Why do I like cooking painting so much? They aren’t random activites which happen to have captured my attention. In fact, they have three main things in common which hold me captive, and I finally understand my passion for them. (For a peek at my paintings, please head over to ROSE WITHOUT THORNS :: ART GALLERY.)
3 Things Cooking & Painting have in common:
1) Both cooking and painting make you create:
When I cook, I begin with the raw ingredients in the palm of my hands, ready to be cut, carved, peeled as I wish. Whether I buy the ingredients from the store, or take them out of my kitchen cupboard, they always lay before me, pure and clean and unmodified by human intervention. I look at them, and imagine recipes that have been researched or googled upon, and then get to work, chopping, slicing, dicing, or peeling. I combine the ingredients and then I reach for my kitchen appliances, a wok, a pot, a pan, or the oven. From there I work my way into creating a dish I have eaten but never made before, or one I have only tasted in my imagination.
Before I pick up my paintbrush at my painting class, the same procedure happens. I first prepare the surface which I am to paint on, a piece of cloth, a board, or paper. I usually have a picture in front of me which I may have printed out or found in Emilce’s treasured collection of painting. I prepare the paint colours needed for my painting, mixing and matching different primary colours to get the tones and perfect combinations, and then, with the paint on my palette, I begin to outline the picture, and fill in the blank space with colours bursting from my mind. As I paint, I allow my creativity to dictate a large portion of the painting, which gives me immense satisfaction because it is one of my own creations.
2) You may start off copying a recipe or painting, but the final outcome will always be unique:
As with all dishes, there are usually a couple of main recipes that people adhere to, the ones which many houseswives swear by and are featured in BBC Food and the like. However, it seems that no matter how closely you try to stick to a certain recipe, the outcome will never always be the same, due to a variety of factors such as the brand of ingredient you use, the type of oven you have (whether it is gas or electric), the baking mould you put your cake batter in, etc. There are so many factors that cannot always be controlled, that each particular person can present a completely different final dish from the other, even if they follow the same recipes.
Painting is exactly the same. I’ve seen how a class of five women may look at the exact same painting for inspiration and to copy, but each of them brings to their own version of the painting different tonalities, colour schemes, moods, and paintbrush strokes. Each painting is stained with their experiences and personalities, which give their masterpieces an originality and freshness not replicated by anyone else. This is the beauty of painting, the art of creation and the attraction of being no one’s copy but your own.
3) Cooking and painting remove you momentarily from the worries of life:
Most hobbies are a form of escapism from reality, one way or another. It could be traveling, football, playing tennis, baking, cooking or painting, but they all manage to do one thing – they transport you into a momentary situation of concentration and pleasure, which makes you forget the harsh realities of life.
When I bake or cook, I am totally focused on how the batter should be, or how many cups of chocolate chips I should add to create the perfect chocolate chip cupcake, or how often I should stir the rice so that my risotto does not get stuck to the base of the wok. I stop thinking about work or any conflicts, and I feel in charge, in control, with the only thing to worry about being the final taste of my food.
When I paint, my mind concentrates so much on the tones and shades I need that I do not see beyond my palette or my painting. My hand moves in motion, fixated on creating a certain pattern through the use of a particular brush stroke, to create the swaying motion of the maples leaves, or the ripples in the sea, reflecting the rays from the setting sun. I focus on the clouds and their pale pink tones tinged with grey, and the silhouette created by tree branches in the fiery sun. I am absorbed, completely sucked into my art, my work, I forget there is another life that I am living.