We drove into Charlotte, loaded with all of earthly possessions during the hottest week in decades.

We spent our first Christmas in Charlotte, with earthly possessions and loved ones surrounding us, the first Christmas Snow in decades.  

 We do not take flirting and flittering snowflakes  for granted. We know the beauty of the moment will be fleeting like gossamer filament. Thus one can either write it down, paint it or take a photograph or two.

Pure Silence

Quiet Moments

As I look at the beautiful globe of light in the sky, a feeling of celebration and happiness rushes over me. Winter Solstice Moon golden, glowing, wishing we would all look UP and witness HER shine over our entire world. 
I wish to think that SHE is sending Moonbeams of COMPASSION and PEACE, if but for a few short days. 
It is amazing that we can all look UP into the inky black universe and see the same benevolent beaming moon....
SHE shares her all with EVERYONE, no exclusion. All we need is to look UP and SEE.

Bavarian Eye Candy

It seems like yesterday, we were walking the cobbled streets of quaint Bavarian villages acting like children given too much candy to eat. Indeed eye candy abounds from  magnificent storybook paintings embellishing stuccoed walls, Hansel and Gretel cottages, crooked chimneys spewing real wood smoke, geraniums popping up like dandelions, feather comforters hanging over timbered railings basking in the sun, bratwurst with German mustard, thick pretzels and lebkuchen cookies, centuries old store fronts beckoning us to enter and indeed we did way too many times.

Each Christmas I pull out my precious little cache of card size German Christmas books. Can't read a single word of German, but the paintings tell their story on the walls of my mind. I am so delighted to share the covers of these little tiny pieces of art and see what your mind conjures up. There was a time in my art career when I painted these types of scenes, but that was so long ago I haven't a single photo to share.

I wish I could take you inside one of these books and share each wondrous  watercolor, maybe I should, but for now.   
Take Joy in your own Holiday Traditions.

s.furner fine art: Santa Lucia Day

s.furner fine art: Santa Lucia Day

Santa Lucia Day

Last year I recall writing a blog chatting on about Santa Lucia Day and the  sheer fun of this family tradition in our family as they grew up. Time creeps up and the inevitable becomes reality. The traditional baton has now been passed down from our children to theirs. It makes my heart cheer!

Authentically Santa Lucia Day is celebrated before dawn, when the world is quiet,  the sky is dark and all are asleep. But with LITTLES in one's family, ingenuity is often the key to success.

Such as last night when we enjoyed a fun "Santa Lucia" breakfast-dinner. 

Funny Bunny didn't let a seriously slipping crown of leaves and candles deter her from eating her nummy Swedish Oven Pancake. First she doused it in pillowing pillows of whipping cream; topped with her mom's homemade raspberry sauce; pushed her crown up and licked the top off...hmmm not sure the pancake is quite as good as raspberries and whipping cream, but it was eaten with gusto nevertheless.

Decades of holidays have passed since I painted each of the FIVE BIGGIE KIDS in the family their own tile, with original recipe in BIG letters.
Swedish Oven Pancake
Each year I anticipate a frantic phone call from at least one of them, "MOM! help, I can't find my  recipe  can you PUHHHHLEASE send me a copy?"

Sure enough yesterday I was wandering in World Market, which in itself is a yummy place to be at holiday season, the phone rang LOUD (forgot to turn off) and  _____ called with THE REQUEST!!!  Love it!!! Wonder who it will be next year.  We haven't missed a year yet. 

Food Photography Good Enough to Eat

Let's just start this blog out with dessert!!! A yummy, easy recipe for a delicious holiday cake! Can't claim this as my own recipe, because it was served at a workshop and I asked for it.  So gooey and yummy I honestly thought it was HOMEMADE!!! 
Turns out to be easy-peasy because you start with one of Duncan Hines NEW gourmet cake mixes.

Follow the directions as outlined on the box. BUT............

ADD to the cake batter portion approximately one cup of chopped walnuts and one cup of Craisins (dried cranberries.)  Before mixing the cake batter put the nuts and Craisins in the ingredients, as you don't want to over mix the batter. I have used both a 9x12 pan and bundt cake pan. It is easier to stir the second caramel/apple mixture into a flat pan...but the Bundt has a more lovely presentation.

 Food Photography, amateur style.

Lovely cake waiting to be nibbled on by Mr. and Mrs. Hedgehog.  They like the nuts the best.

Now for an update on what I have been doing. I have written previously about the gift of my BIG MAMA Canon camera.  I have read the manual, ordered thick technical how-to-books, practiced and gone berserk.  Age, right brain syndrome, I don't know, but getting the settings, bells, whistles and  buttons straight has been a struggle. 

I then discovered, here in Charlotte a fantastic Photography Class website.

Brian and his team present as many as 40 workshops and travel seminars a season. If you live anywhere in the Charlotte area I can't recommend Brian and his photographers more highly. 
So the past two weeks I have taken every class I can manage. And OH HOW HELPFUL IT HAS BEEN! 
Big Mama I love you!
My last class was Photographing Food!
I loved the workshop,  teachers, students, professional and amateur photographers alike. (HMM I am below amateur level.)

So with that I share three of the photos that I took at the workshop. Truth and disclosure, Brian and his crew set up the scenarios with professional equipment and we were able to work our own cameras and photograph the set ups. 
One of the students graciously brought the food in...and served us the delicious Banana Pudding with Meringue topping. (no didn't ask for recipe.)

Art Journaling 2010

Like many painters, a journal, sketch book or notebook are part of the process of creating. I call mine  Art Journals. They are full of everything possible from fully finished paintings to collage, sketches, writings, vacation doodles, class/seminar notes and sketches, odds and ends, photographs. After each journal is completed and there are no more blank pages left, it is a burgeoning story of exploration.What joy comes from creating them.

This year's journal is no different. Some pages I have shared on my blog, but basically they are just for my pleasure and eventually something to pass down through our family. They show what I am interested in at any given point in time.

It is exciting to start posting more photos of my Art Journals..there is so much to share with you.

Occasionally I will explain how I create a page, give a short tutorial; share what I have learned; supplies and materials. My journal postings is a bit experimental and it will be interesting to see how it evolves.  Would love feed back on what you would like to learn, see or experience.

A small glimpse of some of my supplies. As time goes on I will be more specific.

Before I left Maryland for Charlotte, I had a special table to do some of my journals on, but frankly, art journals can be and is done anywhere, everywhere, is ART ON THE GO!!!

My next blog will share with you some before and after shots of pages I am working on now. If you are keeping a journal of some sort let me know. We can post a few photos of what you are doing.  This is exciting!