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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Why Painting is a Lot Like Cooking

'Afternoon at the Refuge'         8x10         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting $145 on etsy
 Don't laugh!  Those of you who know me are aware that I don't cook.  It's not that I don't like to cook. I don't make time to learn. It isn't a priority or a passion.  I love to watch Food Network though. After the workshop this past week I unwound in the hotel room by vegging out to Food Network. Something occurred to me....

Creating a painting is a lot like cooking a meal!

To cook a delicious meal you need to know the basics of cooking and assemble the freshest and best ingredients. You need a recipe or at least a plan for your dish. You need to orchestrate the plan, check on the progress and not overcook it!  It takes a some intuition and confidence to take an ordinary recipe and make it your own. Can you see the parallels?

Chop Your Way to Success

My current favorite Food network program is Chopped. It is a cooking competition show where the chefs have 30 minutes to create a dish from a basket of mystery ingredients.  I love watching the chefs create under the pressure of the clock. I think it is something we should try as painters for a good exercise.
  • Take a photo and piece of paper and set the timer for 30 minutes. 
  • Now paint. You have just enough time to formulate a quick plan and then just respond. There is not enough time to overwork the painting. 
  • There is a time to slow down in a painting but we also need to learn how to respond intuitively and trust ourselves. This exercise is to help us avoid 'fiddling'.
  • This exercise is a good warm up or even cool down after a day of painting.
  • If you really want a challenge have someone else choose your subject and a limited palette...you have to make it work!

Today's marsh and egret painting (at top of post) was done in the last 30 minutes of day one of the workshop (Liz Haywood-Sullivan)  I could have kept working on my other paintings but then I would risk overcooking them. So instead I decided to paint a new one with the clock running. I like it best!

'Autumn Marsh II'         12x18     pastel   $195

'Autumn Marsh'          12x18        pastel  $195


Marsha Savage said...

Karen, that painting with the bird is beautiful... and I love your analogy. Good job!

Karen said...

Thanks Marsha! I had a lot of fun!!

Mariela said...

Great! I like the idea much!! I'll try it right now! Thank you...


LOL, I don't cook either though it is because I am a terrible cook, and hate to have to eat that mess. I'll paint instead, AND make a salad. Yes, painting is like cooking: an opposite in the way though that I do one and not the other!

Sandi G said...

I love to cook and paint , that can be confusing if you have a brush in your hand and food or drink around ! Red wine makes a good underpainting !
I have a blog pastelpaintercooks ! Years ago on PBS Helen Van Wyke inspired me as she said something like
"Next week we will paint a still life , or , I'll teach you how to make Soup"
Thanks Karen for all of your info !

Carole Ball Studio said...

Thank you Karen ! I also love Chopped and I love to cook. And I love to paint. The idea of not overcooking the painting is one I will remember for sure.