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Topic: The "Cake Lady" painting  (Read 9560 times)
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« on: February 05, 2012 08:48:33 AM »

Okay, so that's not REALLY the title (the title is actually "A Dialogue of Sentimental Dimensions") but that is what everyone calls this painting.

The idea started with a client of ours named Helen.  We would go to her house to take care of her little dog.  She ALWAYS wore a house dress and she ALWAYS fed us.  I decided I wanted to paint her and asked her to sit for a photo shoot so I could get some reference photos.  She was SO excited!  

I originally planned the painting as Helen sitting in her kitchen alone with food piled up on the table (holiday food), birds devouring the food (nightingales represent family so I thought I'd use them) and a dog lunging at the viewer as if protecting Helen and her "family".  Well, as I painted everything changed.  I decided the dog needed to be a pink poodle so that it matched the colors in Helen's dress.  Then once I got those elements in I decided the entire kitchen needed to be in the 50's style pastels.  Once that was done I decided that cakes would be better than holiday food because they would fit the same color scheme as everything else.  

When it was time to add the birds I realized the lunging poodle was too distracting and it had to go.  I didn't want to get rid of him completely so I put him cowering under the table.  The idea of the nightingales changed because #1 they were a little boring to paint and #2 it seemed my painting had changed from one about family to one about memories.  Sparrows represent memories and so I felt that they would fit in the painting better.

The perspective in this painting is also purposely skewed.  I wanted it to be believable at first glance but to also have a weird sense of "wrongness" to it.

About a month after I finished the painting Helen's husband died.  I'd started a companion piece to this painting of Helen's husband but I've not finished it yet.  Now that he's gone this painting has a different "feel" to it than it did before.  It's suddenly a very sad painting to me.

It was accepted to one juried show and I think I'm going to have a tough time getting it away from my husband.  He has it hanging in his office now and doesn't want to give it up.

Oil on board  30" x 40"

This is my favorite part of the painting.... I even made it the image on my business cards:

My other favorite part of the painting......I was thrilled that I was able to get the beautiful texture and colors of her skin.

I love how the poodle wound up.....he looks so bewildered.

And the cakes....it was TOUGH finding enough variety in cake without getting too obnoxious.  My favorites are the pink cake with the berries on the top and the yellow cake with the flowers in the front.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012 08:49:46 AM by UnRuli » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2012 09:05:28 AM »

Amazing painting and story! You are so very talented!

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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2012 09:21:25 AM »

that is very pretty! has she seen it yet? if so, does she like it?

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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2012 09:27:28 AM »

Beautiful piece of art, in every aspect.  Smiley

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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2012 09:41:03 AM »

Beautiful work. I sensed a sort of sadness from the getgo, but maybe that's just me.
Definitely finish the companion piece with Helen's husband. I'm sure she would love a memorial of him.
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2012 09:58:15 AM »

Wow, I can't decide if this is super sad or just sad to see.

Gorgeous work, either way.  Smiley

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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2012 10:12:53 AM »

I LOVE this painting.  The funny thing is I don't find it sad at all....I see it as an ode to Helen's life  Smiley Great job

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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2012 11:54:39 AM »

Beautiful... This is a REAL painting, and I love the topic. It has a bit of sadness and a bit of joy. You're an amazing artist, and I'm so hitting 'This Rocks'!

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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2012 12:42:16 PM »

Thanks guys!  I drove the painting over to Helen's house as soon as it was dry so she could see it.  She also went to Chicago to see it hanging in the gallery (oh yeah, forgot about that show....it has been in two shows, not one).  She was distressed that her kitchen was the wrong color but she liked the cakes and loved the birds.

I will finish the painting of her husband....I just need to find the spare time.

« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2012 01:02:28 PM »

Wow!! This is AMAZING!! It reminds me of my great grandmother. It fills me with emotion. Absolutely stunning!

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