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!