Friday, August 28, 2015

How to Hang a Painting with a Few Basic Rules

I will give few tips about how to hang a painting on wall. There are few basic rules for hanging the right way;
*Try using painting hanging hooks, rather than nails or screws. Although they may seem dainty, they are very secure.  Make sure the hook is right type for your artwork's weight.
*Put D-rings at the back of your painting for the wire to hang. The wire should be 1/3 close to the top of the painting if it is landscape or square. For long paintings 10-15 cm from top.
*Ask someone to hold the painting against the wall before you begin where to hang. So this is a team work. Eye level is the best for most landscapes, square sizes. When it comes to long portrait size paintings, it's a bit tricky. Try to locate your eye level at 2/3 above the painting so it is not too high and low. See the example below.

My cactus painting is at the entrance hall


Mackerel is on season now. So, we bought few the other day from Mercadona's supermarket chain. These fresh ones caught by local fishermen close to small town called Arguineguin in the south of the island. I didn't want to fish to get bad outside staying long for the still-life, so I had a quick sketch and afterwards took some reference photos and worked with oil pastels which gives me lots of freedom for layering colors. I used Sakura Cray Pas Expressionist 50 set on a black Rembrandt pastel paper. (see pic below)

Work in progress

"Two for you, two for me", by Birsen Ozbilge, Oil pastel on pastel paper, 
 9,5" x 12,5" (24 x 32 cm.), by Birsen Ozbilge 2015 
Available contact me for purchase details

Today I am going to share a Spanish cold starter recipe called "Escabeche de Caballa de citricos" (Citrus marinated mackerel). It is a great appetite opener and a summer time dish. ALso it is simple to cook if you know how to clean and fillet the fish, otherwise you can ask your fish market to prepare it for you. Enjoy it. Have a great weekend!

My escabeche turned out delicious! Try it...

(Citrus marinated mackerel)


4 medium sized mackerel, filleted and bones cleaned
(or other blue fish like tuna, bonito, sardines) 
(The fish needs to be cleaned well, big fish has less bones but small ones are tastier)
1 big white onion
2 carrots (boiled)
1/4 olive oil
1 glasses of orange juice
small piece of orange skin
1 lemon juice and small piece of skin
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves
4 clove
1/2 tea spoon black pepper grain`
1/2 glass of apple vinegar
1/2 glass of white vine
4 table spoon sugar
1 table spoon salt
1/2 glass fish stock or 1 tablet fish stock with water 
1 tablet vegetable stock
dill to decorate (optional)

In a medium sized pot add julienne chopped onion with olive oil, mix well and cook about 10 minutes in medium heat. Add the vine and vinegar, bay leaf, orange and lemon skins, cloves, peppers and cook 10 min. more. Add the vegetable and the fish stock tablets, orange and lemon juice, sliced carrots (boiled), chopped garlic, sugar, salt, cook for 15 more minutes. Pour the marinade into a deep dish and wait for 7 min. to cool it down. Add the fish into the marinade and make sure cover it with all the sauce very well. Discard orange and lemon skins and the bay leaf. Once it gets totally cold than cover the dish with plastic wrap or its own tight cover and put it in the fridge for at least for 24 hours. The fish will be cook with the acid of citric, vinegar and it won't be raw, so no worries. Serve it in room temperature, take it out from the fridge 15 min.  before you eat. Last touch with chopped fresh dill (or parsley) to decorate the plate. Best with a fresh baguette bread. This type of food conserves long time in the fridge, so it's Ok to keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Important: There might be some fish bones, just be careful when eating.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Getting ready for plein air painting...

Last week the weather was so hot that I preferred not to open the studio's balcony door. So, I couldn't work with oils. Instead of, I decided to work with soft pastels (see pic below) and did some handcraft work for my upcoming project. I cut an old denim pant to make an apron for outside painting and I felt great creating something useful. (see pics below) 

 "Sewing kit" by Birsen Ozbilge, 21, 5 x 21,5 cm., 
soft pastel on Stonehenge paper, Aug 2015

work in progress

Recycled denim pant for painting apron.

Finally the guerilla French box for plein air is finished. It seems very stable and strong, I am hoping to use it soon. If you have a lightweight portable outdoor easel and a small wooden box, you can make one without spending lots of money. I used a simple wooden box. (see close up pics.) The box had a set of watercolor pencils which I did not care to take them out.. Simply we made 4 wholes on the each side for the L shape metal pieces. Than used 4 screws with tightening pieces. For fixing the box in 90 degree we slit a pen through the metal piece, so this way it didn't move. To stop the painting board from the bottom we used the smallest metal file clips. To control the top cover, we made 2 wholes on the back part of the box and used a shoe lace to fix with the easel. It takes about 4-5 minutes to set it up and the equipment is quite light.

My guerilla french box with Winsor & Newton easel 
for plein air painting 

Also, we visited last week an arts & crafts fair at the south of the island at Faro de Maspalomas. It was a very hot and cloudy day but there were many visitors at the fair. There were 66 stands in this year's edition. I met with few craftmakers, one of them was the owner of Indeparte, Alicia. She was selling beautiful hand painted portraits of the local birds on t-shirts. (see pic below). 

Indeparte - Alicia Garcia (Painting on garments)  
at 8a Feria ArtesanĂ­a Faro de Maspalomas
visit her facebook page Indeparte

Have a great week!

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