Thursday, April 29, 2010

He’s brilliant!!

Pardon our technical difficulties, but we're back in action now!

(a peek into artist Doug Foltz's studio...you'll love this one!)

By now, if you’ve been following our humble little musings on art, the gallery and life’s little pleasures, you know how much we Huffingtons adore (and we mean ADORE) what we do here at the gallery.

On the calendar for Thursday, May 6th, is “The Sea, The Sky and the Space In Between,” a one-man show by one of our faves, Doug Foltz. Doug came to us by way of some good friends and we were thrilled when he signed on with us. We were one of his first gallery experiences and still pretty new to the scene, so it’s been fun growing and developing together.

Meg & Doug

Doug invited us over to his little studio a while ago to discuss the show and review some of the work he already had in progress. We love Doug’s space. It’s the perfect artist’s studio – plenty of light, a good amount of space and every inch of wall space covered in either a painting or some tidbit of inspiration for Doug. Add to that Doug’s painting paraphernalia and it’s an art-lover’s dream.

The tools of the trade

Plenty o’ paint in order to mix the perfect shades of color for Doug’s amazing skies

Doug’s the perfect host (seems to be an innate quality for our artists or do they just know how to treat us?) and poured us both a nice little glass of red while we chatted and feasted our eyes on his paintings. He’s really fun to talk to and has a witty sense of humor - but also a very introspective and serious side that comes out when we discuss his work.

We like to joke about Doug that he was born with one foot in the water. As a kid in Miami, Doug spent every waking moment in a boat, sailing those pretty turquoisey waters between Miami and the Bahamas. He’s a quintessential outdoorsman and we think he is probably miserable when he’s cooped up and unable to be outside. In fact, it’s in his love of nature, and especially the water, that he finds his inspiration.

TheSpaceBetween72x48 The Space In Between (in progress)

Rethinking Refuge (in progress)

Doug is best-known for his light-infused paintings that explore the sometimes calm and often stormy relationship between land, sea and sky. His paintings capture the enormous sweeping skies and horizons of the ocean; the luminous clouds; the sunlit seas and, as Doug puts it, “all the stuff in between.”

Doug Foltz, More Than A Minor Adjustment, oil on canvas, 24 x 30”

Doug Foltz, Tide Line, oil on canvas, 20 x 20”

He’s a methodical and thoughtful painter who works slowly, applying layers of oil paint that illuminate nuances and effortlessly portray light and water. All of his work has a clear focal point, that special “sweet spot” that draws you into the very essence of the painting. Many of his fans say that his work fills them with a sense of serenity and calmness and this is certainly true. There’s something elemental about Doug’s paintings: it’s just down to Mother Nature – and you. Not surprisingly, that’s exactly how Doug has planned it:

Doug Foltz, A Momentary Opening, oil on canvas, 36 x60”

If you’re in Atlanta, we hope you can join us for Doug’s opening on Thursday, May 6th from 6-8 p.m.. He’ll be here to say hello to friends and fans. We can’t wait! If you can’t make the show, we hope you’ll visit our website where you can view Doug’s paintings on your computer screen.


Ann and Master Doug

And, stay tuned for Part Two of He’s Brilliant, coming next week.

Ta ta,

HH

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hmmm, Hmmm Good!

Haute Cuisine: The Soufflé

Chocolate Souffle


Here at the gallery, we Huffingtons pretty much love all of life’s little sensory feasts: art (of course), food, wine, travel, good cashmere sweaters, an excellent novel and the Sunday edition of the New York Times.

We all like to eat and we like to cook, too. So, on a recent cold, wet and windy March night (I think it was a Tuesday), I heard my phone telling me I had a text. Sure enough, it was from Linda, who had just sent me a photo of the most delicious and mouth-wateringly beautiful savory soufflés she had literally just whipped up. It didn’t hurt that Linda has a true gift for presentation, so the ramekins were properly crusty and brown and looked extremely professional.

“I literally made these in thirty seconds” she wrote and rattled off the short little list of ingredients she’d used. Not surprisingly, the report the next day: every morsel devoured by her cute family of manly boys.

Linda says:

“The idea to make these soufflés came one night recently, when Jack, my 17-year-old son (and French student) told me he needed extra credit in French class. We made these yummy soufflés and shared them with the rest of the family. We added a salad with mustard and tarragon vinaigrette, a baguette et voila! Of course, my husband and I added a delicious little Muscadet vin to our meal. (the Huffingtons: we all got an A!)”

