Watercolors from My Culinary Love Story

A slice of romance for your own life

The welcome mat to Janette Carpenter’s artist studio high above Malibu reads, “I hope you brought wine.” Friends are sure to do so, but that’s for later in the day. In the day, the sun and the sound of the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean below are Janette’s elixir. It flows through the open windows as she works on watercolors of classic dishes that illustrate Pauline Parry’s debut memoir and cookbook, My Culinary Love Story.

Pauline, a friend of more than 30 years, sits beside her as Janette talks and paints, her brush applying bright green accents to sprigs of rosemary on a leg of lamb. The finishing touches are small, yet make the lamb look fresh and appetizing.

Janette understands very well how food should look. While she only began painting a short while ago inspired by her artist son, Peter, she has been cooking for years. Her two talents are now in perfect sync in this light-filled aerie above the bustling world. 

Her technique is simple. “I start by printing out a photo of the dish into black and white. This allows me to see the values,” she says. “Then I begin to paint, mixing colors and laying it on a little bit at a time. I start with the darker spots which make the lighter parts pop out. Watercolors are the opposite of oils or acrylics. Then I add in shadow and work in layers like that.”

Janette’s charming illustrations of the dishes in Pauline’s debut memoir and cookbook, My Culinary Love Story, will look beautiful framed in your kitchen.