Tuesday, September 9, 2014


So the arts meet sometimes.  And in reality there is an art to everything.  The Spanish have mastered the art of frying an egg in a very special way.  So for fun I thought it would be interesting  to share the art and the recipe. In 1816 Diego Velazquez, Old Woman Frying eggs, shows a process that is still done today in which eggs are fried in olive oil.  It is so amazing to think of a process of cooking that has survived so long and come into the future. While pursing through blogs I came across the article on the Art of Frying an Egg.   The blog is one you may want to check out In Praise of the Sardine, though there are no sardines in this recipe. 


          SPANISH FRIED EGGS                                                                        
                                                           from google only for art advocacy

Diego Velazquez  Spanish Artist  Diego Vieja Friendo Huevos , Old Woman Frying eggs 1816   hangs in the National Gallery in Scotland

"I was intrigued to read in one of Penelope Casas' cookbooks that her Spanish husband's favorite meal, the one he request every year for his birthday, is fried eggs. Heres is a guy married to the author of a half dozen Spanish cookbooks and culinary travel guides to Spain, a man who could presumably request any number of gastronomic delights, and he desires fried eggs?  My initial thought was "what a yoke".(pun intended).  But then I noticed each of my Spanish cookbooks includes a recipe for fried eggs. And each one waxes as rhapsodic as Penelope Casas" husband about how beloved the fried egg is in Spain.  Still I felt skeptical, I felt compelled to test how deep this passion ran during my second visit to Spain. Nearly everyone I ask grew flushed with excitement as soon as I raised the topic of the huevo frito! Yet another reason why the Spanish are my kind of people." from the blog .From the blog In Praise of the Sardine.

Salvador Dali      Dying of Velazquez                            from google only use only for art advocacy.
"Naturally, I sampled fried eggs whenever I could in Spain, including a memorable one that was perched atop an embarrassing quantity of the most delicious foie gras I have ever had. (Mantequeria can Ravell in Barcelona).  I also learned how to master th simple art of the huevo frito, which as you will learn, is the best farm fresh e.g. ou can buy quickly fried in generous amounts of extra virgin oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  Guess what I will be making for myself on my birthday every year?

extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
1 egg per person
coarse sea salt, preferably Maldon
toasted bread


Pour enough oil in non-stick pan to come to a depth of about 1/4".  Turn flame to medium high and heat until nearly smoking.  Break the egg into the pan without breaking yolk.  Quickly turn down the heat to medium low and cook for no longer than one minute, all the while using a metal spoon to baste the egg on top with hot oil from the pan.  The white will puff up and get a bit crunchy and golden of the sides and the yolk will remain runny.  Use a slotted spoon to lift the egg out of the pan and shake off any excess oil.  Plop you egg onto your plate or toast, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper if  you like and imagine yourself at an outside terrazzo somewhere in Spain on a warm sunny day."

 I hope you enjoy this bit of fun…with art, food, and travel.  Those are a few of my favorite things!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Boushra Almutawakel is an enigma in the Middle East, but she is a growing part of young women artists who are exploring the myth of women and their identity in a culture that romanticism women and restricts them. 

Disappearing Woman                                      Boushra Almutalwakel

For those of us that are from Western cultures it is hard to understand women who cover themselves so completely, but one point of view Boushra had made since to me….she stated it is like Western women who cover themselves with makeup and you can not see their real selves. Growing up I knew little about the Middle East other than what may have been mentioned about the Crusades and Infidels.  I don't think I even knew what infidels were or where they lived.  
Then came Lawrence of Arabia and my next view of the Middle East was formed, tribes primitive tribes that fought and struggled to form one cohesive body to fight the British control.
  The call to prayer, the women's clothing, the seeming harshness of the culture all started to build a romantic vision in my mind of flowing robes, turbans, deserts, camels, and women hidden behind carved screens in a harem.  It was not until I went to college that me view again changed and then again not until well into adulthood.  But the most dramatic change for me was living in Izmir, Turkey and learning more about Islam and women's role with in the country and religion.  Turkey was at the time a very Western leaning Middle Eastern country and the more religious women might cover their hair or wear a loose covering that did not show the shape of their body.  And living two years in Turkey gave me just a peak behind the myth I had formed from childhood.   The Call to Prayer, was no longer chilling to me, but welcoming.  People were friendly and hospitable to me as a foreigner.  I knew that women, that were not Western, were not treated as equally as I was.  In my travels in Turkey as I went Eastward the customs were more and more rigid and restrictive for women.  

