Week 2/52: Under Pressure


52 Cups of Coffee

Week 2/52 : Under Pressure (#1 and #2)


‘Pressure Makes Diamonds’

-George S. Patton Jr.

  I find it funny it should be week 2 that I start to choke and have a difficult time deciding on to what to paint.

I walked into the Studio 52 Project with really no plan but to sit and explore this “new” medium. There isn’t really a whole lot of information out there about coffee painting and even fewer artists that work with it on a professional level. So, I felt what better way is there for me to get to really know it but to work with it on a weekly basis for an entire year.

“Just play around and have fun with it,” I told myself. “Just Paint…EXPLORE!” (Mystical Bob Ross hands float all about here)

Well, easier said than done.

Sometimes We (the Artist) have serious creative blocks, sometimes we make up lame excuses not to paint or Sometimes life really does gets in the way. Then there are times we feel so obligated to create something so “amazing” that the pressure from that becomes almost crippling.

We (the Artist) can and will in fact sit there in front of our blank canvas and stair at it FOREVER! We will stew and stress over creating that “perfect image” and no matter what we paints we will never be truly happy. We will always see the flaws or wish we went a different route. Sometimes we paint it again, and again until we get it to a point where we can be “happy enough” to “let it go” and move on. Many canvases end up in the trash, slashed, burnt or simply painted over again only to become something else (that AGAIN we probably won’t be fully satisfied with).

Just like the Doctor is it’s worst Patient…the Artist is its worst Critic. Very rarely do we create something we LOVE and when we do… WOooooW!

The perfect painting, It does happen. It’s Like finding a spunky little Mona Lisa Unicorn. And maybe (if we’re lucky) just maybe it will happen a couple of times in our lifetime. Once we’ve seen it and possessed this mythical creature … well … it’s even harder to look at our future pieces with just as much “sizzle” as we had before but we are absolutely determined to find it again. We feel “under pressure” to create more fabulous things and (to some artists) it’s a lot to deal with.

I’ve seen it … I’m there.

All that being said…Here is the Lessons Learned for My Studio 52 Week: 2 Coffee Painting titled “Under Pressure” (#1 & #2)

1. LESS IS MORE: On a technical level I’m becoming more aware that because of the size of the paper I am painting on its best to stick with subject that is not incredibly detailed or complicated. I went through several themes before settling on this particular image (which surprisingly seems to fit the mood I was in throughout the duration of this week). All other “considered subjects” were in the end too highly detailed. As I’m quickly learning from this coffee painting I cannot (currently) get this medium to a point where I can do incredible detail. It moves, lifts, bleeds, drips and can even crack (if too heavy).

With small canvas = light/strategic detail. Whereas, with a Large canvas = more detail will allow.

2. LEARN TO WALK AWAY: Same Rules apply as was mentioned in number 1. I was not liking the first set of hands it was coming to a point where they were getting too overworked and my coffee was getting too dark and “muddy”. My white masked off areas were disappearing quickly and once you paint over it with coffee you will NEVER get that pure white colour back. EVER. So, realizing I had gone way too far on the first image I decide to paint the exact same image again with less fretting on the detail and shadows and more focus on the blocking of certain angles and light areas. I added in way more Masking Fluid to keep more areas pure white. (Masking fluid, also known as liquid frisket, is a very handy tool for fine art watercolorists to preserve white areas that would be too tiny or complex to paint around. It keeps the area protected from and paint and can peel off easily after the paint is dry.) In the end I was still was not completely happy with the painting but I came to a point where I was satisfied enough to lay the paintbrush down and walk away from it.

3. EXCEPT THE IMPERFECTIONS: One of the biggest things I have to learn is to except the imperfections in my work and just let it go. Nothing is ever perfect and it’s the imperfections that make life interesting. This will be a huge hurtle for me and I’m sure there will be plenty to follow.

*As a side note, No I do not smoke but after the stressful few weeks I had it sure crossed my mind to. I simply chose the image of smoking to convey the feeling of stress and for many the release of stress is a certain vice…in this case the subject chose smoking.

Thanks again for checking in on the Studio 52 Project and Remember to tune in the fallowing weeks to see what I paint next.

Also, If you are interested in purchasing prints or the originals please feel free to email or private message me at any time.



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