Two-For-One Cafe Crush

I felt a little guilty teasing you all with that promise of new work a few posts back.  Hopefully, two recent pictures today will make up for it.

Both of these depict the same view of the Black Dog Cafe in the art district of Lowertown, St. Paul.  The cafe occupies a portion of the first floor of the Tilsner building, which is also home to many artists’ lofts, a gallery, and a japanese noodle shop.  The best part is that the Black Dog is about two minutes’ drive from my house, or ten by bike.

Some cafes are prized for their coffee itself.  Others make their living based on location, location, location.  One of *my* weaknesses is for a coffee house that can deliver in the baked goods department.  Good coffee is a like a pick-up line; it’s necessary to reel one in, but to make me weak in the knees and all fluttery in the head, you have to offer a knock-out, come-hither scone or a coy tart.  The Black Dog would be completely lacking in this department, were it not for their Iced Molasses Cookies: one of my main peccadillos.

The third ingredient in a steamy coffee house romance – and the one that can turn a cafe crush into a long-term relationship – is atmosphere.  This is like conversation that cements the love for years to come.  That’s what really keeps me coming back here.  The wood floors and exposed-brick walls hung generously with local art… the random acoustic performance (last time it was a cellist)… the bank of windows framing views of Prince St. and Broadway…  Well, it’s more than enough to inspire a little art!

Both of the watercolor sketches are fairly rough.  The first focused mainly on the color relationships, and the *feel* of the shadows thrown across the rugged wood floors and the chair.   The shapes of the furniture and the perspective gets a bit distorted, but I’m quite pleased with the range of lights and darks.  The deep hues of the table base and under the booth are especially luxurious

This second take is even more spontaneous in the application of the paint.  My aim here was to A) loosen up, and B) see how far two colors would go.  Here, I called on a favorite orange and slightly reddish violet to get the job done.  It’s amazing the contrast acheived between the rich, purple-brown shadows and the almost-yellow highlights on the chair and wall.

This image echoes the time-worn feel of an old photograph, or perhaps a picture painted with coffee!   And for those of you keeping track, the Sumatra was delicious!

Coming Soon: a Gallery Page









This entry was published on January 14, 2012 at 12:11 am. It’s filed under Coffee, Coffee Shop, Neighborhood Landmarks, St. Paul, Watercolors and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Two-For-One Cafe Crush

  1. Pingback: Mug Shots – part I « Gabriel Garbow | Artworks

  2. Was the second painting done with just those two colors, and derivations of them? Did you do both of these in a single sitting?

    At first glance, I preferred the first painting, with it’s deeper hues. But after reading your descriptions, I found myself drawn to the second one. I’m very interested in the process, if you care to elaborate.

    • Yeah, the second one was just the two colors, using different intensities of them and in combination. For your second question, i did not do them in a single sitting. I completed the first one in two sessions a month or so ago. Then I skimmed through a watercolor instruction book. The entire book was watercolors done in just two colors each. I’ll get the name of the book published here when I get a chance in a future post. I wanted to try this out for myself. I completed the second one a few weeks ago, but that one two spanned two days.

      I’ll get into this a little more in the future, but I rarely finish a piece in one sitting. Part of this is on purpose, and part of this is just to let the paint dry… and because i have to run home to make dinner!

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