Painting is great therapy. It’s forgiving and kind. If you don’t like what’s happening on your canvas, you can paint over it. There is no messing up and you can right your wrongs. Everything else in life really can be just as simple. I am guilty of complicating things and inflating their importance. When I take a step back and look at what I’m doing, I am bringing awareness into the picture. Is that what it means to live in the now?
We spent last week working, cleaning and getting ready for our trip to Orlando. We took advantage of a deal using a Virgin America voucher. It’s always a pleasant flight when you travel with VA; neon lights in an airplane make an otherwise crappy flight fun. Another perk is taking off from the International Terminal, where you might catch some interesting art. These paintings and sculptures caught our eye. Mainly because they were huge pieces that you couldn’t miss, but they were also really well done and nice to look at. The painter is originally from China and the sculpturist was born in Hong Kong. Both artists currently reside in the Bay Area… neat.
The largest attraction that brought us to Orlando was Big Mouse. However, we’ve heard such phenomenal things about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, that we decided to squeeze in a trip to Islands of Adventure. Supposedly, Rowling insisted that everything in The Wizarding World stay true to the books and movies as much as humanly possible. That means you won’t find any branding within the gates of Hogsmeade. There is no Coke, but there is Butter Beer. There is bottled water, but it bears no label. There is food, but it’s not Burger King… try Shepard’s Pie with Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Corn. The fare is actually decent, isn’t ridiculously expensive and it won’t make you vomit when you ride the Dragon Challenge. These photos don’t do the dining hall justice. Everything is in the details and unless you’re well versed in the stories of Harry Potter, you might not get it. We’ve never read the books and have barely seen the movies, so much of the stuff we saw didn’t really mean anything to us. Though after today, we’re quite intrigued and want to read the books… all seven [yikes] of them.
It was time to let our vocal chords rest from the roller coaster, so we wandered into Honeydukes and Zonko’s where they sell sweets, sweets, more sweets, plus knickknack wizarding tricks and toys. Their candy prices were offensive. Ten bucks for a ‘chocolate’ frog smaller than your palm. Steep. Did we buy one? Yeah. We are suckers.
Somehow, we were also lured into waiting in line for Olivander’s Wand Shop. We still don’t know why we stood there for 90 minutes baking in the heat, only to spend 2 minutes in the store and come out empty-handed. A few of the kids didn’t mind. They got a kick out of choosing their wand and cape, along with their geeked out parents.
After eight hours of in the park, we were grouchy, hungry and suffering from sensory overload. Emeril’s restaurant looked like a good place to eat, until they sat us next to the kitchen with the automatic sliding door that opened and closed each time the wait staff walked through, which was about every 25 seconds. Annoying as heck… all we wanted was to dine in peace. We paid through the nose for our meal, but it was tasty nonetheless. At least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves.
We made this in 1985. Wax crayon [probably Crayola, because that was our favorite] on 8.5″x11″ white paper. One of the last surviving pieces of artwork from our childhood. We actually remember making this; it was serious business and demanded our undivided attention and concentration. We were [still are] quite fond of this drawing. It’s the kind of thing your aunt or grandma would take great pride in sticking to their refrigerator, to collect dirt, grime and grease. Turns out, our aunt took a liking to this drawing, too. So much in fact, she supposedly coerced us into writing that fabulous poem on the back side. In any case, she framed it and has kept it all these years. It’s been framed for the better part of the last two and half decades; naturally, the paper has discolored and the crayon has faded. We only hope it will last another twenty five.
We’re too embarrassed to say how long it’s been since we’ve picked up a paint brush. We’re rusty and in need of practice, so we’re only sharing a photo tidbit. It’s far from done and if we can’t get it to look awesome, then we’re going to have to hang our heads in shame and use it as a bath mat. We’ve been painting on naked canvas, throwing in some ink and pencil here and there. Faces have always been our favorite thing to paint and draw. It’s the most accessible subject matter – they’re everywhere. Simple by idea, but intricate and complex all at the same time. We’re fascinated by faces. The Millennium Trilogy is what got us interested in this project, but our attention could sway and it might end up taking a turn. We’ll see.
While we were painting, our fresh figs were on the verge of rotting after sitting in the kitchen for only a few days. Why does produce from TJ’s go bad so fast? We didn’t have much of any raw ingredients lying around, except for a tub of sugar. We found a recipe for really easy fig preserves [figs + sugar = fig preserves… works for us]. It called for 1 pound of fresh figs, which [according to our Google search] equates to about 12 small figs. That didn’t sound right to us… only 12 measly figs? We’re not equipped with a fancy pants scale, so we eye-balled it and threw all the figs we had into a saucepan, mixed in 1 cup of sugar, mashed it up and cooked over low heat for at least an hour [the recipe said to cook for only 30 minutes, but who’s counting]. When the color and consistency looked desirable we removed the pan from heat. Voila. Sticky, sweet, spreadable figs. Just super.