Friday, January 31, 2014

Kate's Monet Masterpiece

One of my darling daughters turned 9 this month!! I cannot believe how fast time has some senses. I remember the wonderful day she was born like it just happened. At the same time I can't hardly remember life without her! Her creative, generous, compassionate and peacemaking soul greatly blesses this family. We love you, dear Kate!

Of course, birthdays bring cake. Actually my kids plan their birthday cakes year round...drawing ideas and sketching out elaborate {and nearly impossible} elements of spy labs and underwater coral reefs. I don't stop them since I know it's part of the process...and ALL of the fun. But, eventually, we have to cement the final design. I'm not sure if I get much more cake making...than seeing my children's plans go from pencil scribbles on paper to an edible work of art.

Kate finally settled on an "artist" cake...because she is, in every way, arty! She threw around various ideas on how to execute this broad subject. At first I was going to copy a painting that she had made a while back, but when it came right down to it she really wanted Monet. No contesting here...

We made the painting first and then worked the rest of the cake around that. Kate knew that she wanted a teal cake and the gold on the frame just popped. We decided that we needed to add coordinating gold throughout the rest of the elements. Paint brushes were a natural place for gold...but the idea {which, I must admit, was my husband's contribution} to paint gold strokes down from the top edge of the cake was genius! It ties the cake together and gives it an overall elegant, aristocratic feel. 

Starting at the top, we made a wooden palate covered with the colors we used for the actual painting. I made the paintbrushes all one piece, with white gum paste, and then once it was dry I painted those with powder colors. The paintbrushes look a little too real, four-year-old kept picking them up to use on his own creation he was making next to me. I cringed every time...trying to delicately unwrap his fingers from around the brush. I can't believe it never broke. And, yes, I did move them, but little boys move faster!

The Monet piece itself was painted on a canvas of dried gum paste. I used powdered colores mixed with a tiny drop of lemon extract until the "paint" was thick and opaque. I am not taking any credit for this work of art...I am not trying to make a forgery here. {Smile} We were inspired by Monet, and wanted to express that spirit here. The frame is made from bits and pieces of extruded gum paste, molds, and flat strips. It looked like nothing before we covered the whole thing in an antique gold finish. Kate let out a sign of relief, "Okay, now it looks like a frame!" We were going for elaborate-antique...good enough!

The last little detail came last minute. I had thought to hang the picture on the cake but it just didn't seem right. I wanted to bring a whimsical element to the cake that still showcased the painting but brought it to life a little bit. There are a few elements in the painting that we tossed around {the Japanese bridge, trees, grasses} but settled on the iconic and beautiful waterlilies. We added a touch of glamour to them painting a touch of gold here and there. The painting then looked quite "in its element" sitting on the lily pad. The end result was worth the extra work.

Kate, dear, I hope your birthday was as beautiful and wonderful as you! Thanks for working by my side to create this masterpiece. I love you, darling!

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