Monday, November 6, 2017

Monday Motivation - The Beauty of Fall Produce

Buying seasonally gives you the opportunity to eat produce with greater flavor, and the best value.
What if the veggie art looked at tasty as the donuts or the pie? Would it inspire us to buy more - and eat more - vegetables!?
What if we kept looking at beautiful vibrant pictures of vegetables, would it shift what we crave? 
I believe it would!
It's all about the power of suggestion.

I was following an FB forum discussion this weekend on weekly food prep and there were so many who roast vegetables in bulk for the week. A brilliant and a mouth watering suggestion. Simple enough with olive oil, some fresh herbs, salt and pepper... I will certainly be roasting veggies today - and ignoring the rain.

You can find more of my art in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Friday, October 20, 2017

Leaves, Color and the inspiration of change

When I was in 2nd grade we had a family reunion picnic at Bear Mountain State Park. It was October and it must have been peak leaf weekend that year!  The entire park was filled with a carpet of the most magical eye popping color this 6 year old had ever experienced.

I spent most of the day joyously collecting leaves.  Each one was a surprise and delight. The memory is SO vivid I can see it, feel it and smell it. I was so absolutely captivated and lit up by the colors.

I am still that person picking up leaves every fall. Delighted with any and all I find. When my daughter was little I came up with dozens of projects for us to make with them - and it gave me an excuse to collect them with her.  I have decorated with them, photographed them, painted, sketched, and just sat in awe of them.

I bring them to classes I teach - the range of colors in a single fall leaf is astounding. Great practice for wet on wet watercolor painting, or blending colors without losing the purity and beauty of each hue.

No matter how many decades pass, every fall, there will always be a bit of that 6 yr old picking up leaves, gathering color, collecting magic.

You can find more of my art in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Food, Art, and Anxiety

Recently I was showing my work at an event, and my painting of the 7 Fishes, which was displayed among many others, became the magnet of many conversations.

People were drawn to it by the whimsy, the colors, the splashes of water drops, the frame... and the list went on and on. 

When I explained  the back story and that my inspiration was my friend's Christmas Eve party last year - and the dinner of the 7 Fishes - the reactions were all very powerful!  And surprisingly very polarizing.

The conversations triggered memories in all... varied memories - the joy of childhood holidays,  melancholy, sadness of missing a loved one, the like or dislike of eating seafood, the creativity of food preparation, and one woman reacted with absolute pure anxiety!  She was so stressed out she bolted from me. 
I felt terrible that a piece of my art and a conversation about inspiration could elicit that response, and yet not surprised.
The painting terrified one woman, and so captivated another that she purchased it.

Art can do that.
Food can do that. 
Memories can do that.
It all depends on where you stand and what you have lived.

You can find more of my art in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday Sketch Prompt

Fall is here, school is open, and with it comes structure - structure that I desperately needed to keep myself on track. I am getting back to my regular sketching practice - and sharing it with anyone who also needs to be reminded to carve out more time to create! 

I even bought a 'messy' sketchbook when we were back to school supply shopping.  A book purely for messing around in. No pressure. No assignments. Just experimenting and playing. It feels like freedom - and an open door!

As summer is exiting and Fall is in the morning air in New Jersey I suggest picking up a leaf or a small branch outside for your sketch model. Everything is still pretty green at the moment but the colors will be changing quickly now.

Have fun and happy sketching!

You can find more of my art in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or come follow my illustrations and art on Instagram

Monday, June 19, 2017

My favorite Bob Ross quotes - Monday Motivation

I hate to admit it but when Bob Ross was on television I was not a fan. Something about the show drove me nuts, never sure if it was his voice, the way he painted, maybe it was too quiet - I couldn't put my finger on it.

Looking back from where I stand now I would say it was watching someone paint - when I was barely touching art supplies. I had been convinced by others - and then myself - that it wasn't a worthwhile pursuit.  Sadly, I went through the better part of a decade creating no art. 
It was a mistake.
Just as it was a mistake that it took me so long to appreciate Bob Ross.  ("but there are no mistakes, only happy accidents.")

Now I create art pretty much on a daily basis, and though I don't watch his videos - I love reading his quotes and his thoughts on art and life - All gems!

These are some of my favorites:

--> “The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”

"Whatever makes you happy, you put in your world."

