Friday, December 28, 2012

Blackberry Biscotti

Happy Friday!

Not bread, biscotti. They're more pink inside if you snap them in half.

No art to post today, though I do have a few small things in the works. Therefore, instead I'm posting recipe I tried out today. Desserts are better than art anyway, right? ;)`
I took this "Raspberry Lemonade Biscotti" recipe by and adapted it to my tastes/ingredients/servings. Here's my adapted recipe below: (Makes about 20 pieces, hopefully. I was taste testing too much to keep an accurate count.)

Maybe I should have dusted them with some powdered sugar so they'd look more like dessert...

Blackberry + Lemon Biscotti

    1+ cup fresh blackberries

    2 tablespoons  brown sugar

    1 teaspoon of lemon juice


1/2 cup unsalted margarine

2/4 (1/2) cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

3 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon blackberry jam

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


1.      Place the blackberries and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar with a splash of water into a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about 1/3. Remove from heat, and strain through a sieve or cheese cloth to remove the seeds. Set aside to cool.

2.      In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 3/4 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Stir in the blackberry sauce and blackberry jam and lemon zest until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the batter. Cover and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.

3.      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease the cookie sheet(s) or line them with parchment paper. Shape the dough into a log, or a couple of small logs. *The wider and flatter the log - the longer your biscotti pieces will be. The longer and taller the log - the rounder your biscotti pieces will be, like mine turned out. Looking more like some crostinis, as mine turned out be. But hey, the taste is the most important part...isn't it?

4.      Bake for 27-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm but not crisp. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

5.      Place the biscotti bars on a cutting board, and use a serrated knife to cut into 3/4 inch wide slices. Return the slices to the baking sheet(s), cut side down.

6.      Bake for 8 minutes, then turn the cookies over, and bake for an additional 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted on each side. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container. 

7.      Enjoy with coffee or tea =)

They look like little bread pieces, but they're not!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays

A little last minute holiday art :)

I've had so many ideas for this year's holiday cards, but alas - they didn't get executed in time. They'll be good to go for next year though =) But I did manage to make this couple of patterned words.

7.5 x 10.5"

about 5.25 x 4.5"
Pieces are completed on Bristol Smooth paper with: red 005 Prismacolor fine line marker, Kohinoor vermillion waterproof ink and white gouache. All and drawn, and touched up a tiny bit in Photoshop.

Merchandise available at my Society6 and RedBubble shops

And here are some other versions of "Happy Holidays"

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Books As Objects

So here are some simple documentation photos of my Book Media - Book as Object projects from this semester. This was a very interesting and challenging class I must say! Because, though not necessary a requirement, it was difficult for me to try to make books (or book-objects) and make them as neat as possible. I have to admit - I have somewhat crooked hands when it comes to making 3D things.

First Book - The Synesthesia Treasure Box (well that's at least what I was aiming for at least)

Excerpt from my project proposal:

"I am wishing to explore the phenomena of synesthesia and scent memory. Throughout my life I have “accumulated” a collection of aromas which when experienced trigger strong emotional and visual responses. Certain images and sounds have become synonymous with each of the aromas, at times even causing me to enter a mild and pleasant synesthetic trance. These sensations have caused me to become curious on whether or not similar experiences or associations can be provoked in other people. Could it be possible for me to produce artworks which when encountered encourage the viewer to imagine the scent from which the art was inspired?"


little scrolls

pebbles weren't party of the project, I was just using them as paper weights
 All content belongs to ©Mariya Olshevska. No unauthorized use.

 Second Book - Olivier Salad

Excerpt from my project proposal:

"The way I engage with cooking is akin to partaking in a short story. I often tackle a meal one recipe at a time – each filled with protagonists (the ingredients), antagonists (time and ability restraints), plot twists (unexpected accidents), plot climaxes (the coming together of all recipe steps) suspense (the anticipation of the first taste), and resolutions (the discovery of the recipe’s success or failure). A single page of directions feels like many pages of an adventure. In turn, I wonder – what if one recipe was dedicated its own book?"

(my Dad's recipe)
Illustrations were first hand drawn (line-work only) then vectorized in Illustrator
  All content belongs to ©Mariya Olshevska. No unauthorized use.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Meticulous Maiden - Fair Flora

It's been a while since I've posted some art along with my steps.
After acquiring a hand injury this piece was particularly challenging, especially since it's likely my most detailed illustration thus far.

I present to you my vision of the goddess Flora. This piece was inspired by various interpretations of flora I've seen throughout my life, and from quite recently a description of the Welsh goddess Olwen. In my version though, she is adorned with red clovers (for stylistic purposes) and she her hair is made from spring flowers. (Flowers include: clovers, dandelions, crocuses, camellias, magnolias, periwinkles, catkins, bell flowers, baby's breath, hyacinths, hydrangeas, lisianthuses, daisies, snow drops, lilies of the valley, morning glories, and perhaps some more flowers which I've forgotten.)

Oh, and this piece was for as set of promotional postcards.

Here's how it all came together:

The humble, little thumbnail

Rough sketch

Loose pencil. Really, if I penciled in all the flowers at once I would have gone bonkers.
Colour study. Ended up taking a different approach in the end

Inked line-work, stage 1. (I worked in chunks penciling and inking, one right after the other)
Inked line-work, stage 2. I decided to try out a method less familiar to me - 'silhouette inking' certain vines and leaves
Here, I coloured most flowers. (Still needed to paint her face and add more depth to certain sections)
(click to enlarge) Finished piece! Front and back of my postcard

close ups

`Bristol Smooth Paper
`Micron pens
`Koh-i-Noor waterproof colour inks

Approximate Size:
7.5 x 10.5 inches

Monday, September 17, 2012

Firebirds of Night and Day

I painted a skateboard deck last winter for a gallery show, and I was pretty happy with the design so when I got a bit of time this summer/autumn I decided to render it on paper=) I called it "Carpe Diem, Carpe Noctem" because "Seize the Day" and "Seize the Night" are some of my favourite sayings. And these Firebirds are reminiscent of night and day, so there we go - a Latin title for a Russian fairytale inspiration. :)
"Carpe Diem, Carpe Noctem"

Here's a close up of some details

And the original deck:

The deck was painted with acrylic paints and Staedler markers for the linework

The work is inspired by Russian folk tale of the Firebird
Original was about 7 x 17" (I think, I'll double check later)
Painted with waterproof inks

Prints on Society6{here}
and RedBubble {here}

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Plum Cake

While I'm completing some art, why don't I share a dessert I've made a couple of weeks ago. This is a recipe which I modified from my mom's recipe, and it's a perfect one to celebrate the start of the autumn season.

I give you - Plum Cake!

I also tossed some blueberries in :)

Plum Cake


- 3-4 large eggs
- ½ cup of sugar
- 2/3 cup white flour
- 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour
- 10-12 small plums
- 1 tablespoon of almond butter
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
- pinch of salt

-unsalted margarine for greasing
- bread crumbs for greasing


1: Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the pie pan with some unsalted margarine and dust it with some bread crumbs.

2: Slice the plums. Set the sliced fruit aside in a bowl. Feel free to add any other stone fruit, like apricots into the mix too – it’ll be delicious! This time I thought I’d add some blueberries.

3: Pour the sugar in a large bowl and whisk it together with the eggs using a mixer on low speed until the two are well combined. Add the almond butter, a pinch of salt, lemon juice, and vanilla, then mix for a few more minutes at a medium speed.

4: In a smaller bowl combine the cinnamon, flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Now, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, a little bit at a time, while the mixer is at a low speed. Mix until the batter looks creamy and smooth.

5: Pour about half of the batter into the baking pan. Arrange about half of the sliced plums on top of the batter, and set the rest aside to decorate the top. Pour the remaining batter as evenly as possible over the fruit. Finally, take the last of the fruit and arrange them nicely on top.

6: Cook for 30-35 minutes at 350F until the top is lightly golden. Check to make sure the pie is baked by taking a tooth pick, bamboo skewer, or knife and piercing through the middle of the pie. If it comes out clean, then the dessert is ready. However, give the cake some time too cool before attempting to take it out. If it’s too warm, it will stick to the sides and break as it comes out.

Enjoy! It pairs perfectly with tea :)