'Mise en place' is a French term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking. (Definition from Food Lover's Companion)
Yesterday I had the real pleasure of taking an art class with Cleo Papanikolas (yes she is Greek!) who calls her journals and books "Mental Mise en place" - a place where she can put all her thoughts and ideas in place. I blogged about Cleo in April Here, and was so excited to have the time to take her class at the Castle! Her book Cook Until Desired Tenderness is an inspiring and very creative 'cooking journal' - and a must have for any of you who like to play with art supplies and paper! (the above photo is one of my favorite illustrations from this book - I would love to have this chandelier 'dripping' in my kitchen!)
We spent our day learning 'secrets of the trade' from Cleo and painting, sketching and inking wonderful 'foodie' art... We each worked from one image all day long (I found this very liberating and fun, to do different techniques with one image). First she demonstrated a few of her personally favorite art techniques while drawing and painting a charming little goat. Next she set us loose to play, while she treated us to her own personal 'cooking prose' on the ins and outs, trials and tribulations, of being a cooking writer who creates art 'mise en place' - such a treat!
I chose a photo of a glass pitcher and delectable salad of sorts with a pink background. First I transferred the image onto various papers (Cleo is a master of using found materials in her art) and sealed them in place with medium. Then came the fun part! Using Gouache we painted to our hearts content and dibbled and dabbled - cooking up a wonderful assortment of delicious art... As you can see from my samples, my salad became 'chocolate with whip-cream' at one point, cooking always makes me think of desserts... It was a wonderful day, and my mind is spinning with ideas on how to use my new-found techniques - I am thinking that my dollhouse needs a 'foodie' mural in the kitchen, among other things...