Cynthia St. Charles Store

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fish Salad Dinner In Mexico

This is a salad I made with the fish left over from the previous day's fresh caught fish.  Yum!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fresh Fish - Sea of Cortez

The Sonoran desert in Mexico (where Puerto Penasco is located) is quite a productive area.  Local fishermen catch fresh fish every day, and a variety of fish can be purchased at the port for daily consumption.  To the west, at the top of the Baja Penninsula, is a vast farming area, where many fresh vegetables are produced.  In Puerto Penasco, vendors stand at street corners selling fruits and vegetables and that is where I got this fresh asparagus!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sea of Cortez Big Waves

Usually, the Sea of Cortez at Puerto Penasco is quite calm and placid.  It is a small body of water, and fairly shallow.  Occasionally, the wind kicks up, and the waves do too. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

This Year's Books Read in Mexico

As I mentioned before, our time in Mexico is a real vacation.  No Internet, no TV, no phone, and of course, the language barrier.  We spent a lot of time reading.  This is the stack of books I brought along and I read all the novels plus most of the non-fiction books.  It is amazing to have so much time to just indulge in a series of good books!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Colorful Mexican Pottery!

 We love shopping for colorful glass, pottery and rugs in Mexico (above).  This year, I decided to bring back a variety of small plates (7" diameter) in every pattern I could find.  I found nine different designs, shown here (below), but I purchased a dozen, so there are some duplicates.  I think they will be fun to use for appetizers or for desserts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tamale Vendors on the Beach

On weekends, the tamale vendors come around on the beach with their wares to sell.  My favorite is the two grannys who come with tamales and burritos, piping hot in a cooler.  Yum!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunset at Puerto Penasco

I will try not to bore you with sunset photos......I took a lot of them.  We walked the beach every evening at sunset in order to photograph the drama.  I have hundreds of photos from those walks.  The colors change so quickly at sunset on the beach!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Pelican Parade in the Sky

 At sunset, as the tide was starting to go out, the pelicans would begin migrating east to the nearby estuary, where they would find easy fishing. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sunset View From the Margarita Deck

My sister's beach house has 4 decks.  The margarita deck is on the roof and the view is spectacular!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Bougainvillea in Puerto Penasco

Bougainvillea were blooming in many of the yards in Puerto Penasco.  Such a glorious sight for us in late winter!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Puerto Penasco Shrimp

Puerto Penasco is a small fishing village at the top curve of the Sea of Cortez.  One of the main things they fish for is SHRIMP, and they catch them BIG!  We went down to the port market every day to shop for the evening's meal of fresh caught fish or shrimp.  This day, I did not buy the largest shrimp I could find - but these are still very nice.  I sauteed them in butter, olive oil, and garlic.  So yummy!  (note my hand on the left side of the plate for size comparison).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Beach Walk at Dusk

This is a picture of Joe on our first beach walk of this visit.  We arrived in the afternoon, and after settling in, we went out on the beach at low tide as the sun was setting. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Foggy Morning in Mexico

As I mentioned last Friday, we are recently returned from an extended visit to Puerto Penasco, Mexico.  This is the first morning view from the deck of my sister's house on the beach.  The Sea of Cortez is hidden from view behind the fog, which didn't stay long - it is rare to see fog like this here.  Joe and I were able to spend 10 glorious, peaceful days there!  More pictures to come!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Abstract Art Study 2015 - Exercise 11 Monochrome Color

The instruction for Monochrome Color was to mix the colors gently on the canvas (paper in my case).

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Abstract Art Study 2015 - Analogous Color Pink

Here is the next exercise I did for analogous color.  I actually monoprinted this one in the last stages.  Paint was lifted from the page on a small card and pressed back onto the page in another area.  I really like this process and the result....well - I guess I am really much more of a printmaker than a painter....