Boushra Almutalwakel         Portrait of Mother and Daughter         from google for purpose of art advocacy
I have read that in some areas of the Middle East women are not allowed to drive and that they must carry a passport to go from one part of town to another.  I have also read non fiction books that document women's struggle to win more freedom and rights that are often met with harsh punishment.  I still struggle to understand what is cultural and what is religious in the restrictions applied to women. 

I look forward to seeing more of Boushra's examination and conversation about her culture in Yemen as well as other pioneer young women artists of the Middle East.  They help us all break down stereotypes and gain a clearer understanding of Eastern culture that seems so different from our own.

 Photography by Boushra Almutawakel                              from google for the purpose of art education
Boushra Amutawakel, a penner among Yemeni female photographer, found these ideas stimulating and decided to interpret them photographically.  As she recalls, after September 11th and increase in 'all things Middle Eastern' took place, either demonizing or romanticizing Arabs and Muslims.  Part of the Romanticism, she elaborates "is  was Middle Eastern women have been portrayed artistically as exotic mysterious creatures".  She wanted to challenge through her work "Wester, Arab, and Islamic views and stereotypes", trying to "look at things from different perspectives and approaching the many layers "she seems in this subject."  Source Nafas Art Magazine

Boushra Almutwakel challenges us all to think about the roles of culture and the female image and role in society.

Untitled by Boushra Almutawakel  Yemin Photographer
from google for art advocacy

Friday, August 8, 2014



Sounds like a group that just works with clay, maybe a summer program, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I remember years ago running into two young social workers who had a dream of starting an arts organization for mentally and physically challenged kids and adults.  I thought it was interesting, but thought these two girls aren't art teachers and they will needs grants and money to even get a start at all this.  A couple of years later I ran into Grace Ann Alfiero and Danielle Despathy Rottenberg again and to my great surprise that had the organization going, funding starting and a space! From there it grew and grew.  These two young women were recognized nationally for their efforts.   Now many years later the organization still exists, and new people are in charge, but the heart of the organization has never changed and what those two  young social workers achieved will alway be a wonder to me and perhaps to them too.  They should be very proud of what they funded and that the group still provides and invaluable service for St. Petersburg.   Recently our wonderful St. Petersburg Fine Art Museum formed a partnership with Creative Clay to display the work of the artists.  It is a fantastic move by the Museum to include these artists in their gift shop and have an open house for them as well. There are other cities that may have a similar program, but this is one superb group.  Also two of my artists friends have been very involved with these artists.  Thank you David Bewley and Rose Marie Prins.  I have bought these artists work at the center studio, and I highly advice if you support special children and adults you buy their works as well!!!  If you click on Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg above, it will take you to the link.  Then click on gift shop and start buying!!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014



I was waiting in the car and a bit bored while my partner and a friend were in the grocery store getting a few supplies.  So I started studying people and the cars around me.  There was also a big trash truck that had interesting rust and markings.  I reached for my little Lumix camera and began to look for interesting shots and angles. I began to see lines, shapes and patterns.  As my eyes honed in for details I turned my camera this way and that, then I came in really really close on certain part, what happened was very interesting.  I guess it is a way of saying there are no small moments in art. If you train your eye to look as artist do you can see the most amazing things that you miss in every day life. There are amazing colors that are faded my the sun, or darkened by shadow.  There are marks, scratches and a rosetta stone of communication on old trucks and pick up trucks.  If we just look there are natural and man made compositions everywhere.  The study of the shovel on the dump truck is one example.  I played with the size, the cropping and the color.  I could have also tried black and white devoid of color. And when there is monotones just set off by a red or another bright color it adds emphasis to the composition.  In this area of the mountains there are many cultures that peak through, I tried to capture one with the Confederate flag and wolf tag.  And lastly reflections, a glass and a mirror offer a double reflection, if you look closely you will see it.  
It is just handy to keep a small camera or a sketch book with you at most times within reach.  So many times things catch your eye, that never happen again and it is missed.  You know those times and say to yourself, " I just wish I had a camera".  I am the same way with sound, I would love to gather bits of sound to use in an installation or an interactive sculpture.  

