"Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can." - Danny Kaye
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Cuban coffee, as you may guess, is a staple of Miami. My wife, for one, can't live without it. And one day she requested that I draw a cafetera, otherwise referred to online as the "Bialetti 3-cup Moka Express Original Stovetop Expresso Maker."
Now, we could all say "Bialetti 3-cup Moka Express Original Stovetop Expresso Maker", or we could call it by its acronym "B3MEOSEM", but I prefer cafetera, don't you?
To draw this cafetera was a wonderful suggestion, actually, because it has all sorts of interesting angles and shapes, a reflective surface, and a cute cartoon of a guy on the outside. Who could want more than that? Ours had broken long ago, though, so I had to look online.
I found loads of photos, but mostly from retailers at a boring straight-on side view. So I must have spent an hour looking for a photo reference at an interesting angle, and finally found a blogger who loved her new cafetera! Bless her. (Although I think she called it a "Bialetti 3-cup Moka Express Original Stovetop Expresso Maker", poor thing.) And she used it for expresso, of all things!
But she had only photographed the front half of it. So I had to search for another picture at a similar angle to get the handle-part of it. Then I grabbed other photos for detail references, so in the end I had four photos of cafeteras lined up in a row on my monitor to examine.
I decided against sketching in ink. The perspective was too funky. So I drew carefully first in pencil.
But the cafetera wasn't enough. The picture needed more. So I grabbed my wife's tacita, the tiny cup and saucer that she drinks her Cuban coffee in. I placed it where I could view it at the proper angle, and set the lighting in the proper spot. Now I had a combo virtual / real still life. A 21st century solution! And I drew that.
But there was still a gap in the composition so I grabbed my wife's miniature spoon with the long handle that she uses to stir the coffee, set it just so, and drew that.
So much for pencil. Then I inked it in, adding crosshatching here and there. And finally colored it trying to use much of what I have learned about watercolor and painting, in general: no black or gray (using complementary colors instead), optical mixes, masking fluid, sgraffito.
All-in-all, this simple drawing of cafetera, tacita, and spoon (oh, all right - cuchara) took about 5-1/2 hours to do. Very uncharacteristic for Mr. Grab-a-moment-here-and-there-to-draw-and-ink-whenever-you can-dan. But I was off from work on Monday and had the time.
And in Paradise, where all you dream comes true, this project would satisfy an Everyday Matters challenge, right? And it does! Number 139 - "Draw something with a handle." No mention of coffee in the entire list - who'd have thought that?!
Swerving along the artistic road with every sight a potential target. * * * If you'd like to contact me about any of the art that you see - about purchases, commissions or just to say hello - feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!