Home / Coffee / Coffee on Canvas – Making Art With Coffee

Coffee on Canvas – Making Art With Coffee

Coffee on Canvas is a project by Jon Norquist that uses brewed coffee to create drawings. 

A Fixie - Bike - Coffee on Canvas

A Fixie

How did you start Coffee on Canvas?

I literally stumbled into this art form about 5 years ago when a family friend bought my wife and I a Black and Decker coffee pot. The carafe was amazingly bad – it spilled coffee every time you made yourself a cup of coffee (which is insane given the fact that the team of humans that designed had one task to do….POUR FLUIDS INTO A CONTAINER, I digress).

Anyway, I had the pot for a few months and one morning as I poured scalding hot coffee over the counter, floor, and my feet, I saw the coffee spill and thought it was an interesting design. I immediately had the idea to outline the spill in black ink so that the form of the spill really stood out. In order to capture this accidental beauty, I began by taping the paper to my counter-top and allowing the coffee to spill on the paper during my morning coffee routine.

After a month or so of daily coffee brewing, I had a piece of caffeinated art! The problem though is that the paper would always curl as it tends to do when it is wet, so paper soon was replaced with un-curlable canvas and…..fast forward 5 years…..Coffee on Canvas was born.

PNW Monogram - Pacific Northwest, Coffee on Canvas

PNW Monogram

Tell us about the process.

I start with a blank, gesso primed canvas and I paint it white with a few layers of Titanium White acrylic – I find the brown on white contrast to be pretty striking, so I like the canvas to be as white as possible, the canvas right-out-of-the-wrapper is much too gray. After a few coats of titanium white, I choose my subject and create a template.

The templates are usually made with thick card stock paper or poster board and what I typically do it sketch the subject until I’m satisfied and then cut out the template. This is useful for a few reasons:

  1. It reduces the pencil/sketch marks on the canvas (something I remove or cover later)
  2. It allows me to keep an inventory of subjects and designs.

One aspect of my art that I pride myself on is I do not run print editions – since I have templates of most of my designs, the templates allow me to make a unique piece every time, even if the subject or design is reused.

Once the template is made, I transfer the design to the canvas with a light pencil outline. I then determine if I want the subject to be portrayed in coffee, or if the subject will be the negative space – once I decide, I mask the areas I want to protect from coffee stains and then begin spilling coffee.

The coffee spilling is really a very creative process, as massing of coffee, leaving white space, the direction of spill/spray, layering, and color (lightness to darkness) of the coffee are all considered. As I spill the coffee in layers I become more and more aware of the “feel” or “flow” I want to create with the coffee.

Layering, I’ve learned is key. I usually add about 15-20 layers of coffee, drying each layer after it is spilled, and varying the color with each layer to distinguish it from the last. Since I’ve been doing this for a number of years it’s amazing what you learn about the makeup and flow of coffee. For instance, new coffee is orange while older coffee (1 to 2 days old) is more of a dark brown – I’m not sure the reasoning for this. I’ve also learned that heavy spills tend to coagulate at the edges making a very cool effect. If the layering is done correctly, it creates a marbling effect.

After a number of layers, I remove the masking to reveal the protected area.

Once the masking is peeled I begin outlining the coffee with ink. I outline every spec of coffee I can see on the canvas, usually requiring me to look at the piece throughout the day so I get a few shades and angles of sunlight to reveal more of the smaller flecks. I ensure I outline the marbling and layered coffee as well, and over the years I’ve honed a technique for this to ensure I capture even subtle tonal changes without striking them through with a hard black ink line.

At this point, the piece is essentially done. I apply a few layers of varnish to finish and protect the piece, and lastly, if I’m using silver in my piece it is applied and outlined with ink.

A Lady - Coffee on Canvas

A Lady

Resources

Art Supplies (Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon CANADA)

The Coffee Art Corporation – INeedCoffee contribution by Ryan L Lewis.

Coffee Art – Painting With Brewed Coffee – INeedCoffee contribution by Andy Saur and Angel Sarkela.

Jon Norquist

Jon Norquist

Jon Norquist is a husband to his beautiful wife Kristy and father to a plethora of kids (well, 5) – Ella, Julia, Nicholas, Joey, and Nathaniel.Jon lives in Tacoma, Washington and has been creating coffee-spilled art since 2008. You can view some of his other work at his website Coffee on Canvas or feel free to follow him on Facebook.
Jon Norquist

Latest posts by Jon Norquist (see all)


Source link

About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *