I recently finished this little painting for my new Etsy shop. I’ve been trying to keep my still life paintings simpler, so I chose to only focus on the flowers and leave the background black. Available at my Etsy store, ArtworkbyBob.

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These flowers are English roses from my garden. I grow these for my still life paintings. This is the Heritage rose, and one of my favorites to paint.

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I have a few more paintings on the easel, so keep checking back for more!

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After a lot of work (and procrastination) I am proud to announce that I have (finally) started my very own Etsy shop! ArtworkbyBob is officially open for buisiness!

Here is a little preview of some of the pieces in my shop:

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Most of the paintings, with a few exceptions, are 5 by 7 inches. I’ll be posting more paintings as I add them to the shop, so check back often!

Thank you!

Happy Mother’s Day, all! I hope you did something nice for yo mama. I know I did.

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My Mom happens to LOVE cheese blintzes. Now, I happen to be a vegan, so I am not so much into cheese blintzes. Since I didn’t eat these myself I can’t really vouch for how good the recipe is, but my family (mom especially) seemed to enjoy them plenty. They certainly had no problem eating two or three each!

So here’s what I did. Cheese blintzes start off with crepes. I have one good crepe recipe that I trust. It actually comes from some goofy magazine designed for american students learning French. I am not kidding. It’s called Allons-y! (Let’s Go! in French). This is seriously the only crepe recipe I use. Here it is, translated into English by no other than moi:

Ingredients:

250 grams of flour (about 2 cups)

3 eggs

1/2 litre of milk (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

pinch of salt

butter or cooking spray for frying

Procedure:

Pour flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour and add the eggs. Mix well. Add the salt, oil, sugar and a little of the milk. Continue to mix, gradually adding the rest of the milk. Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Melt some butter in a frying pan (or crepe pan, if you’re fancy) add about a quarter of a cup of the batter to the pan and swirl it around to evenly cover in a thin layer. allow to cook for 60 – 75 seconds before flipping.

If you just want to eat delicious crepes, you can stop here. Serve with Nutella or maple syrup or berries or whatever. The very French way is to eat them with sugar and lemon juice. But, if cheese blintzes are your goal, cook up all the batter and stack the crepes up in between sheets of wax paper. Then you can make this tasty filling for them!

Filling ingredients:

1 cup of ricotta cheese (or farmers cheese, if you can find it)

1 package of Philadelphia cream cheese

1/4 – 1/3 cup of sugar

1 egg yoke

juice from half a lemon

dash of vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Just mix all of the ingredients together with a fork. Easy!

Fill the crepes the way you would fill a burrito:

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 Place a dollop of filling on one half of the crepe

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fold crepe over filling

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fold the sides over to make an envelope of deliciousness

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 Roll crepe over one more time. See? Just like a burrito, but keep it somewhat flat so you can fry it.

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After filling the crepes, quickly pan fry on both sides until golden and crispy. I recommend using an oil with a high smoke point, such as canola or peanut oil. Blintzes are usually served with sour cream, but my Dad decided to just put another dollop of the filling on top. Enjoy!

I found myself in the reptile house at the San Diego Zoo a few days ago, which is a part of the zoo that I don’t usually venture into. I might have to make visiting the snakes and lizards more of a priority from now on, however, because they were a lot of fun to photograph. Here are just a few pics from that day.

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I won’t lie to you. I find portrait painting class to be very difficult. Three hours to do a portrait sounds like a fair chunk of time, but it really isn’t. In portrait painting class at The Watts Atelier, I am notorious for scrubbing my paintings as soon as class is over. Occasionally, though, I wise up and bring along my handy camera so I can take a quick photo for reference later (with the model’s permission, of course). Using my photo reference, I was able to finish this painting on my own. I really loved the dual lighting effect, which can be so much fun to paint.

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Still life painting is still a relatively new thing for me. I’ve only been focusing on still life for about a year. As with anything, of course, practice makes perfect (And I am far from perfect.) I really enjoy painting these, even if I can’t freehand an ellipse to save my life. Oh, well.

These paintings are all fairly small, only 5″ by 7″ or smaller. I usually paint on gessoed masonite, which is super cheap and fun to paint on. Gesso can be kind of slick and the paint tends to move around a lot, so I prefer to work with thin stains first and build up to thicker paint slowly. I usually allow my first layers of paint to dry for a day or so before painting over them. I always put a few drops of clove oil in my paint, so even after a few days, it’s usually still a bit tacky on the masonite. (clove oil is amazing; add a drop to each pile of paint on your palette to keep your colors wet and usable for months.)

I have a few more of these currently on the easel. Hopefully, the more I practice still life, the better they’ll be. For now, I see a lot of potential for improvement, but of course, there always is.

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Two jaguar cubs, one male and one female, were born to mother Nindiri on April 26, 2012. They were allowed to go outside for the first time a little over a week ago:

Awwwwww… I know. So cute. I love these guys. But we also need a few pics of Mom: