Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It took all day...

I bought a bushel of green tomatoes the other day from a local farmer who sells them cheap. In time when they ripen, I'll enjoy making spaghetti sauce for winter. That was my thought. Well in the heat of the house, "in time" came much faster than I anticipated! My boxful was turning redder every day. It became apparent, I needed to take time for my tomatoes.

I began by scrubbing them all. The skins were marred and scarred. Not your picture perfect specimens, but great for the pot.

I felt like painting. I mean I really felt like painting. The weekend had been filled with countless other activities and my paintbrushes were calling, actually hollering, to me. Fall duties had come to the forefront. Saturday brought a big family surge, bringing-in and stacking firewood. Now an overwhelming amount of tomatoes awaited. Somehow I felt like a squirrel preparing for the cold season ahead. I tried to remind myself how happy I would be, come winter, that all this preparation had been done.

I remember loving the process of making spaghetti sauce. This time it seemed a chore. Its a very tactile process. All the peeling and cutting with juice pouring between your fingers. The smells. Garlic, various peppers and fresh herbs explode with wonderful aromas. My chopping knife kept very busy...

Can you smell it?

I thought there would be time while it simmered to go paint or catch up on the ever mounting pile of laundry. No. There wasn't. I had a one-hour "go retrieve my son" break and that was it. It actually took all day. Beginning from: after blogging with morning coffee 'til supper.

At some point during the day, I began to embrace the process and enjoy it. Its hard to see and smell all this and not be affected. All my senses participated.

I've become increasingly obsessed with painting lately and anything that gets in the way seems so disruptive. I read about some of you with painters block, lack of inspiration, even toiling with the idea of quitting art all together. For me, its the opposite. I want to quit everything else! These days, filled with activities and duties that pull me away from our art, only add to the burning desire to paint. When the brush can be picked up again, watch out. Inspiration and desire to push paint around will be peeked!

Yes it took all day, but look what I achieved. Fifteen quarts in all!

... and a box of quickly ripening tomatoes! Yikes!

Pasta anyone?


  1. Hi Susan,
    I know how you feel about things that interfere with painting. Every job I ever had felt that way! So, you didn't hold out a few tomatoes (or is it to-mah-toes?) for a little still life?

  2. Delicious tomatoes.
    Loyde, my "musa", loved.
    Nós também fazemos esse tipo de molho caseiro quando os tomates estão bem maduros e baratos.
    We love pasta...

  3. Great post! That's exactly me today w/ the last of the zucchini before tonight's freeze!

  4. Oh, I know what you mean about being pulled away from the easel by Autumn duties! The wood is stacked now and all the apples that the bear didn't get are picked and now waiting to be processed for pies, juice, etc.
    We still have a on of zucchini and string beans from previous harvests but did up some more this year. There still remain other chores to get to before winter, but once it's all done I can be in front of that easel all day every day! That sauce sure looks good...if we were closer I'd trade you some of the quarts of peaches we canned for a couple of quarts of that sauce...yum!

  5. I'm with you Susan. I can't wait to get all of the chores and meetings out of the way so that I can go out and paint. I think about painting when I'm at work all day and when I'm exercising. When I finally get to it, I savor the time.

    Your sauce looks good. You will have more time to paint this winter now that you have some sauce made. Think of it that way.

  6. All that spagetti sauce makes me want lasange and spagetti :) Thats one thing I have never attempted to make...I buy it lol...but you made me think about making it myself...I bet its better

  7. Hi Susan, it's that fall air making us all crazy to do these things. I went through my entire house all day Sunday like a tornado cleaning and rearranging from the closets, bathroom, bedroom, vacuuming, dusting, decorating.........whew, it was exhausting but then I stood back and said wow, this is my home. It really felt good in the end. Of course my painting sat there waiting so I managed to carefully place a few drops of watercolor on my latest and call it a night. Isn't it great!

  8. Hi, Susan, I continually fight the "when do I get to paint?" battle, it seems. But your spaghetti sauce is so worth it! How satisfying to look at your 15 quarts of sauce! They remind me that there once was a time when I canned produce -- how much work it was and how much I enjoyed the results!

  9. the post which is as good as your pictures...

  10. Now all that sauce is a work of art! I hear you--I find the stuff of life seems annoying in how it "gets in the way" of painting but I hate going through life not embracing what I'm doing in the moment. I just had a long weekend filled with doing all the fall stuff. Hopefully, NOW I'll feel free to paint...!

  11. La cuisine est un art complémentaire à la peinture... tes spaghettis seront organoleptiques... Hummm!
    (Entre nous maintenant ma chérie ! qu'as-tu fait pour provoquer une telle maturation rapide ?? Je m'interroge...)
    Gros bisous

  12. Your pictures of tomatoes are even artistic looking!

  13. Yum, That tomatoe sauce looks fab Susan. What's your recipe?


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