“Your Bento Paintings Look So Real That You Should Use Them As Fly Traps,” Says My Daughter.

Meatball Bento Mar. 2015, watercolour on paper 11in. x 15in.

A pretty good fly trap, according to Poppy. She says I should hang it up right away to start catching flies though I don’t think I’ve seen a fly in the house since last August…

All the crafting going on around the house right has to do with leprechaun traps; Poppy has just finished making her third one, even though St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, she’s going to be ready for them next year! I’ll have to post the most recent one she’s done, because there are some pretty involved preliminary drawings for them.

Every Blah Winter Day Should Have Sharpies, Presents and Birthday Chocolates.

Pink Bunny Bento Leftovers, Feb. 2015,  Sharpies on paper

A new sketch of bento leftovers in a brand new sketchbook that I got for my birthday! My birthday isn’t until Friday but my parents were in town so I got some early birthday gifts. And since my daughter has Thursday, Friday, and Monday off school, and I have Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off work, I’ve decided to make it one long birthday weekend…which I guess I’m starting now :)

My studio day even started off with coffee and birthday chocolates for breakfast, and it was glorious.

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So the leftover bits in this bento are half a cheese string, 3 carrots, and a bunch of round crackers. And a strange thing happened in this bento…I think the crackers absorbed the moisture from the carrots and they developed an odd texture where they kind of dissolved into powder when you touched them. Suffice it to say, Poppy did not like the new texture and wouldn’t eat them.

I also played around a bit with cropping this sketch, which I haven’t done for a while. I really love the mark-making you get with Sharpies–I just want to zoom right in on these. Though I also want to zoom in on watercolours so maybe that’s just me.

Pink Bunny Bento Leftovers crop


Heart Egg Bento Painting.

Heart Egg Bento, Feb. 2015, watercolour on paper 11in. x 13in.

With doing all those Sharpie sketches I actually had time to miss painting with watercolour. And I forgot that I wanted to do a “before and after” for my next painting, so that will have to be later…when I feel like it.

I am noticing that the bento lunches I am choosing to paint are the most colourful ones–I’m really drawn to ones that have blue, green, and yellow in them. I remember my mom always telling me that you should strive for at least three colours on your plate at meals, and although I do try to make all her bento lunches colourful, sometimes (if we need to go shopping) there is a lot of beige and red. It is also a lot trickier to get green in the bentos since she decided she is allergic to all vegetables except carrots. This is also unfortunate because the edamame has become one of my favourite things to paint.

I should list what is in this bento lunch:

Top tier–Pocky sticks

Middle tier–heart-shaped egg, edamame, a plum, and crab meat

Bottom tier–pretzel mix and cantaloupe.

Bento Leftovers.

Bento Leftovers, Jan. 2015, sharpies on paper

Poppy has decided that she is “allergic” to vegetables. One day I took a photo of her bento at the end of the school day with the uneaten edamame still on the food picks (in order to text it to my husband to complain about it), but then I found that I really liked the photo. I have since started taking photos of her lunches at the end of the day as well as the beginning. It’s interesting to see the contrast between the neat, orderly lunch and the disheveled leftovers. I think next I’ll do a diptych of a before and after bento…maybe in watercolour…

In doing all of this bento art, I am remembering Mary Kelly–a conceptual artist I studied in University. More specifically, I am remembering her Post-Partum Document, where she methodically documented her sons’ first 6 years. Even though what I am doing doesn’t come close to the scale of her project, I do find it interesting to see where motherhood will take ones’ art.

For reference, here is a photo of what this bento lunch looked like at the beginning of the day (taken under very different lighting conditions):


Coloured Sharpie Bento Fun!

Flower Pattern Bento, Jan. 2015, coloured sharpie on paper

So Poppy got these new coloured Sharpies for Christmas and I have been coveting them. I think I might have to go get some for myself because they are super fun–I mean there are FOUR different pinks! This was a really fun little sketch to do; I forgot how fun sketching is, and how satisfying it is to finish something quickly.

This was the second lunch that I have made in her new bento box. She loves the new bento. Maybe it is easier for her because it has just one tier to open…or maybe it’s just because it’s new. The food in this bento lunch is: yakisoba noodles with sausage and cheese cut-outs on top, and strawberries and cookies.

Squares Bento Painting.

Squares Bento, Dec. 2014, watercolour on paper 11in. x 15 in.

I thought about painting one of the more Christmas themed Bentos for this week, but then I wasn’t into it. I started two different Bento paintings and wasn’t into painting either of them, so I decided to just paint whichever Bento I felt like painting. So Squares Bento it is! It’s a little hard to tell since everything was cubed but the food in this Bento was: a cereal bar (top), sandwiches, cheddar cubes, and shreddies (middle tier), red pepper, cantaloupe cubes, and fudge (bottom tier).

Stars Bento Painting.

Stars Bento, Dec. 2014, watercolour on paper 11in. x 15 in.

A new Bento painting! I had a bit of trouble getting a good photo of this one. I usually take photos outside on the North facing deck on a bright day, but it has been cold and overcast lately. The colour in the photo still doesn’t look quite right–though it always looks better in real life anyway. Maybe it’s better that way, I would rather have that than have my photos look better than the real thing.

And I think there are enough Bento paintings for a new category on the blog now :)

Bento 2.0

Poppy's Coloured Version, Oct. 2014

If anyone was getting bored with my Bento paintings, here’s something a little different. We were having a lazy studio day on Sunday, and I was doing a Bento sketch with a Sharpie marker; Poppy came up to me and asked if I could make a copy of it for her to colour. Prettier than the real thing I think. She got bored and didn’t want to finish it, but what can you do, she’s only seven.

And here is the original sketch, which we could just keep printing out to colour…if only the attention span of my seven-year old were but a bit longer.

September 3rd Bento Sketch, Oct. 2014, pencil and sharpie on paper



Painting of the Round Things Bento.

Round Things Bento (September 22nd Bento), Oct. 2014, watercolour on paper

This was from a week that I did some shaped-themed Bentos for Poppy. This one had strawberry Mochi (2 of them), pretzel mix ‘o’s, hard-boiled egg slices with seasoning, edamame, blueberries, grape halves, and a Babybel cheese. I like both the burgundy and blue Bento Boxes that I have (technically the burgundy one is Poppy’s), but it seems to me that the blue Bento Box looks prettier with food. Maybe it is the contrast I like.