Monday, December 29, 2008

Mise En Place

I just learned this term - mise en place - while reading a cooking blog. It is a French term, defined by the Culinary Institute of America (according to Wikipedia), that means everything in it's place. It's what you see when you watch a cooking demonstration and see that everything is already prepared and laid out ahead of the actual cooking. Everything is measured, chopped, sifted, and so on, and cooking utensils are clean and ready to go. It makes the process seem so much more effortless and flowing.

It got me to thinking about studio practices and how well the concept might transfer and at what place preparation and forethought, spontaneity and creativity intersect. When I'm working with encaustics or watercolor I know that I spend a lot more time in preparation, mainly because both mediums set so quickly. That means laying out a palette - in watercolor waking up the colors with water so that they are ready to use, as well as stretching the paper, wetting and laying out the brushes, sponges, and whatever else is used to apply the paint, and making sure plenty of clean water is on hand. With encaustic preparation involves getting out specialized tools, many of which need to be plugged in and warmed up. The paint also needs to be brought to melting point. In oils I plan to have the right size and proportioned canvases or boards ready ahead of time and to have paint on hand, within reason, but since the drying process is slower preparation doesn't have the same intensity for me, at least not until later on in the process. Then I find, in the heat of the moment, it's imperative to be able to have exactly the right color and brush at the tip of your fingers.

Anyway, something to think about while I paint the studio walls this week.

Update: I have learned from a reader from France that "mise en place" is not a French term, but an American term coming from France that seems to translate more accurately as a verb: "an action to fix things in place."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Works For Everyone Group Show

Works For Everyone is the next exhibit I'll have a piece of work in at TAG Gallery. It's a group show that opens January 7th and runs through the 31st. The reception is on Saturday, January 10th from 5 - 8 pm. Until then the gallery is closed for renovation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

What I'm Working on Now

Evening's Light Not Yet Gone   © 2009 Katherine Kean
oil on linen  18 x 24"
At last a moment to update this blog. It is finally feeling like winter in Los Angeles. It rained all night and this morning I built a fire to warm up the house. I connected the last two rain barrels on my rain water collection "system" this weekend and they are now all full to capacity! I'm waiting for the first jar of olives to finish curing. I try an olive every week. To my taste they still have a little bit of bitterness to dissipate.

TAG Gallery is starting 2009 with a group exhibit in January so I'll be painting the edges and wiring for hanging the painting above. The exhibit starts January 7th and runs through the 31st.

Bolton Hall Museum Gift Shop

The Bolton Hall Museum Gift Shop   is a great place to do your holiday shopping! Carrying a wide range of unique items, all are created l...