A couple of days later, on a Friday, I was racking my brain for a little special something to end our favorite Friday night tradition: the house date (this entails a nicely-cooked meal, a great bottle of wine, a favorite playlist on the Ipod, maybe a current movie release on DVD and absolutely no driving, waiting for a table, mediocre service, etc., etc.) I thought of our cute Linda and her pretty soufflés and quickly consulted chocolate soufflés in an old favorite cookbook, “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman. I was delighted to find, next to the entry, a little drawing I had a long time ago of some cute little soufflé dishes we have (white, handled and very Francais) and the cooking time for the perfect soufflé. A quick scan of the pantry showed that I had the simple list of ingredients: good chocolate, cream, eggs and vanilla – and just like that, the soufflés were easily put together and popped in the oven.

the well worn and chocolate spattered page from How to Cook Everything The mark of a well-loved recipe

I pulled them out 28 minutes later and they were gorgeous! Beautifully puffed, spilling over the sides of the dishes and a little bit of steam rising from the top…it almost seemed a shame to gently pull the center open and pour a little warm crème anglaise into it. But, believe me, it wasn’t that tragic and, after plenty of appreciative oohs and ahhs, the chocolate soufflés were heartily consumed – and they truly were hmmmm, hmmmm good!


Linda’s Black Olive and Basil Soufflés (perfect for a rainy, cold night or any other time)

Savory Souffle 

from “Soufflés, Sweet and Savory”


Ingredients:

  • 5T butter
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2c. all purpose flour
  • 1 1/3c. milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/4c. pitted black olives, sliced (I used a couple spoonfuls of tapenade)
  • 4 T. chopped basil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper-coated cherry tomatoes, to serve.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

1. Grease 4 small 4 inch diameter x2.5" deep soufflé dishes with some butter, then sprinkle w/ 3T. of the Parmesan.

2. Melt the remaining butter in pan, stir in flour, cook for 1 min. Mix in milk, gradually, and bring to boil, stirring until thickened and smooth

3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining Parmesan and the eggs yolks, then the olives or tapenade and some salt and pepper. Cover to cool

4. Beat egg whites into stiff, moist -looking peaks. Fold a large spoonful into the cooled sauce, along with the chopped basil, to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

5. Pour the mixture into the soufflé dishes and bake for 15-20 minutes until well-risen. The tops should be browned, with a slight wobble to the centers. Serve immediately with the roasted tomatoes.



Meg’s Chocolate Soufflés and Crème Anglaise (from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)

Says Mark Bittman:

“If you undercook this soufflé slightly, it will remain moist in the middle and need no sauce. If you cook it until it is completely dry, serve with Crème Anglaise, whipped cream or any light sauce. You can prepare the soufflé, through Step 3, hours in advance. Refrigerate the sauce. About an hour before you’re ready to serve the soufflé, bring the sauce and the whites to room temperature. Beat the whites as you preheat the oven and finish the soufflé.

Makes 4-6 servings

Time: About 1 hour, largely unattended

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing the soufflé dish
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus some for dusting the soufflé dish
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Pinch salt
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting.

2 the tools of the trade

1. Use 1 teaspoon of the butter to grease a 2-quart soufflé dish or other deep baking dish, such as a Corningware-type dish. (If you want to make individual soufflés, use a little more butter and grease four 1 ½ to 2-cup ramekins.) Sprinkle the dish with sugar and invert it to remove excess sugar. Set aside and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat with the 1/3 cup sugar. In a small saucepan, heat the 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. When the foam begins to subside, stir in the flour. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the butter flour mixture darkens, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the milk, a little bit at a time, using a whisk. It will be quite thick; stir in the chocolate and remove from heat. Let cook for 5 minutes. Beat the egg yolks and stir in. (The recipe can be prepared a few hours in advance up to this point; cool, wrap well and refrigerate.)

4. Beat the egg whites with the salt until very stiff but still glossy. Stir a good spoonful of them thoroughly into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites, using a rubber spatula or your hand. Transfer to the prepared soufflé mold and bake until the center is set, or nearly so, 30 to 40 minutes (15 to 25 minutes for individual soufflés.) Dust with confections’ sugar and serve immediately.”

Don't you love oven lights 

Crème Anglaise (or Vanilla Custard Sauce)

Makes about 2 cups

Time: 15 to 30 minutes

A fine sauce for plain cakes, fruit or any time you want a sweet sauce for dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks, or 2 whole eggs
  • ½ cup sugar

1. If you’re using the vanilla bean, heat the milk and the bean together in a small saucepan until the milk steams. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove the bean (you can rinse it off, wrap it in foil and use it again if you like). If you’re not using the bean, just heat the milk.

