A creative streak comes naturally to me. It shows itself in my home decorating, in my bright colored and stylish clothing, shoes and purses, and all the creative avenues that I’ve partaken in – such as sewing, crocheting knitting macramé, embroidery, cross stitching, cooking and cookbook writing, video blogging and for a very long time, about a lifetime ago, Dollhouseminiatures. During that period of creating I won many ribbons for my miniature projects, mostly from scratch.
Does being creative give you the right to call yourself an artist? Suddenly I have that question in my mind.
Are you a creative, do you call yourself an artist?
Over the past 3 1/2 years, I turn the corner on my creativity. I can give credit to Jennifer. It all started when my daughter fell in love with the art of Romero Brito. Spontaneously, I took out my markers (because as a teacher with experience in primary school education, you always have markers. Teaching students a language requires the use of the philosophy that using art to draw concepts cements the vocabulary). I put together a drawing, trying to emulate his work. One month later, after returning from Sri Lanka, the vision of the palm trees on the beaches of the Indian Ocean were still in my brain. So one day without forethought, I sketched a palm tree. It was lame as it was, but it started the whole ball rolling.
A few months later I went to Italy. As a lone female traveler, I decided to go the safe route and take a six-day workshop with an artist in the north of Tuscany. When a friend Peter saw my Italy sketches, he beamed, asking me if I would draw sketches of the tea making process for his book about Tea in China. Was the Pope Catholic, I thought? I jumped at the opportunity. It gave me a focus for my art because at that point when I was flitting around with Zentangle Art and Mandalas and other topics with no real focus.
Peter designed my first Chinese Chop with the characters that said “LiZhi (my name Lichee in Chinese), Artist”.
Could I call myself an artist then? Well honestly no, I couldn’t, although I continue to use the stamp to this day.
Knowing that I didn’t have enough knowledge and experience about watercolor painting, I attended a weekly Kunming art studio for over a year and got a good grip on how to paint realistic art with watercolors. Learning to see the colors, color mixing, shading, shadows, I tried to learn everything. The owner of the studio offered to do a 2-day art exhibition of all of my paintings and sketches (35 in total) — and it was a huge success. Around that time a friend bought one of my favourite Chinese paintings also.
Could I call myself an artist after that? Crazy as it sounds, no, I knew I still had a lot to learn.
Getting back to teacher art and markers, my proclivity is to small, meticulous details with paper and fine liners and pencils and markers and ink and erasers and rulers in drawings (maybe I should have been an architect, and I do love perspective, which I’m not terribly good at until now). But I still wanted to continue to stretch my skill, watching YouTube and Craftsy videos of artists teaching painting or sketching techniques. Also attending sketching workshops in Florida helped to improve my experience. (Do you see the theme here of travel and art in my life??)
Quite recently I developed an interest in having a more loose style. I spent the morning painting with an artist named Dan Whalen, who goes out with the Toronto Urban Sketchers group, because I really like his freer style of sketching and painting. I knew that if I wanted to try to go out sketching on location again, I would have to have that kind of style too. Why, because you don’t have enough time to finish when you’re out, so you need to be quick, and expressive in your sketching, representing the scene in front of you, all before the rain comes or the sun gets too hot or the shadows move.
Just two weeks ago, I met a lovely Singaporean artist, Beng Choo. She is an experienced artist and we have started the Urban Sketchers Kunming group in Kunming China. We meet every Friday morning and have sketched some wonderful ancient Chinese buildings while dodging the rain and the hot sun.
Then binge watching Ian Fennelly videos has really motivated me. Will I go to the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Hong Kong in April and take a class with Marc Taro Holmes because I’m a 1.5 hour flight away, or to Venice in May for 6 days and learn from Ian? I am considering it all. Because my art has moved away from a very detail-oriented style to towards a more expressive style.
In my quest to learn all I can, and with an art school within a 5-minute walk from my home, I just began a 10-week course, ‘Song Dynasty Chinese Painting on Silk’, which uses traditional Chinese black ink and painting techniques but with Kuretake watercolour paints. The process is very slow and detailed, with many steps so far. I have only learned how to paint the outlines on silk with ink and how to mount and stretch the silk onto a wooden frame. My teacher, Peng, says it takes 10 2-hour classes to complete, but that I am a fast learner!!!!
[Starting in 960 and ending in 1279, the Song Dynasty consisted of the Northern Song (960-1127) and the Southern Song (1127-1279). With a prosperous economy and radiant culture, this period was considered as another period of ‘golden age’ after the glorious Tang Dynasty (618 – 907).]
My first painting will be a copy of a Song Dynasty painting of crab apple flowers and my background is a soft beige colour, not this dark, boring colour.
Do I have the right to call myself an artist now? Have l earned that right yet? I guess the answer is I have to feel it in my heart, and my heart tells me that I am able to represent the feelings I have when I do art so much better than when I first embarked on my art journey a time ago. Stay tuned for more on the answer!
Any mushrooms will do but wild ones have more flavour.
1 small cooking onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoons oil
1 pound fresh wild mushrooms, any variety, washed with stems separated from the tops
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
3 cups water, divided
2 cup whole milk or light 10% cream or 1 cup 35% cream
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Optional: ¼ cup of dry white wine
Stir-fry chopped onion is a medium pot or wok. Onions are completely cooked when they are translucent.
