Friday, September 24, 2010

Not about Food, not about Painting............

This particular posting is way off my usual route. I received this poem today from a high school class mate (Wyandotte High School, Class of 1959). It seems to me this poem needs to be passed along, so here it is.

~ Author unknown ~

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew whereof he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For old Bob has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
Though a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state.
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young.
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Someone who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, though small.

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier--
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end?

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part,
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:

Patriotism – Pass it on!
YOU can make a difference for our country; it seems our politicians can only screw it up.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Color, Color and More Color!

It happened, and we were ready!  It took all of us to pull it together, working long hours, while in some cases, still working on paintings.  But, at the end of the day, the gallery looked beautiful, the food was pretty darned good and the art was looking great!
I have to tell you, the gallery looked beautiful because of Jacquie Davis. She worked for 3 days, scrubbing, polishing, shining, while we were busy at our easels! She was on top of a 10 foot tall ladder pulling down worn awnings; she was on her hands and knees with a scrub brush in her hand. There wasn't an inch of the gallery she did not work on, inside or out.
Jacquie is not one of the artists at For Art'sake, but her husband, Claud, is.  Claud and Jacquie also invited me to spend the night in their guest room so I didn't have to drive home, which I greatly appreciated! I discovered by 10pm, it hurt to stand, sit, lie down, cough, move in general; my bones ached, my head hurt, and I still haven't figured out why.
The North Gallery was filled with paintings by David Gross, Claud Davis, Cher Ulrich and myself. The jewelry was by 5 or 6 jewelry artists, including Amy Thomas of Bonner Springs. There was pottery, fiber art, and metal sculptures. With sparkling clean windows and new lighting above them, our front windows were very interesting.

In the South Gallery, our guests found the paintings of David Robey, and the lamps of Dale Langner and a large table covered with Somerset Ridge Wine and platters of food. Scattered about the gallery were tables and chairs for our guests to enjoy as they visited.

The show will continue to hang for at least 30 days. I will keep you posted as to the future shows at For Art'sake Gallery and Artist's Co-Op Studios.
Thank you to everyone who dropped by, I can't tell you what it means to us. Please return soon!
If you missed our opening celebration, please join us anytime. We are located on the west side of the town square at 10 S Silver in beautiful little Paola, Kansas. It is just 25 miles south of Kansas City!

some of the Somerset Ridge Painters on hand to join in on the celebration
l to r: Vicki Johnston, Kristin Goering, me, Maria Johnson and Audrey Benskin

Now, on to other business....I heard a rumor that the first lady was trying to start a movement against butter. Need I say more? You have read my recipes! Butter is a necessity! So, I decided to share a blog by David Lebovitz. Go to
Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spice it up!

One thing I truly enjoy about pulling a show together for a gallery, after the paintings are hung, is planning the food. A gallery, worth its salt, serves great food and wonderful wine on opening night at the Artist’s Reception. It should be a celebration! It should be creative, a feast for the eyes! Being the “Foodie” that I am, I am always on the lookout for new, fun appetizer recipes for just such occasions.

Most galleries serve big bowls of pretzels, chips, etc. with an occasional cheese tray from Sam’s or Costco. Here at For Art’sake, we are all “Foodies” and love to cook. Well, maybe not David and Claud, but they do love to eat! So, we plan a great array of party food for our events.

The secret is to have food that can be picked up and eaten in one bite. That way there isn’t a problem with used plates and forks lying around the pieces of art! So, we have been talking finger foods for days now.

The menu will come together as the food is brought in from our collective kitchens. You all know how plans can change as the day progresses? Well, that can happen to a menu also.

It sounds like there will be some Oriental, maybe a little Mexican, some German and of course, Italian.

While thinking about the recipes I might use, I decided I should share some of them with you. After all, you “Foodies” hang in there with me when I go on and on about the vineyard and painting. You deserve recipes for your patience.

The “usual” cocktail buffet table includes Deviled Eggs, Meatballs, and something with shrimp or crab. It is usually a shrimp or crab dip. Boring!  I like to shake it up a bit......there is no reason to always serve the same old thing!

The first recipe is from Master Cook and it is called

Buffalo Style Deviled Eggs
12 Eggs, at least 1 week old (they peel easier!)
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
2 ribs celery, finely diced

Hard cook eggs. Cool, shell, then cut in half to make 24 shells. Mash yokes and mix well all other iingredients, except diced celery. Spoon or pipe the yoke mixture back into shells. Garnish with diced celery.