2. Use an electric mixer or whisk to beat the egg yolks or eggs and sugar together until pale yellow and thick. Slowly add the hot milk, stirring all the while.

3. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over very low heat, stirring, until it reaches 175 to 180 degrees, or is slightly thickened; do not boil. (There will be a thick coating on the back of a spoon, one that will hold the outline of your finger after you pass it through.) Remove from heat and pour into a bowl (if the mixture seems lumpy, strain it into the bowl), stir in the vanilla extract if using. Cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to a day; or right away.

Chocolate souffle with cream


Bon appétit!


Tata!

L. & M.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How He Did It: J.M.W. Turner

Postcards from Paris...

ParisStamp
I’ve always had a crush on J.M.W. Turner’s amazing light-filled paintings, and so you can imagine my thrill when I spotted posters of an ongoing Turner exhibit in Paris that popped up all over the city. Truth be told, the posters, showing a glimpse of what Turner is most famous for – his slightly abstracted, elegies to light -- were a little misleading, since they preyed on a trick that even we Huffington’s have been tempted to do when advertising a show, but shied away from … namely showing a close up of a portion of a painting rather than the entire painting. And, if you’re expecting a major retrospective of this artist’s incredible work, especially his later, more famous and definitely more ground breaking work, you may be disappointed.

But put those thoughts aside and if you are in Paris this summer, you must run, not walk, to this show! Held in one of my favorite buildings in Paris, the venerable Grand Palais, this jewel of an exhibit is an art history buff’s dream.

Paris- Grand Palais Overview An aerial view and close-up of the Grand Palais

Paris Grand Palais

Rather than a broad retrospective, it takes a very specific point of view and focuses on Turner’s influences, including surprising artists that he downright copied. The exhibit shows the original painting next to Turner’s own interpretation and it’s absolutely fascinating. Some of the comparisons are so similar that they reminded me of the children’s game, “Spot the difference” between two paintings. (Note that we do not have access to the actual paintings in the exhibit, so we can’t do the comparison justice as the exhibit does.)

As a gallery owner, I was fascinated and bemused by Turner’s influences. There is no doubt that by copying the greats, including the princes of classical landscape painting, Lorrain and Poussin, or the master of light himself, Rembrandt, Turner was able to evolve eventually in to his own style using some of the principles of his classical training and stretching them so far that eventually his work took on a surrealist or abstract form.

And because of this, he was way ahead of his time, influencing in turn a whole generation of artists, from Manet to Matisse. But I guess that when I think of Turner, I think of his later work and never consider his classical landscapes. So I was properly fascinated by his early work and by its similarity to the masters whom he so clearly worshiped.

In the art world, we run into this a lot, where we try to draw the line between influence and copying. Most classically trained artists learn by copying others. And even some great grown up artists will take influence to an extreme. Didn’t Picasso and Braque copy each other so much that Picasso once said he couldn’t tell their paintings apart?

Braque Violing and Pitcher 1910 Braque, Violin & Pitcher, 1910

Picasso Girl with Mandolin 1910Picasso, Girl with Mandolin, 1910

Of course if you’re copying openly and crediting the source, that is one thing. If you’re merely stealing someone else’s originality and trying to take credit for it, that’s another. In the case of Turner, what was so interesting is to what degree he copied the greats and then to what a greater degree, he took those influences and pushed them to their limits.

One of my favorite paintings in the exhibit (but interestingly not one that we would ever carry at the gallery – snow scenes don’t fly in the South!), was of an avalanche in Switzerland.

Turner- The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons 1810 J.M.W. Turner, The Fall of an Avalanche in the Grisons, 1810

First off, it’s painted on a diagonal, and the uncomfortable perspective actually reinforces the disruptive and forceful feeling of the avalanche (note, Japanese influence). Secondly, the strong foreground pulls you in to the painting immediately, and makes you feel like you’re in the storm. Thirdly, his use of palette knife makes the texture much rougher and gives the hard edges a violent streak. And finally, in classic Turner tour de force, it’s painted without realism which makes it actually feel more real. In other words, this painting is all about feeling rather than being descriptive in a representational way. Oh Mr. Turner – so ahead of your time!

