Getting back into the process of working with my beloved illustrator and book designer, Kendra Shedenhelm, reminds me what a pleasure it is to create cookbooks. Not only do I work on my own to nail my techniques, flavors and original recipes, but I find my true pleasure in sharing the experience of presenting the content. My recipe testers are busy with my first shots at coherent written code to get the best results. They make, they taste, they ask questions, and they deliver feedback…all good, in that it is constructive and makes my books, recipes and understanding of home cooks better.
This round (working on book two: One Dish Wonders) coincided with a personal revelation. I rediscovered my love of drawing. This is partly because I spent my junior high and high school years realizing I was good at it. Next came the art drought. Where in college I saw that others identified as “fine artists” or “engineers” or whatever else…I identified as a “writer”. I abandoned ship. Or so I thought. In the meantime I became a graphic, and then web designer. I worked FOR artists, musicians, lawyers, newspapers, magazines, and so on. I stopped thinking of my creativity as art, as I looked around at all the massive talents I got to cross paths with. I replaced being an artist with being dedicated to them. But…I too am an artist. I’ve been lucky enough to realize this with the grace that comes from age and friendship…and as always, my parents’ loving response to who I am.
Being that I’m now re-identifying as a writer, here, in this blog, in my cookbooks, and in my soul, it is time to reveal my extremely raw and young new identification as a re-born visual artist. One who says yes to screwing up. One that says it is ok to be vulnerable and sad and elated and confused and joyful about what I’ve lost, and now regained. I’m not going to win any prizes (or will I?), but I’m going to be dedicated to the younger me. The one who took notes in doodles all through my high school and college classes. The one who could look at what I put into a sketch and remember an entire lecture. The one who needs me to love her again.
I thank Adam Adamowicz, Kendra Shedenhelm, Angi Glenn, my brother Tim Fouch, and the unbelievably huge pool of inspirational artists I’ve had the pleasure of observing, enviously, as they achieve their artistic goals. Life is too short to stop believing you’re good at what you’re good at.
Without further adeau, here are some of my first “kitchen love” sketches. Nothing professional, and nothing perfect. Just what I’m enjoying all over again.
You can observe my processes in art, writing, cooking and all that I share on instagram as “spoiledcowgirlmelissa” if you wish. Thanks for visiting my kitchen love.