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Two Wonderful Blog Posts about Yours Truly

November 4, 2013

I want to mention today how honored I am to have been featured on two wonderful blogs this week!

The first is by Evelyn Pelati, a talented jewelry designer who has a knack for finding interesting artists, craftsmen and designers to write about on her blog.  Just click the image to read more of her post about yours truly! You can see her beautiful jewelry on her website: evelynpelati.com

evelyn-petali-curious-portraits

The other one is called Papoose Clothing by Ashley Duggan Smith who makes the most adorable and charming children’s clothes. Just click the image to read more of this wonderful post. You can find her unique clothing line in her Etsy shop Papoose Clothing.

papoose clothing-curious portraits

papoose clothing-curious portraits

Thank you Evelyn and Ashley for your very kind words about my work!

 

Face Your Deepest Fears this Halloween!

October 30, 2013

My dog Bingo is facing his deepest fear (of water) this Halloween for his annual card. He has bravely donned his diving gear to explore the mysteries of the deep. I hope he will be an inspiration to you. A very Happy Halloween to everyone!

(c) 2013 Lisa Zador

(c) 2013 Lisa Zador

Prints of Deep Sea Bingo are available in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits!

A Custom Kitchen Towel Design for a Fabulous Abode

October 16, 2013

I am so happy to finally be able to post this new kitchen towel design.  I finished it nearly two months ago but because it was to be a surprise I had to sit on it until I could get it to it’s intended recipient. It was designed to celebrate my friend’s wonderful beach house in Cherry Grove, Fire Island where we have spent many happy hours surrounded by colorful people and amiable animals eating, drinking and always laughing. I incorporated as many of the key elements as I could fit that make this place special such as his favorite deer and the squirrel that lives in the roof not to mention the drag personas they have come up with for the Pines Invasion every July 4th. It is a magical place and I truly wanted to honor it in the  kitschiest way possible.

Deer-Abbey-Kitchen-Towel-Lisa-Zador

Cherry Grove Kitchen Towel – Lisa Zador

It is available for purchase at my Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen.

Pumpkin Season has arrived

September 28, 2013
pumpkin chart - Lisa Zador

pumpkin chart – Lisa Zador

Every year around this time I find myself on the lookout for that first little bit of orange at the green grocers, usually in the form of mini pumpkins. Then follow the larger pumpkins and decorative gourds soon after. It truly marks the beginning of autumn which is my favorite time of year. Last year I was wandering through the farmer’s market in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and I found a treasure trove of the most beautiful decorative gourds! I bought a whole bunch and they inspired me to paint this Pumpkin Varieties Chart to help usher in the season.  Just looking at these makes me smell the wood smoke and feel the chill in the air. Soon it will even be time to pull out my vintage Halloween decorations and begin carving a pumpkin. I like to try out different faces each year, usually scary and since it is always so hard to decide upon one, I thought I would do a painting of all sorts of Jack O Lantern faces, some scary and some friendly. I added in a black scroll border complete with crows to finish it off! Both paintings are available as prints in my Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen.

Jack O Lanterns - Lisa Zador

Jack O Lanterns – Lisa Zador

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!

Cleaning House, Etsy Style

August 23, 2013

I am always reading articles on Etsy’s blog about having great photos for your listings. Since my items are all prints of my artwork I didn’t think there was much I could do to improve them. A few weeks ago I had some extra time and decided to look over my shop with a critical eye.  I realized  that my jewelry listings were abominable! When I first began to carry jewelry I was so overwhelmed with all the details of finding the proper supplies, deciding how to package them in an appealing way, and how to photograph them properly. I found that it was very difficult to get a good clear photo (with the camera I had at the time).  I did however want to get them up and running to see how they would do, intending to polish the listings up later so I just photographed them all against a soft blue suede background. Two years later I realize that they continue to sell well despite the terrible photos so I thought it was about time to do some polishing! I decided to put cheery backgrounds behind them in polka dots, stripes and damasks that I thought helped to convey the feeling of the image. With a little help from Photoshop (and my new camera which I love, a simple point and shoot Nikon Coolpix S8200 ). It has a terrific wide angle that allows super close up shots and in just about every setting allows you to adjust the color balance and light exposure which is important especially when you don’t use a flash. It was so much fun putting in the backgrounds and seeing them come to life. The good news is that with these new flashy listings sales have definitely  gone up so I am grateful to Etsy for all those inspiring and motivational articles ! I have included a sample of the before and after of my Christmas Elf Squirrel so you can see the difference.

Christmas Elf Squirrel before and after

Christmas Elf Squirrel before and after

The Nostalgic Appeal of Recipe Cards

August 12, 2013

I love to cook and particularly love to bake. I am always jotting down a new recipe idea on scraps of paper or printing them out from Epicurious but when I find that a recipe becomes a favorite I love going through the ritual of writing it out on a fresh new recipe card and filing it away into one of my vintage recipe boxes. There is something so satisfying about it, as if I am giving it my stamp of approval. I know how much I treasure my Mother’s recipe cards written in her own hand that stood the test of time. Mostly they are worn at the edges and stained from use but that gives them their charm and meaning. How sad it would be for future generation to miss out on that piece of history. I know I am not alone in this as there are many adorable recipe cards to be found especially on Etsy. I have also found some fun ones that are free to download from The Graphics Fairy, one of my favorite sites for vintage ephemera.

free recipe cards from The Graphics Fairy

free recipe cards from The Graphics Fairy

I have used many existing recipe templates that I have downloaded over the years and recently decided to design some of my own. I started out with 6 images per set (2 of each)  from my each of my anthropomorphic food prints which are vintage inspired. I am offering them for sale in my Etsy shop The Curious Kitchen as they go along with their matching kitchen towels and prints. I thought photographing them in my kitchen along with some of my vintage recipe boxes would be appropriate. The one below even features the salt shaker I used for the print!

Here is a cute vintage Halloween Recipe Card that I found on Amy Barickman’s blog:

vintage halloween recipe card

vintage halloween recipe card

Here is one of several adorable Halloween Recipe Card Templates (despite the misspelling of cauldron…) over at The Peach Martini blog:

vintage halloween cat recipe card

vintage halloween cat recipe card

Here is a particularly pretty Christmas Recipe Card that is for sale on Zazzle

vintage christmas recipe card

vintage christmas recipe card

There are even  vintage cards complete with recipes available, these are from Regina’s Studio on Etsy:

vintage recipe cards

vintage recipe cards

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