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Art with Erika

the journey of an artist – painting life with purpose

Month

June 2016

“The Mighty Mini Marshmallow”- June 28, 2016

***A walk through tutorial for “The Mighty Mini Marshmallow” is below!  Enjoy!***

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“The Mighty Mini Marshmallow” – Photoshop – June 27, 2016

It’s about the little things…

My first pen sketch was of a single tree branch.  I used black to emphasize the shadows of the branch and twigs, red to emphasize the shadows of the berries on the branch, and a touch of green on top of the red for a little more shadow.  From a distance, it looked like a simple branch scattered with berries.  It WAS a simple branch scattered with berries.  But, when my college teacher took a closer look, he asked me, “Do you know why this is so good?”  I shook my head.  I didn’t really think about why I did certain things in my artwork at that time, I just did them according to what I felt was right.  He continued, “It’s because of the eye candy.”

‘Eye candy’ was a term that my teacher used to describe the subtle and unnoticeable elements of a drawing that brought it to life.  Without these elements the piece would be good, but it would fall flat and taste stale; Eye candy gave the composition a playful and entertaining aura.  It was the “random” swoop of purple in the shadow of a golden pear, or it was the messy hatched bundle of lines in the shadow of Superman’s face.  Eye candy gave the drawing personality, but not in a distracting way.

There were dots in my branch.  From a distance these dots looked like solid lines.  In reality, they broke up into pinpoints that came together to form a “line”.  Green pen created shadows on the edges of the berries; they were also made from dots, and from a distance, they looked like brown lines.   If I had used brown or black to shade the berries, instead of layering the green within the red, the berries would have lost their vibrancy.  If the dots had been drawn as thin lines they would have been too harsh, the composition would have lost its delicate flavor, and an observer would probably look at the drawing and think that it was nice, but that something was not right.

Eye candy is what separates good artists from great artists.  Being a great artist is about detail.  It is about listening to your intuition when it says that something minuscule is missing.  It is about shading that strawberry with a swoop of purple, green and yellow, and not just black or brown.  It is about dots that don’t seem to matter, layer upon layer of colors that don’t even look all that different, and the tiniest textures of paint that only a few people will be able to point out – if they take the time to look up close.  Most of the time, they won’t, and that is quite alright.  It’s about the little things…

I hope you enjoy the walk through for “The Mighty Mini Marshmallow”!

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Sometimes the biggest surprises come in the smallest packages.  My sketching started with the tiniest, squishiest, and most unassuming of characters:  a mini marshmallow.  It was not just a regular marshmallow, but a mini marshmallow.  It was tiny, and cute, and the smallest of all of the marshmallows.  I like cute…

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I thought it would be ironic if he was a super hero.  He seemed to be the opposite of everything that a super hero embodied, and he could be a great foundation for an uplifting children’s picture book story!  (It is the field I am aiming for, so I ran with it).  I added a cape and an “M” symbol for his costume and drew a scribble of light beaming from behind him.  I would pretend that this was the cover of the picture book.  Because he was a superhero, he needed to be more than just a mini marshmallow, so his title leveled up to “The Mighty Mini Marshmallow”.

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I started with a fresh Photoshop document at 300 dpi and worked with a blue pen to sketch out the rough drawing of the marshmallow.  It was important that the first sketches had solid proportions and that the movement was what I wanted in the marshmallow and the cape.  It was at this stage that foundation for the rest of the drawing would be built.  If the foundation was bad the final drawing would be bad, too!

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I lightened the opacity of the blue sketch and created a new layer so that I could draw my clean black outlines.  I wanted thicker lines to surround the cute marshmallow because he was my main point of interest.  (My secondary points of interest were the cape and the “M” symbol.)  I also wanted to emphasize the placement of the shadows using different line weights on the marshmallow.  I made the lines just a little thicker around the backside of his lower body.

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Once the boarder was drawn for the “M” symbol, I used the blue pen, on a separate layer, to sketch out the rough lines for the “M” in the center.

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This project was a good exercise in simple line weight logistics.  Foreground objects, such as the front section of the cape, would have thicker outlines than objects that were in the distance, such as the back section of the cape.  I also used thinner lines to de-emphasize certain elements, like the “M” symbol; I wanted the focus to be on the marshmallow, initially, not his costume.  Once I was happy with the line weights I started to color him in!