Next is a meatball recipe from the National Pork Producers Council. Italian meatballs are spectacular, but every now and then, you just want something a little different.

Pork and Apple Meatballs
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded pared apple
1/4 cup soft rye bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple jelly

Sprinkle salt, cinnamon and pepper over pork; add apples, bread crumbs and walnuts. Mix lightly but thoroughly.

Shape mixture into 40 balls (1 scant tablespoon each). Brown balls (half at a time) in large frying pan. Pour off drippings. Add water, cover tightly and cook slowly 15 minutes. Remove balls to warm chafing dish. Stir apple jelly into cooking liquid and cook until melted. Pour sauce over meatballs.

Now, for the Crab recipe. This one is Oriental, served with a great Plum Sauce.

Crab Spring Rolls with Plum Dipping Sauce
3/4 cup cooked crab meat, flaked
1/2 cup cabbage, minced
1/3 cup cooked green beans, chopped
1/3 cup raw bean sprouts, chopped
2 tablespoons canned bamboo shoots, chopped
1 teaspoon pickled ginger, minced (1 to 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons grated carrot
1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped (1 to 2 teaspoons)
Spring roll (Lumpia*) wrappers

Plum Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons plum jelly
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Put 3 tablespoons of filling on front section of the spring roll wrapper. Form the filling into approximately a 3-inch by 1 1/2-inch mound. Fold one end of the wrapper over the filling. Next, fold the 2 sides toward the middle, then roll the wrapper up and place seam side down on a platter. At this point, the spring rolls may be sliced in half and served on a garnished plate with the dipping sauce, or they may be left whole and fried in hot oil, my preference.

Plum Dipping Sauce Instructions:
Combine ingredients and gently heat until jelly is melted. Serve warm. Makes approximately 1/4 cup.
I usually triple this part of the recipe. I love lots of Plum Sauce!

Now, mind you, if you are coming to the Artist’s Reception on Saturday evening, no matter how well I plan, I can’t guarantee these particular menu items will actually be there. But there will be food!
The Color, Color and more Color Show will be this Saturday evening, 9/18 from 6 to 8pm.
For Art'sake Gallery,  10 South Silver, Paola, Kansas.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I was just thinking back on the time when I used to post a new blog, almost every day. I wonder how I had that much free time! Now, I have to really work at finding a few hours so I can write a new posting once a week! There is a reason for my shortage of time, and only one reason and it is spelled PAINTING!
David Gross in studio
When I decided it was time to either give up painting or paint until I learned the things I needed to learn,  I chose painting. I searched for a studio and found one in Paola, Kansas, of all places. The small town atmosphere, the quaint town square, the great rent prices (!) all helped me make my choice. But the truth of the matter is this....David Gross and Claud Davis are the reason I am there.  These two gentlemen are my studio mates. We paint together, in our studio, 7 days a week, rain or shine. I have discovered this decision to join them has been one of the top 3 choices of my life. I can't put a value on what I have learned from each of them. David is an amazing painter who is an experienced teacher.  After a week or so, he figured me out; It seems I need to be "shown how to" because his terminology is so different than mine. I couldn't figure out what he was asking me to do! Once that was figured out, we became good friends and my painting has changed dramatically.
Claud working on painting
Claud, on the other hand, is not a teacher, but he is a painter! Standing a few feet away, I can watch Claud working on incredible paintings...UPSIDE DOWN! He doesn't sit when he paints. He stands before his easel for hours at a time, working on the most detailed paintings you can imagine. His attitude and work ethic is truly inspiring.
Okay, enough about how I spend my time.
Now I want to extend a personal invitation to you. David, Claud and I are having a group show along with several of our fellow co-op members. Our opening party is this Saturday evening at For Art'sake at 10 South Silver, on the town square in Paola, Kansas, from 6 to 9 pm. Please join us for our celebration and the unveiling of our latest paintings.
 I am anxious to show you Ponte Vecchio and my just completed Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek. And for fun...a few abstracts.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Setting up for a day of painting
Today was a great day! I arranged for Claud Davis and David Gross to join me at the vineyard to spend the day painting. We set up our easels under the tent that was up for the harvest event on Sunday, and spent the day talking to Somerset Ridge Winery visitors and painting. We had decided to each paint a winery/grape painting, just to keep with the theme of the day. When I saw Claud"s and David's paintings, I decided to do a landscape of the creek that I love and wanders through Somerset, Wea Creek. When you have painters such as Mr. Davis and Mr. Gross, you try to avoid painting something that people will compare to theirs! I'm no dummy!
Anyway, we were there from 11:00am to 5:00pm and it was a day rich with fun, laughter, great conversation and some pretty spectacular painting! Claud and I each unveiled our most recently finished paintings; his "Yvonne's Forest", a glorious large painting of a field of vibrant deep pink Asters, and my "Ponte Vecchio", which is hardly a secret by now!
left to right: me, Claud Davis and David Gross
As you can tell by the photos, we concentrated on painting....... some of the time. We loved chatting with the people and saw some old friends.
Claud finished his painting of the grapes just as the winery was closing. I will photograph it tomorrow and post it soon. You won't believe it!

