Tuilles, lockdown, displacement activity, painting and the need for an audience.
I have always found that displacement activity, where anything becomes more interesting than actually working, has a benefit to the work being displaced. Somehow the act of not thinking about work allows one’s subconscious to take over and new connections, new areas for work can be realised.
The only positive aspect of being locked down is that the normal distractions of life; going to an art gallery, checking out new places to eat or have coffee or even browsing bookshops or cookware shops, aren’t applicable and new displacement activities have to be found.
So, having watched the Northern Opera online version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, researched the colour blue and its variants and explored how to photograph trees, I decided to become proficient in something pointless but immensely satisfying to receive when eating out, the crispy tuilles that are always served with fine dining deserts.
There are so many recipes online but I decided to explore how to make them to complement a chocolate delice desert that I had in mind and to make it harder to have it wheat-flour free.
So, after days of experimenting here it is, my orange tuille recipe.
3 tbs caster sugar, ½ oz corn flour, 1 tbs icing sugar, zest and juice ½ orange, ¾ oz melted butter
Mix everything together and whisk to a runny batter, leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour to thicken, line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, add 2 teaspoons of the cooled batter to the lined baking sheet and spread so it’s evenly thin, bake at 160 degrees C for 7 minutes or until just beyond golden brown, remove from oven, slide the greaseproof paper off the baking sheet onto a cooler surface and after a minute, slide a small offset spatula between the crispy tuille and the paper.
It should come off in a single piece but is best broken into shards to decorate. (note; these keep crisp for 2 days in a sealed container in a fridge)
While the skill is essentially pointless and very satisfying, the process reinforced the fact that as with so many things in life, painting being one, that while doing something just once can be successful, repetition and continual modification will result in improvements and although there may be some failures the time taken is not wasted.
The problem as an artist is that it’s not until you’ve completed many pieces that you realise that earlier works are flawed, however, the advantage paintings have over confectionary is that you can always modify and correct a painting.
This is why I only produce only about 12 pieces a year; much of my time is spent going back into a recent series of paintings to incorporate something learned from a more recent painting and admitting to mistakes. It’s not until the series is exhibited that I will leave them alone and call them finished.
In the meantime, I can now make tuilles and will roll them out until all my friends are bored of them, and just like paintings, they are pointless without an audience. I really need a show!
A virtual exhibition of recent work #notenoughart
I have really missed going to galleries, private views and the opportunity to show my own work, so I decided to create my own virtual gallery to show some of my recent work. I have yet to work out how to export it as an interactive experience so made a short movie instead: Here it is, enjoy!