Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finding your Path

Once there was a girl who loved to draw, and sketch and color. To her, nothing was better than that.  She doodled, drew, and designed clothes and shoes for untold hours.  Never happier than when she had pencil, or marker, and paper. At 11 years old she received a 48 pack of fine line markers! And practically swooned. (the true beginning of her love of art supplies!)

She studied Fashion Design in college because she was obsessed with drawing clothing and shoes by her teen years.   Ah, but she had a professor who tried, and coaxed, and never let go of the idea that the girl should have been an Illustration major.
One day in class she strolled the room checking progress and speaking to the entire group, then came to stand at the girl's elbow and said, "It is never too late to change what you are doing. Never to late to follow the path you are meant to be on."

The girl knew it was directed at her but held fast to her plan because she was stubborn, and she had fought hard to be in that  program and thought it was where she belonged.

The 19 yr old girl was absolutely convinced that Fashion Design was her calling. But, after graduation she became a textile stylist, and from there many twists and turns on a varied career path.  Some strayed far and wide, but all were tremendous learning experiences. The professor she could never quite forget, the words that hung in her memory for decades turned over and over, like a stone being polished. 
The idea that maybe, maybe that teacher was right all those years ago. Maybe it was time. When she truly realized she needed to change paths - to the right path, her true path... it was those words from college that held her steady on a long and tough road.

Decades later that girl, now a woman, knows she has found her calling, and is never happier than when she is doodling, sketching, illustrating... and bringing ideas to life on paper in ink and paint!  And, she feels profoundly lucky to illustrate for 2 print magazines, Matters and Simply Gluten Free, create commissions for both private clients and businesses, and to sell her illustrations to collectors worldwide.  She looks toward a future of increasing her illustration roster, and a lifetime of bringing ideas to life on paper!
And, whispers a thank you prayer to that college professor that could see her path long before she could.

Monday, November 17, 2014

She hears...

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right.”  ~ Henry Ford

Last week we had one of those frantic, rushed, gonna-be-a-miracle-to-catch-the-school-bus kind of a morning. It was getting more and more stressful as the moments ticked away... making the distance between our house and the bus stop seem to loom further and more impossible.

Instead of getting totally crazy I chose to take a breath and calmly said "Relax.. we're not going to make it. Let's slow down and I will drive you to school. Then we have plenty of time."

Ah, but she LOVES the bus, and the social time it affords her with friends before school starts.

"NO!  No, Mom, don't say we won't make it... if you believe it, it will be so. You need to say we can make it! Believe it and we WILL make it!"

OMG! That completely stopped me in my tracks!  I have said this dozens of times to her when I hear declarations like... "I can't do it", "It's too hard", "I will never be able to do this"

I had no idea she was actually hearing me!  And, believing!  It is not falling on deaf ears, as they say.  WOW... what else does she really hear?  Makes a great case to keep repeating all the right things, the things she doesn't seem to hear, the things that will build her up, will help her believe in herself, that will guide her to make good choices as she grows!

PS - She actually did make the bus, just barely and we did have to run full speed sprint the entire way, but she believed we could do it, and she made it happen!!  That is one powerful lesson.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

GF Crustless Spinach Quiche

I love quiche!  and a crustless version is a lovely and simple way to whip up a brunch. Or a perfect make ahead breakfast, just grab a slice and reheat.

I found this recipe for crustless spinach quiche on and I tweaked it a bit... using cheddar in place of muenster cheese as I was looking for bigger/bolder flavor.  
Also, I have made this with 6 chopped scallions in place of the onion.  Either way is mighty tasty.  And quite easy to make.  The hardest part is grating the cheese, and longest part is waiting for frozen spinach to defrost.

You can substitute 12 oz of fresh spinach leaves, chopped, for the package of frozen.  And, certainly the fresh spinach leaves were a better choice for my illustration!

Art prints of the recipe are available here.

RATINGS, from 1-5 spatulas
Time: most timely part waiting for spinach to defrost, 4
Ease:  easy to follow, no complicated steps or equipment, 5
Ingredient availability: pretty basic ingredients, 5
Taste: flavorful, smooth, lively taste, 5

Click here for a FREE printable pdf of my Gluten Free Blessing 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Perfect Fall Boots

Sugar Maple Boot, watercolor & ink, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

The leaves are starting to fall, winds are picking up, the tops of trees are kissed with the first signs of gold, orange & red, and even the heat kicked on this morning!  Autumn is taking over and pushing out the last warm days of Indian Summer.