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I used the wand tool and filled in all of the colors on different layers, so that highlighting them and shading them would be easier.  These base colors were the “medium tones.” (Not the brightest and not the darkest shades).  If I wanted a bright red cape, I would use a handful of shades darker than bright red, so that I could highlight it and make it pop with the bright red, later.  This technique gives a little more depth to the drawing.

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Before I started shading and highlighting the marshmallow, I dropped some color into the background so that I could weigh out the true tone of the marshmallow’s colors against something other than white.

I was so excited, because I already had a slight learning curve in my shading technique!  For my first digital drawing “Going Fishing” I used the shadow colors as the base colors for the cat and fish.  I took an opaque white brush and brightened up the whole drawing in a multitude of swoops and layers.  I wanted to try something a little different for the marshmallow, this time around.

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For each shaded section, I grabbed the base color and made it a few shades darker.  I colored everything that had a hint of shadow touching it.  I repeated this but picked out a slightly darker shade and colored the darker parts of the shaded areas.  I never used black, but only dark colors, and only with an opaque brush at about 15% most of the time.  I used this same technique for the highlights but transitioned into lighter colors.  The background was layered with more color and an opaque “off-white” brush added bursts of light behind the marshmallow.  A halo of glory, in the slightest tinge of orange and yellow, was added around the outline of the Mighty Mini Marshmallow.

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At this point, I saved my drawing as a jpeg, and brought him into Illustrator.  Photoshop was wonderful for drawing, but it was a horrendous program to use for anything related to fonts and text.  (If you ever have to add text to a photo project, do it in Illustrator, lest your letters be pixilated.) I typed out the title of my would-be children’s book, and set out all of the different fonts that caught my eye.  Once I found a few, I looked at them on the drawing to see if the feel of each one matched the feel of the composition.  Fonts tell a story all their own.  Picking the wrong font (or combination of fonts) can make or break your product.  Picking the right fonts can bring closure to a piece.  Once I found one that was the essence of what I was aiming for, I tested out some colors

Color can be just as important as the font itself so be aware of the balance of the anatomy of the text, your product, and the message you want to convey.  Because this font was for a would-be children’s book I decided to go with something that was cute, but strong, like the Mighty Marshmallow, and I chose a color that emphasized the marshmallow, and not the font.

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Red is an eye-catching color, which is why so many magazines and companies have red labels and titles.  When “The Mighty Marshmallow” title was red, I found that the eye went to the title of the book cover, first, and not to the drawing of the marshmallow.  When the title was blue, my eye went to the marshmallow, and then scanned the rest of the space to see what this marshmallow was all about.  It’s the little things that make a big difference, and if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  That being said, a publishing company might want to use the red title, because it does draw so much attention and catches your eye while it floats in a sea of children’s picture books throughout Barnes and Noble.  For this project I liked the blue a lot more because it wasn’t distracting.

I surrounded the blue font with a boarder of “gold” that matched the marshmallow costume, and rearranged the letters and font so that they weren’t so static; it needed to be fun!  I played around with the size of the words.  I made “The” (an insignificant word) small, and “Mighty” large, next to a smaller “Mini”, and separated the “Marshmallow” from the adjectives to bring a little more emphasis to the rounded composition of the layout.

I had so much fun whipping up this little character, and as I did, I could see this a small glimpse of this cute story come to life.  Maybe I will have a chance to work on developing it, later on.  We shall see!

Thank you for visiting!  I hope you enjoyed my mini marshmallow walk-through! 

mini mighty marshmallow final

“Going Fishing” – June 26, 2016

***A walk through tutorial for “Going Fishing” is below!  Enjoy!***

going fishing final
“Going Fishing” – Photoshop – June 25, 2016

A year ago I started to explore the field of digital art.  Comic book cover artists and cartoon animators made a gateway that had the possibility of using my artwork on a fresh, more vibrant, and true platform.  It was a perfectionist’s medium that combined the cleanliness of pen with bold colors, and the flexibility to hit the delete button without a trail of evidence.

When I was young, my father taught me how to draw in basic pencil.  We started with lessons in shading and perspective.  He crumpled up a piece of white paper and drew every bend and fold of the white ball. It was the ultimate test in still life.  I learned to hate still life, because there was no life.  There was an undeniable beauty in luscious landscapes and vibrant bowls of the most delicious fruit, but still life left me feeling drained and dull.

Three-dimensional cubes and circles learned to stack together and turned into cheetahs, Shamus, and people.  Everything that I drew revolved around movement and life.  I liked animals and people.  I liked adding eyeballs to inanimate objects so that they became creatures with stories to tell.

