I've been working on this piece for the Brave100 exhibition. My amazing friend, Jennifer Braverman, is curating the group show in association with Vision2020: Women 100, A National Celebration of American Women.
Since I'm still obsessed with food, I decided to create an alternative portrait of Julia Child. Julia's kitchen is enshrined in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and was one of my favorite displays when we visited. The contrast of the pale blue/teal peg board with her beautiful copper pots is an artist's dream. Julia's impact on the American kitchen is undeniable and her pot display/storage system felt like the perfect image to represent her.
I enjoy the irony in my selection of Julia as the person to depict for a celebration of women over the last 100 years. Many might suggest that a woman who is associated with the kitchen isn't progressive or representative of the impact women have had on America in the past 100 years. However, I would argue that Julia's work helped to break down barriers for women in the professional culinary world - barriers which unfortunately still exist today. Beyond that, she brought elegance to the work of the home chef, elevating the palette of countless American families.
Legendary cook and teacher Julia Child (1912–2004) had a tremendous impact on food and culinary history in the United States. Through dozens of books and television series, which spanned forty years, she encouraged people to care about food and cooking. She inspired many Americans to conquer their fears of the unfamiliar and to expand their ideas about ingredients and flavors, tools and techniques, and meals in general.
I started this still life in the summer at an awesome week-long painting class at Tyler School of Art. I brought it home and figured I might finish it...some day...
I just heard about a show that felt like the right fit for this image - "'404' is an open call for work that yearns to escape the modern cult of technological fragmentation, and seeks to provide a cultural resetting experience by exploring creative solutions and works that espouse the pains of modern technological evolution that increasingly compete for our attention."
I have no idea if this piece actually responds to the call or if I'm just rushing to finish it up and submit the $30 fee to be rejected. BUT, I figured it was worth a shot and it has be working on finishing this piece. This technique intrigues me so much, layers and layers of glazes, but I don't fully understand the rules of the mixtures and have great fear that this entire image is going to fall off the board in ten years of less...
In a moment of impulsivity, I decided to take a portrait painting class at a local (Philly) atelier style art school. I don't fully understand the program; it isn't a college and you earn a certificate after years of study... one person in my class, a "level four student", referred to it as a cult...
Portraits are not my thing - and they are not easy. The starting point for each pose is a grasaille. The ten week course is broken into four portraits - 1 week pose, 2 week pose, 3 week pose and 4 week pose. I missed week three. What I am sharing is really 3 different one week poses.
For several months, a very large canvas has been sitting on my easel. The 30x40" canvas was meant to serve as a break from the lunch project but has turned into a road block in the way of lunch progress.
The image is based on a photo I took while visiting India in 2012. While touring a historic palace, I saw these two beautifully dressed women sitting on a window ledge. I took the photo from behind, just as the woman on the right was turning around. She was not happy with my photo. Apparently, some women in India get dressed in their fine clothes and sit at tourist locations waiting for people to take photos - they charge for the photo. I did not realize or understand this custom and took the photo with out permission or payment...
I decided to post this to hold myself accountable for its unfinished state.
I'm one of those people who likes rules - especially when it comes to making art. I have found that I am able to work best when there are rules - or rather, boundaries - set up that give me a clear space within which I can create. My boundaries usually show up as assignments, or series. I will choose a topic and stick to it for a set time period. Often times, I pick a number and complete that quantity of work before moving on to another topic.
Given this tendency, and my need to stick to the plan, it is strange to me that I started a lunch on Thursday and lost my will to continue it. This would be lunch #16 of 30 - and it is a lunch I have been wanting to work on for a while, but I just didn't care to finish it. Here's as far as I got before stepping away...
I needed a break from the smallish canvases of the lunch series (12x16") and from the (mostly) healthy images I had been working with. In scrolling through my phone, I found a photo of a gloriously gooey slice of blueberry pie I had baked last summer. That pie was delicious - and it was the first pie I ever baked. In my head I heard the voice of Kathleen Eastwood saying "paint what you love"... I decided this would be my lunch break and grabbed the biggest canvas I had on hand (24x36") to get started. Painting crumb topping and a dark and formless goo is challenging. There is still a ton to handle on this but I'm happy with the direction and progress so far.
Work in Progress
Not everything is completed in one day or in one painting session. This page will track the works that take more time than daily paintings.