The NewBec

I'm not who I was.

Artful Expression of the Plan-Aheaders

Typically, I’m of the plan-way-ahead personality. So it was quite unusual for me to wait until the last week  days of school before looking into what the arts center might have to offer over the summer.  I’d never set foot in there before even though we have lived here for over 2 years now, and the thought just sort of occurred to me. (Truth be told, health circumstances have broken  me of a lot of my OCD tendencies in this area. There is just so much that I can’t plan for and I’ve had to learn to be ok with that). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the arts center was offering a clay camp for kids AND that there were still spots left, even though it was to begin in just a few days.


(I was also a little bit jealous because working with clay just sounds like a ton of fun!)

I was really excited to pick up J’s work this week. She is still at grandma’s house, so I can’t wait for her to come home and see her finished products all fired up.


Here is J on her first day of clay camp, holding what would eventually become the top of her wind chime.


wind chime


Frog container? owl, bowl, fish soap dish

Looking at all of this cutesy clay gave me a bit of a sculpting bug.

There’s one problem: I haven’t REALLY molded anything since elementary school. Unless you count J’s Candy Land Cake for her 4th birthday in which I created figures out of gum paste and modeling chocolate. But the recipes for those were very difficult to work with (or there was user error) and it was just too much mess with too little satisfaction. So I’m not sure that really “counts”.

4j candy land cakewm

J’s 4th birthday Candy Land cake… almost half her life ago!

The kids decided last month on the themes that they want for their birthday cakes this year. Although I’m not the one who brought it up, my type-A rejoiced in this moment. I could begin scheming. Never-mind that C’s birthday isn’t until September and J’s isn’t until December. It’s never too early to start planning for cake ideas in my book!

Home decorated birthday cakes are the one fun tradition that I do for my kids. (Granted, the cake itself is still from a box mix). I often feel as though I can’t do so much else, so doing something special for their cakes has become really important to me. Combine that with my itch to attempt sculpting something & I searched out other EASIER and more successful recipes/methods for gum-paste. It lasts pretty much indefinitely, which means I can begin waaay in advance so I’m not crunched for time and praying that my strength will hold up to get everything done at once. The less I may have to potentially power-through, the better. So I’ve got to do it while the doing’s good.

Cheeks wants a Veggie Tales cake. He goes to bed listening to a Veggie-Tales Silly Songs CD (which drives me nuts!) I don’t know how in the world he can fall asleep to that, but it’s his comfort music right now.

ANYWAY, I began shaping cake characters a few days ago. And ya’ll, I think we have a winner as far as gum-paste method goes. Woo-hoo! It is SOOOO much better to work with than what I used before.


french peas, Larry the Cucumber, Junior Asparagus, Bob the Tomato out of gum paste. I hope to do a few more characters.

Veggie Tales characters are pretty basic. But J’s request is a cheetah/leopard cake. (Differentiating between the two is very important to her. By golly, she knows the difference. Cheetahs are her favorite animal. They are the fastest land animal. And their spots are solid. Leopards have a more fun, not closed spot pattern.) I plan on doing a leopard pattern on the cake because it’s more aesthetically pleasing. It’s easier to tell “Hey, this is an animal print & not just random spots”.  But the fact remains: Cheetahs are her favorite. I MUST incorporate a cheetah.

Enter gum paste. I have never ever attempted to scuplt something somewhat realistic. Even in my drawing/painting… I’m just no good at it. I’m more of an abstract artist. But I figured the best time to attempt this would be while J is out of town so she isn’t breathing down my neck or disappointed if things don’t turn out. I’m actually pretty pleased with how it has turned out. Granted there is plenty of room for improvement. But for my first attempt, I am happy. I was able to plan ahead for birthday time AND get some artistic release simultaneously. Win/win.


gum paste Cheetah for J’s 8th birthday cake (in 5 and a half months. ha.) I took one evening to sculpt and paint the base color and I painted the details on another evening while watching episodes of Murder, She Wrote on Netlfix 🙂
When I say paint I mean with food dye. When it dries, it won’t be shiny.

Now, it is time to be brave. I’m still quite uncomfortable with publicly sharing my drawing/painting. It just means more and is therefore more vulnerable. Especially since art is left bare for interpretation. However, I feel somewhat compelled.  I suppose inserting it into a post with other artistic related items is likely the least awkward place to do this.

The drawing typically happens in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep… if  my eyes will focus and my head will stop spinning long enough. I’m generally more pleased with the outcome of the drawing/doodling. However I tend to get more of a sensory release from the fluidity of the painting. But then there’s clean-up… and I can’t paint from bed.

You get to view one of each. Typically there are only 2 or 3 people whom I allow to see my art and it’s really more for accountability-sake to not trash it. I’m going to try to pick “safe” pieces, because sometimes a lot of what I create can be unsettling… not in like a rated R sort of way or anything and nothing “bad”, it’s just kind of strange and could leave you feeling “what in the world…” .

Baby steps people. :-s. Remember, abstract is the name of the game.


I compell you to pick a challenge today:

  • Do something creative
  • Plan ahead for something
  • Do something that stretches you and makes you a little uncomfortable.

Happy… whatever-ing!


5 comments on “Artful Expression of the Plan-Aheaders

  1. Joyce and Norm
    July 11, 2013

    Love it!! Everything looks great! Thanks for being brave and sharing them with us.

  2. Susa
    June 28, 2013

    Great job, Becca. Glad to see you using your “crafty side.” Love all the art–edible and not. Also, J is a star pupil in any medium–I’m sure C will also be exposed to all kinds of cultural activities. Love, love, love!

  3. Jan
    June 28, 2013

    As I scrolled down reading through your post, I gasped with the awesomeness of your drawing. Then I gasped again with the awesomeness of the painting. I just love both pieces and could stare at them for hours.

    Challenge accepted, BTW. I’ve drafted my 200th blog post, to be published in a couple of weeks. I think I’m going to put myself out there with a poll, inviting feedback on what sort of post readers like best. Scary, yikes!

    PS: Your Veggie Tales characters look like they could jump up and start talking in their squeaky little voices or their French accents!

    • thenewbec
      June 28, 2013

      I look forward to checking in on your post! Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Dad
    June 28, 2013

    I hope that you keep doing the art stuff. I love it!…. Dad

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