For me the season changes are all about the shoes, most times it comes down to - "Is it sandal weather or boot weather?"  (sometimes in the-between-the-season times I can be found wearing closed toe shoes, but without socks!)

So today with our morning temperature of 44 I was inspired to get my boots in order - and I am itching to wear them.  But, since we should see 70 by this afternoon I will surely be out and about in sandals. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Live Love Laugh Bake!

I have wonderful memories of baking while growing up.  My father loved to bake, he still does. In High School, and when I visited on weekends while in college, Sunday mornings usually began with fresh baked muffins. What a beautiful thing to wake up to!  I would rush into the kitchen hoping they were still warm from the oven so the butter would get all soft and melty.

Live Love Laugh Bake, watercolor & ink, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

My Dad was always experimenting and using whatever he had on hand to add to the muffins... zucchini, carrots, ripe bananas.  We never knew what we would get but they were always so delicious.  Such a happy way to start the day, quietly chatting over warm muffins.
Dad was always the Baker in the house especially for the holidays but when my Mom was ill and rapidly losing weight his baking became a staple in the house. He was always baking something special for her. Especially cream puffs, my Mother's favorite! He baked them in hopes she would or could eat them and put on weight. And I think he hoped, that by eating them, somehow she could be saved.  
He baked love and hope and tenderness into those cream puffs, cupcakes and treats. It was love made tangible and edible.  He baked them full of love and joy.  
And hope. 
Lots and lots of hope.  
And even as the cancer ravaged her digestive system and he knew it couldn't save her, he still baked for her. And it was always joyous, festive and filled with love.
We all enjoyed those delicious moments and many are still crystal  clear even after over 30 years.
After Mom passed, Dad continued to bake muffins every weekend for whomever was home that weekend (we were all in college) and the smell, the taste, the heat, the bonding... over melting butter was a moment of sweet happiness to be deeply appreciated. 
All the more as those moments could be found even in all the grief.

What I learned from it was to...
Live fully
Love deeply
Laugh heartily 
Bake often. 
Bake with Joy, Love and Hope.
And to treasure all the sweet moments.  

Since I'd rather be sketching or painting I tend to use mixes or at least baking mixes and here are some GF mixes and flours I have used with excellent results:
King Arthur GF Baking Mix
Betty Crocker baking mixes and Bisquick

For a free pdf printable of my Gluten Free Blessing click here

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Learning from a Master, John Singer Sargent

"If you could meet anyone from the past, no matter how long gone, who would you choose to have dinner with?"  A popular, get-to-know-you kind of interview question.

Your answer can be very telling on what is important to you.  If I could pick anyone from the past, it would hands down be my Mom, but if I was to choose an artist specifically, it would be John Singer Sargent or Van Gogh.
Since it is not actually something you can do, I have an advantage, because a visual artist leaves behind an indelible stamp, color images capturing pieces of their imagination, their thoughts, and their feelings.

Singer Sargent's watercolors are so impactful and moving to me, they can  literally bring me to tears.  The man was a true genius with watercolor. His work stuns me - on screen, in print or live, doesn't matter. It quite often moves me to tears.

SO I wondered what if I could crawl inside the mind of this great master, or at least inside a piece of his art? What could I learn?  And how might it effect my own art going forward?  I decided to try my hand at a few of his paintings, to truly contemplate his color palette, his approach, his execution of a building, a landscape, a fountain, a reflection. 

The process was actually very freeing, to paint as someone else and not myself, and I felt his presence in the work as I created mine, since it was really his. And, still his work stuns me. I was copying and love how it came out, but it was his genius that chose to use those colors, those elements and that approach.

As I dared to paint after Sargent, and created these pieces, I remain in awe of his talent!

*both sold to a happy customer who had the perfect spot to hang the pair of paintings!  (updated October 6, 2014)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gluten Free Potato Leek Soup

I am always SO sad to see summer, and sandal wearing season, come to an end.
But Fall is the start of soup season, and there is nothing quite like a fresh pot of home-made soup simmering on the stove.  Talk about comfort food.  It's cozy, warm, hearty, filling the house with a yummy aroma... and if you are making it yourself then you know it's gluten free.

