Brenda Erickson's Recipe Paintings™
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Recipe Paintings

About Brenda, Recent Comments and Kitchen Photos

Brenda Erickson Fourteen years ago, Brenda started illustrating recipes and writing the recipe on the paper in pen and ink. That naturally grew into Recipe Paintings. She was interviewed and aired on WCSH6 TV's 207 show where reporter Don Carrigan accurately reported that "Brenda paints memories."

She enjoys family recipes because of the many stories that come with them. When she illustrates a recipe for a client, she tries to identify what's most important to the family in order to paint it in a personal way. For example, on the website, you'll see several apple pie paintings all illustrated very differently for each family. She also continues to introduce recipe paintings that everyone remembers and enjoys. Living in Maine there is an endless supply of favorite recipes from childhood recipes to foods our tourists most enjoy.

Please visit her " Where to Find Us " section on the website to see all that Brenda has participated in and - where to find her work.

Look for her book, Kitchen Memories, Recipe Paintings with A Taste of Art. Her paintings, posters and calendars have sold across the country and internationally in Canada, Ireland, Azores, Australia, United Kingdom and Russia. They are displayed and sell in numerous retail stores in Maine.

Below is an interview by Author Barbara Ross, full interview may be seen at: Barb Ross

Brenda Erickson

Barbara Ross: When I first got my contract to write the Maine Clambake Mystery series, I was elated–and also freaked out about the food. After all, a Maine clambake is the same, or almost the same, meal every time. So for inspiration, one day when we were at the Maine Coast Bookshop and Cafe in Damariscotta, my husband bought me one of Brenda’s gorgeous calendars. It sat on my desk the whole time I wrote the book, both in Maine and when I was back in Massachusetts. So when I needed to redo my website for the new series, I asked Brenda to design the banner. I already knew I loved her work, but she blew me away with what she did. Herewith, the interview.

What’s your Maine connection? Were you born here or did you migrate? How did you arrive/stay in Maine? I was born and raised in Kittery, Maine. In 1986 my husband and I moved to Arizona to help his mother. After living in a small town outside of Phoenix for 17 years, we decided in 2003 to move “home” to Round Pond.

Why food? Of all the things you could paint, how did you come by your focus on food? I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting, but have never had any formal training. When we moved home to Maine, I started taking watercolor classes. Living in the Midcoast, I naturally started with water, trees and lighthouses. When experimenting with some apples and then onions, I discovered that I really enjoyed still life. Wondering how to proceed, it came to me one night in those wonderful 3AM dreams, that if I picked a recipe, I’d have infinite choices to paint. I chose Salsa and then Maine Lobster Bake. Shortly after, I started receiving requests for family recipes and Recipe Paintings naturally followed.

I know you do commissions of people’s favorite family recipes. What’s the strangest/most interesting/funniest thing you’ve been asked to paint? Wow, with almost 200 paintings to think about, this is a challenging question. Every one of my paintings has so many wonderful stories that each is special. Strangest, I guess would be my own family recipe. Brewis is a recipe from Newfoundland and was prepared by my great-grandmother Rachael who at 12 years old was cooking on a fishing boat. It’s made with salt cod, potatoes, hard tack and salt pork. Cherished by my family, I don’t think I’ve ever sold a print.

Most interesting – hmm, I guess I’d have to say President Obama’s Family Chili. I picked this recipe off the social network Pinterest. Because of the painting, I’ve met Senator Susan Collins who has introduced the painting for presentation to the White House. We still have some contacts and are trying to find the best way to present it to the President and First Lady, so the project continues. After I painted it, I served it to a mixed group of friends – Republicans, Independents and Democrats. All agreed it is delicious. If nothing more, it’s been a lot of fun.

Funniest – In 2007 I was interviewed by Don Carrigan for the WCSH6 207 Show. It was a really big deal for me. Don and his cameraman interviewed me in my studio for two hours while I painted Bruschetta. Somehow I did it without shaking too much. What Don didn’t know was that I had painted and then presented to him, his hamburger recipe that he had cooked on the 207 Show with Rob Caldwell a few weeks earlier. Don was very gracious but said it probably wouldn’t make the cut for the show, while behind him, his cameraman who puts the video together, smiled with the biggest grin and said: “Oh, yes, it will be in the clip.” And it was.

I understand people are amazed how an artist can put colors on paper to express so many emotions. However, as a watercolor artist, I’m always amazed how authors such as my husband, Bob Erickson and you, Barbara, can put words together to paint such clear images that after reading it, I realize I don’t recall seeing the words. The words went directly to the image in my head. I guess an example of that would be my painting the mansion that’s in your book. After you described it in words, I then painted the house and we both visualized the same house. That was very exciting for me.

Recent Comments...

" The painting has arrived safe & sound. My goodness, it is WONDERFUL. Open-mouthed smile. I don’t know what I expected but it is beyond whatever that may be. The strange thing is that when I looked at it I got goose bumps. The recipe had always been just a recipe, nothing more, nothing less but all of a sudden it had a life. I don’t know quite how to explain that but it brought tears to my eyes. Maybe because it represents now 4 generations, it feels like a living breathing thing. - Terry

" Brenda does beautiful painting of family recipes. We had her do one of my mothers pound cake and she captured it perfectly. You could even smell the cake when you saw the painting. OK that may be an overstatement but I could smell it. Bob

" My sisters, daughter-in-law and mother open the paintings at the same time. The room grew quiet, a tear or two were wiped away and then they erupted with joy as they had really received a treasure to enjoy and remember forever. - Ann

" If the WOW!!! factor could ever be used as a singular way of a combination super-compliment and pleasure, then that is what my wife felt when presented with your painting for her birthday. No more words, for it speaks for itself. - Cap'n Mikey

" My mother absolutely loved the painting. She showed it off to as many people as she could....You have definitely made it a Christmas to remember for my family!" - Nathan

" During all the social gatherings at the our house everyone thought painting was fabulous. All were truly amazed!" -Dianne

" My wife was extremely pleased to receive a piece of your work and delighted that it was customized for our family recipe and memories. The girls were very pleased to receive the smaller copies as well. The finished piece now hangs happily in our kitchen and Maggie will smile every day when she sees it. Thanks for your part in our happy Christmas, and in creating a special feature in our home!..." - Bob

" The painting and prints brought down the house with tears..." - Sue

"I so appreciate the heart and soul you put into your work - everybody's been so pleased with the prints (it even brought a tear to my dad's eyes!)... " - Elizabeth

" Thank you so much for the beautiful painting!! It was my husband's very favorite present he received this Christmas! We Love it!..." - Betsy

"Working with Brenda was an absolute pleasure. Her creativity and attention to detail impressed this self-professed anal-retentive person!... " - Jennifer

" Everyone loved the painting and prints. It was especially special and brought extra meaning to everyone..." - Cheryl

"Thank you for the wonderful painting! My mom really liked it and it is now hanging prominently in our kitchen. She made the recipe in celebration!... " - Alee

"They received our package with the Recipe Painting and they said they 'were over the moon!' They loved it! I felt wonderful and I wanted you to know your art is appreciated internationally!" - Bonnie

Kitchen Photos...

These paintings and prints can be seen at the kitchen displays at Home Again by Hancock Lumber, South Portland, Maine Brenda Erickson