watercolor

Recipe: Creamy Egg Salad without Mayonnaise

eggs in a bowl watercolor
I have been working on a recipe for egg salad. I do not want to use store-bought mayonnaise due to the unhealthy oils in the mayonnaise. Homemade mayonnaise is too much trouble to make. So how does one make egg salad creamy?

I came up with what I call an un-recipe: I suggest the ingredients, and you decide the amounts. Just about everything is optional. Well, not the eggs. Using real salt is a good idea, too (basically, use unrefined salt, not the kind that is all white — that stuff is like eating glass). There really is a brand called Real salt that I like and was recommended to me by a friend, but you can use any kind of unrefined salt.

Ingredients:

3 – 5 hard-boiled eggs
1 soft-boiled egg (adds to the moisture and creaminess)
Real salt (unrefined)

Choose 1 or 2 or more:
Chopped celery
Chopped sweet onion
Chopped radish
Chopped pickle

Possible herbs (chop finely):
Parsley, sage, basil, dill, chervil

Wet ingredients:
Mustard, tehina, water, lemon juice, cold-pressed olive oil

Spices (optional): cumin, paprika, chili powder, turmeric (Note: I often just use salt and skip the spices).

Chop the vegetables first. Slice the hard-boiled eggs with an egg slicer (if you have one). Add the soft-boiled egg. Add the wet ingredients, the salt, and any spices. Mash it all up. Add the chopped herbs.

Especially if it is your first time making this, add the “wet” ingredients in small amounts. These combined with yolks of the eggs will make your mayo. Add more water or olive oil after the first tasting if the egg salad needs to be creamier.

Enjoy! This is a great recipe for Seudah Shlishit, the meal that observant Jews eat at the end of Shabbat.

eggs on a colorful napkin cloth watercolor

In Search of Style: Little Boy Reads Watercolor

boy reading watercolor
What influences an artist to paint? For me, I have this idea in my head that I want to paint certain family members in a warm, appealing, and descriptive manner. I have been working to increase my skills, but mere technique does not equal achieving a style one wants. In this watercolor painting of my son (he is now many years older than seen in this painting), I felt I got closer. I was able to paint the face with a lighter touch than I have before. Also, I like the expressiveness of the background that adds to the portrait. The bits of pink add a reflectiveness and softens the overall bluish gray and white of the composition.

What are some more ideas that I want to explore?

  • Even more lightness of touch when I paint.
  • Better command of my palette (the colors chosen for the portrait)
  • Always working to improve my drawing!

Thank you for reading! Feel free to leave a comment. I always enjoy hearing from readers.

Excitement of a Purplish, Red, and Pink Radish

radish watercolor on white fence in front of garden structure
I was fiddling in my garden, and I saw the top of something purplish red. Behold! It was my first radish, in my new garden structure built by my friend Yosef Schmidt. I was so excited that I took a photo. It felt like the first “fruit” of my new garden: the other produce so far has been greens.

It turns out that there is a challenge called #studyfromlifechallenge on Instagram. You are supposed to paint from real life based on a weekly theme. So this week the theme was pink. When a painter looks at that radish, it is not just one shade of color. So I started my watercolor with opera pink. I later added some alizarin crimson and a tiny bit of cobalt blue.

Below is a photo of the garden structure when it was first built. It is 7 feet tall, and I commissioned Yosef to build it because the deer kept eating my plants. And we used to have a groundhog that lived on our garage that would eat all sorts of goodies in my garden. It has a door in the back, and a row for a human to walk into the structure and examine the three garden beds that are in a U shape.

So far, I have grown micro greens, french chervil, parsley, lettuce, and now radishes! Pea plants are growing, but no peas yet. Hopefully, basil, tomato, cucumber, and beans in the summer.
garden structure March 2022

Recent Figure Paintings

girl and her father dance with a flag
This is one of my favorite recent watercolor paintings, a girl with a flag in one hand, holding unto her father, and dancing down the middle of a street of trees. It is from the hachnassat sefer Torah that I posted about a while back.

man and his car
One advantage of not achieving likeness in a portrait is that I feel more comfortable sharing this painting of a long ago relative. He must have really been proud of that car.

Lenape Trail figures
We went on a family hike during Pesach. The morning before the hike I painted two pages in my sketchbook with exercises from Shari Blaukopf’s book Working with Color. When I got back from the hike I drew figures of our family hikers with ink on top of the pre-painted pages. I added a touch of watercolor to each figure.

