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Mary Beth Gaiarin’s Best in Show winning Painting is a Piece of Cake!

Mary Beth Gaiarin
Mary Beth Gaiarin

During this time of the year, delicious cakes and pies are all around us, tempting us to take another bite! Mary Beth Gaiarin’s impressionistic take on our favorite layer cake in Cake on a Plate is a delightful way to enjoy dessert completely guilt free. Gaiarin’s paintings put the focus on a dessert that often elicits memories of family gatherings, childhood birthday, baking with loved ones, and enjoying a sweet bite.

Here’s what the artist had to say about the piece:

What’s your creative process like, from an idea to a finished piece?

“I think what a lot of people find surprising about my creative process is how much time I spend thinking about my possibilities of subject matter. I have to paint what I absolutely love, whether it’s something to look at, to eat, to wear, or what gives me a sense of peace and happiness. From my teenage son’s soccer shoes with his old practice ball, to landscapes that depict scenes that have particular meaning to me, to even small paintings of my favorite used tubes of paint, I have to have a strong connection with my subject.

While I enjoy the entire process of painting, I get a real kick out of the very first few strokes with my brush– it feels like the adventure is beginning. About the middle of a painting session is when I might get a little doubtful and frustrated, but that is when I remind myself to stay loose and it’s about then that I pick up my palette knife, which always serves to make me paint confidently and impressionistically.  The most challenging part of a painting is often the end– when is it finished? Just pure experience has taught me to slow down towards the end so I don’t over paint and fuss too much.”

Mary Beth Gaiarin, "Cake on a Plate"
Mary Beth Gaiarin, Cake on a Plate, Best in Show 

What was your goal with this piece?

“When I paint I always strive to be loose and impressionistic. With this particular painting I tackled it quickly and found that the limited color range, warm brown tones and off whites, lent itself well to an impressionistic approach and gave it an immediate cohesiveness so I could just have fun with it.”

Is chocolate cake your favorite dessert?

“A good chocolate cake is definitely my favorite dessert. I also enjoy painting cakes because since I was a child I had such a passion for baking. My sons and I had such great times baking and cooking together as they grew up. Now they are off to college and it’s healthier for me to paint cakes then it is for me to bake and eat them.”

Why did you choose to use this medium for this piece?

“I always paint in oils on linen canvas. I love the smoothness of the linen– it works so well with the palette knife and it keeps the vibrancy of the colors. I love working with oils because they are malleable, slow to dry, and allow me to build up the paint in layers.”

What are you working on now?

“The past couple of days I’ve been working on a series of paintings featuring wrapped gift boxes with large colorful bows. I am drawn to single objects as my subjects but I need a complicated subject to keep my interest. I’m finding that a large complex satin bow, with its darks and lights is giving me an interesting new challenge.”

See the November Open show now through December 2, in The Art League Gallery. You can also follow Mary on Facebook and Instagram! 

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