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Uncle Omelette: Creepy Food Icon or Ideal Husband?

August 30, 2013
Uncle Omelette-finished painting. Lisa Zador

Uncle Omelette-finished painting. Lisa Zador

I just finished this painting and thought I ought to do a post about it. Apparently Uncle Omelette is frightening people (if my friends reactions are any indication) and I am trying to understand why.  I suppose the somber colors and his inscrutable expression might be a factor. I admit that Anthropomorphic Food, one of my favorite subjects, can be a little creepy to some. I thought that telling the story of how the portrait came about would perhaps make the subject seem a little more friendly.

Originally this was going to be a portrait of Humpty Dumpty who seemed the perfect subject to be included in my series of anthropomorphic food icons.

Humpty Dumty sketch. Lisa Zador

Humpty Dumty sketch. Lisa Zador

One night during a bout of insomnia (when many of my best painting concepts appear) I had the idea that he shouldn’t be sitting on a wall, as he is often portrayed,  but should be shown doing something domestic, to sort of show  Humpty Dummpty “at home”.  It occurred to me that it would be funny if he was cooking bacon since he is after all, an egg. The painting then evolved into the second sketch. I was even going to paint him in bright, vintage kitchen colors with a pistachio green wall and vintage pot holders hanging in the background.

Uncle Omelette Sketches. Lisa Zador

Uncle Omelette Sketches. Lisa Zador

I began the painting as I always do with a grisaille underpainting using brown and white to block in the light and shadow.

At this point I became distracted with other projects and put the painting aside for about two months.  A week or so ago I decided it was time to work on it again. I know that sometimes when I let a painting sit too long I lose my train of thought. I felt strongly about this particular portrait and thought it deserved to be finished. I began to add in glazes of color and it became clear to me that all the background elements were unnecessary. The slightly green background  against the burgundy shade of his suit felt almost flemish to me. I found the contrast of this formal painting style with the absurd subject matter very exciting. I knew that the painting was nearly finished.

Uncle Omelette Painting Stages 2. Lisa Zador

Uncle Omelette Painting Stages 2. Lisa Zador

When I look at Uncle Omelette I see a kind, caring face. The fact that I named him “Uncle” (something that again came to me during a sleepless night) made him seem immediately familiar.  Cooking for someone, in my opinion is a very caring act; in my family it is the best way to show people you love them.  So in my imagination, Uncle Omelette is a benevolent and loving family member who is trying to take care of me.

Uncle Omelette-finished painting. Lisa Zador

Uncle Omelette-finished painting. Lisa Zador

That being said I must also add in that according to my friend Danielle, because I am often attracted to bald men and am always saying that I would love a chef as a partner, this is actually a portrait of my ideal husband.  I may like her interpretation the best!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. neatokeenetsy permalink
    August 30, 2013 6:55 pm

    Love reading about the creative process. I think he’s quite a handsome chap and not the least bit scary; however, I’m a huge fan anthropomorphic characters, too! Well done, Lisa.

  2. Cajsa permalink
    August 31, 2013 2:17 pm

    It’s not so much that it’s Humpty Dumpty cooking breakfast (because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love a man who cooks you breakfast), it’s the fact that he’s making bacon. And what goes great with bacon? That’s right: scrambled eggs. If I were a psychologist I would say there was something very self-destructive about the whole thing 😉

  3. August 31, 2013 7:27 pm

    Well in a way you are correct. I never considered having him, for instance, baking a cake. It was bacon from the word go and it just struck me as ironic. Perhaps there is some darker psychological motivation behind it. Let’s see what the next painting brings!

  4. September 1, 2013 11:43 am

    I love your paintings so much, this is fantastic. Your style sort of reminds me of the Smashing Pumpkins video for “Tonight, Tonight”. Yes, it think this being a portrait of your ideal man is the best interpretation.

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