Mishkan Colors

mishkan colors with red, purple, blue
The passages describing colors of the Mishkan inspired me to do some drapery studies. Years ago, when I was in art school, I remember learning to do triangles of color. Put together a palette of a dark red, a medium red, and a light red. And do triangles.

When you read passages from the Torah in translation, you are often not reading exactly what the text intended. Not that we know for sure what the text intended.

In parshat Veyakhel and in parshat Pekudai (those two often go together, but this year we have a leap year — yay, two months of Adar! Lots of opportunity for joy) colors are mentioned among the items that people brought to help build the Mishkan, the holy structure for worship. The Hebrew is “techelet, argaman, and tola’at shani” (Exodus 35:6):

וּתְכֵלֶת וְאַרְגָּמָן וְתוֹלַעַת שָׁנִי

Tola’at Sheni seems to be some kind of red. I saw translations as scarlet or crimson. I saw tabernacle photos with worm-like creatures that were coral. Tola’at does seem to be a worm of sorts.

Techelet is some kind of blue. The Stone Chumash, published by Art Scroll, translates techelet as turquoise. Here is my turquoise version:
crimson, purple, turquoise

Robert Alter in his Bible translation uses indigo. Jewish Publication Society went with the safe translation: blue. The painting at the top of this post is my “blue” version.

Argaman is loosely translated as purple. However, one friend thought argaman should have a tint of red, as in burgundy or bordeaux. Or maybe violet. So here is yet a third version:

red, burgundy, blue Mishkan colors

I created the burgundy by loading the top painting with blue in my Linux laptop. There I used GIMP, a free and open software package, to change the hue of the purple to burgundy.

Farmers Market Watercolors

Organic Stand at Highland Park Farmer's Market
Winter is here: most humans spend less time outside. As an artist, I like pour over spring, summer, and fall photos for painting inspiration. I miss the Highland Park Farmers Market, so it has become one of my favorite themes to paint. Also, I took an online course with Shari Blaukopf called Sketching Markets in Ink and Watercolor, so that was an added incentive to paint my local market.

I have two favorite stands at the Highland Park Farmers Market. The first one I go to is the organic stand: that stand is depicted in the paintings at the top and bottom of this post. I often look for kale. It tends to be greener in the spring or fall, as kale prefers cooler temperatures. Sometimes I buy arugula, corn, parsley, or squash. I enjoyed painting all the overflowing cabbages and cauliflower in the top painting.

peaches at the farmers market in Highland Park, New Jersey
My favorite item of all are the summer peaches. New Jersey peaches in July and August are amazing. I worked hard to apply rich, opaque paint to my peaches illustration.

organic stand at the Highland Park Farmers Market
In this painting I challenged myself to include a person, some signs, and a background. Farmers markets are lively places: much for the artist to capture.

Desert Watercolor and Ox Falls in Pit

watercolor of Judean desert with John Singer Sargent painting as the teacher
Watercolor of Judean desert with 1905 John Singer Sargent watercolor painting as the teaching guide

As an adult who wants to learn, one needs to be creative in finding good teachers. One way that I learn new art techniques is by copying master painters. This past week I wanted to paint a desert painting, so I turned to a reproduction of a 1905 John Singer Sargent watercolor of the Judean Desert.

Why a desert? Last week the Torah portion was Yitro (Jethro, father-in-law of Moses), and the people of Israel were wandering around in the desert. So I decided to copy the John Singer Sargent painting of a desert (not the Sinai but one near Jerusalem where some of our friends live, near Jericho).

בַּחֹדֶשׁ, הַשְּׁלִישִׁי, לְצֵאת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם–בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה, בָּאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינָי
וַיִּסְעוּ מֵרְפִידִים, וַיָּבֹאוּ מִדְבַּר סִינַי, וַיַּחֲנוּ, בַּמִּדְבָּר; וַיִּחַן-שָׁם יִשְׂרָאֵל, נֶגֶד הָהָר

In the third month after the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. And when they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mount.
Exodus 19:1-2

We learn in parshat Yitro that Yitro was the teacher of Moshe. Moshe was settling disputes on his own, without any help. Yitro saw that this was not an efficient method of the leading the people. He suggested Moshe appoint leaders to handle many of these issues. We learn that we should not take upon all the problems of society on our own. Instead we should find others to help us.

