August 16, 2013

Elaine Callahan’s Blog has Moved

To find Elaine’s blog, please visit:

Thank you!

August 10, 2011

A Vacation from Food, Sorta

I haven’t done much painting lately – especially food. Not one pea, pear, or pepper in sight. I’ve taken a momentarily vacation from food painting.

I’ve been too busy, and preoccupied, creating my new web site. Finally my web site and blog will be together in one site. I’m so excited – and a wee bit nervous about it.

It’s all ready to go live, except for one teeny, tiny, but very important question we need to ask the WordPress Support folks that we couldn’t find the answer anywhere, before merging this blog into my new web site. Apparently the WordPress ‘Happiness Team’ is in St. Louis until August 15! Go figure. So, now I wait. As patiently. As possible.

Above and Below the Surface 29" x 21" Fluid Acrylic ©2011 Elaine Callahan

Living in Atlanta, I miss being by water. Lately it has gotten to me much more than usual – maybe it’s all the uncertainty going on in my life, and the world in general. On Saturday I will take some time off, and finally go to the beach for a few days. I can’t wait to chill and rejuvenate.

Because of my deep longing for water, I pulled out all my blue paints, and other colors I don’t really use when painting food, and played with the paint with no clear intention. I just wanted to see what would happen. I threw in everything including the kitchen sink. Perhaps it was one sink too many, but it felt very therapeutic.

After my vacation, I look forward to writing my next blog post to you from its new home, and getting back to work on my next pepper painting!

Until then, be well.

July 21, 2011

The Winners of the “Name the Peppers Painting” Contest Are…

A big thank you to everyone that participated in the contest. You really put on your creativity hats, and came up with some terrific names!

I had fun time reviewing all the entries, and a hard time picking just one name per painting.

I have chosen a winning title for not just one painting, or two paintings, but three paintings. I decided to rename a previously posted pepper painting because my title was (yawn) boring, and the new title rocks!

The winner of each chosen title wins a set of The Southern Collection note cards.

Are you ready?

Drum roll, please…

“Garden Heat” was the winning title of this painting, submitted by Rebecca Reece Gilley.

"Garden Heat"

"Garden Heat"

Rebecca Reece Gilley also came up with the winning title of “Peppered Past” for this painting.

"Peppered Past"

"Peppered Past"

And, Molly Hohner (age 10) came up with “Raging Red,” which is now the new name for this painting.

"Raging Red"

"Raging Red"

Congratulations to Rebecca and Molly. And, thank you for your awesome titles. Your prizes are on their way to you!

July 13, 2011

Finding Hope and Possibility Again in A Box of Crayons

The yellow and green box caught my eye, resting quietly in the corner of my office, waiting patiently for me to notice it.

I had bought the box of Crayola® Crayons when I first started my graphic design business almost 16 years ago as a reminder to keep my sense of childlike wonder and play, no matter what.

Being one of seven children, crayons were common property. Growing up, my friend Cynthia B., was an only child, and had a HUGE box of 108 crayons, beautifully displayed, single layer so you could see every crayon all at once. It came with its own free-standing sharpener. Oh, how I loved to go over to her house and play.

Of course, Cynthia was very particular about her crayons. I had to handle each crayon carefully, and put it back in its designated spot, but I didn’t mind. My family’s crayons were stored in a coffee can, and not treated with the same respect. I secretly coveted her box of crayons.

The box in my office was MINE. Sometimes I liked to just open the box and look at all the colors and marvel at all the possibility within them. My crayons made me smile and brought me joy, even as an adult.

But I forgot about the box. Until today.

The past few days I have gotten my butt kicked personally and professionally. It never feels good growing through it. Not only had I forgotten about my box of crayons, I had forgotten about fun and joy and play, too caught up in the busyness of being an adult, and the constant job of worrying (I need to fire myself from worry.)

I was feeling a bit down, and lost. Until I saw my box of crayons, and then I smiled. Like me, some of the crayons aren’t so pristine anymore, and the box seemed too tight when I tried to put the crayons back in the box, but they still bring me joy just looking at them. I am feeling much better.

