Monday, January 2, 2012

Please Your Painter’s Palate with a Creative Pot of Soup

I can't help myself. When the calendar reaches January, my mind conjures up images of winters past with snow and blowing cold. Even though I live in Florida, come January I get that "rumbley in my tumbley" for a crock full of homemade soup.

NEW Pastel -- "A Joyful Heart"

I love soup. I know it's not a guy thing, and nothing like real meat and potatoes, but it's user friendly. No matter what you put in the pot, it comes out smelling and tasting like fine wine or the best in epicurean cooking. And when you're done, you feel like you've accomplished something.

Some people have a tradition of serving black-eyed peas on New Year's day. I love black-eyed peas; but alas, my stash was gone, and we ended up with pea soup. My Swedish grandmother made the best pea soup on the planet. She fried a small pork chop for each bowl, added parsnips, celery, carrots and onions for a feast of Kings.

Many people have never heard of parsnips, and I haven’t seen any on the market here. They taste ever so sweet and yummy when fried in butter. This adds a richness to the pea soup that potatoes can’t.

My next painting -- provided by online Pastor friend from Africa

When I traveled throughout Germany and Austria many years ago, I noticed that pea soup was a staple. Instead of a pork chop, each bowl had a sausage floating. I felt right at home. This was the kind of fare I grew up on. My American friends searched everywhere for a McDonald’s to satisfy their craving for a hamburger while I lapped up my soup like a contented Cheshire cat.

Drawing is transferred to 11x24 canvas

In winter, soup warms your bones. In tough times, it fills your stomach. When there are many mouths to feed, you can thin and stretch soup to fill every hungry mouth. People, who turn their noses up at leftovers often slurp down every scrumptious bite of a flavorful soup; no matter that the ingredients may be leftovers hidden between stirs of a bubbling pot of melding flavors.

Soup is like life itself: a pinch of this, a dab of that, some bittersweet, some sugar, some spice mixed together with faith, hope and love. Simmering through the highs and lows, the combination becomes the essence of a life well lived; a life remembered.

Work in Progress -- "Release" (acrylic underpainting)
A painting withiin a painting

Is it any wonder that my favorite channel is the food channel? I believe people who can participate in “The Iron Chef” or decorate cakes with sculpted roses and present their dishes in royal style can match any artist's creativity. Come to think of it, the soup I’m cooking today is giving me inspiration. I see colorful shapes forming, values changing, and my imagination soaring just like it did over my alphabet soup when I was a kid.

Have you got brain freeze? Are your creative pipes stopped up with cold slush? Get back to basics and warm up with a bowl of hot homemade soup. Happy New Year everybody!

Note: The "work in progress" above has evolved from when I introduced it several blogs ago. Originally I had a monkey and another quote, but it gave the entire piece a "human origins" feel, and that was not my intention. I like the new quote by Joseph Campbell which gives the painting a more creative feel: "Art is the set of wings to carry you out of your own entanglements."  I will use oil painting on the orchid in the frame and anywhere else I feel the canvas needs a pick-me-up. The final piece will be titled: "Release"