One More Cup of Coffee

The whole day has been a little off-kilter.

It started with a queazy stomach.  This might have been in some way connected to the extraordinary gin & tonics that were expertly mixed by my friend Tom last night.

I woke up later than usual.  While, theoretically, sleeping-in sounds like a wonderful idea, I’ve never been able to enjoy it.  It’s as though the whole day is stuck in a time warp from that point on.

Next, I had the pleasure of getting two teeth filled.  Then a third.  But the real fun is yet to come.  In the mail.  In the form of a bill.  Who wouldn’t rather endure discomfort and pain instead of buying something nice for their sweetie (or a roll of fine Arches paper)?

A colleague from the studio emailed to say she wouldn’t be able to meet this evening, due to having mono (turned out it was actually really bad strep).  Which was fine because my eyes were feeling as if I had used drier sheets instead of contact lenses, and my arm was tingly from sleeping on it funny.

In times of distress, creatures tend to seek the comforts of the familiar.  Thus:


Yep.  It’s another mug.  This vessel may actually be a tea cup. However, the brown ring of dried beverage on the inside confirms that the owner had, in fact, been using it for coffee.  The painting was actually completed over the weekend.  The sketch above ended up splattered with paint, but there you can see the humble beginnings.

One of the challenges this time around was describing the scalloped exterior of the mug.  A fairly detailed sketch was first drawn under the existing painting to get the details of the ridges in place.

I was able to maintain the shape and the whiteness of the rim using some stuff called ‘frisket’.  It’s an adhesive masking fluid that is remarkably similar to rubber cement.  Using a brush (one of your less-expensive extras) you just paint the stuff on where ever you don’t want paint to go.  Then go about your business of painting until you’re ready to take it off.  This is easily done by rubbing with a finger.

This substance enabled me to paint the background and inside of the mug freely, without worrying about accidentally coloring the bright white highlights of the rim.



Another difficulty posed by this object was capturing the deep shadows without losing the sense of the whiteness of the cup.  Not sure whether that was entirely successful.

I am pleased with the effect of the table top and the shadow thrown across it.  The brick-like background offer a bit of cool contrast to the predominantly earth-toned composition.

The final step was to soften the edges of that rim just a bit, to bring down the harshness of the white and incorporate it into the rest of the painting.  One more painting under my belt, and one more cup of coffee for the road….

The title of this post was inspired by the song by Bob Dylan on his album, “Desire”  I have always found that record to be disconcerting, hauntingly beautiful.  Fitting for an off-kilter day and a semi-successful mug shot.

This entry was published on March 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm and is filed under Coffee, Drawings, Humor, Mug Shots, The Artistic Process, Watercolors. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

10 thoughts on “One More Cup of Coffee

  1. Really nice colors and composition! I agree that the scallops look pretty darn close to perfect. There seems to be some kind of perspective issue somewhere but I can’t put my finger on it…maybe it looks like we are looking more top-down on the cup compared to the table? Doesn’t take away from the overall image as the beautiful brown tones are what caught my eye first and make it so awesome! Well done.

  2. betsy garbow on said:

    Well you were successful with the scallops – they’re perfect. I’ve seen cups that look just like that. I also love the detailed handle.

  3. I love this one! I like when you take everyday things and give them a different look… And of course I love and appreciate all the musical tie ins… 🙂

  4. “Like” that “frisket” rhymes with “biscuit”. (Have a cookie, it will make you feel better.) Nice mug!

  5. The scalloped lip is really awesome, and I like the stained interior. I also kind of lack the lack of contrast between the table and the mug. All the rich browns look nice together.

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