Saturday, August 11, 2018

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THINGS REALLY CHANGE


The More Things Change,
The More Things Really Change




Still Life with Oranges  in a Basket ( detail)
James Aponovich


Years ago ( By that I mean anything more than last year) in the 
New York art world, Summer meant that come July or August the
galleries closed and everybody fled town. New York became a
ghost town. Now, with the Internet and Art  Fairs everywhere it
is business 24-7 / 365.




Hirschl & Adler Modern, the gallery that represents me, 
decided to organize an exhibit of  current gallery artists and pair them with
artists from the past of their collection. 
The show was curated by
Lauren Riggs and Yarden Elias.




Severin Roesen (1815-1872)
Two-Tiered Still Life with Fruit
oil on canvas,  30" x 40"



They asked me to select two of three artists who have influenced me.
Hmmm. Since they didn't have any Giovanni Bellini's I decided on three American artists,
one being Severin Roesen.  The curators then asked me to write a few words about Roesen's 
influence on me and my work.




This statement is hanging between  the two paintings, mine and Roesen's








Little known fact: This painting, Still Life with Oranges in a Basket,
was done while I worked on a portrait of my friend, Robert O.



Portrait of Robert O.
James Aponovich
oil on canvas



Still Life with Oranges in a Basket
James Aponovich
oil on canvas





By the way...


Hirschl & Adler
is now in The Fuller Building
41 E. 57th St.
New York, NY






Copyright 2018 
James Aponovich

Sunday, June 24, 2018

HANDS IN THE DIRT....



Our hands have been in the dirt for the past few weeks.




With the gift of good weather  James and I have set out to
work in our gardens. This year it is somewhat of a different task.
While we were away in Umbria eating all the foods that were in season there, likewise, here in
New Hampshire a woodchuck was dining in our garden. It ate well.  I
discovered this caper on my first real look at the perennial border. Something was wrong,
I observed large gaps where by this time in Spring young plants should have emerged.
The first big clue..... all the missing Tall Garden Phlox, there was without doubt a
critter in the picture and it was most certainly a woodchuck. Phlox is a known  delicacy to
those garden raiders.

Strange, I though, other plants were also  on the Missing List; a large stand of Astilbe,
Baptisia, and Coral Bells. Were these plants lost due to winter kill, collateral damage caused
by this digging varmint or  simply eaten by it?

A garden restoration project was at hand. The damage was done but to keep from allowing any more James put up a critter fence, above ground and below.

We visited our favorite nurseries to replace plants, then got ready to get our hands dirty.






First on the list was to clean up the mess, filed holes and then prepared to replace plants.
Once the restoration was complete, then the usual weeding, edging
and mulching was left to do.

With the work complete it is time to share the view.








This is a private garden. It is tucked behind a wall and the house with a gate at the entrance.
It is an extension of our house and can be viewed from all of the windows on the southeastern side.
This garden is an intimate space where stepping out the back door lands you right into it's
midst and like any room it can be walked through. A  small bench in the shaded end of the border  provides a quiet place to sit. This is a very private place that requires an invitation.







OUTSIDE THE GATE



On the other side of the gate is another area under a stand of hemlock, this
is the Shade Garden. James and I ( mostly James) have been gardening
in these beds to stay cool and out of the sun.





Again I would say that this area is an extension of the house yet it goes beyond that,
inviting itself to be visited. The cool shade welcomes you to  refresh
yourself and to sit and rest awhile.






After marathon weeks in the dirt, we have taken back our garden.

Time to take a break in the shade.





Favorite Nurseries


Walker Farm
Dummerston, VT.


Spring Ledge Farm
New London, NH


Wentworth Greenhouse
Rollinsford, NH









Wednesday, May 16, 2018

VENICE....Small Bites





The palazzos of Venice float on the lagoon and canals, or so it seems.
A city that seems impossible. It is easy to find that you have walked miles, crossing countless bridges over charming canals, that at times are clogged with gondolas. Gondoliers duck under these bridges and somehow negotiate through the other boats.
Narrow alleys lead to open piazza's where people fill cafe's and benches while children kick soccer balls or chase the pigeons.
After all the walking it is good to duck into a bar for  a glass of wine and a bit to eat.



Our favorite place for Cichetti is in Dorsoduro, canal side.
It is called Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi.
A perfect stop for a late afternoon snack.



 If you plan on sitting outside along the canal they will give you plastic.
If you are staying inside (no seats) real glasses and plates are in order.
On this day, we stay inside. Take a look in the case and decide what you want, then order up a glass of wine.


Smoked Swordfish  with a drizzle of Balsamic and a large caper, Tuna with
horseradish and a drizzle of dark chocolate, Whipped bacala, Gorgonzola with walnuts,
Cipolle with Anchovy.......on and on.
 Small bites on toothpicks!



Refreshed! Back out to do more exploring in the magic of Venice.



Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi
Fondamente Nani 992
Dorsoduro
Venice




Friday, April 27, 2018

The Arc of Life....l'Ingresso


THE ARC OF LIFE

L'INGRESSO




L'INGRESSO
James Aponovich
Pencil on paper, 15" x 9"



After a particularly difficult yet successful year at the easel, we 
arrived in Panicale for an extended stay. It was time to put the paint brushes
 down for awhile. However, not wanting to push the 'Project' aside, I
needed to focus on a simple but involved drawing. I chose drawing
because it is the most elementary form of expression, a pencil, a piece of
paper, and of course, an eraser.

