Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yet One More Reason Why I'm a Photographer

Starry, Starry Night
Vincent VanGogh

Our monthly book club was meeting at my house this month, and we'd read a very interesting book by Steve Martin - who knew the comedian could write?  Another interesting fact we learned, he's a very knowledgeable art collector.

An Object of Beauty had an art theme, and we sometimes try to match our refreshments, or decorations, or both, to the theme of our book.  So...what should I do?  Ah ha!  I'll get out one of my favorite go-to treat books and look for the perfect desert. 

To the cupboard!  Open the door.  Pull out Hello, Cupcake, and What's New, Cupcake?, both by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson.  Such delicious and fairly easy creations for almost any occasion, all made with a boxed cake mix and a can of frosting, or two.  Add food coloring, candy and other decorative touches, and a little slight of hand - voila!  You have a very impressive offering.

However, now and then I think you have to have more natural art ability than I possess, and though I was very excited about creating the centerpiece I finally settled on from What's New, Cupcake?, I was also a bit nervous.  The end result was supposed to look like Van Gogh's Starry, Starry Night - one of my favorite paintings.

I baked the cupcakes the night before so they'd be cool.  24 chocolate cupcakes, which formed the base for the "painting."   The next morning I pulled out 4 cans of vanilla frosting and my assortment of food colors.  Then I mixed shades of blue, yellow and green until I got what I thought was "close enough" to what the painting would call for.

When I got to the next step, I froze.  Even though I'd read the directions and thought I understood the process of painting my cupcakes, I realized that here was yet another reason I was a photographer and not a painter.  My mind will tell me what to do, but my hands generally don't follow directions well.

On the day of my book club, I didn't know if I could pull off a reasonable effort at making a work of art.  However, the older I get the more I am saying "get over it," and soldiering onward.  And this I did.

The creation took most of the 4 cans of frosting, all the cupcakes, a good amount of mess (as well as unwanted attention from the cats), a few well-chosen vocabulary words on occasion...and almost 3 hours later my efforts were complete.

When my company arrived I had a nice display and the soft evening light really helped:).  It is definitely one of those deserts you want to eat with friends, as the color of the frosting creates lovely lip tones, with the teeth picking up brighter hues. 

I am not sure I'd make this "painting" again, but I think I say that each time I try a different recipe.  My favorite was done in black and whites.  Which is another post entirely!



joyce said...

Thanks for coming by my blog, so long neglected.
I love the idea of painting cupcakes!! I used to be a baker in another life and did a lot of cake decorating, sometimes creating scenes like you did. I never thought of copying a work of art in cupcakes though!!

Sandy K. said...

Well, if I didn't have the photo in front of me there would have been no attempt to do this. It was fun, but it's definitely a special project, not an everyday event!