Pencil upgraded to the prism of colored pencils, with the occasional vacation to water color and oil paint, and even pain-in-the-butt dry pastel – but only once because it wasn’t pretty.

In college, one of my first art courses was taught by a seasoned animator, who introduced me to the extreme value of black and white.  I experimented in charcoal, but found serenity in the detail and absolute commitment of black pen.  The dim gray lines of my pencil started to evolve into black ink on the plaster white paper and made the perfect foundation for colored pens, vibrant pencil, watercolor, acrylic, and gauche.  All of my fashion sketches, throughout college, were a compilation of pen and watercolor.

Art school didn’t teach me how to draw, but my instructors hammered out my shortcomings.  Before, my hands that I drew were always too small, my people were stiff and my movement wasn’t fluid.  They taught me how to bring life to my art.  More important, they taught me the ins and outs of Photoshop and Illustrator.

I began to research comic book cover artists, and absorbed their techniques in line work and coloring.  I watched hours of tutorials on YouTube, and embraced the flexibility of drawing from scratch and improving the cleanliness of my art.  Here is a walk through of my first computer composition:

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To start, I opened a new file, in Photoshop, that had a resolution of no less than 300 dpi.  My canvas was 11 inches by 8.5 inches (standard size of a piece of paper, just to make things easier for me to print, if need be).  I started a layer titled “rough sketch” and worked in a blue pen color so that when I traced over it with black, the color didn’t blend into one another.

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I didn’t know what I wanted to draw but had started with a little cat body, and it morphed into a cat squatting next to a fish bowl.  I brought the idea further. I thought it would be cute to have the cat use his tail as a device to try to catch a fish in a bowl.  The basic body and anatomy of the little cat was built beside a fish bowl and dragged to the corner of the canvas so that I could start sketching out the fish.

I like cute and animated.  I love fish with big eyes, and I wanted this fish to be surprised at the sight of whatever was dangling off of the tail of the cat.  I didn’t want the fish to look directly at the cat, but I wanted him to have a “What the hell is that thing? It doesn’t look good,” expression.  I gave him big eyes with small pupils for surprise and fear, and drooping fins for a sense of limp shock and hopelessness.

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I had a difficult time sketching out the anatomy of the tail.  I wanted the fins to be an extension of the feelings that were dawdling through his little head, but I also wanted the tail to float.  Trying to find that perfect balance took a little time because there were so many options.  Body composition tells a lot about a character.

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After I completed a rough drawing of my fish, I shrunk it down, and placed it in the bowl.  I added foliage, a little castle, and the base for the sand and rocks.  At first, I had the fish facing the cat, looking up at the hook, but something didn’t feel right.  Sometimes you have to dive into the psychology of your characters.

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If I had been this tiny fish, I would not have been looking at the hook dangling above, I would have been scared out of my mind and staring into the two huge eyeballs that were looking at me from outside of my bowl.  Screw that hook!  Who cares about the hook?!  But, if I had no clue that the cat was there, and my back was to him, it would make sense that I would look at the dangerous shiny thing that started descending into my fish bowl.  For this reason, I flipped the fish around and changed the placement of the pupils.

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Once I had my foundation rough sketch finished, I created a new layer titled “final outline”.  I sketched out the final lines for my drawing, and changed anything that needed changing along the way.

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Line weight can bring a lot of life and depth to the composition of a piece.  Traditionally, skinnier lines are used in the background of cartoons, and thicker lines are used in the foreground and around the main figures.  Because my cartoon was all one layer, I didn’t have to worry so much about line width except to accentuate certain materials, such as the glass of the fish bowl, or the fur tufts of the kitty cat.  When I finished the drawing, I found that the lines for the fish were too thin compared to the cat, so I thickened them up slightly.

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I printed out the drawing and took a look at it with fresh eyes.

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I made sure to sign it and date it.  — So many artists have incredible signatures in the comic book world – they are like little pieces of art.  I need to work on mine and make it more personal.  (My real signature looks worse than a doctor’s… that isn’t an exaggeration; one of my teachers lectured me in college for my shitty signature.  I’m working on it.)

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I made new layers and mapped out the base colors.  I used the darkest shade of the color that I was going to use for each section.  If the fish was going to be a light orange, I would find the darkest shade of that orange and color him in.  Rarely is white ever used in its purest form and black isn’t used except for pen work.  For the fish’s eyes I used a khaki/tan color for the base because I wanted this color to be the darkest shadow of his eyes.

