It’s my most cherished belonging. It hangs in my studio for all to see. Everyone admires it, and everyone asks about it. It’s my Jonathan Blum mono-print, entitled ‘Orange Dog with Orange’. One of my oldest friends, Julie, bought it for me years ago as a birthday present. It’s in a gorgeous frame, and it truly makes me giddy! I feel like a real live adult with a real live painting from a professional artist!
I couldn’t help but contact Mr.Blum when I started doing First Friday Art and Chocolate posts. I was thrilled that he was willing to help me out!
Years ago, right out of art school in New Orleans, Blum was commissioned by a family to paint their portrait. They asked him if he would paint them with each of their favorite fruits on the tops of their heads. He desperately tried to talk them out of it. He was a serious artist, and wished to do right by this family. They would not be talked out of this crazy idea. Reluctantly he painted away, fruit and all. Well, crazy as it was, it was the start of his career and to this day, he makes a living painting portraits, kids, families, rabbis, pets of all kinds….all with food (soccer balls, phones, gumball machines) on top of their heads.
In the words of the artist:
“I am a portrait painter. My work ranges from the fanciful to the classically realistic. I can trace my painting career back to a “forehead” cartoon (a self portrait from the eyes up) that I created in Boston in 1986. I’ve been doing variations of this ever since.
Whether I’m painting a fraction or an entire face of a fictitious or realistic character, and whether or not there is something on top of my subject’s head, what remains consistent is my interest in creating an arresting image.
I’m 47 and a Washington, D.C. native. I went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Emerson College, and the Central Art School in London. I’ve had one-man portrait shows all over the world including Washington, D.C., Provincetown MA, Boston, New Orleans, New York, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and Prague.
Since 1999, I have essentially been making art and selling it out of a studio/storefront space at 285 5th Ave in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Please note that it’s open by appointment and by luck. I still get great pleasure selling my work directly to the public in my storefront, at street fairs, and other art festivals around the country.”
You can also contact him directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan Blum loves to create commissioned paintings. My favorite thing that he offers is commissioned dog paintings. While he prefers to meet your pet in person, if you are not in the New York, or Washington D.C. area, you can email photographs for him to work from. He also creates personalized katubas. Please contact him via the website for more information on how to get your portrait done. His prices are very reasonable, and he’s incredible personable and talented! www.jonathanblumportraits.com
Now, for something sweet and salty: (try balancing this one on your head)
Salted Caramel Cupcakes dipped in Chocolate * Makes 24 Cupcakes
Brown Sugar Cupcakes
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Cup butter, softened
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 1 Cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups milk
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix in Vanilla. Slowly add in the dry ingredients while alternating the milk. Be sure to scrape down sides of the bowl in order to incorporate all ingredients. Bake in cupcake tins for about 20 minutes, rotate pan(s) half way thru cooking time to ensure even baking.
Salted Caramel Frosting Ingredients:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 Cup caramel ice cream topping
- 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp large sea salt crystals
Directions: Using a mixer, beat together butter and caramel until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time allowing your mixer to work in between scoop fulls. Add in salt and mix well. Scrape down bottom and sides of mixing bowl to make sure all ingredients are incorporated. Add more powdered sugar to ensure that the frosting is stiff enough to pipe. Taste the frosting along the way and add more caramel or salt if you like- make it your own creation!
Using a large piping tip, pipe nice big peaks onto of your cupcakes! Once all cupcakes are iced, place in freezer for 1 hour. Freezing the cupcakes will prevent the icing from falling off while you tip them in the melted chocolate.
- 2 Cups chocolate morsels (I like to use semi-sweet)
- 2 TBSP large crystal sea salt
Melt chocolate morsels in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second increments until the chocolate is fully melted. Stir after each 30 second increment to prevent the chocolate from over-heating. Dip each cupcake quickly in the melted chocolate. Sprinkle with as much salt as you like!