A Surrey woman has photos to remind her of a world record-setting spice painting she created last summer, and not much more.
A giant butterfly was made by Preethi Vijay using vast amounts of turmeric, paprika, clove powder and other kitchen spices mixed with water.
She has a framed Guinness World Records certificate to show for the 84.39-square-metre creation (908.39 sf), along with her name on the company’s website.
The organic nature of spice paintings means the work degrades over time and doesn’t last, which is why Vijay’s record-setting painting is now shoved in a cardboard box in her backyard, along with the cotton cloth she used as a canvas.
So is she sad about that?
“A little bit,” Vijay said in the backyard of her East Newton home. “But I have the photos and some video of the painting. I was prepared for this because I can’t preserve it, but it is a bit disheartening.”
Vijay says the record-setting butterfly filled her lawn last summer.
“It was fun but I had some challenges,” she admitted. “It’s powder that I mix with water, so it flies away in the wind a little bit, so I had to rework on it a couple of times because it blows away. I use a regular paint brush for this, and I can’t move the cloth around much because it gets heavy.”
The Guinness certificate says Vijay achieved the record in Surrey on Sept. 12, 2022.
“Preethi is very passionate about art,” notes a post on guinnessworldrecords.com. “She wanted to measure her abilities by attempting a Guinness World Records title.”
Vijay emailed the Now-Leader a news tip about the record in early March, a few weeks after Guinness contacted her with the good news.
“My goal was to try for a record but not with the usual acrylic painting, I wanted to do something new and unique,” explained Vijay, who applied for authentication by Guinness.
“With kitchen spices, I decided to make a butterfly, which goes well with these colours — yellow and brown and other things,” she added. “I decided on the picture based on those colours, powders to collaborate with it.”
She prefers using “natural items” for paintings, avoiding the chemicals of oils and acrylics.
“I used to work with a lot of coffee doing coffee paintings, so I thought, why not explore with other things I found in the kitchen, for other colours?” Vijay said. “So I started working with spices and I also explored taking extracts from vegetables and fruits that give good colour, like beetroot, carrot and other things. Everything that gives colour from natural items, that is how I explore.”
Vijay says coffee painting is quite common in her native India, and that spice painting is getting popular around the world.
“I’m a self-taught artist,” she revealed. “I started as a passion and started exploring other ways to get my art to other countries and expand it in the community. Now I do a lot of portraits.”
Asked if she’ll create another big spice painting this summer, Vijay said she might.
“I have smaller paintings with coffee and spice, ones I do inside, paper-size paintings,” she noted.
“I have some things on my mind, other projects to do.”