Peas and Carrots

Peas and Carrots

In the sappy sweet love story, Forrest Gump declares that he and Jenny go together like peas and carrots. My husband was touched by the tenderness and peas and carrots became our thing too. When McLean County Arts Center had an artist invitational to create a self-portrait, I took the idea that as a newlywed, I no longer reflected a picture of me, but of us.

Peas and Carrots Painting

Nearly sixteen years ago, we began building a home together and a life together. Women call that nesting. I find humor now, seeing Easter grass and eggs in the work–literal nesting going on.

Music is important to my creation process. The song I chose to go along with the art by Chasing Furies is called “Enchanted.” My heart had been broken and I felt like my emotions were being held prisoner. The lyrics spoke of “I was in a glass case when you found me, now I cannot smile enough, live enough….say enough, I yearn for your love.”

Although this evocative love song is about God’s rescue, it applied to how purely loved I felt that God would give me the blessing of a new life with Tony. My glass cage was shattered and I was free to feel and love deeply.

Overflowing, like the song, I created this mixed media work of art. It consisted of our wedding photograph, photocopies of peas and carrots, peas and carrot food packaging, paint, beads, mirrors, Chiclets and other kinds of candy!

Candy, photo and paint detail of Peas and Carrots painting

Also, I used paint on the packaging in the same way, to add layers, and bright pops of color as interest.

Detail of candy inside and outside plastic box with pink candy.

As a painter, layering is an important element for me. Using candy was especially fun, because I was able to “layer” the candy by placing some inside a plastic cube, then adding candy on top of and around the outside, thus creating layers. After all these years, I still remember seeing the pink dot of candy amongst all the green and choosing to leave it there, because it added a surprise element to the area. Creating is so fun!

Detail of Peas and Carrots artwork
Original drawing of Angel Ambrose as a bride.
Angel Ambrose Self-portrait

The mirror once contained a laminated photo copy of the original self-portrait. The laminate gave the picture a reflective surface to mimic the mirror. After all these years, the candy is holding up well, but the picture is missing.

Stashed away in storage, I hadn’t thought of this painting for quite some time. However, starting a collaboration with Don McCormick, Chocolate and Pastry Artist, jogged my memory. As we were discussing how to turn one of my paintings into a chocolate work of art, I realized it wasn’t the first time I created with candy.

As we make progress on the chocolate art collaboration, I’ll keep you posted. And, locals can come see the piece and have a sweet treat too.



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