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Here is a screen shot of all of the base colors, without light.  Again, these were the darkest parts of the characters and objects.  The most important part of this step was to make sure that the colors balanced well with each other.  It was time to bring some life into this cartoon!

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The only color I used to bring shade and light to this drawing was white.  That’s it.  I went across each section and made each color brighter and brighter using the white pen tool.  I wanted the fins on the fish to be transparent, and I erased a small section of the bottom of the tail to make it look like it got thinner.  Here is a detail shot of the fish!  If there had been a background you would have been able to see it a lot better.  It really is all about the small details, though.  I added texture and lines to the eyes of the cat.  This was the only time that I used any additional color, and not just white.

Print

After I finished highlighting the drawing I added a little sparkle to the central elements of the drawing.

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I wanted people to focus on the hook, the eyes of the fish, and the eyes of the cat, so I brought a little light to these areas, and I also added some white whiskers.

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The finishing touch was to add a little reflection on the fish bowl.  There is the slightest hint of blue within the fish bowl, to give the illusion of glass and water.  The addition of a little of the cat’s reflection, as he pushed his face against the bowl, gave a little breathlessness to the piece.  I think it might be my favorite element.  It is barely noticeable, but it gives so much in a subtle way.

‘Til next time!

going fishing final

Tie-Dye with Mia & Karlie – June 22, 2016

The day before yesterday I woke up and drove across town to my sister-in-law’s mom’s house.  Karlie and Mia were preparing the materials that we needed to use for our tie-dye hippie adventure.

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I walked into the backyard and said ‘hi’ to a barefoot Karlie as she filled a miniature army of bottles with hot water and dye.

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Soakin’ it up in the California Sun

Recycled and unloved pieces of clothing were floating around a few bins full of murky soda ash water, awaiting their second calling.  We were joined by their friend, Elizabeth, who, like me, was a tie-dye virgin.

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At nine in the morning the sun was already sending us her rich warmth that would later decorate our necks with glistening sweaty diamonds.  Sunscreen and umbrellas tried to hide us from her overbearing infatuation.  Bottles of dye were shaken and set on our wobbling work table, while Elizabeth and I watched Mia as she swirled up one of the soaking shirts.

swirl process
Rollin, Rollin, Rollin – All the rubber bands!  ALL OF THEM!!!

She fastened the medallion with rubber bands and set it aside.  Elizabeth and I put on some gloves and joined Mia, who taught us variations for tie-dye designs.

Creating tie-dye for the first time was nothing less than mysterious and adventurous.  It was a great way for me to start to break out of my perfectionist shell;  I couldn’t plan anything that was absolute and I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be.

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I was so excited when Mia and Karlie invited me over to their house for a lesson.  I had waited for this moment since they first showed me their tie-dye collection a year ago!

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There was no solid rhyme or reason for placing the dye on the twisted pieces, except that the colors needed to soak through all of the layers on all sides.

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Sweeney Todd was here

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The table was drenched with a pool of rainbow dye, our feet turned into an effortless canvas of abstract art, and our carefree laughter carried us through the beginning of the blinding afternoon.

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rubber bands = shooting practice

Our dye-soaked pieces basked out in the sunshine, on plastic mats and in plastic bags, so that they could meditate and prepare themselves for their new lives.

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layed out pieces
Now, we wait…24-48 hours…     …But we are NOT patient, soooooo, 24 hours later…

The next day I went back to help unwrap the blobs of fabric; we were as impatient as small children on Christmas morning.  Each piece of cloth, that was released from the grips of the rubber bands, was greeted into their new world with ‘oooooo’s and ‘aaaaahhhh’s, and the occasional sound of overwhelming excitement.

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YAAASSS!!!  ALL THE COLORS!!!

They were rinsed off, rung out, tossed in the washer and dryer, and our mini tie-dye hippie adventure was over.

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Peace, love, tie-dye, and hugs!  Until next time!

You can purchase tie-dye items or request orders from Karlie and Mia, HERE!  I can’t wait to tie-dye with them, again!

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Karlie and the ghost sheet

Happy Accidents – June 21, 2016

The most tremendous obstacle that an artist may have to overcome, in order to start any project, is fear.  The fear of your own perfection and your own expectations, the fear of other people’s expectations, the fear of failing, the fear of success and the trail that you must create to withstand the journey, the fear of not completing anything and the simultaneous fear of completing something so that people may critique you and everything that you are.  An artist’s fears can be the endless fog that hides them from the world and buries their creativity in the catacombs of their mind.