I had to laugh at myself a few times during the exhibit. There were some paintings that were clearly influenced by others where I thought Turner’s interpretation was much less successful than his predecessors. There he was trying to paint Venice like Canaletto, but Canaletto’s palette and use of light was subtler and more beautiful.

Turner- Canaletto Rialto BridgeCanaletto, Rialto Bridge

Turner Rialto Bridge Turner, Rialto Bridge

Canaletto Rialto Bridge

Canaletto, Rialto Bridge

Turner- Canaletto, Veduta del Palazzo Ducale Canaletto, Veduta del Palazzo Ducale

Canaletto - Grand Canal from santa maria della Carita Canaletto, Grand Canal from Santa Maria Della Carita

I know our artists will appreciate it when I say that Meg and I would have gently turned a few paintings down, had Turner brought them to our gallery. “Go softer on the blues,” we would say, “and go with gold to capture the luminescence of the sky.” It seems that even in a world class museum exhibit, I can’t help myself from being critical.

Turner- The Grand Canal, Venice Turner, The Grand Canal, Venice

Turner- Venice Turner, Venice

This is a jewel of an exhibit. Brilliantly curated, extremely well documented, perfect in length and broadly fascinating as it features incredible paintings by Turner and so many other masters as well. If you’re just even thinking of going to Paris this summer, this is an exhibit you won’t want to miss.

If you can’t make it to Paris, don’t despair! Our own wonderful artist Doug Foltz encompasses many Turner-esque qualities with his lovely diffusion of light and softly abstracted landscapes. A solo show for Doug is opening at our gallery on Thursday, May 6. Stop by the gallery between 6 and 8 p.m. to enjoy light refreshments and a comprehensive overview of Doug’s body of work.

AReluctantRefusal48x48 Doug Foltz, A Reluctant Refusal, oil on canvas, 48 x 48”


Tata!

A.

P.S. – Congratulations to Gramercy on the debut of their new online store! Now everyone near and far can get their “fine linens fix” from this little shop of delights. Be sure to check out their blog too!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hip Hip Hooray!

We always say that it’s like Christmas when we receive new works from our artists, and we feel like proud parents when we hear about our artists’ special awards and accolades. So it seems fitting that like proud parents, we should share some of the news that has just come in from some of our artists. Think of this as our Christmas letter – the proud, braggy kind.


Our wonderful Ms. Nancy Franke received an “Award of Merit” from Artist’s Magazine at the Salon International Annual Juried Show at Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, Texas for her painting, Basking.

Basking 24 x 24 Nancy Franke, Basking


We asked Nancy what the Distinguished Awarding Judge, Everett Raymond Kinstler, had to say and she said it was something along these lines: “This piece (Basking) is very painterly; It is true, yet simple, with excellent draftsmanship; the artist has another piece in this show, which I liked and could have awarded as well.” (That one was The Petite Ballerina)

Franke-The Petite Ballerina Nancy Franke, The Petite Ballerina


Award 2

Nancy with the Distinguished Awarding Judge, Everett Raymond Kinstler

Nancy with award cropped Congratulations, Nancy!

~~~~

Bethanne Kinsella Cople is the President of the American Women Artists Association, and was recently gave a TV interview about her involvement with the national exhibit. She was caught off guard and didn’t realize they were going to be taping her, and ran in from painting outdoors. We told her she looks fabulous (which is true).




In addition to this, Bethanne has been:

Additionally, Bethanne will be holding a workshop called, "Pamper Yourself en Plein Air", April 26-30, 2010, sponsored by South Street Art Gallery at Great Oaks Manor, Chestertown, MD.


A tidewater Evening 24x Bethanne Cople, A Tidewater Evening, oil on board, 24 x 24”


~~~~


This weekend is the Atlanta Steeplechase and if you’ve been invited to attend, you will know that our own Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke’s painting was used for all of the literature and marketing of the event, as the “Official Atlanta Steeplechase artist of 2010.” By the way, Bonnie has also just dropped off some new work at the gallery that we’re very excited about, including this big beauty, Precieux.

precieux 60 x 48 Bonnie Beauchamp Cooke, Precieux, mixed media on canvas, 60 x 48”


~~~~


Brigitte Curt has been juried in the coveted competition, "Plein Air in the Garden and Beyond," at Filoli Gardens in Woodside California, . The exhibition is being held from April 13 to June 6, 2010. The artists will be present on "Meet the Artists Day," Saturday, May 1, 2010.

Curt-Clouds in the Afternoon Brigitte Curt, Clouds in the Afternoon, oil on board, 8 x 10”


~~~~


And finally, our wonderful artist Onyeka Ibe contributed a beautiful painting to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia’s annual gala fundraiser and art auction. He wrote to us: “Great event last night at the annual gala and art auction to support MOCA Georgia.” Ibe’s donated painting, Rolling Hills, sold for the highest bid of the night!

