Kindred Spirit

I recently discovered another artist who not only shares my passion for painting water reflection abstractions, but also shares my name (though alternatively spelled).

"Light patterns and ever-changing colors of fluid surfaces work as inspiration. Water changes constantly based on seasons, time of day and weather patterns, creating an evolution of color and light play. Moments of reflection and memories they stir become meditative Technicolor explorations of water and light."
- Elena Madden

I admire the contrast Elena achieves in her pieces -- her dramatic use of light and dark demonstrates an ability to capture fluid surfaces both in bright sunlight and at night. I am especially drawn to her night scenes of city lights, which present the urban landscape through an alternative vantage point.

Her colors are incredibly vivid and the range of her subject matter (which includes reflections of city lights, images of concentric rings from water droplets, moving rivers, and horizons, among others) shows how limitless the possibilities are when painting water. Viewing her work inspires me to continue to push my own artistic practice of rendering reflections to new depths.


Workout Wonder: The Coregasm

An ab ripping enthusiast, I'm constantly on the lookout for creative ways to strengthen my core. Departing from the routine of doing mundane crunches, I often mix it up with core-engaging planks, gravity-defying hanging leg lifts, among others. Usually after an intense round of ab exercises, I start to feel the burn. Yet on a few exercises, the "burn" was replaced by a different sensation-- one that was, well, sensational. I had to stop a few reps early, thinking, "What the heck?! Are my abs that weak?"

Then I came across an article in Women's Health magazine and was relieved to learn that a) I'm not the only one experiencing this incredible phenomenon, and b) it has a name: a COREGASM.

Not only does "Have An Orgasmic Workout" explain the physiological reasons for experiencing a coregasm, it provides numerous other exercises that will induce such feelings of pleasure. Gold mine.


The Suburbs of Hamilton, NY

Walking along Eaton St. makes me forget where I go to school...


The Palette of the Palate

I knew I had a problem when the gift that I was most excited to receive for Christmas was a bright red colander.

Not just any colander. The same colander that Gina Neely uses on her Food Network show, "Down Home with the Neelys." The one that drains potatoes for Mama Neely's "Keep-Yo-Man" Sweet Potato Salad. Among other things...

So I have a problem. Well, not a problem, but a serious passion for anything that involves chopping, sauteing, grilling, mincing, mixing, draining, marinating, stir-frying, simmering, boiling, slicing or measuring. I instinctively turn to the Food Network channel. I get more excited to shop at the Fresh Market than at the mall. I've recently acquired this love for cooking. I think I'm drawn to the kitchen because I see as an opportunity to experiment and create. A way to unleash the artist within me. It is like painting with an unlimited palette. But even better: the result is edible.

I aim to challenge myself in the kitchen -- I thrive on the thrill of cooking something I have never made before. My goal is to combine the freshest, most colorful, most diverse ingredients to create something that arrests the taste buds in euphoria.

Tonight I decided to put a spin on a bulgar salad recipe that I've come to love. I often combine various chopped vegetables, dried fruits, and nuts with bulgar wheat (or a similar type of grain), add spices and dress it in lemon juice and olive oil. It's great because its very easy, always flavorful and the possibilities are endless. This time, instead of using bulgar (which takes an hour to prepare), I took a chance with instant barley (which I've never prepared before). I figured anything I can do with bulgar, couscous, etc. I can do with barley. So, I looked up some barley salad recipes for inspiration and improvised with what I had available.
The result:

Dijon Barley Salad

1 cup instant pearl barley
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup chopped baby carrot
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
parsley (to taste)
sliced almonds

I cooked the barley according to package directions, then simply added vinegar, olive oil, mustard, veggies, almonds and parsley. Incredibly fast, nutritious and DELICIOUS. The Dijon mustard gave the dish such a unique flavor. I will definitely put this one in my repertoire -- I love how versatile it is.


Recent Canvas Creations

These three pieces were displayed in Colgate University's Little Hall as part of the Senior Studio Art Majors' Work-In-Progress Exhibition in December.