I grew up with a spatula in one hand and a paintbrush in another, among a family of artists and cooks. I received my first watercolors at age 5, when I also observed my mother and grandmother transforming mounds of brilliant vegetables into delicious, comforting soups. I’ve blended the two together, as chef/author of 5 award-winning cookbooks and a mixed media artist. In my twenties I worked in marketing in NYC. One grey day, in my tall grey office building in my grey office, I had a flash of insight. If I continued on my current career path, not only would I be burned out in short order, but I would live a grey life. I fled to Italy, with no language and no luggage (mine was lost), clutching a map in Italian and my innate curiosity, I found color, texture and atmosphere. I found a studio to paint in mornings and an Italian signora to teach me cooking in the afternoons. I began a life of exploration, inspiration and healing through food and art, and offering that to the world of people in search of both. I became a professional chef. I found my niche in food and healing. I played with flavor, color and texture to connect nutrition science to the plate, and pioneered an intelligent, novel and delicious use of food to promote health and wellness. Today, I find making art and cooking creatively are both opportunities to be fully present in life, to pay attention to color, texture and composition. To be inspired by nature. To be so absorbed in tasks that time expands. Working in my kitchen or studio is an immersion experience, in a vibrant, reverent, tactile, visual world.
My inspiration comes from the beauty of the atmosphere -- of the sky and how it’s connected with the earth. Every time I look at what nature is presenting in front of me, the clouds, seductive with the constant movement of the atmosphere, I am reminded that life is constantly shifting and never stagnant. I get that calm feeling when I look at the horizon and resonate with translating the vast spaciousness and mystery to the canvas. I work in acrylic and graphite, using many layers of glazes to achieve the luminosity of the atmospheric quality in my work. I also work wet on wet and use drips to create texture and atmosphere, which alludes to what’s beneath the surface. Layers and layers of paint are applied on the canvas before I even know how the image will present itself in its final form. My paintings are asking viewers to step into a world of possibility, mystery, magic and atmosphere and to be transported through color and light and texture.