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Tag Archives | recipe art

Treasured memories: An art commission of Orcas Island

Happy New Year! For my first post of 2013, I’d like to share some work completed at the end of 2012. This is an art commission for a family to commemorate their annual vacation on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands in Washington State (USA). It features friends and family during sunset, their kids playing on the beach and a crab cake recipe they make with their catch. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my creative process:

First, the ideas. Armed with some photos, we started with some sketched ideas. We decided to do two paintings: one featuring the location and their time with friends and family; the other of a favorite crab recipe. The two pieces could hang together or separately. I offered several versions, and this is the sketch they chose:

sketch ideas for commissioned art

I keep my sketches pretty loose, just rendering placement of a few key shapes. I like to begin paintings loosely, simply blocking in large areas with color. With my watercolor background, I prefer to begin with something bright. In this case, I knew the sunset would play a major role in the end, so I started with vermillion orange.

blocking in shapes

I gradually add in other hues, working my way around the color wheel. I’m not worried about being accurate because later in the process all these colors will serve as a base for more neutral tones.

painting in progress

Next I start to add textures, tints and tones. I love to layer these things because it creates mystery in the end. I like to look at the details in the final piece and not remember exactly how I got there! I spend a lot of time at this phase adjusting colors, and evaluating the composition to make sure it feels balanced, has movement and that my eye doesn’t get stuck in one spot. Even with a sketch, I can really get off-track in a large piece if I’m not careful. I don’t draw everything in first, so sometimes I do have to “fix” things as I paint…I actually enjoy this process and it’s one of the reasons I prefer quick-drying acrylics to other mediums.

adding texture and color

When I feel all the big stuff is in order, the progression of colors feels right, I finish by working on details and patterns. This is the most meditative and relaxing part for me and I wish all parts of the painting were this enjoyable. But I guess art is like life…you have to work hard to afford the fun stuff.

Jen and art patron with new painting

In the end, the client was thrilled, and that’s all that matters! Below are the final two pieces. The larger piece is 48 x 48″ and the smaller, which can be hung below or separately is 48 x 12″:

 

artwork of orcas island and crab recipe

 

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May I tempt you?

Fig Biscotti Recipe Art by Jen Norton

Fig Biscotti Recipe, 32 x 18", Acrylic on Claybord

Bite into my latest recipe art…Fig Biscotti! I entered this in a contest on “They Draw And Cook.com,” where it took an honorable mention with the folks at the California Fig Advisory Board. The original is currently available for $1200, and you can also purchase 5 x 10″ reproductions in (11 x 14 matt size) in my Etsy store or in various canvas-wrapped sizes at GreatBigCanvas. Go ahead…let yourself be tempted!

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.

 

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!

If I knew you were coming, I’d have baked you a cake!

Yellow Cake Recipe painting

Yellow Cake by Jen Norton

My husband does most of our family cooking, but, being more of a meat guy, he leaves the baking to me. This piece was inspired by yummy yellow birthday fare. Sharing food brings us closer…especially when it involves cake! I don’t know too many people who’d rather eat their birthday cake alone, do you? It’s a sweet treat any time of day, and if someone bakes you one, you know you’re special. This particular recipe won’t make you fat…so let us all eat cake!