‘Dry Gold’ – autumn on the prairie edge

This was the start of a wonderful (scary) adventure. Acrylics are opposite of watercolors, not quite as opposite as nasty smelling oil paint would be, but close.

In the watercolor world- white is given, easily lost, and never regained. Paper gives the white and with a wash gone wrong it will be lost. The less pigment used on a watercolor the more magic it has -as the light passes through transparent hues and bounces off the paper and back to your eye. In my mind, adding an opaque white is cheating a bit- but I’ve definitely done it since I don’t (yet) use masking fluid.

The acrylic world can be very large, or very small. Think your living room walls or that hand painted key chain from who-knows-where. Acrylic is riding close to oils without the smells and messy cleanup. Acrylic also allows light (colors, feelings, reflections) to be added after darks as highlight. So when given the charge to try out a large painting for my brother (and soon to be sister-in-law)’s home, I jumped at the chance to try my hand at acrylic. As most things. I learned along the way with tides of success and failure.

The general subject of my painting is the following photograph, from an adventure in October 2009 to the Konza Prairie Preserve, just outside of Manhattan, Kansas. Progress pictures follow as the painting unfolds on a 36″x48″ canvas.

studio setup

blocking in the sky

color blocking in ground tones

shadowy potential

adding in the ‘swarm’

branching out

addition of foreground detail

creating depth through the trees

adding foreground detail

painting finished in ‘studio’ space

check out the available 8×10 archival print on Etsy in my shop – http://www.etsy.com/listing/79250553/dry-gold-8×10-acrylic-painting-print


tomato basil bisque

An (extremely) favorite menu item, a la Harry’s Restaurant in downtown Manhattan, Kansas. Recipe featured a few years ago in a Kansas magazine when spotted by my mum.

Back a few months ago, my dear friend Sally came down to my little abode and we made a fabulous dinner. Homemade pasta ravioli with ricotta and spinach with basil pesto from last fall. What better to pair the pasta with than a delish tomato basil soup! Did I mention that basil is my favorite herb? Well its running a close race with rosemary, thyme, and ginger at least. Sure doesn’t hurt that it grows like a weed here in the hot Kansas summers.

We made the soup again about a week ago, during these strange cold, windy, and damp May days. I love the surprise of the science experiment in the middle (think 6th grade volcano).

I adore this soup. It’s what I’ve decided to ask for if I ever get really sick – with some freshly grated parmesan and a good glass of wine.  Enjoy!

sally’s ravioli!

adding pepper, basil, and flour to sautéed onion

simmering the tomatoes for the science experiment portion of the evening

adding the soda!

frothy soup. Soda added to acidic tomatoes to even out the PH before adding cream, cause it would curdle.


or half and half

enjoyed with a bit of fresh basil from the window sill

Tomato Basil Bisque

  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 3 tbl flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 cup chicken stock
  • 25 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 26 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream (i use half-n-half)
  • 3 tbl chopped fresh basil
  • oil to saute
  1. Saute onion and salt, pepper, dried basil, and flour.
  2. Whisk together, add stock, mix.
  3. Add tomatoes and stir.
  4. Cook 20 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Add baking soda and sugar.
  6. Simmer 15 more minutes.
  7. Add cream and fresh basil
  8. Serve.

Makes 9- 8oz bowls.