Why Cakes?

Last year at the state fair, I stood spellbound before the floor to ceiling case full of cakes each with a slice removed for the judges sampling. As I stood there, two things happened.

First, I was struck by the inherent beauty of these cakes, their textures, the changes in color, shadow, highlight, hue depending on their position, lighting, etc. Second, I noticed my throat tightening and my eyes beginning to sting. For me, growing up on a dairy farm, baking was a part of life. I learned from my mom who learned from hers, who learned from hers. As a 4-H member, I entered baked goods in our town’s fair. Standing there, I thought of all those moms, aunts, grandmas, girls, (I did not see a single man’s name) who had gathered in kitchens to make these cakes. I thought of my mom, my aunts, our farm neighbors. All those years of baking, all that community, and now, so much of that is gone.

Within a week of the state fair, I set upon an exploration of cakes and community, of color, light, shadow and texture. All of the cakes that I am painting are imagined (it would be much easier to work at reproducing a photograph, but that isn’t what I am after.) These cakes spring from memory, love, community, family and heart.