Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia

This is another staple dish in our house. Super easy to make and my family never gets tired of eating this. We eat it with steamed rice and vegetables.

Ingredients:
6 tilapia fillets
salt and pepper
chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

For cheese sauce:
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
juice from a small lemon
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
salt and pepper

Instructions:
1. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper.
2. Combine ingredients for cheese sauce in a small bowl.
3. Line broiler pan with aluminum foil and arrange tilapia fillets in a single layer on the pan.
4. Broil for 3 minutes.
5. Turn tilapia fillets and broil for 2 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and pour cheese mixture over the fillets.
7. Broil for another 2 minutes.
8. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top, if desired.

Serves 4 to 6.



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Learn to Paint with Encaustic: An Encaustic Class by Appointment

Learn to Paint with Encaustic: An Encaustic Class by Appointment

If you’re interested in learning to paint with encaustic, I am offering encaustic classes by appointment. I don’t profess to know everything about the medium, but what I do know, I’m happy to share with you.


If you’re new to encaustic, I can teach you the essential information you need to get started and offer you hands-on experience with various techniques to create smooth and textured finishes. This is a great way to try out the medium before investing in tools and materials. Here’s what we can cover in a full-day session:

1. Brief history of encaustic
2. Essential materials including brush and paint options, fusing instruments, and appropriate supports and grounds
3. Studio setup including ventilation, proper use of equipment, and safety practices
4. Fundamentals of encaustic painting including sizing a panel, fusing techniques, and applying encaustic paint
5. Encaustic painting techniques including dripping, splattering, layering and scraping, accretion, and intarsia.

For those who already have experience with encaustic, here are some “beyond the basic” topics we can cover:

1. Using oil and other media with encaustic
2. Collage and assemblage techniques with encaustic
3. Photo transfer technique
4. Photography and encaustic
5. Other mixed media techniques

Classes are held in my private studio in South Orange County, California. Class rates and hours are as follows:

Private Sessions (1 Student):
Half day (9am – 12pm): $140
Full day (9am – 3pm with a lunch break from 12-1): $200

Private Sessions with a Friend (Maximum 2 Students):
Half day (9am – 12pm): $120 per person
Full day (9am – 3pm with a lunch break from 12-1): $180 per person

I will provide the necessary encaustic materials, including a 6×6 wood panel so you can take home a finished project. If we’re covering mixed media techniques, you may need to bring additional materials.

If you’re interested, please send me an email so we can work out a schedule and discuss what topics you want to cover. Payment via cash, check, or credit card is made on the day of the session.



I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Moroccan-Style Tilapia

Moroccan-Style Tilapia

I love the earthy flavor of this dish paired with the freshness of the mango salsa. When my family wants a break from eating red meat, I prepare this dish for a light, healthy alternative.



Ingredients:
6 tilapia fillets
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
salt and pepper
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the mango salsa:
1 mango, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon white sugar
juice from 2 limes
salt and pepper

Instructions:
1. Season tilapia fillets with salt and pepper.
2. Rub cumin and coriander all over tilapia fillets.
3. Melt half of the butter on a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
4. Pan-fry half of the tilapia fillets until cooked through.
5. Do the same for the rest of the tilapia fillets, using the remaining butter and olive oil.
4. Serve with mango salsa over steamed rice.

For the mango salsa: Combine all ingredients for the mango salsa in a bowl. IF possible, refrigerate for 1 hour to let the flavors marinate.

Serves 4 to 6.



I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Portobello Mushroom Burger

Portobello Mushroom Burger

A hearty vegetarian dish for those meat-free days. Build your sandwich with your favorite fixins. We like to combine the grilled mushroom with roasted bell pepper, avocado, tomato, onion, and goat cheese plus a drizzling of balsamic glaze on an onion hamburger bun or sweet Hawaiian bun.



Ingredients:
4 Portobello mushroom caps
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
4 burger buns

Instructions:
1. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic to make vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Marinate mushrooms in vinaigrette for 15 minutes while preheating grill.
3. Grill mushrooms for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender.

Suggested Sandwich Fixins:
reduced balsamic glaze
roasted bell pepper
tomato slices
avocado slices
onion slices
choice of cheese: I like to use goat cheese.
arugula

Serves 4.



I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Learning from the Masters: Cutout Studies

Learning from the Masters: Cutout Studies

Inspired by patterns and geometric abstraction, I did some cutout studies to explore shapes and spacial relationships – with the end goal of translating these concepts in my encaustic work. Most of the plates shown below were inspired by abstract artists whose works I studied, while a few are either direct copies or products of remnant elements from the other cutouts.

The artists I studied for this project are as follows:
1. American artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015)
2. American artist John McLaughlin (1898-1976)
3. American artist Lorser Feitelson (1898-1978)
4. American artist Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999)
5. American artist Karl Benjamin (1925-2012)
6. British artist Jeffrey Steele (1931)
7. Dutch artist Louis Reith (1983)
8. Australian artists Kristina Sostarko and Jason Odd of Inaluxe

The plates were made using 140-lb hot-press Fabriano watercolor paper, some of which were painted black, iridescent stainless steel, or interference red.











