Sunday, September 22, 2013

Nectar of the Late Summer Harvest

The nectar of which I speak is that of nectarines, the taste is the essence of summer.

James and I invited friends over for a harvest moon dinner. James spotted great looking beef short ribs in our market and that began the menu. The short ribs were braised in wine and served with a horseradish cream sauce on the side.  Puree of parsnips along with roasted asparagus rounded out the entree course that we were making.
Judith and Robert arrived with bounty adding an assortment of fine cheese to have with drinks as we chatted before dinner.
She also provided her famous tomato, avocado salad as well as a dessert of fresh ripe nectarines. Perfect.

The full harvest moon rose over the tree tops just as we sat down to eat.

Happily James and I were left with the remaining nectarines. The next morning they were put into a saute pan ( cubed with skin left on) and slowly cooked down.

As they cooked down some sugar was added. In this case there were the equivalent of 3-4 nectarines, which about a quarter cup of sugar was added and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Leaving the skins on the fruit makes for the beautiful color of the sauce.
Strain through a mesh strainer , discard skins and cool.

There are countless ways to use this  sauce. In a parfait glass add slices of nectarines or other stone fruit and maybe some berries, layer with mascarpone cream and drizzle with sauce. Pair the sauce with vanilla ice cream and the result is peaches and cream.

Before the nectarines disappear for the season you must try this.
It is true nectar of the gods.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Preparing for a Show...............Six Weeks and Counting

With a show on the horizon James has been spending a great deal of time in his studio. The painting that he is working on in the photo will be the largest in the show. The paintings are both Italian based with still lifes placed in an Umbrian landscape and American paintings with  the still life in front of landscape / seascape that are New England.

Preparing for an exhibition is an enormous endeavor. The resulting show is quite an achievement for any artist, but the work is all consuming. Each show is a requires years of work, but it is always the final months that prove to need that extra burst of concentrated effort, and that is the phase where James is right now.

In the morning a cup of coffee, a large cup, then off to the studio, which means a walk down the hall.
A break for lunch and of late that has meant tomato sandwiches at our table in the atrium, a walk then back to the easel.

Days are getting shorter that translates into studio time is also getting shorter. When brushes are cleaned then it's off to the market that is about 2 miles away to select what we are making for dinner. We return home to a glass  of wine while we prepare our meal, a favorite part of each day.
So there, James does get out of the studio!

People often ask him how many paintings he will need for his show. The answer to that is about 20, more or less. The other question often asked, "How long does it take you to do a painting?"
The line used in response by artists is, " a lifetime."  But the real reply is that each painting is different so that it is impossible to give a flat answer. Painting involves problems solving and balance and each require their own time, it's unpredictable. James will tell you that each painting takes on its own life, it speaks to you, so you follow.

James has about six weeks to complete the work that he would like to have included in the upcoming show.
Although James has had a number of shows in New York, this will be the first
 at  Hirschl & Adler Modern, the gallery that now represents him.

When James is working towards a show the amount of work it takes creates some stress but it is also extremely exciting.
The work coming out of his studio is most impressive and I look forward to seeing in the gallery , each individual painting and then the whole of the everything looks as a body of work.
In the studio, the painting on the easel and maybe one or two others  in various states of completion are the focus. When the work, created over the course of 2-3 years, maybe more, is put together in a show       the vision of the artist is better seen and understood.
Hirschl and Adler is an important  gallery with a beautiful exhibition space, and the people there are supportive.

 Let's face it New York  City is an thrilling place!
Maybe we will see some of you there!