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!

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