I routinely ask myself why I even bother to make artwork that hangs on a wall simply to make our rooms look nice. Really. When some folks have barely enough coins to feed themselves and others with no walls at all to hang things on, I question my motives.
But the reality is that, like most artists, I simply have to create. A light flashes in my minds eyes and I see an image that I must quickly sketch out to preserve the thought. The process of producing the image in my medium may take weeks or months, long after the inspiration is gone. Paint, more paint, setting the paint, cutting, stitching, cutting, stitching, quilting, stretching; it’s a process that is so labor intensive I must record the inspiration so I can recall the image later as I go along.
But sometimes I have to do something quickly to satisfy the urge. Case in point; cake. I had just been inspired and Halloween colors were dancing in my head when David requested my incredibly delicious, yet white on white on white, coconut cake. Not feeling very neutral, the cake became my quick canvas for color. Enjoy my recipe below and come to my Open Studio Nov. 3rd and 4th, 2018 to see some of my sketches and the finished works of art!
Jane’s Quadruple Coconut Cake
Prepare two 8″ cake pans. Trace around the bottom of a pan onto folded waxed paper using a knife or scissors then cut the tracing yielding two circles. Liberally grease the bottom and sides of the pan with unrefined coconut oil. Stick a round of waxed paper onto the bottom of each pan smoothing it out then grease over it. Sprinkle and shake flour around in each pan until it is evenly coated; shake out the excess. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°
Sift together and set aside:
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose wheat flour*
- 1 5/8 tsp baking powder
- 3/8 tsp salt
Mix together and set aside:
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
Separate then set aside:
- 3 eggs
In a stand mixer or with hand-held mixer mix until very creamy:
- 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter that is room temperature and squishy soft
Add to the butter bit by bit mixing until it is light and fluffy:
- 1 cup + 2T granulated sugar
Add to this mixture one at a time until creamy:
- 3 egg yolks
Add reserved flour mixture alternating with milk mixture, one then the other in three batches, mixing very well after each, scraping down the sides of your mixer with a spatula.
Whip the egg whites with:
- a heaping 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar.
When creamy and white, add bit by bit whipping until soft peaks form:
- 3T granulated sugar
Fold these whipped egg whites into cake mixture. Scoop into prepared pans and smooth. Drop pan firmly on counter to level batter and get rid of air bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes in pan then run knife around edges to loosen and turn out onto a rack to cool. Peel off waxed paper. Let cool completely before frosting.
* Any flour will work but the taste of fresh wheat flour enhances the coconuttiness of the cake. I use King Arthur unbleached all-purpose white flour.
Whip together in mixer until light:
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature and super squishy
Add and whip until smooth, light and spreadable:
- 3 cups powdered confectioners sugar
- 3-6T coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
Spread frosting between the layers then frost entire cake. Press coconut into the frosting. Add sprinkles.
To tint coconut, put 3 drops of yellow food coloring and 1 drop of red food coloring in the bottom of a bowl. Mix together with a toothpick to make orange. Add 2 cups sweetened coconut and toss until colored.
There are equal opposites in every part of life that flavor and sweeten each other with the anticipation of the change. For what would the coming of autumn be without the memory of spring?
Thusly, there are seasons in the life of an artist. Creative expression needs fallow times to muddle on ideas, to dissect past works and imagine new possibilities…to lube up the internal engine with the combustive energy that the composting process creates to be in good working order for when the rush of out-put takes over.
Take in to be put out, retreat to advance, replenish for rebirth.
I have been in this internalized “fallow” place for sometime now aware that I have been absent from this blog. I have been muddling on new series of artwork, new creative directions and in essence remolding my artistic life itself. And how interesting this process is because an artist thinks with his hands! Whether it be sketched-out studies, or word plays, or tending a garden, the simple act of staying in motion lets the thoughts flow…
Part of what I am thinking about is this blog. When I started this to catalog my creative expressions and showcase my artwork, my buddy Lynn said that this was a big commitment (and I value her insights) and then those blogging Gods say you are failure unless you post regularly. These seem to be the facts. However, the creative process does not work like that and it’s a big assumption that you will even be in the least bit interested. I love the creative process of writing and photographing and composing posts but do you even care??
I need your feedback. Please leave me a comment and would you take the time to answer this quick survey???
Not the raspy, Kathleen Turner sore-throat thing (although there is something to be said for her mystique minus the cigarette)…but my artists voice – my ability to express myself through words or on canvas, or, even know what to express. I understand that it happens to the best of us – but you would not know it from the prolifery [a Janeism] of words pouring forth from my fellow bloggers. But it has happened to me recently. Note my easter post very untimely well past easter.
It seems to me that the ability to create from within has to with margins. Ah yes, margins again. Art looks improved hanging on a wall when surrounded by margins of negative/nothing space…..food on a plate looks more appetizing when there is more plate than food showing (is that why bands of color on the edge of a dish was originally designed?)……and I do my best work when I have lots of space and time surrounding me, just before and just after.
I have been working a lot lately with a 1 1/4 hour commute at either side of my day. The accumulative result of this temporary experiment is incredible (and promises many inspiring future posts!). However in the meantime, I let my margins disappear. So starting this week-end I am readjusting by reminding myself of the importance of the “state of nothing”.
Do you have any thoughts to share on how you maintain creativity or how you jump-start yourself? Please leave a comment…