Never too late…

July 2021

You think about going to a whole food plant based way of eating for your health, but you don’t. 

Now I’ll give you this cookbook to play with. It’s like having a new toy! I never used to read the Foreword or Introduction in a book, but do it in this one even if you never read the rest of the book. I don’t believe you’ll be able to skip the rest of this colorful and these delicious recipes. I learned so much from this cookbook. Ann and Jane Esselstyn even put demos on YouTube ! So much fun to watch.

I’ve invited friends over to make the S.O.B. Veggie Burgers and had loads of fun.

The reason I continue eating this way is because as I got older, I was scared of debilitating diseases. I don’t want to be diminished by poor health. Recently, I have lost family and friends to heart disease. You do know it takes years to develop heart disease. It just doesn’t happen all of a sudden like a cold or sore throat and will go away in a couple days. I am convinced you can start living a way to avoid heart disease. 

My main reason is to not have this happen to anyone you or I know. On the 2nd of September 2020, I lost my nephew to a widowmaker heart attack when he was just 48. It happened so suddenly!  I am convinced it didn’t have to happen. A huge emptiness was left in the hearts of his family, my sister (his mother) and her two daughters, his wife and four children, all the people he came in contact with through coaching, work, neighbors and me. 

The younger you are the better the time to start. I ate high fiber brown rice, granola along with my wealthy diet which included butter, sour cream, milk, chicken, fish and other meats along with fruits and vegetables. Later in 2011, I started avoiding meat, dairy, cheese, ice cream and other high fat foods when I was 69 and wish I’d started when I was a lot younger! You’re lucky, you can start now!

I beg you to consider the situation that you are in and make a healthful choice. We all have our own personal demons that run our lives in the background. The “I don’t want to”…ideas. Can you tell them to be gone and do something kind and beneficial for your life? 

P.S. There are other reasons to go WFPB…like diseases that take a long time to develop- cancer, obesity, diabetes, and other annoying and scary health problems.

Until the next sketch, peace, get the vaccine and be well, Heather

Peppers…

I told you to expect posts on nutrition or artwork. Here is a combination of the two. Last Saturday, I took a pastel workshop with Otto Sturcke which ended up being a well focused 4 hours spent on noticing the intensity of the red, yellow and green peppers. So satisfying to me because it made the thought of eating real plants so delicious.

Green, yellow and red deliciousness

Now… what to do with them? Next step is to raid the refrigerator. What do I have? Brown rice, three bean chili, sweet and yellow onions, tofu, beet greens (Dr. Esselstyn would be pleased), oregano from our garden and lots of other things that just don’t sound like they should go into a pepper. That’s it, “Stuffed peppers.” Now all I have to do is find out what spices to add. On a search for a vegan recipe, I found Ceara’s Kitchen had a really nice one that could help me through the timing and assembly steps. Helpful photographs too. One thing I will do is to keep it simple by eliminating a few things and add the things that I think will make it tasty. I do not add oil, but sauté in vegetable broth like she does. Recipes like this can be very forgiving. One of my favorite things to add would be some corn kernels.

This would be a fine dinner as a way to avoid eating a chicken. I raised chickens years ago and loved the variety of breeds that we received from Murray McMurray Hatchery. My 5 year old son and I sold eggs to neighbors and had the joy of seeing how a fluffy chick became a handsome breed of chicken and went on to laying eggs. At this time, I’d keep them was pets and wouldn’t dare to eat them. Unfortunately, factory farm raised chickens are extremely high in fat and processed under conditions that you wouldn’t expect. And you thought they were safe? Not at all. Check out this website in the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, PCRM. So, it’s stuffed peppers tonight!

Until the next sketch…peace and good health, Heather

Bufflehead ducks…

The arrival of the 2019 Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival this January 18-21 gave me good reason to consider doing a pastel of one of my favorite ducks, the Bufflehead. A striking contrast of black and white and seen diving for the aquatic invertebrates, shrimp, crabs, amphipods, isopods, snails and mussels found in the brackish water! Lately, they’ve been bobbing on the waves and sheltering in the lee of the marshes when we have the winter rains blowing through Morro Bay.

I’ve entered three pieces of artwork including this Bufflehead pastel in the “For the Birds” Exhibit at the Morro Bay Art Center. Feel free to come say “Hello” to me at the Reception on Sunday, January 13, 2-4PM.

Until the next sketch… peace, Heather

Broccoli…

As I was growing up, my mother often put a beautiful stalk of broccoli on our dinner plates. Always so bright and green along side the wide buttered noodles and a piece of roasted chicken, I couldn’t resist. Now, I skip the chicken … too much fat and it’s an animal that I came to love after raising them for their beautiful colorful feathers. I’ve altered what I eat significantly since I having  learned so much over the past seven and almost eight years now.

Recently, I found a super cookbook by Cathy Fisher called Straight Up Food which includes excellent information to keep me on track for proper methods of preparation. What to include and what to omit. Actually, it is the first cookbook that I found myself reading the “Preface” and then continued on to the “Introduction”,  “The Food”, “SOS-Free”, etc.  She teaches at TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California.

My first recipe from the cookbook was a Broccoli soup which turned a deep green because I put in a generous amount of Swiss chard. Couldn’t resist all those greens because of what I’d learned from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. You’ll  find his books listed under “Books” and “Cookbooks.” The second recipe was called Tu-No Casserole. It was amusing to me, in that I’d never made a Tuna Casserole before, but since I’m from Pennsylvania and used to creamy type of foods from the Pennsylvania Dutch region. It seemed appealing.