Tuscan Grape Bread and a painting, Apples and Pears, by Vicki Johnston
Before we left the vineyard, we picked several pounds of Norton grapes. I just baked a Tuscan Grape Bread to share at the vineyard tomorrow. It is two layers of bread dough with a layer of wine grapes (seeds and all!) and walnuts baked in the middle. There are more grapes on top, sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with honey and baked to a golden brown.
Here is Judy Francini's recipe. If you can't find wine grapes, I would not substitute table grapes. Try fresh blueberries instead.

Schiacciata con l’Uva Tuscan Grape bread

1/4 cup olive oil
1 rosemary branch
2 lbs red wine grapes, Concord grapes or blueberries
1 lb flour
1 cake fresh yeast
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

• Heat rosemary branch in olive oil. Remove rosemary.
• Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water.
• Place flour in a large bowl and add the yeast mixture. Stir to mix. Add the rosemary-scented oil and 4 Tbs. sugar.
• Knead dough until smooth.
• Place in greased bowl.
• Cover and let rise until doubled.
• Divide dough in half. Roll out into a thin rectangle.
• Place on greased cookie sheet.
• Top with 1/2 of the grapes.
• Sprinkle with sugar and drizzle with oil.
• Cover with other half of dough, rolled out as before. Seal edges by folding bottom edge over top.
• Press down on dough to crush grapes.
• Cover top with remaining grapes.
• Crush these too, to release juices.
• Sprinkle with sugar and drizzle with honey.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden. Baste, if possible, with any juices.

Read more from Judy, straight from Tuscany:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Life is good....busy, but good. At least half of all the grapes have been picked, therefore, we are half way through harvest! Yeah! This last weekend over 3 tons of grapes were picked and crushed. That means we are now moving on to the red varietals.
At the studio, I have finally, at long last, completed Ponte Vecchio! It should be dry and ready to hang at the vineyard this weekend. I have invited David Gross and Claud Davis  to join me for painting in the vineyard. We will set up our easels and each work on a painting during the winery hours both Saturday and Sunday. We are also going to each bring a completed painting to hang for the weekend. I have seen the paintings by David and Claud, and you are in for a treat! So, please join us.....come sit on the veranda with a chilled bottle of crisp Chardonel or Oktoberfest wine, while enjoying some of Chef Kamal's Hummus and Pita Chips. There will be live music both afternoons. AND,  It is going to be in the upper 70s, temperature wise!'s true...Life is definitely good!

On Friday evening, the Crossroads Art District will be hosting the First Friday's gallery tours. I have a very special friend showing at the Leedy Voulkos Gallery Kristin Goering's paintings are always as fun and as vivacious as Kristin is herself! Also showing in the Crossroads area is Anne Garney. Landscape Paintings by Anne will be at The b Gallery. I am looking forward to visiting with both of these artists and seeing their latest work!

Things will be changing at For Art'sake in the next week or so. Our next show opens on September 18th with a fun Artist's Reception with plenty of wine and food starting at 6:00pm. The theme of the show is Color, Color and More Color, and trust me, there will be lots of it! Please join us for the evening.  For Art'sake is located at 10 South Silver, right on the square in Paola, Kansas. I bet the paintings David Gross, Claud Davis and I work on this weekend at the vineyard, will be a part of the show!

Italian Harvest Grape Pie
We will be the picking the first of the red grapes during this weekend's harvest . To celebrate, I am going to be baking Tuscan Wine Grape Pie  - Schiacciata con l'Uva. One of the nicest things about autumn in Tuscany is Schiacciata con l'Uva, an astonishingly rich, sinfully juicy wine grape pie whose country roots are clearly revealed by the dough and the crunchiness of the grape seeds. I use the recipe from my friend, Judy Witts Francini. You need wine grapes for authentic Schiacciata con l'Uva, and those I have! I think maybe I'll make enough to have some  at the winery on Sunday! You had better come to the winery!

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker