Friday, January 15, 2010

Pink Feathers - Thoughts of a Haitian Artist

I purchased this handsome rooster at the International Folk Art Festival held in Santa Fe, NM this past July.

This handsome rooster with his pink feathers is the work of a paper maché artist in Jacmel, Haiti.

It's the work of artist Geslin Feller, who is part of a cooperative of 307 artisans in the city of Jacmel, in southern Haiti. The fall of 2008, Jacmel suffered a devastating hurricane. A recent email from the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market stated that Jacmel had sustained considerable damage in the recent earthquake.

With the recent devastation in Haiti, my thoughts have turned to several of the artist who were present at the International Folk Art Festival in Santa Fe this past summer.

My heart and thoughts go out to all those suffering with this devastating disaster.

Click here to read more about the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market's relationship with the artists of Haiti and for a list of aid organizations who provide relief efforts including immediate care and medical services in Haiti.

To read my original post about the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, click here.

Be sure to visit Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound where there is a list of others, all sharing more pink.


VAN GOGH'S TABLE AT THE AUBERGE RAVOUX *****, available here on Amazon.

My friend, Jain @ Once in a Blue Moon is one of the most creative, talented, generous, and energetic individuals I've ever encountered. Not only is she the creator of "Food with Style", but she has now launched "Food for Thought", a venue for food inspired book reviews.

Styled after Van Gogh's Red Cabbages and Onions, Paris, 1887

Ask me to name a favorite book, movie, artist, or even a color, and I simply can't single any out. I grew up in a small town environment. Daydreaming was my escape to other places I longed to be, and I can easily get lost in the pages of a book or the canvas of a painting or the beauty of a garden.

Styled after Van Gogh's Bowl with Potatoes, Arles, 1888

I do know that the first art book I ever owned was one of Vincent Van Gogh's work. It was a large book full of color plates of his life's work. Sadly that book disappeared along the way through various moves in my single days, but distinct images of Van Gogh's work remain vivid in my mind.

Styled after Van Gogh's A Plate of Lemons and a Carafe, Paris, 1887

Several years ago I traveled with friends on a day excursion from Paris out to the quaint village of Auvers-sur-Oise. Our intent was to lunch at the now famous Auberge Ravoux, but to our disappointment it was not open on the day of our visit. We stood outside peering in through the lace curtains that hang in the windows. Now classified as a national monument, the auberge is much as it was when Van Gogh lived the last days of his life there in a small attic room, Room #5. Auvers-sur-Oise is where Van Gogh painted more than 70 master pieces in those last days. One can walk in his footsteps and view the landscapes that he saw and painted.

A Letter from artist, Jennifer Bell, 2000

We ventured to Auvers-sur-Oise on the recommendation of our friend and artist, Jennifer Bell. She had spent a month traveling through France. Her letter about her experience in Auvers -sur-Oise and dinner at the Auberge Ravoux is above. Click on the image to enlarge the print to read Jennifer's impression of this quaint village north of Paris.

The Maitre'd at the Auberge Ravoux, Jennifer Bell, 2000

Jennifer now resides in Italy with her Italian husband and a young son. The image above is of an oil on canvas that Jennifer painted from impressions of her sojourn in Auvers-sur-Oise. She says, "The Maitre'd at Auberge Ravoux was inspired by a man living today, and I imagine he is not much different than someone working in a Parisian cafe one hundred years ago." To view Jennifer's current work and learn more about this talented and fascinating young artist, visit

by Alexandra Leaf and Fred Leeman

VAN GOGH'S TABLE is a skillfully written combination art history book and cookbook. Part I, Leeman's series of essays, A Private Life in Public Places, takes us into Van Gogh's world and his tormented life. Part Two contains recipes of the Auberge Ravoux in Auvers-sur-Oise documented by culinary historian Alexandra Leaf. An authority on 19th century French cuisine, she not only shares some of the recipes of the Auberge Ravoux but also gives us a look into the history of this authentic French inn.

Lamb Ravoux Style with Sautéed Potatoes

Having left his family home at the age of eleven, Van Gogh lived the life of a wanderer. Leeman, former curator of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, writes, "For an Artist who has neither family nor a home he can call his own, the café or auberge is where he sleeps, takes his meals, drinks, dreams, and drinks again. It is where he meets friends, artists like himself, and engages in discussions on art and life. It is a public place that assumes the face of privacy." (p. 33, VAN GOGH'S TABLE AT THE AUBERGE RAVOUX) Leeman takes the reader along to various places Van Gogh lived and painted. Still lifes of food, scenes within the cafés or through their windows, and portraits of the ordinary people who were a part of Van Gogh's life are the focus.

For those of us who love food, Part II is all about the Auberge Ravoux and recipes from Van Gogh's last home. According to Adeline Ravoux, the inn keeper's daughter, meals at the auberge were simple, "meat, vegetables, salad, dessert." With so many recipes from which to choose, it was not difficult to make food connections with this book.

It's been raining here all day. So Lamb Ravoux Style with Sautéed Potatoes seemed like a perfect choice. Lamb with a vegetable mixture of carrots, onions, and mushrooms cooks in a rich broth of lamb stock and dry white wine.

The sautéed potatoes are pan fired and then finished off in a hot oven. A beautiful golden brown, they are both salty and crunchy, and add the perfect side to this stew.

Add a nice red wine, a loaf of crusty bread, and dinner is served!

Bon Appétit!

My compliments to the chef!

Should you have any technical questions on this dish, you may address your questions to my husband, the resident chef here at HFTS.

To view a list of more "edible" book reviews and to learn how to add your own, visit Jain @ Food for Thought or Once in a Blue Moon.