I am thankful to my husband and to my rabbi for teaching me Torah. This coming week is parshat Mishpatim (laws). I skimmed the parsha and found many work or farm animals are used as examples to teach about disputes between people. For example, here is my illustration of an ox falling into a pit that a person has negligently left open. There is more of the week to study the parsha: looking forward to what else I will learn.
ox falls into pit in parshat mishpatim

Theme of Water in Parshat Shemot

Shemot: Batya, Miriam, Baby Moshe
Parshat Shemot: Batya, Miriam, and Baby Moshe

The people of Israel are down in Egypt. A new Pharaoh comes along. He tells the midwives to kill the baby boys. Yocheved puts her baby son in a tevah in the river. Miriam watches from a distance. The daughter of Pharaoh, Batya, comes along to take care of the baby. Batya gets Yocheved to nurse the baby.

What is the importance of water?

Water is the reason Egypt is a super power: they have the Nile. Israel needs rain, creating a situation in which we need to rely on God. We need to pray for rain. This helps one build a relationship with God. Learn more from Rabbi Leibtag.

Noah vs. Moshe

What are the parallels to Noah? Both saved by a tevah. Both have forty days and forty nights. When Gods tells Noah he’s going to continue the world through him, Noah responds: OK, sure. Moshe, however, says “No.” If you destroy the people of Israel, then erase me from your book.

According to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, Moshe repairs the flaw of Noah. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev teaches “Moshe is the tikkun (repair) for the soul of Noah” (Keddushat Levi, Noach). This idea is based on the Ari z”l in Sha’ar Hagilgulim who says that Moshe is a gilgul, a reincarnation of Noah.

Noah is told to build a tevah: “Make yourself an ark – tevah” (Bereishit 6:14).
Moshe is saved in a tevah: “She took a papyrus box – tevah.”

Noah is saved from the great waters of the flood.
Moshe’s name means to be drawn from the water: “Because from the water he was drawn” (Shemot 2:10). In a sense, both Noah and Moshe are “drawn from the water”.

Of Noah during the flood: “It would continue to rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights” (Bereishit 7:12).
Of Moshe: “Moshe remained there with God for 40 days and 40 nights” (Shemot 34:28).

Noah does not respond nor plead on behalf of his generation, but merely carries out God’s command. “And Noah did all that God had commanded him” (Bereishit 6:22).

Moshe displays care and sympathy. We are familiar with these characteristics from Parshat Shemot when we learn that Moshe cannot sit by idly by when witnessing the suffering of others. He slays the Egyptian and saves Yitro’s daughters.

The tikkun of Noah is that Moshe is willing to suffer annihilation rather then continue without Bnei Yisrael. In complete empathy and identification with Bnei Yisrael, he ties his fate to theirs by intentionally sinning by breaking the tablets.
Source: Batya Hefter, Parshat Hashavua, Shemot, Nov 19, 2016

Moshe and the Nile

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, אֱמֹר אֶל-אַהֲרֹן קַח מַטְּךָ וּנְטֵה-יָדְךָ עַל-מֵימֵי מִצְרַיִם עַל-נַהֲרֹתָם עַל-יְאֹרֵיהֶם וְעַל-אַגְמֵיהֶם
(שְׁמוֹת 7:19)
Rashi explains that Moshe was saved by the Nile, so Aharon instead does the hitting of the water for the plague of dam – blood. Importance of being grateful – even to an inanimate object like a river.

More Artwork!

For those who come for the artwork, here is a pen and ink version of Miriam, Batya, and Moshe:

Miriam, Batya, baby Moshe

Colorful Watercolor Landscape of Pond

landscape colorful version

I posted this colorful landscape of a pond near my work (on Instagram and then on Facebook) – I called it “fake.” A friend said, no, it is real. Another friend suggested we might end up with an debate on what is considered to be real and what is considered to be fake. It is a bit like weeds – do you like it in your garden? Yes? Then it is not a weed.

I am hoping by posting this watercolor I will inspire myself to go back to doing watercolor painting. When life gets busy, sometimes it is nice to do nothing. On the other hand, producing art can be quite satisfying.

What inspires you to paint? Do you sometimes want to do nothing?

Boy in Tree – Watercolor

boy in tree watercolor 2019
What are the things in life that bring you joy? I love when I get inspired to paint or draw. A few weeks ago I found this old photo; a day later I had painted this watercolor. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been busy with other parts of my life, and I have not painted nearly as much as I would like. Sometimes I do take a sketch pad with me, so there are a few drawings of people in my sketch pad. I found another photo that could also make a nice watercolor – perhaps I will squeeze in the time to do a watercolor of that photo.

Thank you for visiting!

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