Small Projects

Artwork for labels – Vinegar Alley, Sonoma California
Sauteed spinach is delicious with Mixed Malt from Vinegar Alley

I made an oil painting on a piece of board, pulling the fruit images from the Vinegar Alley blog, and adding a shallot from my garden. After the copy was added, the painting became a label for one my daughter’s farm projects. She is a full time nurse, but lives on a double lot in the Russian River resort area that has 36 fruit trees.

Among her projects, such as converting an old cement swimming pool into an attractive pond, and growing oyster mushrooms, she makes vinegar. I can’t wait to try the pear cider vinegar — the mother is growing well and it looks promising.

Painting the background for the label, I remembered what a delightful, if messy, medium oil paint is — forgiving in that it blends and doesn’t dry up fast, but demanding in the intensity of the pigments and it’s mobility.

Now that I am really, really retired, I get to my art table more frequently, in my laundry room-converted-into-studio. I took photos this morning around my urban, historic neighborhood for more bunny drawings. This could become a big project, but even so, each drawing is one set of sketches, revisions, transfer to vellum, inking and water-color brushing. Each one is a little project. I hope to have enough to show for the Open Studios first Sunday this June.

I admire that Alice can be creative with food and do a bit of orcharding while she works. I found it difficult to hang out in the default network long enough to create when I was teaching. It felt like my brain was on work most of the time. That said, here’s some free advice [I wasn’t using]. If you can, find something to do with your artistic inclinations, or make space to enjoy things you like to dabble in, even if you are working. Find something to do that makes you smile. Rewards one way beyond surfing the internet or hanging out on social media.

I gave most of my case of this yummy, healthy vinegar to friends, as a New Year gift.

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