How to Paint Cake and Some Thoughts on Celebrating

In this week’s YouTube video, I created a video how to paint a beautiful, delicious cake with a slice removed, “Let’s Paint Cake.”

I love to create ideas where it looks as if someone might step into the scene and become a part of it. I thought you might like that too.

A dear friend sent me a text last week. “I love the simple things. One day we will realize that the simple things were really the most important things.”

At that is why, I decided to create a celebratory painting this week, to celebrate the joy of the simple things. In this time, it may feel there is not much to celebrate.  We all need a chance to inhale the pleasure of simple things: a sweet conversation, a piece of cake, lingering over a cup of coffee, puttering in the flower garden.

Watercolor Notes for ‘Let’s Paint Cake’

A note for the sketching: be sure your cake is an appropriate size to the vase and other items you may include in the “let’s eat cake” watercolor painting.

Use a limited color palette to make this painting sing! I recommend choosing no more than 3-4 colors. Blend them in different ways to create shadows, splatters and fun embellishments.

For the chocolate cake painting, here are my supplies:

  • Watercolor paper
  • Pencil and eraser (an eraser is a must in this sketch)
  • Watercolor paint. I chose raw sienna, permanent rose, viridian green, yellow. I blended these to create shadows and darker colors. The one exception is I pulled a bit of payne’s gray for the dark chocolate cake. Any black – or dark blue – added to your raw sienna will create this blend.
  • A few paint brushes and clean water for rinsing.
  • A paper towel or rag is very helpful for blotting excess water and paint.

A Cautionary Tale of Someone Who Couldn’t Celebrate

Several years ago, I worked at a skin care and cosmetics company. It was doing well, but hadn’t hit the coveted “million dollar counter” yet. We were close, close, close. No one wanted it more than the district manager.

She drove us all a little crazy with her drive towards the goal. Every week we were setting up ‘special events,’ doing facials and makeovers and special deals, anything to bring in new customers.

Well, we did it, with only a day or two before the end of the year to spare.

When that final sale came, we all gave a cry of celebration. There was lots of whoops and shouts of ‘yay, we did it,’ when the register chimed in the sale. We gave a gift to the customer whose purchase cross use over the finished line. She widened her eyes and arched her perfect brows at all the fuss we were making over her.

We celebrated that night, turned up the music and threw some confetti.

But what the district manager said to me has remained with me through the years. I was the quiet one of the group, and also one of the newer members of the team. I stood off to the side, taking everything in. The district manager stood next to me, a cup of sparkling cider in her hand. She wasn’t really participating in the revelry. She swayed back and forth a bit and I thought she was like me, taking it all in.

Not quite.

She turned to me and in a moment of unusual let-your-guard-down honesty, said, “Wow. It’s not what I thought it would be, you know?” I recall there was a bit of a vacant look in her eyes.

I wasn’t sure what she meant. I didn’t respond, because I wasn’t sure what to say.

Then she said, in her more matter-of-fact voice. “Well, we’ll have to get moving to the next goal.”


The confetti barely touched the floor. Not only could she not enjoy the moment, but she was driven to the next thing.

Maybe she’d been working so hard and for so long that when the moment came, she had no practice in celebrating.  Perhaps she was so tired from all the work, there wasn’t the energy available to celebrate.

I’ve reflected on that day several times over the years. I feel so bad that she missed out on the joy when she’d been the one working – and wanting- this more than all of us.

Maybe learning to celebrate takes practice too?

Celebrating is a choice. It can be a hard choice, especially when times are tough, but it’s a choice nonetheless. On the outside, celebration may seem frivolous, but it’s not.

Choosing to celebrate is choosing to see the wonder and gifts in our lives. The more I think about celebration, the more convinced I am that celebration needs to be part of living.

It’s important to capture the small moments to celebrate, even in a year like 2020 where it may seem like there’s not much to celebrate at all. It may be even more important to celebrate this year.

Cake is my symbol, my visual reminder, to celebrate.

Celebrate the everyday gifts God gives. Celebrate the people. Celebrate the accomplishments, big and small of those in my life. Celebrate the gift of food and sharing meals. Celebrate the coming of autumn (come on pumpkin season!).

You can find the video for the “Let’s Make Cake” on YouTube or down below. And, if you like the video, would you subscribe to The Creative Season channel and like the video. I would SO appreciate it!

I don’t get to the details of the cake in the video, so I included a few pictures here.

Note the use of the micron pen to add in sketching details. The cake got a bit muddy when I let the wet paint get too close to other wet paint! But, sketch work with the micron pen fixed all that!

For the final touch, I added some light splatters. It’s a party! Let’s have some confetti!

Tag me in your art on Instagram @melissauclair or you can email I love to see what you are creating!

These are a bit too big for a card, but it would be fun to gift or mail in a larger manila folder or one of the USPS priority mail folders to someone who may need a little bit of celebrating in their life.