Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Art of Preserving Plums

Plum chutney, this is particularly tasty and keeps for years
2 kg plums
1/2 kg onions
2 cups raisins
1 clove garlic
4 cups soft brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups malt vinegar (approx)
Chop and put all in pan. Add enough vinegar to almost cover. Stir well. Boil gently, stirring frequently about 2 hours or until thick and jam-like. Plum stones float to the top and can be removed
Put in sterilized jars. To sterilize jars, clean them, dry them and then cook them in the oven, put the hot chutney in the hot jars and cover with a clean cloth till they cool to just warm and then put on cellophane lids with rubber bands and then the jar's original metal screw top. Done!

This is some of the plums still left after I have picked more than I need for a years supply of plum jam and plum sauce and about a four year supply of plum chutney. As you can see the weight of the fruit bends the branches to the ground. Two branches broke and many were propped up with stakes. This tree's a freak of nature and creates so much work for me at this time of year 'cause I can't bear to waste those hundreds of huge dark red plums.
Today's job is to bottle this plum sauce and all the jam. All this work was in the middle of drawing designs for a proposed mural on Tairua Library. The first designs for the Tairua Library mural were delivered to Alicia at the Thames and Coromandel District Council yesterday and finishing the 2009 Plum harvest can be done and dusted by the end of today.
Plum Sauce
2.7 kg ( 6 lbs ) plums
1.7 litres ( 3 pints ) malt vinegar
1 kg ( 2 lbs ) soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons all spice
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon ground mace
6 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger
50 g ( 2 ozs ) garlic
Put all ingredients into preserving pan and boil together until reduced to a pulp (about 2 - 3hours ) Plum stones float to the top and can be removed. Stain through sieve and bottle in sterilized bottles ( I don't strain mine)

Plum Jam

to 2.7 kg ( 6 lbs ) plums add 1 1/4 cups water. Cook slowly until fruit is pulped. Add 2 kg
( 4 & 1/2 lbs ) soft brown sugar and boil quickly for about 15 minutes. Test. Stones may be picked out as they float to the surface.
Put into sterilized jars and keep in the fridge once opened

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Tairua Library, a wall that wants a mural

This is my current job. A mural is wanted on this wall and I will be submitting designs for it and hopefully will get the job. Wish me luck.

The Weekly Portrait: Andy a.k.a. Malibu Man a.k.a. the Karangahake Surfer

Andy's portrait composition worked out from life in chalk pastel, to be finished off later with paints and pastels in the studio from photos I took during the sitting? standing, whatever.

Andy's looking for a 9 foot board and until he gets one we had to mock one up for the purposes of the portrait. I reckon I can use artistic license to paint a 9 foot board in the picture.
Andy's recently come back from a four year stay in the U.S. Most of this time he spent in Malibu as a surf/beach bum, bar fly and handyman. Andy's got a degree in Physics and we enjoy drinking and talking about the Universe. Having interesting friends is a must for an Artist, this one anyway..
My son and grandson are back to stay for a while and my son Sam likes mowing lawns so the place is looking great! I've always got more important things to do than lawn mowing it seems.
Check out the great weather, it is the height of Summer here in New Zealand and it looks like being another hot one. Yay!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Portrait of a Woman

I like this painting very much. It's a commissioned portrait drawn from life straight onto the canvas with chalk pastels and finished off in the studio with chalk pastels and acrylic paints.
The pose I chose was one which spoke to me of Judy's personality. The Anthureums happened to be there in the room and I chose them as background for the painting to please myself with bright primary colours and blues and greens which are my favourite colours. Judy loves the colour orange so I imagined that the red and yellow of the Anthureum flower adds up to orange and it turns out that Anthureums have a special meaning to Judy and her family so my spontaneous choice of this plant was a serendipitous event.
Magic! Angelic guidence! I like this painting very much...

Saturday, 17 January 2009

How to access your Right side of the Brain Potential !

How to access your Right side of the Brain potential.
Step One: Smash in the left side of your head by falling out of a moving old car with dodgy door latches head first into rock.
Step Two: Survive this event
Step Three: Begin to draw, dream and read
Step Four: Continue Step Three ad infinitum

Monday, 12 January 2009

Friday, 9 January 2009

The Weekly Portrait; Aja, my daughter in law

I've been cheating on some of these weekly portraits, not all of them are new but I am planning an exhibition of portraits this year and now that the print making studio is done I can return to painting.
I have the portrait of Judy with Anthureums and a portrait of my son Eli to finish and two new portraits to begin, of two pals of mine, Andy and Tony so a busy week is in the tubes and brand new portraits, I hope, to post.

Print making studio

Etching Press Sale Enquiries: johnnymulvay@vodafone.co.nz

This mangle from which I made a printing press came from my families farm and has been in the family for at least 90 years. It's got to be my most beautiful toy. The zinc and copper plates stacked on the wood shelf under the press bed and adjacent to all that cast iron and steel framing must, in my imagination, have an electrolysis effect and thus the press has life. Haven't given it a name but it has a phoenix embossed on it's two sides. Lovely.

One thing left to do in the printmaking end of the studio is build a fume extraction box for the acid bath and then print making courses can begin.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Print making attractions

Etching Press Sale Enquiries: johnnymulvay@vodafone.co.nz

Corrosive and lethal fluids, just the smell of some of these puppies does serious damage

Exotic and antique crystals, powders and resins along with filthy black sticky substances and nasty smelling solvents, both antique and modern

Metals! Copper, Zinc, Aluminium, Steel, Old cast iron and wood machinery designed to exert tons of pressure through thick felt pads.
And after all the careful and time-consuming effort working with things dangerous and dirty and when ones hands are filthy and smelly the exciting part involving damp highest quality hand made papers must have clean hands, very clean hands and just when you are raring to go and get a result you must stop and get clean and calm and together for the actual printing.
I don't know why exactly but Women seem to love this work, it seems like such a guy thing, filled as it is with dirt, danger and techo chemical processes and vile fumes and sticky filth but lifting the print off the plate at the end is like a birth and the new baby is always, in some way, unexpectedly beautiful.
Today I plan to have the printmaking part of the studio finished and ready to roll. Yay!

Friday, 2 January 2009

The weekly Portrait: Fiona at her wedding reception

Fiona is my niece and this soft ground etching is from a sketch I made of her on her wedding day.
I made this etching at a class I took as a refresher for my printmaking last year and now that I am creating a printmaking studio such things are coming to light.
It has been very stressful having the studio turned upside down and inside out but it will soon be ready and things I have had stashed away in storage for years now have a place and a purpose.
Like me! A place and a purpose! I like it, good way to start the day.

The First Drawing of the New Year!

Saturday arvo in the local Returned Services Association smokers bar and there on the wall I saw a sheep lurking in a patch of unpainted wall from which a machine had been removed.
Just happened to have on me my trusty 2B pencil and no one was looking.
It's my job don't you know....