Thursday, January 28, 2010

3 Chocolate Cupcakes

Inspired by three cupcakes in the front row of a long tray in a bakery case, they appeared to be very merry and ready to dance together as if they were in a Disney movie.
3 Chocolate Cupcakes, 9"x12", acrylic, framed, B. Sistak Baur. All rights reserved.
The textured ground is the first step to give them a proper backdrop. The paper cups are created with modeling paste applied with a long, shape palette knife. The knife is sliced through the paste to make the ridges. A heavy gel is selected for the frosting. Then, very carefully, I drag a saw-toothed edge across the surface to create the swirls. This is topped with a star-like decoration. Shadows and highlights provide depth and more color adds interest to background. You can really see the texture in the close up. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How did you start doing desserts? (FAQ)

I have a history of using various textures in artwork. In fact, I have a 3-D piece that features an old door with a key collection. Another is created with socks -- the mateless ones that you find in the dryer.

A third is an abstract figure created with painted tissue paper. But that is not what immediately attracted me to the bakery items.

That started when I visited an Argentine grocery in Miami. In the back, the bakery case burst with colors and repeating rhythms of mounds and circles and other shapes. The scene was quite mesmerizing. Inspired, I whipped out my camera (film was still common at the time), and snapped several pictures. (The staff thought I was nutty tourist. I guess I was.) When I got back to town, I couldn't wait to have the film developed and start painting. The first artwork I did won an award in a local show so I was inspired to keep going.

While I was working on a cake piece, I thicken up the paint to better show the icing. That was first step in my journey on my way to gels, pastes, molding compounds and large variety of media to achieve new directions.


Above left, a close up view of Grand Fruit Tart; above right, artist shown with Decision Points; right, Interdimensional Portal on the Space-Time Continuum; all are © B. Sistak Baur. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Why Don't You Weigh 300 Pounds? (FAQ)

I've had great conversations with people over the last 2 summers. And there are common threads among them. I thought I would gather up many of the frequently asked questions I hear and answer them here. If you don't see your question, email me or post a comment with your question, and I will try to answer it. Here is one I hear a lot and it amuses me. I will post others as I think of them. Check the FAQs link (left) to see others (but this is the first one so wait a day or two so I can get more up here).

Why don't you weigh 300 pounds?
Well, I don't actually have the pastry in front of me while I am working. Generally, I take photos of pastries when visiting restaurants, delis, cafes, specialty shops and, of course, bakeries. Sometimes I work from the photos or sometimes from memory or sometimes I just make them up.

When I do have the actual item in front of me, as with a commission, I take many reference photos of the pastry when it is fresh and moist so I have the best representation. Then I put the pastry in the freezer for safe keeping and later reference, if needed (and later eating).

I have tried painting a pastry while it is front of me -- but it is usually SOMEONE ELSE who comes along and snags a bite. I replaced a whole plate of cookies one time and had to redo the whole painting!
(This is that painting).
-- Barb

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Year and New Work

The new year is underway! Re-energized and invigorated, a new year is my opportunity to stretch my skills while creating new works. I have much new work underway in preparation for the new art fair season. Here is a sample:
On a Triangular Plate, 9"x12", acrylic, framed, © B. Sistak Baur
Inspired by a friend who brought me these cookies, I arranged them on a lovely glass plate that I found in a rarely-opened cabinet. The foundation of the cookies is a mixture of molding pastes. After they are formed and dried, I work on the toppings. The fruit fillings are created from media is that carefully mixed to achieve the right consistency -- creamy and thick. The whole painting is covered up except for the cookies, so I can "sprinkle" paint to create the powdered sugar. More details can be seen in the close up below.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

2010 Art Fair Schedule is Shaping Up

I certainly miss seeing everyone and eager to get started again at the summer art festivals. As you may know, art fair artists start the application process in the fall for following summer. Most of the festivals I attend are "juried." This means that my paintings are placed along side paintings by other artists and a "jury" rates them. The artists with higher scores are invited to participate in the festival. I have 90% of my applications submitted -- and invitations are trickling in. So far I have been invited to the following shows;

• May 22-23, Riverside Art Festival, Burlington Ave., Riverside, IL
• June 5-6, 57th Street Art Fair, Hyde Park, Chicago
* Sept. 4-5, Oakbrook Center Invitational Fine Art Exhibition, Oak Brook, IL

This list will grow as I hear from festival organizers. I will update my schedule as I learn of the results. I hope your favorite art festival shows up on the list. If not, I hope you visit a new festival.

The Sketchbook Project at Brooklyn Art Library (Video)

Update:  I just discovered that there was fire involving the sketchbooks in the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project in February, 2022 --...