I am a big fan of Potato Leek soup and made a large pot last year after setting up the shots for my Simply Gluten Free assignment from March/April 2013.  Truth be told, I had never made my own potato leek soup until I was faced with a large pile of chopped leeks.  But it was really quite easy!  We were experimenting with a dairy free diet for my daughter at the time so I found a recipe that didn't call for cream. Instead it is whipped in our magic bullet creating a very creamy texture without the milk or cream. (be sure that any beef or chicken stock you use is gluten free)

It was a tremendous success - and the batch went fast!  Now as we move into cooler, and yes sadly shorter, days... it's time to break out the soup pot and start chopping leeks!
If you enjoyed my art you can see more here.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What are you hungry for?

What are you hungry for when you don't know what you are hungry for?
Remember that line from a TV commercial for a candy bar... it always stuck with me.  Pops into my head now and then... especially when combing the kitchen for something - but never quite sure what I am looking for.

There were times before I started eating gluten free that I was hungry ALL the time!  No sooner did I eat, I was ravenous again.  My blood sugar had crazy swings.  That persistent, constant hunger straightened out once my digestive system healed.

Then when my daughter was young and I was going on fumes (colic, sleepless nights, business travel, daily commuting) and had very little time for myself - I found I was self-soothing by eating.  And, as she got older I continued to do it.  It was my new habit. 

Snacking but without real satisfaction. No matter what I ate, I always had that nagging feeling I wanted something else.

It was a slow realization that it wasn't really food I was looking for.  My soul was hungry.  I wasn't taking enough time for self-care as I put my family first.  When I did that I was left with not enough for anyone... and forever feeling hungry.

When I made more time for running, meditating, and art (for the pure joy of it) the constant search for a satisfying snack disappeared.  In fact, most times when I am painting there is no hunger and I actually forget to eat. 

What are you hungry for? really hungry for?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Camping

Recently we returned from a beautiful fun-filled camping trip.
It's been a crazy summer with too much going on and I hadn't really felt relaxed since school got out.

But put me in the mountains with...
Chilly mornings
Warm sunny afternoons by the pool
Cold evenings by the campfire toasting marshmallows
Full bodied red wine (yes, red wine even while camping)And I actually started to unwind! 
Because there is nothing quite like being in the mountains. (except maybe being at the beach, but that's a story for another day)

While there I went for an early morning run with breezes in the dense leaves, laughter of kids on bikes in their pajamas, scents of bacon cooking on open fires, coffee brewing in the open air, early campfires lit to chase the morning chill..  and I finally hit my stride. Literally.

Summer Sketchbook, "Leaves", watercolor and ink, Erin Rogers Pickering

Relaxed, calm, happy, totally chill and feeling wonderful.
Summer Sketchbook, "Leaves with Patterns", watercolor and ink, Erin Rogers Pickering

As I was finishing up my run a leaf fell right in my path.
One perfect orange and yellow Autumn leaf.
The first sign of fall - and just as I was hitting my summer stride.

Friday, July 18, 2014

She remembers how to draw

Occasionally I fill in for the art teacher at a Senior Center.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of being there, and I always enjoy seeing what they have been working on since my last visit.
But, it isn't always easy.

There is a woman who is brought to class by her husband. She doesn't know her name, and I am unable to have a conversation with her.  I lay out her drawing and her colored pencils, taking out the colors she is most likely to use, instruct her where to work next and she slowly layers color.  
In small quiet strokes she works - not truly present.
And it breaks my heart.
But, she is creating art. And yesterday I saw something remarkable.

She was working with her slow quiet strokes of color when two men in the class started talking, and I see now that it broke what little concentration she had. She put down the pencil, crossed her arms, and just glazed over.  When it quieted down I went back to her, quietly handed her a pencil and showed her where she could use that color.
She began slowly and tentatively again with the small strokes.

After about 10 minutes her whole body language started to change.  She sat straighter, leaning toward her picture, tilting her head this way and that to view her progress - and most remarkably her pencil strokes became stronger, bolder, swifter. She started changing colors and using the pencils with a bold purposeful hand!  
I kept my distance so not to disturb her, but I couldn't take my eyes off her!
She was clear, determined, focused - and my God, she was present!

This beautiful woman who can't write or tell me her name, that needs moment to moment assistance with her tasks - was fully present with her art, and boldly creating her drawing.  
There was no confusion in her eyes, there was no glaze.  It was a remarkable thing to see.

She has forgotten so very much - but she remembers how to draw!! 
Flowers as I left the class that seemed to express the joy I felt!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Freezing Berries

From the July/August issue of Simply Gluten Free Magazine

Frozen strawberries on a brutally hot day!  An ideal treat.  Lucky I had some leftover from a recent assignment at Simply Gluten Free Magazine. It's been really hot by us, and truth be told - I have been melting.  Finding these ruby red, icy cold beauties in my freezer was a score!!

