Out of the Zone: Denver Macaron Class

Macaron

When my friend, Michelle, asked if I wanted to go to a Macaron class, I wasn’t sure what a macaroon was, so I googled it after I signed up. It turns out there is a bit of confusion between a macaroon and a macaron. The session was a macaron class. A macaron is a meringue sandwich looking pastry with two halves and filling in between. I had never eaten a macaron before, much less made one, but I was up for the challenge. Sur la Table, in Cherry Creek, has a multitude of classes and their kitchen is amazing.

I knew I was the rookie of the group when everyone raised their hand when asked if they had a Kitchenaid mixer. Everyone, that is, except me.

Macaron Class 1web

I know…me taking a baking class is a bit of a oxymoron. I’m not much of a cook. Still, maybe my next career is as a chef.

Quit laughing!!Macaron Class 4web

Chef Brett Dolce was entertaining and had lots of tips on how to simplify the process of making these complicated cookies. Is it an insult to call them cookies? I’m not really sure. The measurements and steps are very precise and require a scale to weigh the ingredients. The mixer is a must if I’m going to make macarons on a regular basis.  Luckily, I have a friend who is willing to bring her mixer over so we can do tag team baking.

macaron

I was a bit intimidated when the class first started, but Chef Brett and his assistant, Nadine, were so encouraging and helpful every step of the way. I’m looking forward to taking more classes. Now I just need one with healthy foods to offset the sugar and butter from the macarons. 

Macaron Class 5web

Macaron Class 6web

The end result? They were amazing and looked pretty good too. Yummy!!

One of my personal challenges this year is to step out of my comfort zone by trying new things. So far, it’s been fabulous. Have you done anything for the first time lately?

Out of the Zone: Screenprinting

comfort zone and growth

Out of the zone…the comfort zone that is.

One of my retirement goals is to challenge myself and to step out of my well worn rut. Growth…I want to learn more and to expand my possibilities.

There are many places to learn new things. I began at the Art Student’s League of Denver. The catalog of classes makes me drool. So many options. My first choice would have been drawing or painting classes, but the ones that fit my schedule were full. So, what the heck. I took a class I had never considered before, Screenprinting taught by Mark Friday.

Here’s my inspiration photo from my 2013 trip to Churchill, Manitoba:

Polar Bear

 

Supplies purchased- Check
Deciding on layers- Check
Drawing each layer seperately- Check
Burning the image onto the screen- Check

A little yellow added to the white created a creamy polar bear color and blue added to black was perfect for the nose and eyes. I selected a variety of papers. If you know me, you know how much I love paper and always have plenty available for special projects. Time to take a deep breath and leap forward.

Screenprinting

When several of my fellow artists pointed out the ink on my shirt and in my hair, I knew I had found an art form perfect for me. When I’m in, I’m all in.

screenprinting

screenprinting

It doesn’t really look like a polar bear and the different papers, especially those with texture, created a bit of a challenge. Still, it was really fun. Well, washing the screen between colors wasn’t the most fun and I was drenched every time, but I couldn’t wait to move on to the next layer.

screenprinting layer 2

Okay, maybe it’s starting to look a little like a bear. (This one had a light blue background. I wanted to experiment.)

screenprintin polar bear layer 4

There he is!!

screenprinting polar bear

I was so relieved and really excited to see how well he turned out.

Okay, that was fun. I enjoyed the class and seeing all the different choices made by my fellow artists. Is this something I could do at home? There is that spare bedroom. A collection of wildlife prints representing each of the trips I’ve taken would look great on my wall.

Now the difficult part is to decide what’s next…so many possibilities.

Have you leapt out of your comfort zone lately?