-->"Talent is a pursued interest. In other words, anything you are willing to practice, you can do."
"You need the dark in order to show the light."

"Trees don’t grow even, they don’t grow straight… just however it makes them happy."

-->Create your own world right here on the canvas."

“Just let go — and fall like a little waterfall.”

 And my all-time favorite....
"Every day is a good day when you paint!" 

I am off to follow Mr. Ross's advice.  I hope you enjoy your day and spend some time doing what you love!

You can find more of my art in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lemon Bars - gluten free dessert

 Earlier this year family we had family in town to see a Community Theater performance that my daughter was in. They came to the house for pre-show dinner, and my niece made lemon bars.

Now my daughter loves all things lemon.... Ices, sherbert, ice cream, cookies, pie, pudding, you name it - if it's a sweet treat and it has lemon, she is all over it.  She was so into the lemon bars I was afraid she would miss her curtain call. But, we jumped in the car in the nick of time, with lemon bar number 3 tucked in a little dish for her intermission snack.

Since everyone was enjoying them as much as her we had precious little leftover. We baked another batch ourselves before the week was out.  I even made it in a pie dish a few months later for PI day at school.  Such a delicious buttery shortbread crust and creamy lemon custard - there was none left over that day!
It's an simple recipe to adapt to Gluten-free, just sub your favorite GF flour. It is especially easy if you have a baking partner - while one zests and juices the lemons, the other is mixing the batter. 

We used The Pioneer Woman's recipe but there are ton of recipes out there (all quite similar) and I highly recommend trying one.  The lemon bars are very much a crowd pleaser!

You can find more of my art in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Thursday, June 1, 2017

What I learned from a Gluten Free Chicken Wing

I think I have always been intimidating by cutting meat. I felt like I didn't know enough about meat to cut it properly, so I avoided it. And bought everything as parts, and left any roast carving to someone else, anyone else!
Now I am not sure how you could really mess any of it up - but still I avoided because I thought I couldn't do it.

I have have more than a few assignments for Simply Gluten Free Magazine that involved cutting, carving, chopping, etc and my confidence has grown over time as I try more things.  I have found I can carve a turkey, open a rock hard raw spaghetti squash, butterfly a pork chop, create lovely pineapples cubes from a whole pineapple - and make my own drums and wingettes from whole chicken wings!

It was challenging for the first few but I got the hang of it as I went along. Also I figured if they weren't perfect nobody would care - the family was just eagerly anticipating the wings that were soon to be on the grill. So, no judgements, no mistakes, no problem.

I saved money buying the whole wings as opposed to the pre-cut packs, and put on a pot of stock with the end tips while the the wings were marinating.

My chicken wing chopping experience was like most things in life - best not to fear, face it head on, give it a shot, keep trying, and practice makes perfect!
And now matter how badly you butcher them - in the end they all tasted delicious.

If you enjoy my art you can find more in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Pinks of Spring

Current Obsessions:
   Mood Boards.
   Spring blossoms.
   Smoothies - made with carrots, 
strawberries, celery, mango and orange juice which equals a tasty, healthy gorgeous coral pink drink.
   Baking cheery cupcakes.
   Dreaming of warm sunny spring days - they will arrive, eventually!

They Must!
If you enjoy my art you can find more in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Monday, March 6, 2017

Monday Motivation - Eating from the rainbow 
Every Monday is an opportunity for a fresh start!  What extra vegetable can you add into your day? 
Try buying something different, something new, or something you haven't had in a long time.

What color will you pick from the rainbow?

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."  Zig Zaglar 
If you enjoy my art you can find more in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram


Friday, March 3, 2017

Jamaican patties - Gluten Free baking
Jamaican Patties.
My Caribbean born husband's all-time favorite!
But, that gluten-filled flaky pastry - my nemesis as it crumbles and falls everywhere. Everywhere.
I freak out when they are in my house as it will mean diligence, and cleaning and an unsafe kitchen. It totally stresses me out. Then it puts a strain on us.  Not a good scene.

But still, Jamaican Patties. 
So I finally put my fear aside and tried my hand at them. Full disclaimer I have always lived in fear of baking anything that is billed as PASTRY. Sounds like something for a much more seasoned, experienced baker. Not me.  I prefer boxed mixes so I can't mess up. Baking has always been a little scary for me. It's like magic and I didn't get the wand, or the spell.

