Painting With Coffee

A lot of the time art materials can be rather expensive, especially when you just want to try something out without knowing whether or not you'll get on with it. From experience as an artist, I've never clicked with every single medium I've picked up. I despise pastels and oil paints but get on much better with pens, pencils, watercolours and acrylics.

Recently however I've been attempting to experiment a lot more and try new things; an investment I'd like to get my hands on at some point would be a block printing kit so I can make my own stamps then from those make wrapping paper and lots of other things. I went to get one from Hobbycraft a couple of weeks back and about fell over when I saw a basic kit was £30. Not cool.

I didn't get one, but it made me go home and think about how I could just go even further back to basics and try something that couldn't be more inexpensive. Coffee! My Dad actually used to encourage me to use tea and coffee in my artwork when I was at school. He was the one who taught me how to make aged looking paper (although he was the one who burnt the edges for me with a match!) and I remember using it a couple of times at Sixth Form but it stopped there. I didn't think to make a little dish of coffee water up to see where it would take me.

I remember when I was at uni our tutors sent us to Leicester Market and told us to experiment. We literally sat amongst the stalls for an entire day and were encouraged to use some fruits from the vendors as art materials. This was all well until the artwork went mouldy over the next few days because it was planted into your head that squishing raspberries into your sketchbook was a fantastic idea and it really put me off creating art with food ever again...not that I enjoyed it much anyway! But you shouldn't have any issues with coffee, as long as there's no milk or anything like that involved. All I did was sprinkle some coffee into an old washed out hummous tub (I recycle these for mixing paint - eco thinking!) and decided to revisit a doodle from my art journal which was a pouncing fox.

I found that I could get a few different shades of brown just from the one medium and it felt really satisfying just sticking to one colour and seeing what I could create with it. I used my coffee mix on watercolour paper and it behaved more or less exactly the same as watercolours. It was easy to blend, dried fairly quickly so layering was a dream and I was able to just keep everything nice and loose, relaxed and fun. I'd love to keep up with this and see what else I could paint, I'm thinking hedgehogs, bunnies, birds...lots of different wildlife characters because I think the shades would work wonderfully to create a really rustic feel. I'd definitely recommend giving this a go because it's cheap, the smell is so relaxing whilst you paint and it's a great way to just do some laid back experimenting for your art journal.

Thanks for reading!

Vegan Art Materials

There I was, on YouTube trying to find some visual podcast style content to listen to whilst I did some work and I stumbled across a video named 'vegan art supplies'. Up until this point it had never really crossed my mind that art supplies couldn't be vegan friendly, so I watched with interest and when it finished I found myself wondering how I had never thought about it before.

Truth be told, this vegan lifestyle has been a journey, not something that you easily just snap into and since starting out myself I have found out and educated myself on lots of things other than just food along the way. Of course, I think everyone initially starts with changing the food and then everyone is different regarding how far they take things. Rather than put people off by saying this, I hope it brings some kind of comfort and support instead and lessen the pressure for people who are wanting to make the transition but are worried about things being difficult. Little at a time, is the best bit of advice I could ever give and I've never met a vegan who regrets their decision to stop exploiting animals. I may meet someone in the future but for now that has been my experience and it's not all about being perfect.

I've checked through a lot of my art supplies and realised the Winsor and Newton inks I've newly discovered this year are full of shellac, so these are something I messed up on and didn't realise weren't vegan friendly. It's a little confusing too because from what I'm finding online, there are two different ranges of the inks and one is vegan friendly whilst the other isn't, but there is nothing on the packaging to tell me which is which. My silver, gold and white don't have the 'contains shellec' writing on the box yet my pink, blue and purple confusing. I'll use up my products but won't be repurchasing them once they run out and certainly won't be expanding my colour collection as I first anticipated. As far as I'm aware, my Winsor and Newton acrylic paints are okay bar two colours which I don't actually own, so I think these are safe. Luckily I use watercolours by Daley Rowney which I also believe are okay for vegans but I'll be doing some further research into them too. I'm a huge fan of Copic Markers and they're my go to most of the time; again from what I can find they should be suitable but I'm still looking into this further.

Point is, I own a couple of things that didn't even cross my mind when it came to being cruelty free and vegan and also being an artist. The last thing I should do though is beat myself up about it and focus in on how I messed up especially with buying the inks because as I mentioned, this is a journey and mistakes are always going to happen. What's important is the intention to always be better and to learn from the mistakes that are made.

Of course everyone's lifestyles are different and opinions vary, so some people might not have a problem with art supplies containing animal by products. This post is just me and I feel like I'd like to help and protect animals as much as possible so unfortunately, even if I really like a product, if it's not vegan friendly I won't be repurchasing it. Art supplies and vegan put together is something I'm very new to and I have no shame in admitting that it was only very recently that it even crossed my mind, but I intend to be better and work on myself as a vegan which I think is a much more positive way of thinking and also encouraging to others who may be considering it. This post here by Vegan Womble is also a fantastic source of research if you wish to delve a little deeper into the world of vegan art supplies.

Thanks for reading,

Popular Posts