A Fun Oreo Cookie Contest!

This year’s Oreo Cookie Contest started off quietly enough, with these three boys carefully plotting their strategies and taking their bites.

The contestants kept on coming, and the bitten Oreo Cookie Contest entries rapidly piled up on our kitchen table.

Then on Sunday these two biters arrived, Jill and Rick. This was Rick’s first visit to my Open Studio, and he was a willing participant. He had talked about coming since last year, so he was ready, as was Jill.

After taking a look around, Rick sat down at the table and started chomping down, holding his plate under his chin to catch the crumbs. (Notice he didn’t have an audience yet…)

He was so disappointed in his first entry, that we encouraged him to try again. He got fancy with this cookie, and basically crushed it… and let all the crumbs fall out of his mouth. Clearly he knew I liked crumbs.

As Rick was assessing his entry, and writing his name on the plate so I would know which bite was his (as if I could forget!), he described his entry as regurgitated crumbs (spoken like a true doctor!).

The regurgitation comment really caught us by surprise. You can see his wife Jill laughing hysterically in the background at that comment.

It was a very funny moment that had us all belly laughing, including Rick.

Bonnie was having a hard time holding it together at the other end of the table.

All of this biting worked up Rick’s appetite for carrot cake, and he suggested I sponsor a second contest…

Rick certainly has a knack for biting Oreo Cookies, which you can see here (maybe carrot cake not so much…). How he got all that icing to hang out is a mystery to me. So to Blake, the 2015 Oreo Cookie Contest Winner, I say, “Watch out!”

I’m definitely not declaring this cookie the winner – especially since I haven’t painted any of the Oreos yet. I am suggesting that it’s interesting, along with entries from many other contestants. It was a good contest and I am inspired to get to work.

However, I will say that Rick won my Funniest Contest Participant Award! And for that, there wasn’t even a close second.

Rick, you should be proud!

Day 10 of the 30/30 Challenge – Sedona Drawing

Today I decided to do a drawing of one of my favorite places, Cathedral Rock in Sedona.  It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years since my last visit there. How time flies! Maybe this will motivate us to go back soon.

Day 10. "Cathedral Rock" by Beverly Shipko, Pencil on bristol board, 6 x 6 inches.

Day 10. “Cathedral Rock” by Beverly Shipko, Pencil on bristol board, 6 x 6 inches.

I confess this choice of subject and change in media was at least partially driven by external forces. First, I wanted the time to go to a museum in New York City before our New York Philharmonic Concert tonight. A drawing is so much quicker for me (so I thought) than an oil sketch – especially when the subject is rocky terrain packed full of details. The urge to try and get out in front of things was irresistible.

Second, I needed to do a line drawing for a long overdue bi-monthly art card with the theme, “Follow the Line”. Well, the line took me to Sedona. I had even bought new Micron pens which everyone was raving about, which just sat around until today. I thought that I could try the pens and do a pencil sketch too.

Wrong. When I used the pens on drawing paper, I found that they aren’t suited to my style of drawing, at least for red rocks in a horizontal format. There’s no way to correct errors with the pencils and I missed the gradations and changes in line thickness that pencils have to offer. After one false start with the Micron pens, I began a second drawing using soft pencils on square bristol board, which you see here, which had been previously reserved just for drawing Oreo Cookies. This even may be my first serious landscape drawing.

Drawing rocks and shrubbery bathed in sunlight proved more problematic that expected. Without color, the red rock shadows and green vegetation looked the same. I wanted to capture the sunlight and the subtle striations, but then I lost the freshness. Thank goodness for Pentel Hi-Polymer Erasers to help brighten things back up. I think I was getting the hang of this drawing, but then it was time to stop.

Working on Cathedral Rock put me back in the spirit of the Wild West and got me looking more closely at the image that I plan to paint tomorrow. In fact, I was hoping to get lucky and be extremely efficient today, and start painting a bit today – a plan that was too ambitious


This subject is not without its risks, and it’s one that I have been avoiding for over 25 years since I painted Monument Valley in acrylic (which probably isn’t as well suited for this wonderfully textured, craggy landscape as oil). Cathedral Rock is just so stunning at sunset that I thought a painting couldn’t possibly live up to the photo, let alone the real thing. Yet thousands of artists do paint it. So it’s time to change my thoughts to “I can too.” (Thank you, Carol!) The compromise will be to capture the essence of the landscape quickly without giving up too much detail – to hint at the striations but not get caught up in them.

The 30/30 format gives me the opportunity to face my fears and just do it. Isn’t that what the spirit of challenge is all about? The bonus is that it’s only a two day investment between the drawing and oil sketch.

Sometimes I dream about renting a place in Sedona and just making art there every day. For now, this is as close as I’m going to get.

I am looking forward to tomorrow and the painting challenges Day 11 will bring. The bonus is that I’ll get to take a vacation – in my mind – along the way.