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”

 

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

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

Looking North…

Facing the Pacific Ocean and Morro Bay, the views are always inviting me to gaze at the ever changing moody skies and brilliant colors. Tides rise and fall making the pickle weed marshes like chameleons. Light never is quite the same.

Overlooking Morro Bay

 

Sand dunes reaching for Morro Rock…

Looking North over the sand spit

From one of the first pull offs in Montaña de Oro, I overlooked the sand spit reaching for Morro Rock. I was high up and could look down on the native woody shrubs as late summer faded them into a golden hue.

Morro Rock from the “Pit”

A surfers’ more northern access to the Pacific Ocean via the wide Estero Bay when looking  to capture the southerly breaks… I often notice the power and weight  of Morro Rock, a long eroded volcanic peak formed 23 million years ago.

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather

Exploring trees…

I’ve been gathering together some of my tree pastels  for the San Luis Obispo 2017 Open Studios Tour. Here are just a few that are available in the “original” pastel form. They’ll be framed.

Gnarly tree trunk beside Laguna Lake

Laguna Lake is a special place for birders, energetic runners, hikers, walkers and bloggers. A friend, Joyce Cory, is a keen observer at Laguna Lake. Follow the link.  Also, one of my favorite eucalyptus trees is there. You may have seen it in a previous post.

Heron Rookery in the eucalyptus taken over by Cormorants

The Heron Rookery near the Windy Cove and  Morro Bay Museum is a great viewing location for Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets along with the ever present Cormorants.

Looking into the Sweet Springs woods

Sweet Springs is one of the best locations for birdwatching…ducks, herons, eagles, raptor, owls, etc.

If you prefer the note card size, I’ll make some for you too.

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather

A tree…and many visits…

I’ve been looking at a eucalyptus tree at Laguna Lake in San Luis Obispo and thinking I could focus on it. I’ve never really been content to practice on one specific subject to draw or paint. Don’t know why… the variety of numerous subjects was more fun…so many things, all sizes, all shapes, all textures, many colors to choose from…

The idea of focusing on one tree didn’t seem that exciting. But this time, I did one pastel, then another, then a third, then a monochromatic value study, then a partial area of the eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus #5 at Laguna Lake, San Luis Obispo, CA
Eucalyptus #5

Different days, different light conditions, different weather, sunny, cloudy, windy, calm.

All in pastel, then a black and white scratchboard and lastly the oil. I kept thinking and thinking and am still thinking there is more to get to know about this tree.

Eucalyptus, scratchboard, at Laguna Lake, San Luis Obispo, CA
Eucalyptus – scratchboard

Finally, I have a little oil painting which I put in a gold plein air frame.

Eucalyptus, - oil, 5"x7"
Eucalyptus at Laguna Lake – oil, 5″x7″

Every time I went to see this tree, some new thought popped into my head. This is fun and not boring as I had thought it might be.  It was like getting to know a new friend, each minute spent with the new friend another layer of the acquaintance expanded the personality of my new friend.

Curiosity always pays off. Now it’s time to go back to visit my new friend by the lake again…

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather

 

Wrapping up 2016…

After many days doing other things*, I went to Sunny Acres*, a place where people live, farm, chop wood and grow pumpkins, to paint a John Deere 510. Sometimes machinery can have grace and charm. This one did.

John Deere 510 at Sunny Acres
John Deere 510 at Sunny Acres

Then off to see the sea… a view into the glaring light at Avila Beach, CA.

Glaring light
Glaring Light 

Then a view from the top of Black Hill in Morro Bay, one of the nine volcanic peaks forming a string of mountains going into San Luis Obispo.

Bright Light
Bright Light from Black Hill

Until the next sketch…peace, Heather

*things – Recovering from the shocking 2016 Election results and planning my focus on having lots of work to do on healthy lifestyle and healthy planet for all of us. My view is to live and vote with a 100 year perspective in mind.

Sunny Acres is a clean and sober living facility located on the beautiful Central Coast of California. It sits on a 72-acre ranch at the edge of the city limits of San Luis Obispo, CA.