At the beginning of January, I went over to the Co-op, and after admiring them all, counted the number of paintings artist Susan Segoda had up in her show. There were 20, and they were all rather large. So I figured I needed to have at least 20 pieces of artwork framed and ready to hang on the north wall of the Co-op Deli, which is their official gallery space. On the advice of a dear artist friend, I spent a weekend ordering frames and their fixings at American Frame. These are the 20 frames, all sorted out and each designated for a painting or drawing. I’m now more than halfway through. As I near the home stretch it’s getting easier, but sometimes it’s felt like the words in the old James Taylor song, “Ten miles behind me, and ten thousand more to go.”
Framing is very hard work. It requires eye-hand coordination and hand strength I don’t always have. So I’ve paced myself. One, sometimes 2 a day. Although it’s a difficult process for me, I’ve opted to do as much of the part of actually putting the mat on the art and the art into the frame myself as I can. (Thankfully, the same dear friend who sent me to American Frame, is helping me with putting the picture hanging wire on the ones that are finished.) The reason I decided to do as much of this myself as I could dawned on me when I finished the first one, “Rose”:
Last Summer I’d been very involved in the process of painting this picture. But I hadn’t really internalized the fact that I’d actually painted it. I hadn’t owned it. I worked to place it in the custom sized mat I’d ordered, and carefully peeled the paper off the glazing, and fitted the screws into the frame tracks. As I concentrated on this, I realized I was also incorporating the fact that I’d actually painted it into my cells. Me. I had painted this rose (which I am happy to say is already “sold”). I soon discovered the same thing happening with each new framing I attempted, even the ones that have been made into cards.
Despite the hours I spend on them, I tend to think of the drawings and paintings I do as “not finished” or as something I just threw together, or decided to see if I could sketch. This gets me to do it in the first place, giving me a viable no-pressure place to start.
As I literally framed, I was also reframing my relationship to my paintings and drawings. I was able to begin to say to myself, that, yes, this was finished and could be seen by others in a public way. And also the joy and the emersion I’d felt while painting or drawing came back to me. Yet I was also standing at a different angle to it all, and seeing what that immediacy and strange combination of detail in the spur of those accumulated moments had yielded.
For the past several months I’ve been painting and drawing nearly each day as if my life depended on it, and in some very essential ways, it has. Now I’m framing some of what called out to be depicted during this period, allowing it to be readied to be seen and acknowledged, perhaps even sold. So it’s only fitting that I make sure I really see and acknowledge each one myself, before sending them out to be seen in the world by others.
Perhaps the realization that I have, indeed, painted and drawn all the artwork I am now framing doesn’t sound like much of an epiphany. But for me it’s huge.The ghost of worry that these are just too plain “simple” to be considered “finished” revisits me often. But they are finished, in the way I intended them to be. I’m still working on assimilating that, as my yoga teacher would have said, “down at the cell level.”
In honor of this most valuable process, I’d like to share a pie recipe with you. It was made in January, with “leftovers,” around the time of the actual Feast of the Epiphany. Whenever the kids visit, there are inevitably things left in the fridge I wouldn’t ordinarily have. In this case it was a small 6 oz container of plain almond yogurt, and about a cup and a half of pureed canned pineapple, something Mike puts in his morning “big bowl.” (And when I say big, I mean BIG.) Suddenly I saw a pie. One that was lighter than pumpkin, sort of tropical, but could be baked, yet still have the anti-inflammatory goodness of pineapple. If I had been on the ball, I would have hidden a date pit somewhere in the filling, in honor of that actual Feast of the Epiphany. But since I forgot, and I was pretty much the only one eating it, I decided it would be my birthday pie, so I could be queen of it no matter what.
One of my categories on this blog is “Plant-Based Lifestyle Epiphanies,” in honor of those moments when the improvement and healing and general well being that comes from eating plants becomes crystal clear. But such epiphanies can occur on a more mundane level too: when ingredients in the fridge become more than a hodge-podge of leftovers, and they shimmer with the possibility of a new recipe that just might work.
Vegan Epiphany Pie
This pie has a lot in common with my two other pies, but it is lighter, which is lovely if you want to have more than one slice at a time.
1 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup cooked millet
1/2 cup pecans (or almonds, or even cashews, if you dare)
3 tbs homemade date paste or 5 dates (see notes)
1/4 cup pear or apple sauce
1/2 tsp coconut extract
Process the pecans and the oats in the food processor until they are course crumbs. Add them to a medium sized bowl with all the other ingredients and mix together well. Press into a pie plate and bake for about 15 minutes (until starting to turn golden). Cool completely on rack.
1-2 bananas, cut into slices
1/2 cups of pureed canned pineapple
1 6 oz container of plain or vanilla almond yogurt
1/4 cup of arrowroot or tapioca starch
1 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
Combine everything but the banana slices in the food processor. Arrange the banana slices on the bottom of the cooled crust. Pour the processed filling over the banana slices. Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes. Cool completely on a rack before adding the topping.
about 1 cup of cubed fresh pineapple (you could use canned but fresh is better)
about 2 tbs of date paste
optional: a splash of Grand Marnier, a pinch of allspice
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until the pineapple is cooked and somewhat carmelized, about 5-8 minutes. if using the Grand Marnier, add it to the cooked mixture at the end. When the pie is cool add it to the middle.
For the crust you need 1 1/2 cups of grain. You can switch out the proportions and use more cooked millet if you want. It will probably take a little longer for the crust to cook, though, because the cooked millet is more “wet” than the uncooked oats.
If you want to make your own date paste, you can read how to do that here. But since there is no date paste in the filling, you can also get away with just mooshing the fresh pitted dates up in the food processor with the nuts and the oats. If they are really hard for some reason, soften them up in a some hot water first.
You may have noticed that the pie filling has no sugar or date paste added to it. This is because I discovered when using up the “plain” almond yogurt that it indeed had a little sugar in the ingredients. It wasn’t terribly sweet, but along with the sweetness of the pineapple, and the sweetness of the cooked banana, I thought that was enough. And the topping is quite fruit-sweet. So for me, they balanced each other out.
Wishing you all the joy of your own special epiphanies–