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Artist's Notebook

Packing for graduate school: paints, palette, uh, kitchen counter?

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Yes, I took it with me. How could I not? When I found out that I would be living in another city for three summers to attend graduate school for painting, I made a small replica of my kitchen counter with the leftover tiles and packed it. I couldn’t imagine working without it. It’s been a part of my painting practice for three years. The metaphor of the grid, measured just as time is measured. Its evocative color and texture. The way it structures the painting. I also packed a bag full of my beloved antique and vintage kitchen tools. Little did I know that my painting professor had something else in mind. 

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Oh she liked the tile okay. It was the objects that concerned her. I explained to her why I love painting food, how I think of food as symbol and metaphor as much as sustenance, how I love the association with domesticity and work that is repetitive and a ritual of daily life. How I want to say something about how food connects us to our past and brings people together. “Why don’t you pour something onto the tile?” she suggested, “Like soda.” “Olive oil?” I asked. “Fine,” she replied. So oil it was.
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As a painter, it was interesting to think of the tile in a more conceptual way but as a cook, it wasn’t.
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Finally, I chose a cooking image to sketch in oils instead. I also brought my little potted herb garden with me and plucked some herbs to chop for my lunch. This one is not on the tile but more are coming with the tile included. On the day of my first critique, my professor told me that I had a productive week and told me to revisit the work of a favorite artist of mine. In the pages of an enormous book about this artist from the university library I found clues to what I am after if only I can master it. Stay tuned!







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