Monday, August 1, 2011

Black Forest Cup Cake, an homage to Thiebaud

Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 2011
12 x 14'', painting #196

I'm a usually a healthy eater, but I have to admit that I have a sweet tooth. I have a weakness for desserts, chocolate and ice cream. Whenever I pass in front of a glass front counter in a grocery store, a cafĂ© outlet in a mall or the front window of a pâtisserie, I come to a complete standstill. If the goodies are behind glass, it makes them even more sinfully delicious. The same can be said about a glass dome plate. I found this glass cloche at Wicker Emporium just down the street from where I live. Directly across from that store is a small outlet called The Cake Box where you can specially order fancy cakes for any occasion. Their main business is selling decadent cup cakes which in recent years is back in vogue and all the rage. TV shows on the W Network, The Cup Cake Girls and Cup Cake Wars on the Food Network are cashing in the hype.  Keeping the imagery very local is the window sill from our kitchen window looking into our unimpressive backyard.

This painting is an homage to Wayne Thiebaud, an American painter born in 1920. He is closely associated with the Pop Art movement. But unlike many Pop Art artists, his artwork does not survey items of advertising, commercialism or popular culture. His artwork celebrates objects found in mass culture. He's better known for his depictions of food products found in production line settings such as markets, cafeteria and diners...... notably cakes, pies, hot dogs, ice cream and candies. His oil paintings of food are often executed in thick, buttery paint, using bright and often exaggerated colors. Paint on cakes for example are applied to give the appearance of thick frosting. Other still life paintings included lip sticks, paint cans, shoes and gum ball machines.

His body of work also studies portraits and landscapes. Like many artists, composition and use of color and light take center stage. Inspired by French painters Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard, he paints with colors that seem to create their own light. His use of mediums includes oil, watercolor, pastel, graphite and printmaking. Click HERE for this Google link for an colorful sample of his artwork. My next posting will feature more bio notes on Mr. Thiebaud. I am currently working on a companion piece featuring a Red Velvet Cup Cake.

The book that anchors this composition is entitled, ''Delicious, The Life & Art of Wayne Thiebaud'', by Susan Goldman Rubin and published by Chronicle books (2007).

Mr. Thiebaud has lived the majority of his life in Sacramento California and will be turning 91 this coming November. For the second year, I am fortunate enough to have been invited to take part in ''The Still Life'', an invitational group show being organized and hosted by the Elliott Fouts Gallery also located in Sacramento.This is the first of hopefully four paintings that I will be submitting. The exhibition will open on October 1 and runs until November 2, 2011.

Elliott Fouts Gallery
4749 J. Street Sacramento, California, USA , 95819
Phone (916) 736-1429


  1. Hi,Alvin,
    Wow, sooo beautiful!

  2. What a fun painting, Alvin. The glass is fabulous!

  3. Terrific work! I admire your remarkable attention to detail. Perfection!

  4. Another masterpiece! I can appreciate your work even more since I've seen your paintings in person! I always learn something from your paintings, thanks for introducing me to another artist.

  5. Great works. I like this. Thank You for taking the time to share your view with us. Keep it up my friend :)

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  6. As usual, your work defies description. To say it is fantastic is doing it an injustice. Amazing. No, that doesn't really sum it up either.
    By the way, didn't you tell me there was some kind of mask for acrylics? Or do you use the kind for watercolor? I need something to keep areas white. Any thoughts?

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  8. I like your new header Alvin, I don't think it was here the last time I stopped by and told you your cupcake looks good enough to eat. Thiebaud is a food painting hero of mine, and his highway paintings are terrific too.
    You're very welcome.