I have the first copy of the cookbook, hot off the press! I loved just holding it in my hands and turning the pages and seeing the art come to life in a new form.
Amazingly, Erika Hill at the Provo Library has graciously offered to exhibit all 36 of the paintings from the cookbook—even the wild-and-crazy self-portrait I'm using as my author photo! I have been frantically framing and labeling, and am so excited that it's finally coming together! Just to round out the show, there will be an Artist's Proof copy of the cookbook on display. (The rest of the books are scheduled to arrive next week.)
The show is called Labor + Love, which is perfect, because this cookbook is nothing but a labor of love, carefully nurtured and cultivated over two years. I almost abandoned the project mid-stream, but our daughter has been begging me to complete it. She wants all the recipes! I'm completely in love with the concept.
It started a decade or so, when I was whipping up the ingredients for Celery Seed Dressing and noticed what a gorgeous combination of colors the dry ingredients were: rich, earthy paprika; pungent dry mustard, and the greenish-grey celery seeds. It gets even better when you add honey and red wine vinegar. I created a small abstract painting just to appease my artistic nature.
Then a couple of years ago I was hosting a dinner party and found this amazing recipe on Once Upon A Chef for an Asian Kale Salad. Her description was amazing. I made it for the dinner party, to rave reviews. But the most intoxicating part of all was when I started combining the ingredients in my salad bowl: bright red peppers, exotic red (purple) cabbage, shredded carrots, dark green curly kale. I was just mesmerized by the colors and proportions, and created several paintings inspired by the colors and textures of that recipe alone.
I searched my recipes for other exciting color combinations and found several more that excited both my palate and my palette. It was awhile later that I decided to create a cookbook. And even that grew over time. So it's part art book, satiated with indulgent color and a smattering of textures. It's part cook book, loaded with recipes chosen for their unique textures and flavors, and primarily colors. One of the happiest secondary wins is that the recipes are full of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, because they yield the most color.
For me, the experience of cooking—flavors, colors, textures, aromas—inspired me to paint. For you, I hope that what you see in the paintings inspires you to cook! The paintings will be on display through March 15 at the Provo Library.
Labor + Love
11 Utah Women Artists
550 E University Ave.
Provo, UT 84601
February 15, 7-9 p.m.
I hope to see you there!
Also, right now while I wait for the full shipment of books to arrive, you can purchase the book at the pre-sale rate of 30% off, right here on my website (janaparkin.com). Just click on the STORE link and it will come right up.
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I am an artist and art instructor working in water media. Just knowing I can watch colors run together makes it worth getting out of bed every morning! Helping students capture the same excitement is equally rewarding.