition the word for 'yes" sounds like a negative. Should be interesting.
I looked at another report of a trip at this same time of year and found much higher temperatures than I had seen before, more like 92 degrees, rather than 82 degrees as the high temperature. So, I'm still not sure what clothes to take. Some of the others mentioned shorts a lot, but I don't do shorts. I do have some khaki pedalpushers. Isn't life grand??

Trey with newborn goat

Trey with newborn goat
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
I love the gorgeous light in this. It was in the late afternoon and the low sun came in through the door in a focused shaft. I think it would make a beautiful painting that I would love to see in a museum in a wide gilt frame. As I go through boxes, folders and other debris, I discover more and more beautiful bits of the past. Too many of them. really. Many of us have too many photographs, instead of just a few iconic images like those of our grandparents. This grandson is now a senior in college in Lansing, Michigan. I haven't kept track of the goat. . .

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


dome sketch
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This is an ink-and-wash sketch I made based on a color photo in a Greek Islands travel book. I am excited and scared about going all at the same time. I'm a very slow walker and will hate to be a drag on the group. But the spectacular beauty of the millions of photos on the web is very alluring. It should be a great trip! And I should be able to do some sketching from the actual "motif" as Cezanne would call it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Red building in the fog

Red building in the fog
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This quite shows the power of complementary colors! Plus I love the yellow-green of the new leaves on the nearest tree behind the building. I saw this coming home from the meeting with the people who are going on the trip to Greece. We had a potluck in the studio of the artist who is leading the trip. Swell time; I'm very encouraged, even though it will be a physical challenge (walking, wrassling luggage onto and off of ferries) I stand to get to see a lot, take lots of pictures, draw and paint, write haiku and just genrally have an exhausting blast. Tonight, oil wen to $129 a barrel, which is an all-time record. What will become of us??
Tonight, a lot about Whitman's "barbaric yawp" on American Masters. Large doses of Walt are almost overpowering, but the beauty and originality of many of his sentences and phrases lingers with me now,

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Coyote Ridge

Originally uploaded by jhhymas
We had a wildflower walk at this preserve/dumpsite today. I bailed partway up because it was so hot I didn't know if I could make it to the top. So I didn't get the super shots I was planning on. The view from the top is supposed to be spectacular! These are serpentine soils, the kind of poor-nutrient soil once so common in California, before the birth the the nitrogen-spewing internal combustion engine. I did see a butterfly, a Painted Lady that skipped down the path always a little ahead of us as we went back to the parking lot.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Print room laughter

Print room laughter
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Here are two of the great artist friends I've made in the print class. Tonight I have been reading a good book called Mastering Composition. It definitely is a book that will repay study and experiment. It should improve my prints and watercolors as well as my photos, if I integrate some of the concepts. So much to do.
Tomorrow, I get to go up to Coyote Ridge for the wildflowers. I am looking forward to it and maybe getting to see some butterflies, too. I reviewed a book of color photos of California butterflies today, just in case. So much to do, so little time. . . Good night!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Laying down a mask

Laying down a mask
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
The printmaker is demonstrating protecting one color on the print with a mylar mask, cut to shape, that will protect part of the print from an application of another color on another pass through the press.
It is very interesting to think about making art: what shapes and colors things will be, and can you make them that way?
I look at photographs and see the way the light comes through a window and creates the shapes around objects in the room. There aren;t enough hours in the day to see everything you want to think about. Good night.

Lemons hang from the tree now in California.

Originally uploaded by jhhymas

If you want a lemonade, all you have to do is pick one and squeeze it. Somebody brought these to the Print Room for people to take, and several of us used them as inspiration for still life drawings or prints.

Tonight we happened across a documentary on PBS about Jock Soto, a ballet dancer, which followed him as he decides on retirement and dances his final performance. It was very interesting, about his life, his early life on the Navajo Reservation, the New York School of Ballet. There was a great deal of beautiful, and intimate, footage of dancing. On the stage the dancers are so far away from you. . .
We enjoyed it very much and, once again, I stayed up too late because of TV.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

My son on the day of his first haircut, 1958

which I gave him out in our yard. It made him look much older, but I missed the blond curls at the nape of his neck. Today I entered quite a few poetry books into my records at I found a lot of lovely inscriptions from poets that I had forgotten I had. And I found a book by a Spanish poet named Gloria Fuentes.
And I opened the book to this:

Hoy Es Domingo

Hoy es domingo.
La tarde quietecita está a mi lado.

Yo, cono siempre, en mi casa,
con tres seres sin carne,
un recuerdo,
una carta
y un retrato de mi madre.

(and in English translation by Philip Levine:)

Today is Sunday

Today is Sunday
The quiet little afternoon lies beside me.

As always, I am at home,
with three things that have no bodies,
a memory,
a letter,
a photo of my mother.

I thought this was a perfect poem for a blog about memory.
Good night,

Friday, April 04, 2008

The bluegreen frog in polished loafers

The bluegreen frog
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This is pretty irresistable as a blog photo. As our host bid us goodbye after the print class party, he gave a short demonstration of his beautifully crafted frog disguise. Sanded and laquered and with a beautiful smooth texture--it made you want a big-head animal costume of your very own. I would like a mouse head like the ones in the movie, Peter Rabbit and the Tales of Beatrix Potter. Such a large head made the ballet-dancing mice look as if they had frail and delicate ethereal hands. Find this movie and rent it! The Victorian Music-Hall music is glorious and zestful. The dancing funny ahd smart. It is one of my all-time favorites!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Gulls on the lake

Gulls on the lake
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
Some days these gulls almost fill the surface of the lake in the middle of the day. They rise in swirling kettles and fill the sky, too. Other days there will not be a single gull, enabling one to see the ducks, geese and other birds that dot the surface.
I want to know where these gulls breed--where they stay in some seasons--where they find enough food for such great numbers. Where do they come from and where so they go???