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I unveiled a graveyard of petrified oil paints from my last canvas painting in 2002.

The last time I touched a paint brush to a canvas was fourteen years ago.  The last time I finished a personal art project was when I graduated from college nine years ago, and most of my portfolio was dictated by classroom requirements.  I knew my capabilities and I knew my weaknesses and strengths in art, but the last time I gave myself the chance to create anything for myself was in high school.

The enemy that I had learned to kill, and would continue to kill, day after day was my pre-perfectionism.  It made up the stitches that held my procrastination together.  Instead of diving into a project, I would busy myself by making plans for the next project; I would sketch out an abundance of nonsense while brainstorming, I would try to pinpoint the perfect medium for the perfect project, and calculate the perfect size canvas.  I would fail to see any of my brainstorming make it to a canvas.  There was always something else to do and something else to finalize before creating the final piece.  There was fear that my own standard would not live up to my expectations; it turned into a vicious circle of doubt that looked like a snake eating its own tail.

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A rough pencil to pen landscape sketch of my work-in-progress children’s picture book.

Two years ago, I started to write the first draft of a children’s picture book.  I wanted to find a way to promote my artwork and maybe dive into writing.  I got stuck in the swamp of the writing process, and I am still stuck.  Instead of waiting for a “good enough” draft to round itself out, I decided to sketch out the world where my story took place.  I had a lot more experience in art than I did in writing.  I only began writing when I was about nine and I have just dabbled in it from time to time.   It made sense to start in a place that was familiar to me.

I started watching Bob Ross on Netflix, a few weeks ago.  He was mesmerizing and it was helpful to absorb his laid-back mindset when it came to painting.  Landscapes were a great place to start because, unlike painting people or animals, the artist could make up things as they went and “happy accidents” could easily turn into the most surprising details of a painting.  Nothing had to be planned out and nothing had to be perfect.  Three days later, I retreated to my room to paint, and everything went wrong.

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My messy pallet for this painting.

The wet-on-wet painting technique that Mr. Ross used was a medium founded in oil paint and not the acrylic paint that I sprawled on my canvas.  At first, my sunset had been dancing around with its bright colors and buttery yellow had started blending into creamsicle orange and blushing rose.  After five minutes, the paint and retardant that I had prepped on the canvas, had started to dry, and my pink haze turned into a streak-infested, blood-soaked, disgusting mess that looked like a massacre.

It was around that moment that my mom hollered at me from the bottom of the stairs and said “Are you painting, Erika?!  Can I see what you are doing?!”

Horror, dread, doubt, and fear took over every millimeter of my face and body.  I took a deep breath, “Uhhh.  Not right now!  I’ll show you in a little bit.”  Happy accidents, happy accidents, happy accidents…

I stepped back and took it all in.  “The Massacre”.  I was going to fix it.  I threw blue and white onto the canvas to see if the sky was even salvageable.  Everything happens for a reason.  In hindsight, a sunset in the sky would have been too overbearing above the colors of the bright flowers that had scattered themselves along the grass and the hills.

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16×20 acrylic on canvas – June 16, 2016

Two hours later, the flowers bloomed on the canvas.  A little beehive from my would-be-children’s-book made a home on an unassuming tree branch, next to a little stream.

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The cute little beehive

This was my first acrylic painting, so I had to give myself credit for that.  After two and a half hours, I had created a landscape that I was proud of.  After a fourteen year absence from painting on canvas, this was the result.  It didn’t have to be perfect.  I had fun.  And the most important thing was that I was happy with it.  Onward!

Manresa – June 17, 2016

The stepping stones of food and art have left a solid path in my mind that trace back to my happiest childhood memories.  There are very few moments I can recall that are not laced in food or art, and many of my most prominent recollections revolve around taste.  My days off of work are a marathon of field trips to local eateries.  Good food makes me happy.

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My mom and I had the privilege of celebrating not only my 30th birthday, which was on May 27th, but, my mom’s survival and defeat of stage four kidney cancer.  It has been a month since her surgery and in two months she will return to the hospital for a series of tests, but the doctor told us that, as of now, she is cancer free!  My dad was gracious enough to treat my mom and me to a ladies’ night out at Manresa.

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My only partial regret is that I did not research much before walking into Manresa.  But at the same time, it was delightful to have been surprised.  There is something so exciting about having no clue what will happen next.

