As David said, it wasn’t cold enough in New Hampshire so we headed north to Montreal, Canada last week for a few days of snowy Christmas-y-ness in the historic old city. Cold it was—2º one morning—but walking in it added to the charm, invigorated one’s spirits and burnt off a lot of calories! Let me share some of the sights with you seen through my artist’s eyes.
All entrance ways were decked…
It was cold so stopped for tea…
…and stopped for cappuccino in the most magnificent building.
So much attention to ceilings…
In a season of darkness Montreal has mastered the art of color and light. Outdoor light displays were everywhere and we saw a most incredibly breathtaking light show INSIDE the Notre-Dame Basilica. The pre-show that focused on the outer-edge shrines was in itself amazing. See video below…cameras not allowed during main show.
Near the water front where the original 1642 settlement was formed, fireworks lit the sky and historic reenactments were projected on the 19th century buildings. An underground tour of the remains of the original settlement showcased the river turned sewer, eventually encased in stone masonry, turned art-light display. See video below..
Many artistic inspirations from this trip…we will go back.
Here is a last-minute recipe for amazingly delicious cheese spread made from left over bits in just a couple of minutes. Enjoy!
LAST MINUTE CHEESE SPREAD
Soften all cheeses to room temperature or microwave until soft. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Fill into a container then decorate and chill. OR chill then shape into a ball and roll in decorations.
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 8 oz of assorted left over strong-tasting cheeses, grated or crumbled. Blue, cheddar cheese, feta, parmesan, etc
- 2-3 T. liquid to smooth and add flavor; cream, 1/2 & 1/2, cream sherry, port, wine juice, broth….anything. Will help create a deeper flavor profile.
- 1 tsp granulated onion or garlic
- 1/2 tsp additional spice if desired; oregano, thyme, sage, etc
- 2 dashes worcheshire sauce or 2 squirts mustard
Toppings can include dried fruit, nuts, seeds, crumbled bacon, etc. Be creative and use up your left-overs! Spread on crackers or toast. Makes GREAT grilled cheese sandwiches!
Top photo features one of my painted canvases.
This was our Christmas tree two years ago. David was inspired by its quirky shape so, wanting to keep it in the window (where the piano was!), he cut it in half giving the illusion that the tree was growing out of the piano! This was arguably the best tree we have ever had.
Christmas always looks good in this room because of the existing decorative color scheme of red and green. It is not “Christmas Red” or “Christmas Green” but the tones are distinctive chosen because I love the excitement of using complimentary colors together. Colors that are opposite of each other on the color wheel are called Complimentary because of what they do to each other when placed in close proximity. The effect is called Simultaneous Contrast – a trick of the eye – when the optical nerve is stimulated, vibration occurs giving the colors life; literally.
There are many stories of how the colors red and green came to symbolize Christmas – evergreens, everlasting love, red berries, Mary’s blood – but then I like to think that we all need a little jolt in the darker winter months that complimentary color gives us.
Here is a little exercise for you or your Christmas guests to try. This demonstrates how Simultaneous Contrast works. Stare at one of the Christmas trees below without blinking for as long as you can up to 5 minutes. Then close your eyes and you will see the other tree although you did not look at it. The eye inherently recognizes Complimentary tones. Merry Christmas!