It’s funny how a simple box of crayons can change my mood, shift my energy, and help me feel hopeful and full of possibility again. Pardon me, I am off to create some art!

What simple thing brings you joy?

July 11, 2011

Enter “Name the Peppers Painting” Contest. Play to Win!

Multi-colored Peppers

12" x 12" Fluid Acrylic ©2011, Elaine Callahan

I am currently working on a series of pepper paintings, and recently completed the one above.

The problem is, I am completely drawing a blank of what to call this piece, so it has no name. Even my first peppers painting is still untitled. But, I do have several title options for the third painting which I haven’t even started. Go figure.

Do you ever wondered why some works of art are simply titled Untitled? It’s because the artist couldn’t come up with a name, and just gave up. (Now you know.)

Sometimes the titles come easily. Other times they end up being rather boring, such as “Yellow Onions” for an example.

I need your help. I get much better titles by asking for suggestions. The winning title for the painting will win a set of The Southern Collection note cards – plus as an extra bonus – bragging rights!

Go ahead, put on your creative hat, and send me your best title suggestions to:

If you are feeling extra creative, give the four red peppers painting a try. You too may win a set of note cards.

Deadline to enter the contest is midnight (EST), Tuesday, July 19. I will post the winning title(s).

Good luck and have fun.

June 29, 2011

The Value of Marinating

Four red peppers

12" x 12" Fluid Acrylic ©2011, Elaine Callahan

I tried to write this blog post last June. Tried in September. And, tried again in December.

But the words never came. I was experiencing exactly what I wanted to write about: marinating, and the value of it.

What is marinating, and what value does it serve in the creative process?

You know when the director of a movie that’s just won the Oscar for best movie says in his/her acceptance speech, “this movie was always in me, but it took 10 years to get it out, and onto the big screen.” That’s marinating.

Marinating is having a creative idea or vision that’s not quite ready to materialize. The idea needs time to rest in its creative juices in order to become tender and flavorful, and then you can take the right action to create your vision.

Marinating can be tricky. Marinating may mean 10 minutes, 10 days, or 10 years. You can’t force it, you need to allow it. Forcing something before it’s ready only results in major frustration, or even giving up. I know.

I almost gave up painting. Okay, I did give up painting on several occasions, but this time I meant it. Or, so I thought. It turns out, things were just marinating, and I was trying to push the process when it just wasn’t the right time.

I wanted to loosen up, do abstracts, and go wild. I tried all sorts of things. The problem was, I never connected with what I was doing, and it showed.

One day I bought these tricolored beans at the farmers’ market. I had never seen purple beans before and I thought they were so beautiful. I came home, went outside, and put them on my white plastic table. I grabbed my camera, and took photos of them, and thought, “hmm, something interesting is here.”

However, it would take me three years before I even tried to paint them. The first time didn’t turn out very well. Something was missing, so I stepped away, and allowed things to marinate. A year and a half later, I started to paint with fluid acrylics. Once I was confident enough with the fluid acrylics, I attempted the beans again, and this time I was successful. That was the beginning of how I paint today. It only took four and a half years.

Looking back, I can see the value in marinating. During those four years and a half years I was trying to figure things out, I was diagnosed with celiac (gluten intolerance) and my relationship in how I viewed food completely changed. That new appreciation gave me a deeper sense of purpose and connection with my subject matter. The food has an almost abstract quality while being realistic in the execution, so I even got my abstract after all.

What juicy idea of yours took time to marinate? Please feel free to share your story or comments here.

June 5, 2011

Interview with Sonja Vass of “The Art Corner”

Interview with Sonja Vass of "The Art Corner"

Interview with Sonja Vass of "The Art Corner"

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Sonja Vass of The Art Corner on

The show features artists sharing about their art and their inspiration. serves 7 counties in Georgia: Henry, Butts, Lamar, Rockdale, Newton, Clayton and Spalding.