Studies in texture, color, shape, line and shadow can be found anywhere

The slanting line in this shot was interesting to me contrasted against the
shape of the steering wheel…and 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Dassanach woman with bottle top and found object wig.
from google image for education only

Elizabeth Gordon   Detail of Mixed Media Assemblage 2014
Bottle tops, cork, wooden rulers, Antique English Ship Building Molds,
trade beads, nails, ribbon, fabric, rusted metal, felt piano tabs, wooden plugs, etc.
                   Cultural Aphasia

All Cultures posses art, all cultures express themselves in art, music, and drama.  For some groups it is so integrated into the culture there is no name for art or music.  For them it is if there is no way to separate who they are into a separate subject.  

Detail of Assemblage
mixed media, found object collage

When I first thought of doing an assemblage for an art show I had thought for years of doing an African based fetish piece that talked of cultures, art, and the views we have of other cultures from our own.
Knoxville Museum
 Well into the early 1900's and late 1800's we looked at other cultures that seemed less advanced than our own as specimens to look at under a microscope or to capture like an oddity to put in our museums for observation.  Precious tribal objects, sacred religious pieces, bodies and skulls
museum artifact
of other humans as if they were an object, not respected nor treated more than a curiosity I have thought many times what would happen if our objects of reverence were treated the same way, our graves, our ruins, our lives that are precious to us.  Now as these cultures have more power many are demanding their artifacts back.  And our museums are having to open their doors to let this happen.  

African Artifact

In this piece I have taken some of the ideas I learned from studying the Dassanach people and tried to incorporate it in my assemblage.  Their headdresses or wigs of bottle tops interested me a great deal.  They collected what was precious and what was available to incorporate into a costume to be worn and adorned.  Bits of metal from bullets, a watch band, nails, fabric and other became fascinating intricate objects of art.  So in my own way I recreated this to express all of these aspects. Where the eyes would be is a photograph of immigrants looking out at who ever is taking a picture of them.  The slides at the bottoms have photographs of people from different cultures that represent different genders, ages, and countries.  A specimen number is written on each, as if to be studied by anthropologist or categorized for a museum. Actual people were used as examples often called human zoos.  The barbed wire is reflective of many things: wires that is on borders that keep people out, prisons wire, the holocaust, torture, and sacrifice.  The fishing lure has many meaning as each piece in this assemblage, my intent is to present an object or image that will trigger your own education, and your own experiences.  But a lure can be to lure people in, to fish for beliefs and ideas, to catch….our minds work on image identification to a belief or meaning associated by our education or experience in life.  What we attribute to meaning is key to our culture, our perception, and our beliefs.  In Surrealism, a early 20th century art movement, that existed during the heyday of Freud's psychological theories, symbolism is central.  It is a movement that seems to call to me and also be a way I can unconsciously and consciously convey ideas and thoughts that are somewhat complex. 

Detail of mixd media assemblage with slides, photos, barbed wire, wooden found objects,
fishing lure, trade beads, nails, cork, shipping molds, rusted found metal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NAMIBIA Young Warriors

The photography is exceptional.  I can't find who t attribute it to.  If you know or find out let me know and I will give credit. Doesn't almost look like we are on an alien planet?  And on another planet in another universe.  I love the ghost like quality of this artists photographers works.

Namibian hunters                  from google for education purposes            no artist listed

Monday, July 28, 2014

Photographs of the Worlds most remote peoples before they die.  

Looking at these photo's it almost seems as if we have stepped through a time portal. We have traveled thousands of miles to cultures that time has passed by and perhaps kindly so.  For not all that is new is progressive and not all that is new best.  This photo is almost haunting in its dramatic expanse  of landscape and the stalwart men on horseback.  It easily could be another time, another place.

If anyone identifies the Photographer please e-mail me and I will give them credit.

Tibet              Photographer unknown         From google image only for the purpose of Education and art advocacy

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