A Slice of Life From A Wedding Cake Portrait Painter

Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963 Courtesy of www.nga.gov/education/classroom/counting_on_art

Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963 Courtesy www.nga.gov/education/classroom/counting_on_art

A writer from FOOD ARTS magazine told me a very sad story. I’m so glad it has the following happy ending that, indeed, is to be continued…

I trained to be a professional pastry chef. That’s all I had ever wanted to do. Yet a medical problem made it too difficult for me to stand and work the long hours in a restaurant. I had to do something. In a moment of misery, I took myself off to the museum, and there I saw an extraordinary retrospective of Wayne Thiebaud’s works.

Suddenly I knew what I would do. I realized I simply had to adjust my thinking and reorient my passion for creating memorable experiences. I decided to change my pastry brush to a paint brush – and inspired by Thiebaud, I would, and could, paint a picture of the most delectable cakes and delicacies I once made standing up.

I started my own business, recreating wedding and other special cakes as paintings. I used photographs of the cake as the model. I’d remove one slice, so you could see the layers and fillings, and I drew upon my old skills to reproduce the cascades of flowers and other decorative elements in acrylic paints so that the memories of the big event could be kept forever.

I found my clients by contacting event planners and caterers. I also made friends with hotel banquet managers who would tell me about upcoming parties. I sent my catalog to brides who announced their engagements in the newspaper.

I posted photos of my work on a web site and was amazed at how quickly the orders came in. Word of mouth is my best advertising though an article in the local newspaper also helped a lot.

I’m planning to add another element to my work. I’m thinking about making a specialty of edible menus using chocolate and gold leaf.