This cookbook I’ll continue to use frequently due to its creative and varied recipes along with its excellent compatibility with all the physicians, researchers and other chefs who follow a “whole foods plant based” approach to prevent and in many cases reverse the chronic aging diseases.

Below is a fascinating podcast about the many benefits of broccoli. Dr. Greger also mentions the best way to get the most out of it by waiting almost an hour to cook it after cutting it up. The time increases the nutritious benefits. If you cannot do that he adds a spice. So take time to listen as you play it during your daily walk. I play many podcasts during my two mile amble around the Marina Boardwalk in Morro Bay. A couple days ago, the Harmony Headlands lured me out on a walk where I listened to a podcast.

Splendiferous cruciferous a podcast by Dr. Michael Greger

Happily hiking out of 2018 and into the New Year of 2019…

Come join me, Heather

P.S. I love the color of fruits and vegetables and see that cooking is an art in so many ways. Either to alter the color of a soup or make a pastel drawing on a favorite fruit or vegetable.

On the Embarcadero…

Recently, I’d gone down to visit and  to wish Paula Radke success at her new gallery location at 701 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA. Luckily for me, she wanted to see my pastels of the Central Coast of California, so she came up to my studio and chose eleven pieces of my artwork to hang in her gallery. Also, she wanted notecards of my pastels and oils .

Here are some of the pieces of my artwork that she’s showing with her Art Glass creations.  She is inspired by the colorful iridescence found in beetles, butterflies, bird feathers and fish. It translates into her work in Art Glass with grace and beauty. It turns out that we both love brilliant and iridescent color!

If you are waiting to have lunch or dinner at Dutchman’s Seafood House drop in to see Paula Radke’s Art Glass and my pastels and oil paintings. My notecards of  Morro Rock and surrounding areas are available too.

Her gallery location is near the SubSea Tours dock where whale watching is the best there is in Morro Bay, CA.

Until the next sketch… Peace, Heather

P.S. Remember to sign in for notices on my WordPress website here and also, on my Facebook page which can be found under “Heather O’Connor @wandering.illustrator”

 

Morro Rock exhibit…

Everyone visiting “the Rock” is aghast at the immensity of the leftover volcanic plug that is often called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific” from 26 million years ago.

As iron is drawn to a magnet, artists are drawn to ‘the Rock.” Here is my entry this year in the Morro Bay Art Association exhibit while I have many more of “the Rock” in my studio. You may even contact me for a box of notecards which I amusedly call “A Box of Rocks.”

Over the Dunes – oil

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather

 

New artwork…

It’s spring and I’m ready to show you a few more pictures!

Santa Barbara fire colors flow north – Pastel

The one of the biggest fires in California’s history raged and drove towards Santa Barbara, CA and the nearby wealthy area of Montecito.  As it did, the sky over the Morro Bay State Park turned colors!

This will be in my Open Studio Tour shown along with other pastels and oils. Some a bit more calm and peaceful like this one below.

Southside light on one of the Morros – Pastel

Morning light always pleases the Nine Sisters, a group of volcanic eruptions in San Luis Obispo County. I live at the most western end of one. It’s Morro Bay well known for Morro Rock.

Until the next sketch, Heather

Bird Festival show…

This month of January, the Morro Bay Art Center is showing artists’ work focusing on the birds that we’ve seen locally and afar. I have entered three oil paintings and notecards. The Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival takes place every year In January when the birds migrate into and through Morro Bay. A very exciting time!

The show is open January 11 – February 19, 2018.

The duck display of courtship can be quite amusing or showy. Videos capture it very well, but since I paint stills you’ll have to enjoy and imagine what might be next. Lots of feathers flapping in display intrigue me.

Pintail Courtship Display                                © Heather O’Connor

Ruddy Duck Courtship II                              © Heather O’Connor

Western Gulls at Rest                                       © Heather O’Connor

California Quail in the Arboretum                                 © Heather O’Connor

To see prices, please go to the pages for available artwork at the top of this page.

Until the next sketch…Peace, Heather

A few orchids…

During the Open Studios Tour in October, I showed several pieces of artwork that are not pastels. Orchids !   Watercolors and colored pencils suited their brilliance. Only a fascination with orchids stirred me to share these with visitors. Here are what they saw…

 

Five Orchids

A closer view of the Vanda sp.

Vanda sp.

A view of the Odontoglossum sp.

Odontoglossum sp.

And a look at the Burrageara intergentic…

Burrageara intergenetic

Looking for more orchids to draw and paint…maybe in oils or pastels. Their brilliant color always make me feel so good in winter.

Until the next sketch… peace, Heather

2017 Open Studios Tour… 2 weekends!

First, I wish to invite you to my studio both weekends, October 14-15 and 21-22. Come visit for trees, a duck, several orchids, pastels and a few oils from anywhere!
Please pick up a catalog to see my location, Studio #41, in Morro Bay.
I’m looking forward to seeing you!

Second, Facebook followers remember to press the hyperlink to get to my website and sign up to follow me.

Marshlands of the Sweet Springs Preserve

The creeks from the county finally flow into the bay, then down to the ocean…

Over the Montaña de Oro dunes

Ducks galore will be arriving from the north as the weather cools and daylight becomes shorter.

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather