Polly Answers Your Questions (#2)

Polly Answers Your Questions (#2)
Polly answers questions Magnified Magnolia (pastel) by Polly Castor

Which cooking oils are good for you and which ones are not?

The four good-for-you cooking oils are:

coconut oil
avocado oil
grass-fed butter and ghee
olive oil (not at high temp)

I use mostly avocado oil as it can tolerate high heat and is flavorless.

All other oils are toxic or rancid from what they undergo in the manufacturing process, and are difficult (or almost impossible) for the body to process. The worst ones are vegetable oil, seed oils, and canola oil, so steer very clear of those.

You need to eat lots of good fats (the oils listed above, plus nuts, avocados, and fish oil) but should avoid bad fats like you would the plague or poison. They are surprisingly ubiquitous, however, if you start to read labels, because they are made to work for business bottom lines, but not your body.  I’ve been known to even call ahead to a restaurant and ask what oil they use in their salad dressings to inform my choices.

While I know the Bible says, “If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them;” (Mark 16:18), I do not wish to support or imbibe anything that is rooted in greed, impurity, or evil, if I can avoid it.


Why do you paint in plein air if you are an abstract artist?

I grew up painting on location in national parks all over the lower 48 states. I love being outside in nature, and painting is a wonderful way to engage with nature and really look at it. Plus, sometimes painting on location has a social aspect to it as well. I enjoy getting out of the studio to embrace beauty and color and texture, either on my own or with others.

I never try to duplicate what is before me, however, but to express the essence or the feeling, like the supple softness of the shape in the photo above, or the KAPOW of the freshly budded leaves shown in the first photo below. Both were painted outside, but are representational more of my experience of it, rather than harnessing a likeness of the thing I’m looking at, so there are shades of abstraction to those paintings as well, even though it may not be apparent at first look.

I firmly believe this practice of painting in plein air contributes mightily to my conceptual abstract work, in subtle and overt ways. Whatever style you are painting in, the elements of art still come into play, and utilizing them in different ways enlarges the visual vocabulary you have to work with in any other painting.

And I should also mention that I also do paint abstractly in plein air directly, which is fabulously fun. Sometimes an environment grabs me and takes me with it on the canvas with such intensity and abandon that any nod to realism inhibits the expression of how it feels to be there. This is usually unplanned and inspired by being immersed in a location with my whole soul, beyond merely looking. It occurs when I’m interfacing with creation and the Creator simultaneously on every level, like I’m at-one with everything. When you feel how wonderful that feels, you’d keep doing it too! Examples of these paintings are the last two below.


Do You Sleep?

This is the question that I get way more than any other.

The answer is yes, 7 or 8 hours a day, usually between 10pm and 6am.

But I think what this question really is about is how I do all I do. Click here to see how I answered that question on this blog back in 2012. All that is still true. Add to that I don’t waste time the way lots of people do: we don’t watch TV, and I don’t play any games on my phone, or read endless news sources. Also I have a partner who does the dishes and the laundry, which is a huge help.

But yes, I sleep, hard as a rock, dreamlessly, and wake without an alarm, joyously to each new day.


I hope you ask me some good questions before part 3 of this series next month!  What do you want to know?

Hope for Spring (pastel) by Polly Castor


Spring at New Pond Farm (pastel) by Polly Castor


Birdsong at Daybreak (pastel) by Polly Castor
I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Tara Will 1 year ago

    I’m so impressed by all you accomplish Polly! Thanks for sharing!❤️

  2. John+gregory 1 year ago

    Time was my question and you showed me where my waste of it are….❤️

  3. Sue Krevitt 1 year ago

    Jealousy is ugly, erroneous, false, unGodlike, not you, Sue; a truth-denial (God made us all equal, as Her Reflection(s),
    expressions, ideas). Envy is mortal, material, evil; a mean, stupid, unnecessary denial of each of our wonderful-selves.

    As Bob Newhart said in his famous Psychologist comedy role: “STOP IT!!! STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP IT!!”

    Thanks, Polly, for your example of ….how it will be when I do…Stop It!!

    (Mainly written in humor, but there is some…cough…truth to it.) (ONward!!!)

  4. Brian G 1 year ago

    Sue made me smile, as I recently watched an episode of the same, and it brought me joy that is timeless.

    However, I try to be judicious in what I watch, because if not careful, the TV turns into a vertically-mounted modern Ouija-board (planchette in 1800’s terms), and have to find the mental remote.

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