Our three and a half hour marathon of flawless performance was satiating and over-the-top in a certain and unassuming manner.  As we walked onto the property and through the doors of Manresa, we were greeted with a quiet nod from the staff and Chef David Kinch, before he withdrew to the kitchen.  The ambiance was clean and unnoticeable, the only elements that stood out were those of the woodwork fixed throughout the rooms that served as a perfect canvas for the colorful cuisine. 

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We started our adventure with a few glasses of complimentary champagne from the Chef.  A personalized card was waiting for me on the table that was signed by the heads of staff.  Sean, our main waiter, was kind and professional.  The assisting wait staff floated around without fault.

The freshness of California produce is placed on a French-inspired pedestal and glazed with an almost indistinguishable hint of Japanese flavor.  The only relief that breaks a victim from their hypnotic food-staring is the overwhelming temptation of their salivating taste buds and the promise that another dish will eventually come out of the kitchen that is of equal or greater value.

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Our courses began with small bites, granola crisps, savory “candy” jellies and savory Madeline cookies (Petit fours “red pepper-black olive”), and caviar beignets that exploded with flavor.  I could have eaten twenty of those little beignets and I would have been happy for the remainder of the evening.

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A farm egg that glistened with honey was adorned with the tiniest purple coriander flowers.  It seemed to balance on the side of a plate, and it burst with the combination of flavor from hidden chives and crème fraiche.  It was divinity in an egg shell.

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We moved into small plates and starters that featured seafood and Manresa’s “into the garden” green and bitter salad.  The salad was quite literally one of the most beautiful dishes that I have ever laid my eyes on and it tasted better than it looked.

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Buttery tapioca with radish and parmesean created a miniature ocean around floating islands of abalone and tamago.

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Fish, seafood, and light proteins were gifted to us, each one just as flawless as the next.  The presentation of the colors and flavors of the vegetables and fruits, mixed with the proteins caused my eyes to sparkle more and more with each new course that came to us.  It was heaven.

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Dishes featuring heavier proteins, such as spring lamb and poularde, were presented toward the end of the main courses and were adorned with no less than perfect sauces and produce.

Throughout the main presentation, Manresa breads were offered to us.  They do sell their bread in Los Gatos, as well as the Sunday Campbell Farmer’s market.  There is always a well-deserved line at their stand.  Their brioche is to die for!

At the end of the featured courses we were given the option to partake of the cheeses that were waiting patiently on their little red cart.  With great reluctance we decided to opt out because we were so full.  But, the aroma of the smelly cheese was astounding as it wafted through the entire room every time someone caved in to the pungent temptation.

Chef Kinch came over to our table to talk with us.  He told us that he gave us the best table in the house:  the corner, in the main room, facing the entirety of the dining area.  We did not miss a beat and we were able to absorb everything that happened around us.  We thanked him for such a fabulous experience and he withdrew, once more.

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Dessert started with matcha green tea meringue wafers, cherries, and lime that stacked into a beautiful miniature tower; it turned into a bloodied mess after one vicious swipe of our spoons.  Tart and bitter was balanced with the sweetness of the cream.

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A small slice of semi-fredo cake and a simple candle topped off our night of celebration.

Our next two desserts were displayed together as a pair of battling flavors.  (I do regret not taking pictures of these two desserts because they were gorgeous!)  One was wrapped in a thin layer of solidified dark chocolate, and showcased strong and pungent summer herbs in the form of gelato and sauce.  Bitter, interesting, and full of so much green flavor, it was unlike any dessert that I ever eaten.  Her sister dessert featured strawberries, pistachios, and toasted milk gelato;  it was the sweeter and more traditional dessert of the two.  Together, they were a grandiose symphony of flavors that violently teased our senses.

To conclude the ceremony, guests were given a closing dessert course that was scattered with sparkling chocolates, familiar-and -yet-different sweets, and the most delectable variety of French macarons. 

As a parting gift, we left with keepsake personalized menus to and small boxes of house-made “oh-so-California” granola featuring dehydrated strawberries that caused me to giggle under my breath; Chef David Kinch’s nod to “Nor-Cal” granola techies was veiled in satire that was hella subtle.  Bravo, Chef.  Bravo.

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Thank you, to the entire staff of Manresa, and to Chef David Kinch, for creating such a memorable experience that my mom and I will be talking about for years.  I cannot wait to visit, again.

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