Ok, confession: there was no big idea here, no amazing inspiration, no place and time that was special. I went to Rite Aid, bought the ubiquitous candy hearts dumped them in a bowl, took a bunch of pictures and painted them. It was just for fun – and in case I ever do a calendar based on my sweets paintings, I have a ready-to-go February. I’m posting it here on my website almost a year after painting it! I just missed last February 14th so I waited until it came around again.
But then, lo and behold, someone, a very special and sweet someone, who has become a Thursday group regular, has claimed it. She told me it’s going in a bedroom and likes the title I’ve given it. Good thing I moved the heart that said “Dream” into the prominent spot so I could give that name to the painting. It just goes to show that we artists just need to follow instructions from our inklings, from our muses, because we do not always know!
22"x22" - February 2016 - Original Sold
Beverley Terry and I met at the Healdsburg Art Festival which resulted in my painting her dog Icarus. Then, she came for a while to the Tuesday watercolor group to learn watercolor and painted dogs herself (photos of them are in the art journal, late 2012). She also works at Wine Country Chocolates in Sonoma. She regularly and generously shared the gorgeous and delicious chocolate truffles they make and sell there with all of us on Tuesdays. We do miss her and her fabulous wit and paintings - as well as the chocolates - now that she doesn't come anymore!!! But when I saw the first of these truffles, I immediately thought they needed to be painted! I set them on a footed glass cake plate so the light would come through the bottom and took some photos. I started painting this earlier this spring when everyone else was painting roses and tulips but the mood just wasn't right for rich browns. I picked it up on our summer trip to Tahoe. I was challenged to stay engaged - I'm *such* a color junkie, that all the brown wasn't doing it for me - plus something funny was happening with the paints where the reds settled on the top of the wash, giving it an off cast - too ruddy for chocolate. Manganese blue hue to the rescue! The other hurdle was the need for them to be smooth and I was painting in a very dry environment in the mountains where my washes were drying faster than I'm used to. This one put me through the paces! Painting all the toppings was fun - the colors and shadows - which really brought me alive and engaged with the piece - at last. Back at home, I showed it to my mom and asked what I should call it. "Chocolat" she said thinking of the movie with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. I LOVE that movie! It's a favorite genre - the intersection of food and the mystical. "Like Water for Chocolate" is another. Here's where I'm suggesting this painting take you - to that place where the heavenly taste and smell of chocolate can transport us. Like no other substance on earth.
22"x22" - July 2013 - Original available - contact me for details
My mom and I took a short trip in late fall 2009 to see an exhibit of Joseph Raffael's paintings at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery. Seeing his huge paintings up close was an amazing experience. It's a whole-body-experience to view them this way - especially a collection of them all at once. I had a strange experience after being with them for an hour or so. I was overcome with this strong need to leave the gallery. I think I was overcome with the desire to make art this big and beautiful and I hadn't given myself permission to be that audacious and/or didn't know if I was up for the task and I just couldn't bear witness to it any longer. I've since made one pretty big painting so I'm headed in that direction... But all of that is not about this painting! These tartlets and cakes were in a window case at Petrossian on 7th Avenue, not far from Central Park. OMG! We had to stop to take a closer look and take a few photos, of course. Petrossian (which started in Paris by two Armenian brothers in the 20's) is known more for their caviar, than their sweets. But these are so gorgeous, they needed to be painted! My friend and fellow artist Eleanor saw it and said "that's lucscious." And so it was named. This is the third painting of sweet things this year - I'm going to give them a rest for a while. Vegetables are calling.
22"x22" - October 2011 - Original sold
When I painted the first fruit tart "Fruit Tart," I missed the color green in it. Every single other painting I've done before and since has had green in it somewhere - even "Fauchon Eclairs" has green-colored candies on some of the eclairs. So when I saw these tiny kiwi fruit in the market I bought some to make another fruit tart with them for a painting. I love to cook and actually think of it as my first art-form. I love making food beautiful, like these fruit tarts - arranging the fruit so the colors are pleasing is so satisfying. Whereas my creative process usually starts with a camera, sometimes it actually starts with making pastry! I painted this one differently than I usually do. Normally I paint the background to the foreground, painting the focal point last. This one I painted row by row. It was fun to see it take shape, like a wave of color working its way down the paper. All of my pastry paintings have some sort of French or Paris connection, this one is its name - I named it "Bijoux" as they seem like sparkly jewels sitting in their box of pastry.
