Mary Alice Braukman Doing Mixed Media Collage

Tonight is the last night of the Mary Alice Braukman workshop. The week has gone by so quickly. It seems like only yesterday when Mary Alice arrived a day early to sort through all of the supplies (paints, paper, mediums, and other goodies) that she had shipped here in advance for her workshop. She created packets of supplies for each participant and arranged and covered all the tables with plastic. Look how neat and clean the studio looked at this point!

Then the students arrived on Sunday and by Monday morning the studio was looking well used.

Here is Mary Alice, looking very fetching in our new Hudson River Valley Art Workshops Baseball T-shirt. With the weather getting a little cool in the evenings, everyone previously had been asking for a Tshirt with longer sleeves — so we got them!

On Tuesday night the group celebrated Gay Billich and Carol Staub’s acceptance into the American Society of Collage Artists. Way to go Gay and Carol! Jan Olmstead headed up the celebration by buy a round of sparkling wine for the whole group.

That’s Gay in the pink and Carol in the blue.

There is Jan on the left giving a toast to the “celebrities.”

The weather was beautiful all week. It was a nice time to sit out by the pool and relax. There is Mark with his mom, Joyce, enjoying the late summer sun.

The pool is still open and will be until October 3rd. (Let’s hope we don’t get an early freeze!) I can’t vouch for the temperature of the water, but it sure looks inviting. So don’t wait too long!

We still have space in the John Salminen and Kenn Backhaus workshops this year. So come and enjoy the best time of the year in the Catskills.

A Wonderful Week with Mel Stabin

Everyone went home this morning and the inn is so quiet. The weather was so beautiful all week.

On Wednesday the group stayed around the inn. Mel started the day with a demo using a model (Tara, who also works in our kitchen). It was fascinating to watch the progression of the painting.

I wish I had taken a photo of the finished demo.

Thursday the group went out to paint at the Campbell Farm with a male model this time, posing as a farmhand. It was another gorgeous day, but thank goodness for the huge shade tree!

The final day was spent around the inn again. There are so many good subjects around here and plenty of shady spots to set up in. Here is Mel helping Christy on the inn front lawn.

Gerry and Patti found a nice shady spot in our tulip bed!

It was sad to see every one head home. This group had plenty of old friends that it was wonderful to see again and plenty of new friends who we hope to see again soon.

Mary Alice Braukman, the instructor for the workshop starting tomorrow, arrived today and is busy opening and setting up the dozen of boxes of supplies that she shipped here for her collage workshop. It’s going to be another full house.


The other day I did my super creamy risotto. It’s a very simple, though time consuming recipe.

1 onion diced
EVO as needed
2 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1/8 lb. butter
Parmesan Reggiano or Grana Padano, lots
1 1/2 qt of stock of your choice, heated

Some years I’ve made this with artichoke hearts rather than saffron or you can make it with porcini mushrooms, any wild mushroom. If you use dried mushrooms, put them in at the beginning. I like to put them in the broth. If not dried, at the end.

First saute onion in the pot with EVO. Next add the rice and continue sauteing. Add wine. Stir. While stirring, add, slowly add, the beef stock. You should probably add no more than 4 ounces at a time. Stir constantly. Wait for the beef stock to be absorbed. If the stock is puddling around the rice, keep stirring.

When you run out of beef stock, around a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes later, and all the stock is absorbed. Put in butter, cheese and saffron. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Stir the melted cheese in and serve.

This should not be dry but rather very creamy. For the dish in the picture, I added lots of cheese so it is extra creamy. Very wet.

2009 Fiber Art Workshops are on the Website

I finally finished the update to the Fiber Art/ Quilt Art workshops website and now all of the 2009 workshops are listed there, as well as the remaining ones for 2008.

The brochure is at the printers and it won’t be long before we will be sending them out to everyone on our mailing list.

I can’t believe how this year has flown by.

Mark is away this week on a chocolate business trip, marketing our chocolates to stores in Vermont and New Hampshire. He has already signed up 2 shops in Vermont and the week has just begun. I’m sure he will be posting about his adventures on the Life By Chocolate blog as soon as he gets back.

The Summer Perfect Weather

Jean Uhl Spicer was here this past weekend to teach her 3-day workshop on florals and landscapes in watercolor. It is always such a pleasure to have Jean and her husband, Ron, here at the inn. Everyone in the workshop had nothing but wonderful things to say about Jean as an artist AND a teacher.

Here is the group during the first days critique session.

Jean brings a car-full of flowers and vases to her workshops, so that each table has plenty of subject matter – and the studio has never looked so colorful

Here is Jean offering assistance to Eli on the last day when they were working on landscapes.

This week Mel Stabin is in the house. We are happy to have him back after a 2 year absence.

The first day Mel took the group back down the road from the inn to the old church that is in the process of being restored (still). In 2005 I was able to take a great photograph of Mel in front of the church giving his demo and I was hoping to get a repeat photograph this year — because the look of the church as changed since that first photo. But instead Mel decided to paint the buildings across the street from the church.

It was a good thing that most everyone brought their sun hats. For a day that was suppose to be rainy with thunderstorms (those waited until dark), it was instead a beautiful summer day. Our fresh brewed minted ice tea was popular that day!

Tomorrow and the next day the class with be working with a model in the landscape. I’ll be sure to take some more pics.

Lively Dinner Entertainment

Where else can you get entertainment like this . . . ! It was the last night of the Lewis B Lehrman workshop and happy diners were relaxing after their delicious meal of sweet pepper risotto, goat cheese and herb stuffed chicken, and refreshing dessert of fresh fruit topped with greek yogert and local honey, when the conversation turned to music.

Debbie H. offered to demonstrate how to play the broom! Using a long wooden spool and a wooden broom, she tapped out a three beat tempo, which prompted Lew to break out in song singing “Casey would waltz with the strawberry blonde, while the band played on”

Here is Debbie show us how it is done.

The technique required that you tap the broom in two spots on the front and then bringing the spoon over your head to tap once in the back of the broom.

Then the broom was passed around the table and everyone got to have a go at it while everyone else sang along. Here is Lew showing his technique. I wish I could have a sketch of this!

The last person to get a chance to show her musicality was Chestina. What a performance! She brought the house down.

Here is a shot of the yummy and oh so creamy sweet red pepper risotto. I would have been satisfied with one big bowl of this for dinner!

We have a small break between workshops today, but tomorrow Jean Uhl Spicer arrives for another wonderful workshop. There are still a couple of space left in the class for you spur-of-the-moment painters!

Let the Fun Begin

The Robert Noreika outdoor acrylics workshop started today, and while the group may be small, already they are having loads of fun!

Oh, the “scenic” painting sites! We’re right in the middle of the beautiful Hudson River/Catskill Mountain region and where does the group go to paint . . . Perhaps it was the closeness to Tommy’s Matt Dogs.

Here is Bob helping Piper with her painting.

This is Bob’s demo painting that he did at the start of today’s session.

And this is Bob’s painting set up. Don’t you just love the unorthodox ingenuity of the stand for his paints — a lawn chair with the back sawn off.

Here are Judith and Yvonne. They are painting the scene of the park across the street.

Bob and Bobbi having a laugh!

Mark says I haven’t been blogging enough about the food. So here is a quick shot of one of my personal favorites — homemade Kaiser rolls. Yumm. They are especially good for dunking in the broth of my Ratatouille dish! But a good slab of butter is nice, too.

And speaking of yummy, we now are serving greek-style yogert at breakfast time. I love this stuff with a good dollop of local honey.