To compensate, Barnes, who has been working from home since March, channelled her passion into making artistic foods. Using everyday food items, mainly toast, she began turning her daily lunches into works of art.
Barnes was inspired to try food art after visiting Japan for the Rugby World Cup in 2019 where she saw “amazing food art” for the first time. Her first creation was a toast art based on expressionist artist Edvard Munch’s popular work The Scream, to express her frustration about the cancellation of her Easter holiday trip to the US and Canada. As the picture gained appreciation, she continued to recreate different paintings through food, including the works of Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Frida Kahlo.
“At the beginning of lockdown and with my monthly visits to the National Gallery on hold, I thought I’d try to transfer the art I was missing to toast. It’s tricky to match the original, especially to keep the scale, and make sure it’s edible,” Barnes said in a statement.
She added, “My favourite artist is Caravaggio but his works are too complex for toast art. Of all the toast art I’ve made, my favourite to eat was Picasso’s Woman in a Hat as it’s the closest to what I’d normally eat for lunch. I enjoyed trying to recreate the intricacies of some of Munch’s work too.”
One of the most challenging tasks was finding blue foods. The 56-year-old said, “At the beginning, I struggled with paintings with lots of blue as there are no true blue foods. However, I have recently found some blue icing at the back of the larder left, so if I can bring myself to eat royal icing on toast, I have that covered now.”