One of Lisa Nicholas' amazing talents is, if she can see an image in person, on Pinterest, or in a book or magazine, she can replicate it in the form of art.

While exploring her skills as an artist, Nicholas was so inspired by the acrylic painting she created in The Center for Rural Development's "Your Own Painted Canvas--Where Fun Meets Art" painting class that she went home and painted a replica of the artwork on a three-tiered cake.

This was Nicholas' first attempt to paint on a cake and only her second time to take a painting class.

"Lisa is such a creative, talented person," said Patti Simpson, training manager for The Center's Business & Community Training Center, which provides instructor-led painting classes for all ages. "She has a natural ability to express herself through art, whether that is in her painting or cake decorating skills."

Nicholas has been decorating cakes for years, but she only recently decided to learn to paint with acrylics.

"The painting class was amazing," Nicholas said. "I took the class in hopes of incorporating the skills into my cake artistry. If I can see how it's done, it's easier for me to express that in my cake decorating."

The three-tiered replica cake is comprised of an eight-inch bottom layer of chocolate, strawberry, and yellow cake, a six-inch center layer of chocolate cake, and a four-inch top layer of strawberry cake.

The main flower is made from woven edible paper. The remaining flowers and flower pot are painted on the cake using edible food coloring over an airbrushed orange base.

Cake decorating is a family affair at the Nicholas' household. Lisa's husband, James, makes the homemade buttercream frosting and her oldest daughter, Asia, mixes the fondant, a sugar-based paste used in preparing and decorating cakes. Another daughter, Patience, has started making edible cake lace.

Nicholas and her family reside in the Nancy community of western Pulaski County and have a home-based cake decorating ministry, "Cabela's Cake," named after her granddaughter.

"My talent is God-given. You cannot put a price on something He gave you and I am going to use it for Him," said Nicholas.

"Your Own Painted Canvas--Where Fun Meets Art" painting classes, taught by award-winning artist Jeremy Scrimager, are held once a month from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at The Center (located at 2292 South U.S. 27 at Traffic Light 15) in Somerset. Paint and supplies are provided. Registration is $35 per person. Participants must be over 12 years old to participate.

For more information or the next available painting class, contact The Center at 606-677-6000 or visit www.centertech.com.

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