Friday, July 4, 2014

Summerhill Sketching + Two Delicious Summer Recipes

Yesterday afternoon I hosted my July "Sketching at Summerhill" session. It was a gorgeous summer day around here, with blue skies, puffy clouds, and lots of flowers showing off their colors. We had such a great time sketching, talking, eating, and relaxing, and I thought you might want to take a peek and see what goes on up here on the hill on the first Thursday of every month.

I like to begin our little get-togethers with a short watercolor lesson. These tutorials aren't about theory, they're step-by-step lessons on how to approach a particular subject, and everyone seems to really enjoy them. This week's was about painting stone walls, like the one that's just outside the doors of my studio...

This wall served as our subject matter

Here's my rendering of it
Everyone dove right in and splashed on an initial wash of watercolor, then began to define the rocks in the wall...

A few more layers of washes, a bit of spatter here and there...

and soon everyone had a finished wall...

Then we gathered our supplies and headed outside for independent sketching time. There were sketchers scattered all over the yard...

On the patio...

and in the grass...

We drew and painted for almost two hours. It was so quiet and peaceful - everyone was engrossed in what they were doing.

Sharon filled several pages in her sketchbook...

Cathy worked on a two-page spread of flowers and the rope swing that hangs from the locust tree in our backyard...

Sandy sketched the ladies on the patio, with stone steps, bushes, and daylilies in the foreground...

Helen painted purple coneflowers...

and I did, too!

We all worked up an appetite out there in the fresh air, so we eventually packed up our supplies and headed inside for a glass of wine and some yummy appetizers.

First up, Pimento Cheese-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes...


They may look a little messy, but, boy, are they tasty! Here's the recipe for the Pimento Cheese filling. It's got more of a kick than most, so the flavor really stands up to whatever you pair it with, like tomatoes, celery, or bread.

Pimento Cheese
½ pound sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated
1/8 - ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp horseradish
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp dry mustard
5 T. mayonnaise
3 T. marinated roasted red peppers, chopped

In a medium bowl, stir together the cheese, cayenne pepper, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, and mayonnaise.
Blend half the mixture in a food processor until smooth. Transfer back to bowl.
Add chopped red pepper, and stir to combine.

I also made one of my favorites, California Roll-Ups...

and fruit skewers with a yummy Honey-Lemon Dip...

The recipe for the fruit dip is super simple:

Honey-Lemon Fruit Dip

½ c. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
½ c. light sour cream
3 T. jarred lemon curd
1 ½ T. honey

Combine all ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
Serve with strawberries or other fruit.

My friend, Cathy, brought a delicious 4th of July brownie dessert and even made it gluten-free for me. What a sweetie!

She took home a clean dish - there wasn't a crumb left. Hey, all that sketching really burns up the calories! We needed to replenish our energy. :)

I forgot to take pictures of all of us sitting around gabbing, eating, and sipping wine - guess I was a little too anxious to dive into all the goodies.

We sure had a great time. I love getting together with friends who enjoy sketching as much as I do. We're all so busy these days, and it feels really good to just slow down for a few hours and have fun.

If you're in the area, you're welcome to join us next month on Thursday, August 7, for another "Sketching at Summerhill" get-together. Email me for directions. I hope you can join us!


  1. I sure wish I was in your area - I'd love to attend!!! What fun! but So CA is a bit of the jaunt :) Any chance you might include electronic participants? Best to you! deborah

  2. I wish you lived nearby, too, Deborah. We really do have a great time together. I try to include my online readers by sometimes sharing the tutorials I do in the sketching sessions. The June lesson was on how to paint hydrangeas - you can find it on my blog.

  3. What a lovly day that you had:) Sure wish I could of joined in . There should be gathering like this in every city and state we need more things like this.
    Im learning watercolor on my own and would loved to see how you did your rock wall.
    Thank you,and have a great day.

  4. Looks like an all-around good time!


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