Last week I was feeling daring so I decided to make a pan of Jamaican beef and intended to bake biscuits to serve with the beef, and a salad. Drop biscuits I kinda have down pat. (using Pamela's GF pancake mix)

I suppose I was feeling more daring than I even thought and on a whim started the pastry! Yes. Pastry! 
They would win no awards for visual presentation - they were very haphazard looking, let's say. I will need to practice a bit (or a lot) and make them a few times to improve the shape and folding, and cute fork lines around the edges (love those cute fork lines!)

But, the taste - the taste was incredible!!  
My St Thomas husband said that I nailed it!  My (gluten-free) daughter who has been desperately missing patties ate a few bites, stopped, breathed and said "and then the angels sang"
That my friends, was the best review I have ever gotten, for anything!!

I used this recipe from and I used GF baking mix from Aldi, even though the recipe calls for flour.  And, this is why I haven't been given a magic baking wand - I am always kind of flying by the seat of my pants! 


If you enjoy my art you can find more in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Celery - it's what's for breakfast!

More raw vegetables! - one of my resolutions as we rolled into 2017. Easy to say, and even easier for that decision to slip away in the day to day routine.
I realized even if I made the effort a few days a week it would be an improvement.  Every little bit counts. Every little bit adds up.

At the top of the list was to add more dark leafy greens (the kale crisps are a tasty option), second only to more celery!  
I have been reading so much on the tremendous health benefits of celery so I keep looking for interesting ways to add it in.
     Reduces inflammation
     Helps prevent kidney stones
     Aids digestion
     Loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber

I chop it into tuna, egg or chicken salad, tossed salads, soup, jambalaya, but recently I have been experimenting with my magic bullet for breakfast... blending a stalk or two with a combination of the following that I have on hand: carrots, bananas, frozen strawberries, orange juice, yogurt, etc. 

I like to play and make different combos each time to see what I can create.
My favorite is 
1 stalk of celery
1 carrot
6 frozen strawberries
2 oz of OJ
2 ice cubes.
Refreshing and inspiring!

If you enjoy my art you can find more in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.
Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Monday, January 23, 2017

Ode to Pie... National Pie Day!

Monday January 23rd - National Pie day!
 illustration from Nov/Dec 2014 Simply Gluten Free Workbook Illustrated
illustration from Simply Gluten Free Nov/Dec 2014 Workbook Illustrated

Pie is awesome, I would say we can all agree on that, but I know there are others that for some crazy reason prefer cake. 

But I am, and always have been, a pie person.
To me they are all incredibly delicious...
Sweet Potato
Chocolate Cream
Banana Cream
Coconut cream
Lemon Meringe
Peanut butter

And while we are at it - Shepard's Pie and Pot Pie
Not a bad one in the lot!

Now that I have made myself really hungry... I may need to bake one this evening - what is your favorite pie? and your favorite gluten-free pie topping? 
I am a huge fan of either whipped cream or meringe.


If you enjoy my art you can find more in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.  Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Gluten-Free Snacking... Oven Baked Kale

 This weekend we were warming up the house with every kind of baking we could think of! Ignoring the frigid outside temperature, unless it was your turn to take out the dog.  But those trips were quick for even our new rescue pup was keeping close to the kitchen and the warm oven.
After baking a few sweet treats we were in the mood for something different.
Instead of reaching for a bag of chips we grabbed the kale from the crisper and made my daughter's favorite... Oven-roasted kale crisps.
Satisfying the craving for savory, crispy - and salty while getting a mega dose of vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Given how easy they are to make - it is truly a win-win situation.
The most time consuming part is the washing (and drying) of the kale leaves.  You want to be sure to dry them thoroughly so they will crisp well.  Then break off the big stem bits and rip the leaves into a few pieces each. We usually use curly kale but you can try any type of kale leaf.

Toss the leaves in a bowl with olive oil, salt, garlic powder and pepper before laying them out on a baking pan.  
Oven bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes or until crispy (but don't let them burn)
The kale gets crisp and airy baked this way.  My 10 year old just gobbles them up!
There are lots of variations of seasonings for all tastes.
A delicious, fun way to get in a serving of greens. The crisps can also be crumbled on top of your salad.


If you enjoy my art you can find more in my Etsy shop Erin Go Paint.  Or check out my daily illustrations on Instagram