Finely chop the stems of the mushrooms, add them to the onions along with several twists of fresh black pepper and salt to taste. Add one cup of hot water, stir and cook for 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft. Remove from the heat and leave in the pot or wok. When cooled, use a handheld blender to puree the mixture.
Thinly slice and then roughly chop the tops of the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and the remaining ingredients to the wok. Stir and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the mushrooms are well cooked. Stir occasionally and add more water if the soup becomes too thick.
Garnish bowls of soup with a sprinkling of parsley.
I’m so proud to announce the beautiful illustrated version of my latest cookbook, Roz Weitzman’s World of Chinese Comfort Food. Every recipe photo has been wonderfully hand-drawn and illustrated by my talented Illustrator, Nancy Szostak.
All the same book of 70 Chinese Comfort Food recipes but with illustrations instead of photos.
Please take a moment to have a look at the ebook at the Lulu website and even write a brief review.
Makes 1 – 9×13 inch baking pan
- Prepare the crust by mixing together the softened butter, flour and sugar with a pastry cutter, hand mixer or a fork. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a parchment paper lined baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Beat together the ingredients for the filling.
- Pour over the baked crust.
- Bake for 20 minutes. The lemon filling may not be solid but will firm up as it cools. Carefully remove from the pan onto a cutting board together with the paper while still hot. Sprinkle with powdered icing sugar. Cut into squares when cool with a sharp knife dipped in cool water each time you make a slice and place in muffin papers.
1 cup water
2 cups milk
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups dry pasta, any variety you like
½ cup or 60 grams smoked ham, cut into thin shreds or small chunks
½ cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Italian spice
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a saucepan, boil the water, milk and garlic. Add the pasta and the shredded smoked ham. Simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until pasta is almost done.
When pasta is cooked al dente, no need to drain. Just add the remaining ingredients, mix well and cook a further 2 minutes.
Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and/or fresh black pepper. Enjoy!
Recently I’ve done a lot of research on how I can increase visibility for my Chinese Comfort Food Cookbook. One thing I’ve read over and over is that the number of ‘Likes’ my book has on Amazon and on my Facebook page can greatly help in this endeavor.
I would really appreciate it and if you’ve read my book, a review on Amazon would be great! Thanks for helping! Love, Roz x0x00x
A reminder for me. Common sense, we sometimes forget. Sometimes when we are trying our best to move forward, something comes along to block us. Here are 10 tips to help you keep moving in the right direction in spite of it all:
1. Get out of the house or office. If you can’t get your mind clear, sometimes stepping outside can give you a new perspective.
RESULTING ACTION: Getting some fresh air will enliven your senses, and your brain will start to think of new things.
2. Start writing. Turn on your computer, or get out a pen and paper and write down whatever is in your head.
RESULTING ACTION: Once you’ve cleared out most of the extemporaneous thoughts, the ones you want will appear.
3. Work on a different project. If you can’t do what’s immediately in front of you, find something else to occupy your thoughts and energy.
RESULTING ACTION: It doesn’t really matter what it is; you are taking this action to clear your mind by temporarily putting aside whatever you’re stuck on.
4. Clean your desk. Sometimes we have so many irons in the fire that we can get bogged down with what to do first. As you clean your desk, not only will you break a pattern of inactivity, but you will find things that you’ve already completed and can put away.
RESULTING ACTION: Doing so will give you some more room to process your thoughts.
5. Take a deep breath. You would be surprised at how many people hold their breath when they feel tense. When you cut off the oxygen supply from your brain and body, you can’t function as well.
RESULTING ACTION: Breathing deeply a few times can re-energize you and give you that little extra bit of clarity that you need .
6. Take a shower. Even if it’s the middle of your day, a shower can change your perspective and help you get going.
RESULTING ACTION: We all feel better when we get clean, and though it seems like a small step, it may be just the trick you need to get back on a positive path.
7. Call a good friend. Hearing the voice of someone you care about and spending a few minutes getting involved in their world can give you a new outlook on yours.
RESULTING ACTION: Making this positive emotional connection may be just what you need to get moving again.
8. Move your body. Dance, get up and walk around the room, pick up your clothes, or do some exercise. Get those endorphins circulating through your brain.
RESULTING ACTION: Being sedentary retards your ability to come up with new ideas.
9. Read. Someone else’s words of wisdom can give you some new or different ideas.
RESULTING ACTION: Reading can also help you relax and recharge your mental batteries.
10. Listen to your heart. What is it trying to tell you about where you are and what you are attempting to do?
RESULTING ACTION: Perhaps there is a missing piece that will help you solve the puzzle.
We all get stuck in our thoughts and actions from time to time. The key is not to let it continue any longer than necessary. The sooner you can free your thoughts, the better you will feel and the more your results will show themselves to you.
Written by: Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a marriage and family therapist, Westlake Village California.
Music to my ears! Love, Roz x0x00x0x
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“Roz Weitzman’s World of Chinese Comfort Food – Simple Everyday Cooking For Novice and Experiences Chefs Alike” – ePublished at Amazon:
Author’s Page: amazon.com/author/rozweitzmansworld
“Roz Weitzman’s World of Chinese Comfort Food – Simple Everyday Cooking For Novice and Experiences Chefs Alike” – ePublished at Lulu:
– where it will also be made available at the iBookstore and the Barnes and Noble NOOK bookstore™ in the very near future.