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Florilegium Journal No. 1

Florilegium Journal No. 1

I like taking down notes when I read. I’ll even write whole passages when I’m very much moved by the words. One of my favorite books right now is Mitten Strings for God by Katrina Kenison. It is about slowing down and learning to be fully present in one’s life. Every word in the book spoke loudly to me. When I found a used copy of the book, I decided to create a florilegium journal. A florilegium, in Medieval Latin, was a compilation of excerpts from other writings. I started with a small blank journal and transformed it into a lovely collection of clippings from the book. (My thoughts and reflections are reserved for a different journal.) I enjoy going through the pages in the mornings to help me focus on my intentions for the day.

Here are some sample pages from the journal:



“We do not need to judge our daily lives by how much we accomplish.
There is real value in simply being present.”



“Our relationships
with ourselves and with each other
need time if they are to flourish.
We need time for solitude,
time to stretch and think and wonder,
time to become acquainted with ourselves
and with the world around us.”



“Each time we pause to breathe deeply,
we are affirming our life forces
and celebrating our miraculous existence
on the planet in this place and time.”


Here’s a video flip through of the journal. (If you want to view images of the journal pages, you can go here.)


I took advantage of this project to use up some of the paper scraps I’ve been keeping. I randomly glued the scraps of paper on the pages to create my background and toned down the colors with gesso. I kept the process of creating each page fairly simple with repeating elements all throughout (mostly from the stamps and leftover stickers I used) so I can finish the journal in a week. Here’s a peek at how I created some of the pages:



I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

Displaying Your Encaustic Minis

Displaying Your Encaustic Minis

The 4×4 Encaustic Minis each comes mounted on a signed 6×6 acid-free matboard. They are not yet ready to hang when you purchase them. To help you display the paintings properly, below are some guidelines for framing your artwork. (Sizes are in inches.)

  • Whether you choose a store-bought frame or a custom-made one, use any size frame matted for a 5×5 photo. (See samples below.) Don’t use a store-bought frame matted for a 4×4 photo because the actual opening would only be 3½ x 3½ — too small to show the whole artwork.
  • The frame should have a very thick mat or a double mat with a spacer in between (usually called airfloat frame). Mat thickness or spacing between mats should be at least 3/16″.

Below are some examples of frame options. I bought both frames shown from Michael’s for under $20 each. (With a 50% coupon, you can even get them cheaper.) They have an easel back so you can either hang them on a wall or display them on a table or shelf.

The painting below is enclosed in a classic black frame with an 8×8 extra thick mat cut to a 5×5 opening. Frame width is 5/8″ and overall dimensions are 9×9.


In this second example, the painting is displayed in a white airfloat frame. It has an 8×8 double mat with spacers in between and cut to a 5×5 opening. Frame width is 1¼” and overall dimensions are 10×10.


If you’re more interested in custom-made frames for better quality, similar sizes will cost around $60. Note that encaustic paintings are generally not enclosed in glass because it’s susceptible to greenhouse effect which may soften the wax when exposed to prolonged extreme heat. But since we’re dealing with small works on paper here, framing the paintings behind glass should be fine. Just remember not to display them in an area that receives direct sunlight (which is true for all types of painting).

Speaking of the wax softening or even melting, this is the most common fear about encaustic’s perceived fragility. I assure you, unless under very extreme conditions, you have nothing to worry about. A typical indoor environment, even on a sweltering summer day, is not hot enough to melt encaustic art. It takes 160°F (71°C) for encaustic medium to melt. Under that condition, you would already be suffering from severe hyperthermia to even worry about the artwork.


Now back to displaying your artwork, here are some examples of multiple paintings displayed on a wall, for inspiration:




I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.

The Aesthetics of Melancholy

The Aesthetics of Melancholy

I am thrilled to write my first feature article for Somerset Studio Gallery, a special bi-annual mixed media magazine from Stampington & Co. The 4-page article, entitled “The Aesthetics of Melancholy,” is included in the Winter 2016 Issue. In it I share how I harness my melancholic tendencies, prevalent during the winter months, and turn them into inspiration for my creative works. I also discuss some techniques that I incorporate in my encaustic projects.




Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Winter always puts me in a state of melancholy. Maybe it was the bleak, icy winters from when I used to live in the Midwest or the long dark evenings that even California, where I now reside, is not exempt from. Whatever it is, I cannot escape the sense of longing and sadness that pervades me. If I let it overwhelm me, melancholy easily turns into depression – that emotional state of resignation that looms over me like a dark cloud. To combat this, I learned to channel the various shades of emotions and memories that melancholy can evoke into my creative work. This way I can embrace melancholy when it comes and treat it as a source of inspiration and a time for indulgent self-reflection.”



I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me your comments here.