Tuesday, August 9, 2016

MY LOVE OF ART: LOST BECAUSE I WALKED AWAY when I was young and impressionable + FOOD: Crispy Potato, Onion, & Mushroom Rosti

("Cedar Drawing" by Jack A. Atkinson, Ink & Brush on Arches Paper)

Editor's Note:
This issue has been adapted from The Painters Keys blog.
"Finding Yourself Again" which was first published on July 2, 2004. 
Here the text has been edited and altered 
to change the emphasis from
writing and writers, to art and artists.

(For the referenced original, go top painterskeys.com 7-2-2004.)

The Letter: 

I grew up in an environment that did not stimulate creative development. Nevertheless, in adolescence I was a prolific artist. But suddenly I stopped. I remember thinking that the art I created wasn’t any good, and that I shouldn’t draw or paint any more. I put everything I had produced into the garbage. I don’t know why. Now ten years have passed and I haven’t painted, drawn or created any art since my decision to quit.

What I find curious is that I still remember the pleasure making art gave to me, and being frequently in a state of ‘flow.’ I would like to recapture that same pleasure, the creativity that I had, and begin drawing and painting again. I don’t know exactly where to start and don’t have a clue if I’m on the right path.

Any suggestions?

The Reply:

Thanks for that. In order to rekindle your love and perhaps your proficiency you have to understand what went on. In your teenage innocence you wrote because "it gave you joy". Then your restrictive environment kicked in and gave you the excuse to stop. You destroyed your stuff because your discipline was external. You must now internalize your discipline. Actually, this adolescent action-reaction is commonplace. While many flames are permanently snuffed, they need not be.

Some folks figure it out and end up “loving” again.

Here’s how they do it:

• Allocate an hour for art every single day.

• Do whatever holds your interest or takes your fancy.

• If you can’t think of anything to draw or paint, create something anyway.
Rely on your natural wisdom, trust yourself and follow your instincts.

• Do ART for no other reason than to give yourself joy.

• In your spare time look at the art of others you admire.

• When painting or drawing... scraping and repainting... erasing and redrawing... when you think you’re finally getting it right, STOP and get a clean canvas or paper, then make the work you have now clearly envisioned, one-time, cleanly and directly.

• Share your efforts only with trusted friends.

• Look for the gleams of a personal style, when you notice it, double down "THERE", your signature style is developing", go in that direction.

• Fall in love with your process, the grind of working at your craft.

• Photograph, Document and Archive your work as you go. You will never regret being able to see how it has progressed.

• Give the above process some honest effort - for at least a six week period. 

• You will find "LOVE" again!


• “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day, while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” -Jim Rohn 

• “We find our freedom along the guiding lines of discipline.” -Yehudi Menuhin

• (ART) “Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself.” -Truman Capote

• "I know 'my worth'. I embrace 'my power'. 'I SAY' if I'm beautiful. 'I SAY' if I'm strong. You will not determine my story... I will." - Amy Schumer

• “Artistically I am still a child with a whole life ahead of me to discover and create. I want something, but I won’t know what it is until I succeed in doing it.” -Alberto Giacometti 

 "...we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES." -Hunter S. Thompson 

It’s not easy to strive to be ourselves!

Mainly because we must recognize who we are at our core and listen to our soul. We all (subconsciously) know our soul, yet we want to control or override what our essence is telling us. It is natural to want to please and to be what others want or what our peer group or society at large prefers.

The ARTS - being an Artist, Writer, Dancer, Thespian, Creative Chef, Singer, or Musician is defined by this dilemma - going against what others want for us, causing us to fight for who we know we are. Keep in mind, these outside pressures believe they are looking out for our best interests. The ARTS are generally made up of gentle souls who do not enjoy telling others NO, “I am going to do my life, my way,” but it’s important to recognize our "true self", the unique individual, the real you.

I think I’ll be me! You can be you!

(Source for much of this article: The Painter’s Keys blog, published by Robert Genn and Sara Phina, go to: painterskeys.com July 2, 2004)


Crispy Potato, Onion, and Mushroom Rosti

This vegan dish is crispy and golden brown on the outside, yet creamy and tender in the middle with the rich flavor of sautéed onions and mushrooms. 
Note: For best results, cut potatoes into 1/16th-inch matchsticks (by hand, on a mandoline, using the large holes of a box grater, or the large shredding disk of a food processor).
(Makes one 10-inch pie-like rösti, serving 2 to 4 people)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium russet potatoes (about 1 pound) rinsed and cut into 1/16th-inch matchsticks or grated (see note above)
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves, grated on a microplane grater
  • 1 teaspoon picked fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


• Spread potatoes on a large microwave-safe plate and microwave on high heat until hot all the way through and softened but still slightly crunchy, about 5 minutes.

• Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch well seasoned cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe out skillet.

• Heat 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of potatoes and press into bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onion/mushroom mixture evenly over the potatoes and top with remaining potatoes. Press down into an even disk shape using a rubber spatula. Season top with salt and pepper.
• Cook, swirling and shaking pan occasionally until deep golden brown and crisp on the first side, about 7 minutes. Carefully slide rösti to a large plate. Set another plate on top of it upside down, grip the edges, and invert the whole thing so the rösti is now cooked-side-up. Heat remaining two tablespoons oil in the skillet and slide rösti back in. Continue cooking, swirling and shaking pan occasionally until deep golden brown and crisp on the second side, about 7 minutes longer. Slide rösti to a cutting board. Serve immediately with a side of vegan aioli. 

(Source: seriouseats.com)
Until later,
ARTS&FOOD is an online magazine dedicated to providing artists and collectors around the world with highlights of current art exhibitions, and to encourage all readers to invest in and participate in “The Joy of Art” and Culture. All Rights Reserved. All concepts, original art, text & photography, which are not otherwise credited, are copyright 2016 © Jack A. Atkinson, under all international, intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery events', museum exhibitions', art fairs' or art festivals' photographs were taken with permission or provided by the event or gallery. All physical artworks are the intellectual property of the individual artists and © (copyright) individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees. 
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