You can check out the video online. Click here to view the interview.

I would love to hear your comments.


May 18, 2011

Decatur Potaters. Yup, It’s Potato Art in TWO Shows in Decatur in the Month of May!

I (Heart) Potatoes

"I (Heart) Potatoes" 14" x 17" Fluid Acrylic ©2011, Elaine Callahan

“And The Winner Is” Opens This Saturday, May 21, 7-10 pm

Potatoes are massively consumed but greatly under appreciated as an art form! I am trying to change that.

I invite you to join me this Saturday, May 21, for the opening reception of the show, “And The Winner Is.” Check out this potato painting in person, as well as other food and light bulb art.

The Seen Gallery’s exhibit, “And the Winner Is,” features art from the winners of two prestigious awards at the 2010 Decatur Arts Festival. Jaynie Crimmins, mixed media artist, won the Juror’s Award and I won the People’s Choice Award at last year’s fine art exhibit at the Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College. The Seen Gallery hopes to make this an annual event, including the first-place award winner at the Arts Festival, who was unable to participate this year.

Here’s the address for this show:
The Seen Gallery
415 Church Street (across the Marta station entrance) Decatur, GA 30030

The show runs from May 21 to June 22, 2011.

You Say Potato

You Say Potato 14" x 17" Fluid Acrylic ©2011, Elaine Callahan

2011 Fine Art Exhibit of the Decatur Arts Festival
Opens Tuesday, May 24, 5:15-7 pm
I am delighted to once again be part of the Fine Art Exhibit of the Decatur Arts Festival. My painting, “You Say Potato” was selected to be in this year’s exhibit.

Not into spud art? No problem. There will be plenty of other art to enjoy. Stop by and vote for your favorite piece of art!

The opening reception for the exhibit will be in conjunction with the Decatur Business Association meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 5:15-7 pm. The exhibit runs from May 24 through June 5, 2011.

Here’s the address for this event:
Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College, Dana Fine Arts Building
141 E. College Ave, Decatur, GA 30033

April 13, 2011

Gallery in the Galleria – April 20-24, 2011 August: Osage County at the Alliance Theater

"Lights of La Boca 3"

Lights of La Boca 3, ©2011, Elaine Callahan, 24" x 18", Fluid Acrylic

Once again, I am delighted to be exhibiting my art, April 20 through April 24, at the Woodruff Arts Center Galleria before and after the performances of August: Osage County at the Alliance Theater and performances of Rachmaninov & Beethoven with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. A portion of all sales will benefit the Alliance Theater Company.

One of the most lauded plays of the decade, August: Osage County by Tracy Letts, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Play, and a well deserved reputation as an emotional Armageddon you don’t want to miss. The New York Times calls it “flat-out, no asterisks and without qualifications, the most exciting new American play Broadway has seen in years.”

I hope to see you at the theater!

March 23, 2011

Composition of A Painting

Creating good composition in design or painting is key to engaging your audience’s interest.

Having worked as an art director and a graphic designer for over 25 years, I’ve had plenty of hands-on experience with composing design. That experience has strongly influenced the compositions of my paintings. I admire a well composed work of art because of it.

So, what exactly is composition? It’s basically how you put the parts of the whole together that makes a piece work, that makes the painting interesting and aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Using the painting below, I am going to walk you through my thought process on the placement of the food.

Springtime Revival

"Springtime Revival" ©2011, Elaine Callahan 14" x 17" Fluid Acrylic

1. It helps to begin where the eye naturally goes. Your eye starts with the lemon in the upper left hand corner as if you are reading.

2. It moves down the asparagus to the two lemon wedges.

3. Then up the bottom parts of the asparagus.

4. And back across the line of asparagus to the lone one on the left and the white space below it.

There is intention on where things are placed that helps create movement for your eyes to follow. There is also color to attract the eye and white space for visual rest.

I hope this explanation has been helpful in understanding composition better. Please add a comment and let me know.