Sunday, November 21, 2010

Botanical Art Show by Janet Beck Clark

Artist Statement
Janet Beck Clark

My enthusiasm for nature goes back to my childhood, when my biologist father was always calling attention to birds, insects, and a variety of wildflowers. He wanted me to notice them, as well as know their names.

After I was married and had several young children, that interest was rekindled. Pressing plants became a family hobby after my father gave us a plant press—a tool of botanists and nature lovers. Preserving botanicals this way has been done for centuries. Scientists have found that even today, pressed plant specimens provide a more accurate record than even the most expensive camera.

I have found that gathering and preparing plants for pressing gives me an intimate look at what’s going on “out there.” Discovering the habitats, colors, textures, intricate patterns, and elegant forms are just some of the benefits of plant involvement. And a properly pressed plant can last for centuries.

Plant diversity in Utah is remarkable. Exhibit specimens are collected from deserts, forests, fields, and mountainsides. Cultivated garden varieties are included as well. Each plant expresses nature’s incredible colors and designs. Aristotle once noted, “Art takes nature as its model.”

Also, I couldn’t resist sharing some unique information about each tree, fern, and flower. Included by each arrangement are their delightfully descriptive names, historic uses, and folklore. As the Roman natural historian Pliny once observed: “. . . Nature, there is none of her works that is unworthy of our consideration.”

Botanical Art Exhibits—Past and Present

My first major showing was at Gallery One Ten (Provo)—a very successful one-woman show. Currently, my botanical art is being exhibited at Authentique Gallery (St George), Sundance Gallery (Sundance Resort), and shortly at Repartee Gallery (Bountiful).

My botanical collections have also been featured in fine stores and designer showrooms across the country. And for several years, some of my framed botanicals hung on Martha Stewart’s dining room wall and were part of the set for her popular television show.  My work has also been referenced on the well known blogs Poppytalk and Design Mom.

Each botanical is custom framed in acid-free, museum quality mats.

An invitation with the location of the art show can be emailed to anyone who is interested.  Just let me know.  Thank you!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cook the Book - #1

For some silly reason I have always wanted to cook every recipe in a cookbook. So when I ran across this one at the school book fair - I thought I would give it a try. The book isn't too long and most of the recipes appealed to me so I thought it might be doable. Most of the recipes I have tried so far have been well-received by my family and others. A couple haven't been so great. But as I "cook the book" I will try to post the recipes I think are worth keeping.

Potato and Leek Soup (I halved this recipe and it made plenty for one meal)
6 C peeled, cubed russet or Idaho potatoes
2 14 oz cans chicken broth
2 C sliced celery
2/3 C thinly sliced leek
1/4 C butter
4 C peeled, cubed sweet potatoes
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t nutmeg
3 C milk
1 t salt
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large saucepan combine russet potatoes and 2 C broth. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender; do not drain. Cool slightly.

2. Transfer the potato mixture to a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until smooth; set aside.

3. In a large saucepan cook celery and leek in hot butter for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add sweet potatoes, the remaining broth, the 1/2 t pepper and nutmeg. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in pureed potato mixture, milk, and the 1 t salt. Cook and stir about 5 minutes more or until thickened. Season to taste.

Alterations and family opinion: It ended up too thick so I added more milk and I think I even added some half and half to make it more creamy. I also added more nutmeg. This had an interesting combination of the two different kinds of potatoes but overall we liked it. We gave this 3 stars.

Bacon Cheddar Loaves (I halved this to make one loaf)
4 C flour
1 T baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 C milk
1/2 C butter, melted
6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled
1 C shredded cheddar cheese

1. Grease two 8x4x2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper. In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk and butter; add all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in bacon and cheese. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.

2. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 to 65 minutes or until browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. If desired, wrap and store overnight in refrigerator. Let stand at room temp 30 minutes before slicing.

Alterations and family opinion: I love any bread recipe where I don't have to allow time for raising. Just because most of the time I don't plan that far in advance. Anyway - I felt like even with the bacon and cheese this bread needed more flavor. I would increase the salt a little next time. But we all really liked this bread (especially with the soup) and gave it 4 stars.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Remembering Summer's End

A few things to record...a little late.

1. Tree House Sleepout
The evening started with a hot dog and marshmallow roast

He whittled his own roasting stick.
The designated fire master

We then moved our party to the tree house. With everyone settled in their pjs and sleeping bags we watched The Princess and the Frog on the laptop. Then we flipped on the space heater and tried to get some sleep. I can't say I slept too well but it was still a lot of fun.

Here we are the morning after. And here are some final pictures of the tree house with Weston's finishing touches: windows, door, trim and soffit. Next year he plans to finish the interior.

2. Bridal Veil Falls Bike Trip
It was a gorgeous fall day! And the trail was beautiful! Unfortunately, I had to pull the little ones in the bike trailer and it very quickly became evident just how out of shape I am. Sad.
SJ and I threw rocks in the pond

While the rest of the crew hiked to the bottom of the falls

3. Weston finally made a purchase he has been wanting and researching for a long time: a vintage 1978 Yamaha Enduro DT 400. He loves it and maybe someday will finally convince me to ride it with him!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween 2010 - Visiting the Greats and the Grands

We knew that there were a few people that would be thrilled to see the kids in their costumes. So we dressed everyone up a little early and headed out first to see Grandpa Great.

Everyone had to take a turn on Grandpa Great's push-up bar

Notice SJ when Grandpa doesn't wear the mask...
And when he wears the mask...
Next it was off to see Grandma Jan and Don and Great Grandma Eldine. Eliott, Carlee, Jack and Chase also stopped by.

The UPS man doing some breakdancing moves...

Next it was back to our house to begin our Halloween evening. In the rain.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010 - Cornbellys and Pumpkins

As part of the Halloween festivities we went to Cornbellys with Eliott and Carlee. It was a little chilly but we had a great time.

The next evening we settled in for pumpkin carving. Wes brought out the coveralls and the jig saw for the event.

The only decent picture I took was of Weston's pumpkin - the wolf!!
Sorry kids.