Thursday, February 20, 2014

Final Flicks of a Paintbrush: Dessert Painting Series


I thought I would get this post pieced together by early January, but here comes the tail end of February. In order to reconnect with what I've been wanting to share, I scroll through the pictures I'm about to post and remember the time I spent with these images. I speak of the paintings themselves, and how their ideas grew and morphed in the process of mental birth to compositional sketches to final flicks of my paintbrush.

I had a whole lot of fun with this series. It was almost to the point of feeling guilty that I wasn't channeling more serious, deep thoughts and messages. But the emotions behind each piece were deep in their own way and certainly real, as I connected to the dreams that food can stir up. One concept drew me into the process of layering figs with whipped vanilla bean mascarpone between two layers of a cornmeal-crumbed ginger spice cake. (Which painting do you think I'm referring to?)

Autumnal quince, eggs for a silky curd, something stamped and baked.
[Acrylic on Wood Panel]

Sugar pie pumpkin, liberal splash of bourbon, creamy and spoonable.
[Acrylic on Wood Panel]

The time I have spent in my home kitchen and just two commercial kitchens has heaped up to such a jumble of recipes, stained wooden spoons, tears, laughter, and dirty dishes. I never meant for these paintings to channel only my sole experience, nor do I want them to reflect my dreams alone.

They are simple and spacious for reasons. I want their viewers to find room to dream. I want old food memories to be sparked. For me, these memories can flood in faces of loved ones or little moments of self-discovery. What about for you?

I also do not want to dictate responses to these pieces. I'm so very curious what your thoughts and reactions might be. Please do share.

If you would like to see them in person, they are presently hanging at Ciao Thyme at 207 Unity Street, Bellingham, WA and best viewed during their lunch cafe hours. They are all priced for sale, and I have five more small pieces in the works.

I am so very grateful to Ciao Thyme for hosting my pieces. In their kitchen I was given the opportunity to own my love of the culinary world in new ways. It was such an honor to work with them, and the passionate people behind that project will always be dear to my heart.

Please let me know if you're interested in pricing on these pieces.

Pain au chocolat, perhaps.
[Acrylic on Wood Panel]

Plump fig, fresh ginger, piping bag at ready.
[Acrylic on Wood Panel]

Lemon in hand, elderflower liqueur to add.  *SOLD*
[Acrylic on Wood Panel]

Here is an edited version of my artist statement, which is posted alongside the series:

I have always found as much delight with whisk in hand and flour on my fingertips as wielding a paintbrush with pigments under my nails.

During college, I needed a platform of creativity without judgment or critique that was no less aesthetically rich or stimulating. That is when my key forms of procrastination on studio art assignments became baking and reading about baking on the inspiring blogs of David Lebovitz, Molly Wizenberg, Deb Perelman, and Ashley Rodriguez.

When I left Ciao Thyme's pastry station in July and transitioned to being a full-time art teacher, it took some time for my mental patterns to switch as I was still in the habit of constantly musing over dessert creations. I'd find a spare moment in the classroom, and pencil down a phrase like chocolate cake, salted peanut swiss buttercream, deep dark mousse, nib brittle. I felt mildly crazy in this lingering obsession, but also desired to redirect it rather than kill it. I knew I had to put all these pounds of sugar and butter, overused egg yolks and underused whites, and kitchen hours I no longer possessed into paint.

Each piece begins with a primary object, as if I were passing it at the farmers' market or had an overabundance to use up or simply knew it was the season to hunt it down and make the most of it. Each piece has a specific complete plated dessert in mind from each of the components, though as I've spent time with them I come up with other presentations and possibilities. 

The titles are vague because I encourage those who view them to come up with their own complete pictures, too, if they so desire. If the viewer cannot relate to my occasionally-excessive love of the kitchen but still finds these pieces intriguing, beautiful, and relatable in their own right, then my satisfaction as the artist is all the more peaceful and sweet.


Michelle Stiles said...

beautiful! I LOVE the last two. After spending many hours with a piping bag in hand I am drawn to the ready tip.

Rachael said...

Well done, true artist! Your creativity is so thoughtful to read, delicious to taste, or so beautiful to behold. Either is a gift to my soul.