And, they make a terrific starting point for a refreshing smoothie.  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Making Spaghetti Squash... a tasty, gluten-free grain-free alternative to Pasta

Last weekend I was cooking for a crowd and made my first spaghetti squash to serve as a pasta alternative for those who didn't eat grains... and was seriously surprised at how easy and super tasty it was!

Now, I am not saying you would eat it and not know the difference between the squash and a spaghetti noodle, but it was delicious and  it did the trick for me.

1. The most difficult part is cutting it in half. Be sure to use a strong knife and watch your fingers!

2. Scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon.  You can save the seeds for roasting later if you like.

3. Place both sides face down on an olive-oiled roasting pan.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees.

5. Remove from pan and allow to cool enough to handle.
Using a fork scrape out the insides of the squash - it really comes out like thin noodles.

6. Eat - and Enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy 4th of July!!

Use coupon code HOLIDAY25 and save 25% on all art prints today through Tuesday July 8th!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lakeside - Summer Sketchbook Project

"Lakeside", watercolor & ink on paper, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

There is nothing quite like a weekend by a lake... so relaxing and restorative!  Quiet mornings of reading, sketching, walking, and canoeing. Sunny afternoons filled with boating, skiing, swimming and corn hole. Fun evenings playing board games and ping-pong, and roasting marshmallows over a blazing campfire.  

Great times with family! And our daughter now has friends her age at the lake... so the weekend was perfection.  And, hard to say goodbye to.

I finished up my sketch with paint this morning and it brought me right back to the peacefulness.   Looking forward to the next time and holding on to that relaxed feeling until then!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Welcome... The Color of Doors

There is growing trend by us to paint the front door in a bright or unexpected color.  And, I love it.
From the charcoal grey house around the corner with the lemon yellow door.
To the colonial blue beauty with a vibrant orange door.
And, most especially the turquoise and teal gem-tone doors I have seen on a variety of homes.
I LOVE them!  So intriguing and inviting.

The Turquoise Door, watercolor & ink on paper, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering
This is not a trend where you then match all the trim and the shutters to the door - the beauty of it is the bright and compelling front door that invites you in.  Like a secret treasure chest, I would think entering a home greeted with color like that would be a daily treat!  
It would be for me.  

Unfortunately our front door is not a paintable surface or I might be compelled to experiment with a few choices, week to week.
Welcome, watercolor & ink on paper, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering
If our next home does have a paintable door, look out - the color fun begins!

Monday, June 16, 2014

All about Choices - Bridal Note Cards

So the best feedback I received on the Bridal flat note cards, was instead of one or other - offer choices!  Sometimes the answer is a clear as a bell... and yet you don't see  it!
Glad I asked the question.

There are 3 personalized options available:
1. Your name

2. "thank you"
3. Blank
So all bases are covered, I think.  If not these are customizable so I can add whatever the Bride may wish.

They make a great gift for a shoe loving bride to be!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bridal Flat Note Cards

I am all about the flat note cards these days.  Sometimes I get an idea in my head and it won't stop pestering me until I make it come to life!  And, I have learned not to ignore the incessant call of my creative imagination.  If for nothing else but to give me peace!

But, mostly because if I give life to a creative idea it increases the flow of more and more!

So today I am getting my first cards together... Bridal flat note cards. They are 5x7 printed on a creamy, smooth white card stock. Lovely to the touch, and will have matching envelopes.  

But, I am wondering... with or without the "thank you" printed on the top?  Would love any and all input.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Once Upon a Mermaid

Once upon a time there was a toddler who flitted from activity to activity like a bird from flower to flower. 
Focus was something she rarely showed.
Until the day she saw The Little Mermaid movie.  She was captivated, mesmerized, watching it with almost unblinking eyes. The music and story were magic to her and she fell in love with Ariel and all things mermaid! She wanted to watch it over and over until she had every line (and every song!) committed to memory.

It was the beginning of her love of mermaids, but she took all that she saw very literally.  At 2 1/2 she assumed a mermaid had to have red hair because that is what she saw.  And when she started seeing other movies and other princesses she believed that to be a princess (and to be beautiful) you must have peach skin and yellow hair. 
What she was seeing was starting to define her idea of beauty... and that's when we stepped in!

We tripled the amount of books in the house with princesses, heroines and main characters of color. The Happily Ever After series on HBO became (and remains) a favorite for a fairy tale fix.

