Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Inspiration has not been lost...

You might have noticed my sudden disappearance. I know I have. More than it was noticeable, it was unbearable for me.
And I owe it all to the disease I got and since I’m trying to keep this place aesthetic as possible, I’d spare you with details regarding the chicken pox that has decided to knock (peck) on my door (yes. In MY age).
Call it destiny, Satan’s envy or grumpy gods my beloved computer dropped dead on me when I most needed it, on Tuesday, July 24th. May it rest in peace.
So how did I survive you ask?
In order to keep my sanity and sustain my half clear mind, I found myself being comforted by my colored pencils, drawing pens, watercolors and sketchbooks that kept me working most of the days (and nights).
It was wonderful to hold my old quartered in height colored pencils from my childhood again, getting inspired by the silence I haven’t experienced for a while.
Sometimes we seek our inspiration elsewhere, but my fingers showed my otherwise by grabbing my old pencils. They sat me down in front of the window (the very same famous window I already mentioned before), and taught me to breathe the chilled darkness of the night and look at the fragile beams of light coming from a few lightened windows and porches.
I was obviously depressed from my currant physical and emotional states + I lost my plug-in-best-friend, so creating with my hands and being inspired even between my 4 bedroom-walls, REALLY helped my healing process and made this whole time much more enjoyable.
So I'm showing a sneak peek at some of the projects I’ve been busy with during this whole time.

Needless to say (but I’m obviously going to say it anyway) I SO missed the writing in my blog, and missed all of YOU, whoever keeps on following my words. I realized how nice it is to meet truly nice people through mutual passions.:)
I should also add Welcome in new comers! Thanks for leaving lovely comments on my art works.
I swear on my departed computer, expect many fresh posts of new organic works and food (I’ve been having ideas for some sweet baked goodies), once I get my shiny new computer *covers dead computer’s ears* AND *crosses my fingers* get the backup for all the material I might have lost along with its sudden crash. Hope you all had an inspirational week to keep you on doing the things you really love, that define who you are and just make you want to be here and now.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"It Was Dark Still When I Came"

I thought to share my latest works, all fresh from the last few days which may seem more of a concept at the moment, but hopefully will be developed and be a part of an intensive creative process.
These little colorful bits of illustrations, came to mind on one of those nights I just can't put my eyes to sleep (they have lives of their own, I tell you). And as I made it into a habit of my lately, I wandered to my wide open window across the room, settled myself with a pink wool blanket and leaned backwards so I could only see the dark black sky, weaved with thousands of bright stars, circling the moon with its blinding glow. I don't recall ever seeing the moon (which I know very well, since it looks at me from above every night) THIS bright, hanging in blackness like a lighting bulb, a white clear spot that slashed the dark sky.
Its shimmering light, after staring it for a while, actually hurt my eyes and I had to look away, divert my look as if I was staring at the shining sun.

Now as for the 'Eyes concept' I've always been obsessed with, seems to produce endless metaphors, shapeless ideas and thoughts about this quirky glossy organ and romantic-like shaped. It's kept well behind thick eyelashes, and its evasive white looks as slippery and fragile as an egg.
I had a vision of thousands of tiny googly eyes, floating in air, like small shivery balls in bold colors, almost like colorful candies made out of glass.

We tend to differentiate our eyes from the rest of our tangible body. Some refer to them as the 'window to our soul', a well known phrase I might interpret differently, by comparing our eyes physically to windows, and neglect the metaphor for a while. A window, a still object that functions only as a barrier between the outside world and our mind. In vain, we try to identify our surrounding through our eyes, through thick glass windows.
After that night I rested beneath the beautiful sky I realized we only assume we're seeing through our eyes. But we're blind in a world we don't really own. Do we really think we're able to capture this abstract world and its visual views? The sky, the shimmering stars? The moon wasn't itself that night and I had to look away. At that moment my eyes began to deform into hollow eggshells. They did no longer project the outside world, but turned into small, colorful aesthetic still balls made out of glass.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Organic Fresh-Old-Fashioned Apricot Cake

I'm usually not a huge apricot fan, but I thought their over-ripeness and sweetness would be milder after baking, and I was right.
The fact that I had half a kilo of apricots lying in my refrigerator also made a good excuse to get rid of them (I sound cruel).
And what a better way to do that than to bake a homemade cake, and in this case, quite healthy, organic and fulfilling.
I was looking through old cooking books in order to find a nice and simple recipe for my cake.
And there it was- the simple, rustic recipe I was looking for, found in "Cakes for all seasons by Nira Scheuer", which looked like the old-fashioned homemade cakes from the 70's…
Since it wasn't interesting enough, I made changes and refreshed it by choosing healthier ingredients like organic white whole wheat flour with a touch of quinoa flour, which added a nutty flavor and a nice crumbly texture to the cake.
I also used a bit of date molasses along with natural cane sugar, which made it not too sweet, and added this unique complex taste.
As for the added fat amounts, I know real pastry chefs would want to hunt me down for this, but there are times I just cut it almost in half. And believe me, my baked goods don't turn out dry at all. Sometimes I add just a bit more yogurt to the batter to keep it moist.

