Even though we are still in the thick of August my thoughts are happily running toward Halloween. It is truly my favorite time of year, not just for the crisp smell of leaves and wood smoke but for the approach of spirits, goblins, witches and headless horsemen! It's been years since I painted a pumpkin headed man and I thought it was time to do one in a proper Victorian/Edwardian style complete with monocle and plaid vest to give him a distinguished air. I have added him into my Etsy shop Curious Portraits in the form of prints, note cards, coasters, ornaments and brooches as seen below!
My portrait of Uncle Omelette was recently featured in the Manhattan User's Guide in their Food and Drink section and I couldn't be more pleased! He was included in a group of wonderful selections from Etsy, all with a vintage kitchen theme. Manhattan User's Guide is a fantastic site that emails you daily with just about everything you need to know about what is going on in New York City, all five boroughs! In my opinion they have great taste and a terrific sense of humor.
Click here to see the whole post.
You can read more about the creation of Uncle Omelette in my blog post "Uncle Omelette: Creepy Food Icon or Ideal Husband?". Prints are available in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits!
I just finished this painting and thought I ought to do a post about it. Apparently Uncle Omelette is frightening people (if my friends reactions are any indication) and I am trying to understand why. I suppose the somber colors and his inscrutable expression might be a factor. I admit that Anthropomorphic Food, one of my favorite subjects, can be a little creepy to some. I thought that telling the story of how the portrait came about would perhaps make the subject seem a little more friendly.
Originally this was going to be a portrait of Humpty Dumpty who seemed the perfect subject to be included in my series of anthropomorphic food icons.
One night during a bout of insomnia (when many of my best painting concepts appear) I had the idea that he shouldn't be sitting on a wall, as he is often portrayed, but should be shown doing something domestic, to sort of show Humpty Dummpty "at home". It occurred to me that it would be funny if he was cooking bacon since he is after all, an egg. The painting then evolved into the second sketch. I was even going to paint him in bright, vintage kitchen colors with a pistachio green wall and vintage pot holders hanging in the background.
I began the painting as I always do with a grisaille underpainting using brown and white to block in the light and shadow.
At this point I became distracted with other projects and put the painting aside for about two months. A week or so ago I decided it was time to work on it again. I know that sometimes when I let a painting sit too long I lose my train of thought. I felt strongly about this particular portrait and thought it deserved to be finished. I began to add in glazes of color and it became clear to me that all the background elements were unnecessary. The slightly green background against the burgundy shade of his suit felt almost flemish to me. I found the contrast of this formal painting style with the absurd subject matter very exciting. I knew that the painting was nearly finished.
When I look at Uncle Omelette I see a kind, caring face. The fact that I named him "Uncle" (something that again came to me during a sleepless night) made him seem immediately familiar. Cooking for someone, in my opinion is a very caring act; in my family it is the best way to show people you love them. So in my imagination, Uncle Omelette is a benevolent and loving family member who is trying to take care of me.
That being said I must also add in that according to my friend Danielle, because I am often attracted to bald men and am always saying that I would love a chef as a partner, this is actually a portrait of my ideal husband. I may like her interpretation the best!
I love to cook and particularly love to bake. I am always jotting down a new recipe idea on scraps of paper or printing them out from Epicurious but when I find that a recipe becomes a favorite I love going through the ritual of writing it out on a fresh new recipe card and filing it away into one of my vintage recipe boxes. There is something so satisfying about it, as if I am giving it my stamp of approval. I know how much I treasure my Mother's recipe cards written in her own hand that stood the test of time. Mostly they are worn at the edges and stained from use but that gives them their charm and meaning. How sad it would be for future generation to miss out on that piece of history. I know I am not alone in this as there are many adorable recipe cards to be found especially on Etsy. I have also found some fun ones that are free to download from The Graphics Fairy, one of my favorite sites for vintage ephemera.
I have used many existing recipe templates that I have downloaded over the years and recently decided to design some of my own. I started out with 6 images per set (2 of each) from my each of my anthropomorphic food prints which are vintage inspired. I am offering them for sale in my Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen as they go along with their matching kitchen towels and prints. I thought photographing them in my kitchen along with some of my vintage recipe boxes would be appropriate. The one below even features the salt shaker I used for the print!
Here is a cute vintage Halloween Recipe Card that I found on Amy Barickman's blog:
Here is one of several adorable Halloween Recipe Card Templates (despite the misspelling of cauldron...) over at The Peach Martini blog:
Here is a particularly pretty Christmas Recipe Card that is for sale on Zazzle
There are even vintage cards complete with recipes available, these are from Regina's Studio on Etsy:
I am so pleased to announce that Scoutmob is featuring my Etsy shop, The Curious Kitchen on their wonderful site! Scoutmob is a great place to find new and interesting artwork and crafty products at a discount and they really promote buying local by sorting their shops by location. They were so easy to work with and I think they did a great job of describing myself and the individual prints. Visit the page here and let me know what you think!
Do we really need friendly little anthropomorphic desserts to encourage us to go off our diets! Of course we do! Who can resist the allure of the Cannoli Girl or the Eclair Man? Certainly not Myself. Dancing macarons, tumbling petit fours and chocolate covered strawberries in love just make me smile. This is the newest addition to my Anthropomorphic Food series. Prints are available in my Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen along with mini print sets of the individual food people!
I am happy to say that my Mr. Peanut portrait now has a new anthropomorphic food companion in the form of Mr Softee! When my sister, my cousins and I were kids Mr Softee held a special place in our hearts. We would hear that familiar tune playing on a hot summer day when the truck was still blocks away and be filled with such a longing for that smooth, cold ice cream. I still remember how much I resisted taking that first taste, knowing I would be ruining the perfectly formed swirl of creamy goodness. We were equally adoring of other swirly, soft ice creams such as the Twin Kissed variety found on the Wildwood boardwalk, only that one had vanilla AND chocolate swirled together in one which seemed like absolute magic! I don't know why these food icons, which were a popular type of advertising in the 1950's and 1960's continue to have such a powerful hold over me and and my artwork. I think there is something very profound about the personification of inanimate objects and animals especially to children. I know that believing my teddy bears had feelings and personalities gave me a great sense of comfort and security. Now as an adult I still feel cheery when I see my salt and pepper shaker faces looking up at me from my kitchen table at breakfast!
As a special promotion for my new Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen, I am offering a free 8" x 10" print of It's Breakfast Time to three lucky winners. To participate simply share the post on Facebook, re-pin on Pinterest or re-tweet on Twitter. Triple your chances by doing all three by midnight, Sunday March 10, 2013! I will choose one winner randomly from each category at noon on Monday, March 11. Thank-you to all my loyal followers and customers from Curious Portraits and The Curious Kitchen!