On a whim I painted a mermaid girl in her likeness. She was enchanted with the idea that SHE could be the mermaid, and that a  mermaid could look like her!

I continued to create more and more art in her likeness, and we watched her beliefs shift and expand.
The power of exposure.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Conversation with my Youngest Art Collector

Last night I met with a collector who was purchasing "Mothers... Past, Present, Future" and my 8 year daughter was along for the meeting. She listened to our conversation about art, Moms, parenting, loss, life and age-old friendships. She also watched me like a hawk when she saw me tear up as we were saying goodbye - to the collector and to the piece.
"Mom, how can you sell a painting you love if it makes you sad to let it leave?"

I explained that is was my job to create art and release it to the world. And, that I wasn't truly sad, since I was thrilled it was being purchased, but that is never easy to let a favorite go. But, if my art has deep meaning to me, then it probably will to others. So the more emotional or connected I feel to a piece, the more others will be too. The bottom line really is if I can sell my art, then I can keep painting.  

This morning she was in my studio studying the Vintage Lavender Dress painting, yet again.

"Mom, if I had enough money would you sell me this one? I love it, but I do not want to make you sad."  
As my heart swelled with love, so did my eyes with tears.

I am hanging it in her room today - and the original is hers forever! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Birthday Gift for Celiac Awareness Month

"God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well."  ~ Voltaire

Seems apropos that my birthday falls during Celiac Awareness Month!  Awareness, and gluten free eating, gave me back my health and - the gift of living well!  
For that I am deeply grateful!

To share the birthday love, awareness and a help encourage a positive attitude I am offering specials on my GF Blessing now through the end of this week, Saturday May 24th. Choose the 8x10 art print or the downloadable pdf that you print yourself.

And enjoy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Would you try Anything to get rid of your migraines?

Would you try anything to get rid of your migraines?
Would you ever sit at work with a banana peel on your forehead because you read it might ease the pain?
Would you ever take 14 pills a day – scary meds – because the Dr said it ‘might work’?
Would you take meds that made your hands or arms numb?
Or made your heart race or go out of rhythm?
Would you subject yourself to test after test after test?
Would you have an MRI every time the next Dr asked, knowing your head would be locked in that cage and you would be sent into the machine?
Would you travel to another city to see a specialist who might be able to help?
Would you eat tree bark? Or something that tasted just like it!
Would you brew and drink tea that smelled so vile it made your stomach turn?
Would you give up ALL chocolate for 22 years, or maybe forever?
Would you read every article, every book, every bit of information looking for clues/answers/relief?
Would you sit in the bathroom in the dark, feet plunged into hot water, ice pack on your head hoping, praying for a moment of relief?
Have you tried acupuncture?
Bio feedback?
Tai chi?
Have you ever brewed coffee at 3am when awakened by an aura, knowing you have 20 minutes before the sledge hammer slams into the side of your head?  That relentless sledge hammer that would go on for hours and hours, and sometimes days on end.

Would you try ANYTHING to get rid of your migraines.
and then the real question... Have you tried everything

Have you tried to eat gluten free? fully gluten free and clean? and stuck with it!
Believe it or not, it's easier than that list you just read. I know first-hand.
And it Just. Might. Work.

Imagine if after 3 or 4 months your migraines were lessening, in intensity and frequency… and then continued to diminish and slide away.

Imagine your debilitating, mind-bending, life-robbing migraines becoming a thing of the past.

Imagine going from 2-3 migraines a week, to maybe 3 migraines a year!


Would you do it?
Would you try it?


Monday, May 12, 2014

Custom Dress Painting

 My wedding gown has been in a box, in the back of a closet for the last 10 years. Maybe someday my daughter will wear it, but not sure how many times that actually works.  I have tons of lovely photos of our wedding but I still want to create a special painted keepsake. Something I could have on the wall in my bedroom or studio to see - and appreciate.  This dress below is not actually my gown, but it is one I designed based on vintage dresses.  I still need to get to my gown!
Just like I need to get going on my daughter's communion dress - her date is coming up fast.  It will be her surprise gift (a hint of it was greeted by screeches of joy!)  So I am guessing it will be a hit.
I did this pair of paintings for a family with twin and I can't wait to hear what the girls think. So while I am in the flow, I will get hers started today! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day, 3 Generations

Vintage dress forms, elegant in their faded beauty holding the spirit and the story of all the women they helped dress.

Wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day... past, present and future mothers!