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mexican Sky

We have recently returned from an extended trip to Arizona and Mexico.  My sister owns a beautiful vacation home on the shores of the Sea of Cortez, just 60 miles south of the Arizona border.  Joe and I were fortunate to be able to spend 10 glorious winter days there, soaking up the sun, sand, sea, and sky.  It is a true vacation, with no Internet, no TV, no phone service, and the natives speak Spanish, so verbal communication is limited.  Here is a picture of the sky on our second day.  I will post some of my favorite photos from the trip here over the next few weeks.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Alternative Energy - vs- Fossil Fuels Journal

The artists were also required to create a journal about their subject and piece.  Here is the cover for my journal.  I made this wrap around cover for my journal.  The top image is the front and this second image is the back of the journal cover. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Alternative Energy - vs- Fossil Fuels #2

Here is my small piece made to compliment the much larger piece as part of the SAQA Earth Stories Exhibition.  All the artists have been required to create a smaller piece measuring 12" x 14".

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Alternative Energy - vs- Fossil Fuels Complete

I managed to complete this quilt - 72" square - from start to finish - in just two CRAZY weeks!  But there was more!  I had to make a smaller piece to accompany it (12 x 14") and also a journal to accompany my piece as part of the traveling exhibition. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Fused, Hand Printed and Quilted Binding

My bindings are fused to the edge of the trimmed quilt.  I usually use fabric to match the quilt and when necessary, I will print the binding after it has been fused in place.  I protect the quilt with masking tape before printing the binding.  After the paint dries, I will peel away the tape and machine quilt the binding to match the quilt.  This makes the bindings pretty nearly invisible, firm, and helps my quilts hang straight. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Year of Abstract Art - Exercise 9 Black and White

This is a follow up exercise for working with black and white.  This time, beginning with a colored underpainting.  I chose red. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Before Quilting and After

Here is a full image (above) of the design once all the composition is finished.  The next thing to do - quilting (below).  I do all my quilting at my domestic sewing machine a Juki 98Q that is a workhorse.  It drives fast and has a bit of extra room between the needle and base so I can make those wide swings and swirls and spirals!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Filling in with Screen Printed Turbines

 The large wind turbines are fused applique, but the smaller ones are screen printed and hand painted.  These needed to be added before quilting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Earth Stories - Putting it Together

Here is a photo of the work in progress.  The big wind turbines are fused in place and I am auditioning this hand printed black fabric for the base.   Again, perhaps this will not be a collage, but rather, a whole cloth section that will be seamed to the top. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Screen Printing Commentary

 It may seem obvious that white was the correct color to use for printing the text on this piece, but that was not the case at the time, from my perspective.  I was out of silver, and black seemed to dark, so it had to be white - it was just a process of elimination.  I hoped the different fonts and sizes of the text, etc. would result in a sort of cloud-like appearance from a distance that would take on a new meaning as the viewer would come closer.
 I contemplated cutting the fabric up and collaging it, but I thought I could make that decision later, if necessary (like - if I ruined some section of the whole cloth or something like that, hey - it happens).

 This last picture is the entire piece after the printing is complete.  I cannot express how very relieved I was to see this on my design wall at this point.  I really hoped I could proceed without ruining this big piece of fabric that I felt was very effective as it was without being cut up into a collage.....

Monday, March 2, 2015

Block Printing on Gray

 The next step for the gray sky would be the block printing.  I would be using hand carved printing blocks that I thought represented a windy or stormy atmosphere.....I planned to use silver Jacquard Lumiere, but alas, when I went to my shelves - I had just a small quantity of silver on hand.  This product is not available in stores in Billings, Montana and I did not have time to order from Dharma or anyone else!  It seemed like I might be able to stretch the silver if I mixed in some blue and purple and so that is what I did.  This probably was not really a bad thing, after all.  But I did use up every last drop of silver, blue and purple metallic that I had in my studio!  The printing took an entire day, as the fabric was so large and I had to keep sliding it around on the worktable to get the thing done....
Oh, my, but it did get printed.  Whew!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Year of Abstract Art Exercises # 9 Black and White

Exercise 9 - working in black and white.  Rough brushstrokes were called for.  Instructions to begin with a black underpainting and continue with white and gray.