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Tag Archives | kitchen decor

A Calendar of Healthy Eating

Calendar design © Jen Norton

I wanted to share with you a recent design and art project I completed for the Berkeley Unified School District in Northern California. In an age of school budget cuts, Berkeley Unified has remained committed to providing its students with nutritious, fresh foods, and they produce a beautiful art calendar for their families each year. That’s where I come in…I’ve been lucky to be the artist and designer to put this piece together for the last two years. This calendar features my artwork as well as healthy recipes from the students and staff of the BUSD. I just got my box of samples, so I thought I’d share it with you today!

Interior Calendar Images

The original food paintings below are currently available to purchase or license. Contact me directly with your interest. Individual pieces are $250 each, 9 x 12″, framed acrylic on wood panel. The images are also available as matted art prints ($28). I’ve got four of them listed in my Etsy store… but just ask if you want one I have not yet listed.

 

Images for Calendar Design © Jen Norton

 

Calendar Cover Image

And finally, the cover image I painted is called “Bayside Gardens” and measures 24 x 24″. It is painted with Acrylics on gallery-wrapped canvas, and available for $950. Contact me directly to purchase or license this piece. It is also available as a matted art print ($28) or an aluminum Garden Charm ($45) in my Etsy store.

Bayside Gardens © Jen Norton

“Bayside Gardens” © Jen Norton

 

 

Brown Bread for a Green Day

Irish Brown Bread Painting by Jen Norton

Arán Donn (Brown Bread), 30 x 30, Acrylic on canvas

 

We were treated to some warm, delicious home-baked Irish Brown Bread upon returning from a long, drizzly day of sight-seeing while visiting our good friends in Ireland a while ago. Topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon, or just plain butter, it’s quite a treat. I had to paint the recipe of “Arán Donn”, complete with locally-grown apples and the magpies you often see along the road. There’s an old superstition about the meanings behind the number of magpies you see together. Two is for Joy! Beannachtaí na féile Pádraig…Or, if you’re not up to speed on your Irish, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Want to try it for yourself…here’s the recipe:

6 oz / 175g  whole wheatl flour
2 oz / 50g plain white flour
2 oz / 50g   steel cut oatmeal
1 oz / 25g   wheatgerm
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large egg
10 fl oz / 275ml buttermilk

mix dry stuff in big bowl
whisk egg in the buttermilk
mix dry and wet stuff
put into buttered bread tin
make a deep cross on top and prick the four corners to let the fairies out! (very important, I hear)

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F for 50-60mins

Let me know what you think!

PS: You can purchase prints of this piece here. Contact me directly to inquire about the original.

 

Freshly-baked bread!

Bread Recipe painting by Jen Norton

Grandma Mac's Easy White Bread, Acrylic on Canvas

The smell of fresh bread baking was a familiar and comforting aroma at my grandmother’s house. A former home economics major at a time when many women didn’t consider college, she baked fresh bread (and other healthy meals) for her family every week, living to be 101 years old. From her, I learned the comfort of simple, homemade foods and easy conversation around the table. Many times I’ve kneaded my own rendition of her recipe, and I’ve never been disappointed. In her honor, I painted this very special piece featuring her “Easy White Bread” recipe combined with the colors and motifs of her kitchen plates. I’ve tried many bread recipes since, and this is still my favorite (my cousins will confirm it makes fabulous toast). And no kidding, it’s easy!

In the spirit of encouraging others to cook more at home with basic ingredients, I want to share the recipe with you in the form of a 20 x 20 Limited Edition gicleé canvas-wrapped print. Because the canvas wraps around the 1 and 3/4″ stretcher bar, the artwork has a modern look with no framing needed. The ready-to-hang artwork is coated with a UV protection to prevent fading. Order through my Etsy store, or directly by emailing me with your interest through the contact page on this website.

Here’s to heart-warming, homemade bread!

Spicing up your art with left-overs.

During winter months we like to make home-made soup. We roast a chicken for dinner and then make stock from the leftover bones, adding vinegar to help draw out the nutrients and boiling them on a low setting for about 4 hours. (helpful hint: I leave the stovetop light on to remind me to turn the stove off before I go to bed. One time I forgot to do this and…well…it wasn’t pretty and it didn’t smell too good either!)

The following day, use the stock to make any kind of soup you can dream up! One of our favorites is my husband’s Roasted Tomato soup. It’s a great use of our crop of late-season fall tomatoes. I decided to use the recipe as my subject for a new painting, using an old painting as my “stock”. Like making a soup base, creating art over an old piece is very rewarding. You don’t have to confront that scary “white paper” for one. There’s already some flavor to start with. And like finding a tasty use for those aging vegetables in your fridge, recycling something that’s been hanging around a bit too long can prove healthy and satisfying. I liked parts of this old painting, but it had outlived its welcome in my repertoire and had not yet found a home. It was time to transform its tasty colors and textures into a new recipe.

Painting “stock”

First, I coated the existing piece with acrylic medium. This is because the original was done in watercolor, and I didn’t want it to bleed into the new work. Since I was going to be working in acrylic, it made sense to seal it with the same medium. After it dried, I painted my new composition over the old and started filling in shapes with color, leaving some areas to peek through.

adding to the base

Having color and texture already on the page makes this process fun. Like an extra pinch of chili pepper, tiny tasty surprises peek through that you couldn’t reproduce if you tried. I tossed in some colored pencil texture, a dash of paint flicked from a toothbrush, and Vwa-laah…Tomato Soup!

Tastes great with grilled cheese…hmmm, might have to paint that next!

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup, Acrylic on paper

Tomato Soup is framed in a dark wood frame to an 18 x 22 size, ready to hang. $400. Contact us through the email form on this site if you are interested in this piece!

Orange is the new White

Jen Norton with her painting of oranges and persimmons

“Four Persimmons” by Jen Norton

One of my favorite things about living in California is the winter oranges that ripen just around the holidays. Our tiny tree went nuts this year, over-producing a juicy sun-kissed crop. Over the last several weeks, we’ve been picking and squeezing the most delicious orange juice, keeping us all healthy through cooler weather. Now the poor tree is almost empty (and perhaps relieved of the added weight), and all those oranges inspired a painting celebrating the orange hues of the season. (it’s the one I’m working on in my home page video!) I think I will call it “Four Persimmons”!

My dog Pattie often works as my in-house critic. Here she is offering her opinion of the piece in it’s early stages. She may have been more interested if the work involved meats.

Pattie critiques my work.