Ibe-Rolling Hills Ibe, Rolling Hills

~~~~

And with a little toot of our own horn, we thank Jezebel Magazine for awarding us with Best Fine Art Gallery for 2010.


Jezebel Best Gallery

Ta ta ...


HH


P.S. Look for an upcoming little “brag” on Doug Foltz who is featured in the May issue of American Art Collector Magazine. We have his work in the gallery and would love for you to stop by and see it!


As I Remember It 4 48 x 48 Doug Foltz, As I Remember It #4, oil on canvas, 48 x 48”

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Huffing It Alone

Postcards from Paris...

ParisStamp

A Huffington is on her way to Paris, on a solo trip for a few days, and has been musing about the joys of solo travel …

La Femme Mysterieuse 24 x 20

La Femme Mysterieuse by Lorraine Christie

A quick disclaimer before I start: I love traveling with my family, friends and fellow Huffingtons and I’d never trade traveling with them for traveling alone. But having said that, there are times when you either have to travel solo or choose to, and when that happens, it can be a wonderful gift to be relished and appreciated. At least I think so, for the following reasons:

- You can spread out in the hotel room and take up as much room as you want

- Especially on those first jet lagged nights, you can toss and turn to your heart’s content, without bothering anyone

- You don’t have to worry about running out of hotel shampoo and you can use all the hangers in the closet (and take the top drawers in the dresser)

Hotel Room

- You can order room service! Or you can go out and buy your food and wine and make your own little dinner. (Sometimes I order something small from room service, just to get the set up and silverware, and complement that with take out from a local deli or “traiteur.”)

- You don’t ever have to say, “What do you want to do today? “

- You can go through a museum at your own pace, spending hours in front of a favorite painting, while skipping entire civilizations if you want to

Louvre

- You can try on as many pairs of shoes as you want to

Shoes

- You can say yes to the whipped cream on the hot chocolate

Hot Chocolate

- You can wear what you want the minute you step in (or out of) your room

Jackie O

- You can eavesdrop on interesting conversations (I heard all about a remarkable 19th century female artist – a contemporary of Manet, whom Cezanne worshiped, and who until now has been unknown – but couldn’t quite overhear her name, so she’s still unknown to me!)

- You can order however many courses you want without having to synchronize your meal in a restaurant

Dining Out

- You can justify a very expensive restaurant, because dinner or lunch is so much less when it’s just for one. I especially recommend doing this in France – and really all over Europe, I think -- where the restaurants will treat you with very much respect even if you are a woman dining by herself.

In fact I’ll end with a funny little anecdote. Several years ago, I was traveling alone on Mother’s Day. Never one to feel bereft, I decided to treat myself to a very nice restaurant and hotel for the night knowing that my sweet family would surely approve. I picked the Auberge de Noves, famous for its fine cuisine (and proximity to the Avignon train station where I had to catch an early morning train), and I ordered a full course meal delivered to my room.

Auberge du Noves

I was prepared to have a glass of ordinary wine to go along with it, but then I changed my mind and called the sommelier for some suggestions. He was thrilled and said it would be an honor, Madame, to match my meal with a perfectly complementary wine. After asking a few questions about what I liked and what I was eating, he brought me a very fine half bottle of Burgundy, a 1998 Saint-Joseph Domaine Courbis, for which I was too embarrassed to ask the price.

It turns out that it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had and the wine tasted like liquid velvet. It was perfection.

But after relishing every bite and sip, I started to feel a little guilty about the mysterious cost and worried about the wine bill that would face me in the morning. (And what a terrible downer from Mother’s Day to be doing dishes in the hotel dining room!) It’s fair to say that I lost sleep over it – even though there was nothing I could do.

When I finally checked out in the morning, I quickly perused the bill and braced myself for a horrible shock. But the shock was that this exquisite bottle of liquid velvet cost only $16! If I’d known it upfront, I would have been spared all that unnecessary (and so female) angst and could have just enjoyed the moment. But then again, traveling solo and treating ourselves takes some getting used to and it doesn’t always come naturally. So maybe the final point should be:

- Traveling solo is a treat: Enjoy it!

Tata!

A.