While the 'Arc Of Life' project is about people, I felt drawn (pun intended)
to the foyer of our apartment in Panicale. I am including it in
the project because it is void of people yet everything in the drawing was
made by someone. There exists a sense of quiet anticipation that
absorbs the atmosphere .






copyright 2018 James Aponovich

Thursday, April 26, 2018

13 GOBBI ( Tuscany)




I have read about this technique where hot pasta
is put into a  large wheel of Pecorino, but I never experienced watching
this magic happen.....or eating the end result of the show.






We learned from Aldo, of Bar Gallo, that a small ristorante in
Montefollonico was the place to go for this pasta, and his recommendations
have always proven to be very good. James and I
along with our friends, Paul and Betty, decided to take a short
road trip over to Tuscany for lunch.

After sharing an antipasti of Carpaccio, it was time for the main attraction...
Tagliatelli being twirled and whirled  and tossed in a wheel of Tuscan Pecorino. It was fun to watch the bowls of cheesy pasta
  prepared before us, and even more fun to eat.
Betty called it, ' Italian Mac & Cheese!' She's right. The aroma was full and comforting.
 You've got to eat while it's still hot !

Nothing else needed after a bowl of this pasta, except  maybe an espresso and a walk.

Definitely worth a trip to 13 Gobbi where the staff are friendly,
the food is good and the town of Montefollonico is small and lovely.
Next time I want to spend time exploring this medieval town in the Val d'Orcia.





Monday, April 16, 2018

ARTICHOKE DAZE (Part 2)

 ARTICHOKE DAZE
Part 2
THE LITTLE LASAGNA ALLA VIGNAROLA  (sort of)





A Lasagne is 'stuff' layered between sheets of pasta.
Of course, the 'stuff' is important, be it meat, vegetables or a combination.
But the ultimate success of a lasagna depends on the quality of the pasta.
The sheets must be super thin so that they take a supporting and unifying role,
to the filling, but in reality the pasta makes or breaks the lasagna.



THE CAST OF CHARACTERS


Fave and Artichoke

Take equal amounts of cooked fave and artichokes




Cooked guanciale

Fry as much guanciale as possible until crispy, remove
from pan, leave fat. Fry half of a diced onion and a couple of
cloves of chopped garlic in the left over fat.
( or use olive oil if you are a sissy)




Besciamella

Prepare a white sauce (Besciamella). In a sauce pan melt
2 Tablespoons butter and add 2 Tablespoons flour.
These are equal amounts, if you want more sauce add more butter and flour.
Make a Roux and slowly add whole milk until it's all nice and creamy.
Mash the cooked fave and minced parsley and mint and add to the sauce.
Maybe, ( if no one is looking) add some grated Parmesan cheese.
Salt and pepper to taste.





Mint and Parsley minced




Besciamella with Fave and Herbs



THE ASSEMBLY

If you are near Castiglione Del Lago ( Umbria), go to The
Pasta Ladies ( next to the Esso Station) and buy fresh pasta sheets.
(Don't mention my name, they won't know who I am).
If not, buy or make fresh pasta. You can used dried, but it's not
as yummy. Pre-cook ( almost al dente) the pasta, rinse sheets in cold water
and place on a kitchen towel and pat dry.
Now in a small baking pan layer besciamella, artichokes, guanciale and
grated Pecorino cheese. Repeat layers until your 'stuff' is gone.
Italians usually have only 3 layers of pasta.




Top with more besciamella and grated cheese.




Bake in a preheated  375 degree F. oven ( 190 C.) for about 30-40 minutes
until golden or you can't stand to wait any longer. Let it rest
for about 10 minutes ( sorry).





Remember to wash it down with Red Wine.
BUON APPETITO!










Wednesday, April 11, 2018

ARTICHOKE DAZE....From the Studio To the Kitchen


ARTICHOKE DAZE
Part 1
From The Studio to the Kitchen



Artichokes Hanging
James Aponovich
Oil on canvas,  20" x 16"



In Italy, artichoke season runs from about January through April.
The Italians ( and me ) go crazy for them.




Artichoke
James Aponovich


They are steamed ( Romana), Fried ( Ebracio), sliced raw into salads, and in this
case made into Lasagne. You never see people dunking them into a bowl of butter, that seems to be an American thing, but it sure is good.
But, first things first, they must be painted.....INTO THE STUDIO!




5 Artichokes
James Aponovich
oil on canvas, 18" x 28"


Sort of like 'Ducks in a row'. They all sit very patiently for their portraits to
be painted. Now it's off to the kitchen and
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!







THE FAVA PHASE

In early April, the first of the Fava Beans arrive in Italian  markets.
They are so tender they can (and are) eaten raw right out of the shell.
One day in Panicarola, I was standing in line waiting to buy some Fava Beans
when a man, who had nothing else to do, very carefully explained to me
the proper Umbrian method of eating Fave.

Pop some Fave Beans out of their shells
Cut a slice of Pecorino Cheese
Put both into your mouth
Chew
Wash everything down with Red Wine.


Great, but I was after something else. If this lady in front of me doesn't
wipe them all out, I'll but some for a culinary project.



A HAPPY COUPLE

After buying what was left, I went to Linda's Bottega and picked up a wedge of
Umbrian Pecorino ( sheep) cheese...Stagionata, great for grating.






VESTAL VIRGIN VIGNAROLA

In Rome, They make a vegetable 'stew' made up of equal amounts
of fave beans, artichokes, peas and lettuce, a little onion and olive oil.
It is all supported ( thankfully)by that great Italian bacon, guanciale
or pig jowl. Add some pecorino and mint...finito!
Hummm.....maybe they are onto something here.



The two Italian bacons : Guanciale on top  and pancetta below.
They may tell you that they are both the same.
Don't believe them.
Guanciale is King!



END OF PART 1