For this cake I chose ripe and turning-a bit-mushy apricots, so I found it unnecessary to cook them beforehand.
Although I sprinkled some sliced almonds on top of the cake before baking, I suspect it would be wonderful with sugar crystals sprinkled on top, to give it a nice crunch and a bit of sweetness to compliment the tart apricots.
Organic Fresh-Old-Fashioned Apricot Cake

1 1/2 cups organic white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of fine grain sea salt
3/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
About 1 1/2 tbsp date molasses*
50g soft unsalted butter (3 1/3 tbsp butter)
2 organic free-range eggs
1/4 cup yogurt (I might add a bit more)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
500g ripe apricots, pitted and halved

Sliced almonds or sugar crystals (optional)
Apricot jam (optional. I used Nectarine jam)

*I believe it also works well with honey if you prefer

* * *
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350F) and grease a 26 cm (10-inch) round cake pan.
In a large bowl combine together the flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and cinnamon. Add the butter, date molasses, lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, eggs and yogurt, mix until combined, but avoid over mixing the batter.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth as needed. Place the halved apricots nicely on top, close to each other, round side up.
Sprinkle some sliced almond on top, or some sugar crystals (optional) and bake for about 40-50 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Optional: Before serving, glaze the apricots with the jam mixed with a bit of water to give it a nice shine (and make them look happy..).
Vanilla ice cream. Enough said.

I'm sending this recipe to Mansi's Healthy Cooking event. You should have a look at her lovely blog about healthy eating.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Introduction to the B&W

I haven't really celebrated my first ever post in this blog. So here I am, in all my glory, posting little thoughts and weird scribbles...old and fresh.
And what can better show the way my brain works? What is this mechanism that makes my hand uncontrollably draw all the time?
Well, this is the place to observe my weird species from outer and inner points of view. :)

So as you can see, my brain is full of noises, shapes, lines, ideas and that's the best way to describe my way of work.
Everything turns into 'design' mode once my eyes are laid upon different objects.
I love to think what inspires me and just be a part of the whole creation experience. And that's one of the things I'm hoping you'll get to see here.

I am standing on ground but I can't feel my feet.

I usually draw on a paper first, since I can't really part myself from the hand-pencil-paper feeling. I started working on my computer only later, and sometimes I like to combine live drawings with computer graphics.
One of the reasons I called this blog Black & White is simply because a lot of my artworks are based on Black and White pencil/pen drawings, to achieve that rough graphic tone I like.
I love to play with the negative B&W and see how well it affects the whole tone of the work. And in my opinion it has the strongest impact on the eye alongside some colors that can 'bring out' the B&W even more.

At the moment I'm working on patterns made by existing drawings of mine. I'm really into prints and colorful patterns these days. I LOVE getting all dirty with acrylic paints and different materials. Future posts on those I'm sure.
So welcome in and enjoy the bits of my deluded brain...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Things to avoid & do over this weekend:

To avoid:

* Must not be infected with my sister's Chicken Pox.
Though you must admit my disco ball chicken looks rather cute in that!
Funny enough, I checked earlier the meaning of the name (yes I'm bored), and apparently it comes from the word Chick pea which is also known as Garbanzo bean or Hummus, because of its resemblance. And somehow years ago someone thought it sounded close enough to Chicken. Whatever. No pizza face for me, thank you. :(

* Stay away from direct sun. I was excited about getting some tan, but now I'm being peeled like an onion. ViciouSun doesn't seem so nice now, does it.

To do:

* Get to work with the ideas I had for illustrations.
I usually get many ideas and thoughts of how to develop my work, but laziness gets a hold of me and I'm stuck at the theoretical stage.

* My week starts with a short training for my summer job at the Olympics broadcast. I'm doing some editing and timing work. So I'm hoping to take over this whole issue, know what I'm doing, get something right for a change and even enjoy it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A New Perspective

I found myself on a quiet Saturday morning wandering around the streets with my camera. I usually never have a certain idea or a goal for my photographs, as I love to be drawn by the environment itself. I usually end up these trips by running away from construction sites and away from startling people in the forest. haha There's nothing like the element of surprise…
I loved taking this series of pictures and enjoy their seemingly randomness. Bring out what seems mundane, things we pass right by them and don't always notice their vibrant colors and amazing 'tension' they produce.
And all of a sudden they look so alive in their new perspective!