04 Dec

Artistic License

Since we pronounced ourselves semi-retired – the transition is taking a few years, LOL – we’ve had more time to cook. The pandemic amplified that, since we’re spending much more time at home and not going to restaurants. We’ve graduated from joking about recipes for our “snowflakes” – one of a kind experiments with whatever ingredients are on hand – to congratulating ourselves on our “scratch” kitchen.

While that means we make most things from scratch, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always successful. I’m not especially enamored of following recipes, believing they often make things needlessly complicated. Not that I don’t start with a recipe originally, or at least a general idea of what goes into something. But then I riff off it, working with what we have.  Call it artistic license! 

Partly it’s my hating waste, so I dream up ways to use whatever is in the refrigerator before it goes bad. Another factor is health. I always cut back on fats like butter, mayo, or cheese (the latter is indeed a sacrifice) in any recipe, and add more veggies or fruits. Last, but hardly least, it’s that creative thing, wanting to invent something and make it my own. This happened recently with curry and a soup (both very successful) and a bread pudding (less so.)

Then I realized the same thing was happening with a painting. We’ve had a particularly gorgeous fall and I was enthralled with the colors along the highway. Wanting to paint the scene, I tried to fix it in my mind. (No, I wasn’t crazy enough to take photos while driving.) Back in my studio, it started as the highway scene, then turned into a more abstract landscape as I eliminated uninteresting details like overpasses and guardrails. Ultimately, it became a river with reflections, because, after all, the whole point of the painting was the colors glowing in the late afternoon light – artistic license!


  1. Robyn, your logic is extraordinarily appealing. Cheese as a health food, for our brains and happiness. Along with red wine. You may have just defined tonight’s happy hour. 😉

  2. Lovely “Autumnal”;painting. I bought an air fryer and have been experimenting with it. Chicken cutlets, breaded and sprayed with some EVO and popped into the air fryer. Healthy and easy

  3. Lovely painting of a glorious fall, we have all so appreciated in these unchartered times. Beth, most recent studies confirm that butter and butter fat do not contribute to heart problems (I can’t give up butter) AND–drum roll please–people who eat more cheese have lower incidence of Alzheimer’s and I am definitely doing my part there as well. Yes they do have calories –however they produce much joy and I’m calling it health food.

    The results, published in the November 2020 Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, showed that red wine and cheese was most likely to prevent cognitive decline. Cheese was found the be the most effective food to prevent against a decline in age-related brain function.Dec 16, 2020

  4. We regularly gaze into our mostly empty fridge and google what’s in there for dinner. amazing what kale, garlic, ginger and yogurt will produce, along with some frozen fish… leaving the bottle of champagne for another day. glad you ditched the overpass and guardrails!

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