My name is Marie Widolf and I am a Sydney-based illustration-artist, and the creator of the socially interactive inked cartoon-character known as Gertrude. Gertrude’s character is modelled after my own failures and disasters in the kitchen. Coming from a European background, I have three parents who are all fantastic chefs and dinner-hosts in just about any cuisine: they can boil, broil, stew, blanche, poach, roast, infuse, reduce, bake and fry just about anything, and delight their dinner-guests with ambience and delicacies from their kitchens! Their culinary skills apparently skipped a generation: I am convinced they boldly javalin’d over me…
So from this environment, and after discovering after high school that my true passion was really to become an artist; Gertrude was born and it is no secret that she is my alter-ego, and the other me that never made it in (or to) the kitchen! Gertrude the cartoon-character is portrayed as a somewhat middle-aged gal who dreams of one day becoming a great chef, if she could only stop day-dreaming and procrastinating long enough
I regularly post Gertrude artworks and also Gertrude’s Breaking News –(Gertrude’s Paranomasias)- on social media @gertrudebymariewidolf. Here her followers are able to connect with her by commenting on her predicaments, and even cheer her on! I involve viewers by writing commentaries in the form of questions to Gertrude, asking her what she is up. to with each posting, which then invites her audience to offer solutions, opinions, and to play along with words and ideas. Gertrude has a lovable character and appeals to all age-groups, and it has been said that there is probably little bit of Gertrude in us all! Drawn as single-panel cartoons, they are all based on her existing in her own kind of “bubble”, and it’s all about her journey –rather than her actually reaching her destination (the stove)- which is the formula I use to deliver her comedy.
After Gertrude’s character was born and eventually found her present form she was launched at ArtSHINE Gallery’s group show “Eclectic” in March 2017, in Chippendale, NSW. Joined by eight other artists, I exhibited ten artworks of Gertrude interacting with the subject of food. We currently live in an age where the global shift is to be totally obsessed with what we eat and with reality cooking-shows on TV- like Australia’s popular Masterchef and MKR series- but the launch of Gertrude here heralded a new kind of “foodie” hero: the gal who cannot cook!
Gertrude is instantly recognizable for sporting a pair of large round glasses, her tidy abundant curls, and for her numerous trademark mail-order polker-dot and floral lycra-spandex onesies! She likes to think of herself as a bit of a fashionista, but equally likes to be comfortable wearing her yoga slippers. A notable theme runs through her cartoons, which is her fascination with all things poultry, and especially with eggs.
Come and join Gertrude on her journey to the kitchen, on her quest to read her recipe books from beginning to end, and on her battle with her “stove angst”: and it is likely that you will also, like her many fans, ask her the same questions:
-What are you cooking for lunch Gertrude, perhaps an omelette? Have you turned on the stove and oiled the pan? And which onesie will you be wearing today?