I hope everybody had a great Christmas (or whatever you celebrate)! I had a Christmas sponsored by Flying Dog – my mom and I made onion soup with beer in it, lamb with a sauce that had beer in it, and also we drank beers.
I seem to have picked up whatever bug my brother had – my throat is sore and my whole body is achey. I’m usually OK if I don’t move around which lulls me into a false sense of security about how healthy I really am. My shoulder that I hurt a few weeks ago is flaring up so I’ve shoved a half-bag of frozen corn under my collar and I look like some lopsided hunchback. It’s pretty pathetic.
I received Make the Bread, Buy the Butter as a gift, a funny little cookbook slash memoir by a woman who lost her job and tried to figure out which things are more economical to make at home and which things you should just buy.
Apparently making your own yogurt is actually not all that complicated…except the part where you forgot you were sick and you used ice-cold milk so it takes like half an hour to heat up. Stirring that milk was the hardest thing I’ve EVER DONE EVER*
Next day: straining like crazy (I prefer the thicker, Greek-style). I put the yogurt in the oven to yogurt-ify and didn’t realize how filthy said oven was until pulling the yogurt out. I’m not sure how many live cultures are in this thing is what I’m saying. I probably shouldn’t eat it until I’m back to full health.
I’ve been cooking a lot-ish lately. I usually make all my food at home but I’ve been expanding my repertoire, especially since I’ve been trying to eat clean which means I need to figure out multiple ways to cook tuna and quinoa. I’ve noticed that things seem easier in the kitchen – I’m no master chef but I’m way more confident about throwing stuff into a pan and creating something actually edible. I “have a feeling” of what flavors will taste good together.
As my cooking skillz have been growing, my arting skillz have gone into disrepair. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I struggle to create new pages. I seem to remember this was easy and fun? ¿Qué pasó? I looked through some of my older stuff and really like it (I think I’m far enough away from these pieces that I’m allowed to say that – these are a few years old so they may as well be by a different person. )
Of course, some of my older stuff is junk I would never post today:
But this sort of prolific output was how I was figuring out my style and honing my techniques, such as they were/are.
I’m becoming way more liberal on the subject of “technique.” It’s less about perfecting the “right” kind of technique and more about developing the techniques that allow you to express what you want to express. Of course, learning to paint or draw (or whatever) in a formal setting is only going to make that easier for you, but there’s no need to have an inferiority complex if you don’t have that training.
The thing is, you guys, you have to practice no matter what your style. Duhhhhh. There is this idea out that that if your style isn’t photo-realistic painting, you must not practice or need to. I am learning first-hand how untrue that is. Stuff that was easy for me last year is actually pretty hard for me now. I find myself following my old formulas as a fall-back because I’m so rusty. Keeping your skills sharp will allow you the freedom and comfort to try new and cool stuff.
While previewing this post I checked out the related posts and I have written about the importance of keeping a consistent practice. I give myself very good advice but I very seldom follow it (also, it’s cute that I say in that post that I don’t see myself performing professionally or teaching, both of which I do now).
I figure if the dish tastes like I want it to, I can let some questionable or inefficient kitchen habits slide (I have this annoying thing where I must use every damn bowl in the kitchen. I will put something in a bowl and decide I “just don’t like” that bowl and put it in another bowl, and repeat this until everything is dirty). Similarly, if you feel your pieces satisfy your intention (which will change over time, by the way), then they are good.
PS I am leaving out the topics of continuing education, improving and challenging yourself to try different styles etc; these are all necessary ingredients to a well-rounded artistic life, of course, but this blog post is already long enough what with the overwrought cooking analogy.