I have been an art teacher for more than 15 years, and I have been asked many times by my art students “who is your favorite artist”. I can never answer that question without a million sidebars stating “I love Gauguin’s color, Cezanne’s majesty, Monet’s peace, Arcimboldo’s humor, Rockwell’s story, Renoir’s grace, and so on… I could go on for hours; but when I am asked who my favorite artist is I always think of Wayne Thiebaud first. I have many reasons for this; Wayne paints beautiful images of food (which I’ve already established that I love), he lives in Northern California where I grew up. He also was an associate Professor at UC Davis where I went to school. His art is beautiful to look at and to be present with, and his balance of color and space is perfect. I think I love Thiebaud’s work so much because he comes to his art from the same place as me. Like him, I can walk by a bakery window and stand and stare at the beauty and balance of perfectly displayed donuts. I marvel at the color in a jar of jelly beans or a bubble gum dispenser. I can never get bored with a beautifully decorated cake. And so on … Like Thiebaud, I love to create “food art”, and even though I never want to be type-cast in any one category, I do gravitate toward the food themes whenever I’m given the chance. It’s my comfort, what can I say.
I am currently teaching an art lesson to my 3rd grade students on Wayne Thiebaud’s “Pies and Cakes”. It is a favorite lesson of mine that I usually do in November and December because of the Seasonal theme of food and fun. Thiebaud is fabulous because he not only has fun with shape and color but also uses his memory and imagination to create his perfect desserts. This flexibility allows my students to create in that same fashion, which is not only liberating but enormously fun for them too.
A while back I decided to try and paint an inspired birthday cake in Thiebaud’s technique of using thick and heavy paint strokes to give the affect of frosting and texture. It was much more challenging than I thought but I feel good about the outcome. I thought I’d share a little of the “Sweetness” with you today! :0)