22"x22" - February 2013 - Original available - contact me for details
This painting came out of Ronn Rohe's brainstorm. Ronn is the co-chair of the La Jolla Festival of the Arts this year. Always the marketing idea man, Ronn thought to connect me with Bernard Guillas, the Executive Chef at the Marine Room restaurant in La Jolla. He suggested that I paint something of Chef Bernard's culinary creations. We arranged a trip earlier in May for me to meet Bernard and take home photo ideas to paint. I had no idea what he had in mind - but he must have known how much I love to paint artful, color-filled pastry! The plate he created actually had more elements and we'd positioned it near the window looking out onto the beach. There was plenty of subject matter to work with, but the creative process of composing the painting brought me in close, where I'm most comfortable - and most alive. The painting came through in no time while on vacation on Kauai. I am so at home making bold-colored art while on Kauai - but then, I'm not shy about color regardless of where I am! This painting will be on display at this year's festival, where Bernard will re-create the hibiscus-infusion lemon tart that's up front, which I got to taste. Not only gorgeous, it's délicieux!
22"x22" - May 2011 - Original sold
La Durée is a venerable Salon de The (tea house) in Paris. I took the photo that became this painting while on a trip there with Anne and Brad (my sister-in-law and nephew) in March of 2008. This image has been calling to me to paint it as a companion to the eclairs from Fauchon - colorful pastries from Paris - food as art. These lovely crispy, intensely flavored cookies I'm now seeing everywere...though the first time was here, in Paris - at La Duree. Yet another completely different subject matter to actually paint, all the details of the "foot" of the merengue cookies - the silver plate, its details and the reflections were really fun to paint. And as I was painting each one, I kept wondering what the flavor might be. I'll have to go back to find out! Yum!
22"x22" - April 2010 - Original Sold
I took this photo of these brightly colored eclairs in a fancy food shop called Fauchon on a trip to Paris in the late autumn of 2004 with my brother, Matt. When I saw the photo in the display of the camera, my first thought was "this would make a fun painting." Graphic, surprising, a departure - my first attempt to paint food - another of my passions! I was challenged by the reflections, wondering if I could render them accurately. I just did what I do, I painted what I saw. The reflections on the chocolate ones are actually light violet-blue. Ok, so I painted them light violet-blue. This painting won the blue ribbon in the aqua media category at the 2007 Marin County Fair and was accepted in a juried exhibition at the newly christened Marin Museum of Contemporary Art.
22"x22" - May 2007 - Original Sold
Fauchon EclairsParis, Sweets
Jellies from Hediard
Paris holds such a special place in my heart and in my life - as it does for many people. It's an extraordinary city. And I find that by following my desire to go there, I end up going, really as if by magic. The most remarkable was when I was just separated from my first husband. I wrote in my journal that if we did end up divorcing, I wanted to go to Paris for six months. Nine months later I was on a plane - to Paris - for six months! A more modest version of that happened this past fall and winter. In November I heard on the radio the director of the Musee D'Orsay talk about a huge - largest ever - Monet exhibition that was going on at the Grand Palais until sometime in January, while the Musee d'Orsay was being refurbished. I thought to myself "it would be so great to go to Paris to see it." I mentioned this to my mom. She has a dear client and friend, Perry, who works for an airline who had just been stationed in Paris. One thing led to another and we had tickets and a room in Perry's apartment right next to the Jardin de Luxembourg - the week before the end of the big Monet exhibition. Mom and I had a wonderful week in Paris taking in over 300 Monet paintings (!), the gorgeous window displays, old and new friends - and FOOD! We visited all the big fancy food places, Fauchon, Mariage Freres, Le Bon Marche, and Hediard - where these jellies are. This painting was scary - all those white spots! No big washes here, just lots of squiggles and dots. A new fun way to paint - and I found it quite meditative. They are "happy little aliens" as my friend Vicki calls them! And more than one person has said they make their mouth water. I guess this means I've done my job. Thank you Perry, thank you Paris!
22"x22" - June 2011 - Original Sold
Jellies from HediardParis, Sweets
I've been wanting to follow up Fauchon Eclairs with another food painting. I made this tart for Father's Day dinner 2007. I took several photos and loved the lusciousness I saw in them. I've been hesitant to paint this, as I was missing the color green in it. It needed some kiwi or green grapes. Nevertheless, it kept calling to me. It was a challenge to paint - all those reflections, apricot jam spilling over bluberries with the blue coming through the orange. How was I going to represent that?! I put myself on a deadline to get it painted in time to enter into the 2008 California State Fair. Even with working, I got it done in about 10 days - the quickest yet! All I did besides work, sleep, eat and walk BJ was paint, paint, paint! It's very satisfying to be focusing on producing work like this. This painting won a Merit Award at the 2008 Marin County Fair Fine Art Exhibit.
22"x22" - May 2008 - David Klein