Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Painting French Coffee Cups

For the past 3 months I've been painting coffee cups. Mainly I've been trying to figure out how to paint BLACK cups or just anything BLACK.


A mess O' coffee cups... It's why I haven't always had "a daily painting" to show you.
I've been struggling with this subject matter.

Don't get me wrong!
My subject matter is TERRIFIC!
Colorful! Geometric!
Varied in shape and size and everything an artist could wish for.
Maybe that's the problem. I got stage fright.

Many mornings I would take a "MAGIC PILL" to help me paint...
Some mornings I would take more than one And forget to paint
So far I haven't had to go to rehab
All artists will tell you one of their best skills is procrastination.

Cherry watching One of the problems is:
I'm working larger.
12 1/2" x 15" or 32 cm x 37 cm
On different paper.
And I've been experimenting with different compositions too.
It's enough to give you a heart attack!

I've done a gazillion color tests. It's one of the fun ways to procrastinate. This is my BEST black cup so far.
Now if I could just do this again. And I've been showing the various stages of progressions to just about everyone too.
Getting a gazillion opinions.
Confusing me further.

Back to the drawing board...


  1. melanie8:37 AM

    I love your water colors--a hint--the black coffe cups and plates should give off a shine in places--I see this in my cups and saucers--a hint of sparkle--not flat
    Have a lovely day and keep painting

  2. Dear Melanie..
    I know that but HOW is the question???
    And black is such a powerful assertive color...
    Maybe some day I'll get it like the white cups..

  3. I like your morning pills. :) I take similar ones myself. Maybe we should start a Paris Breakfasts Clinic? (No Betty Ford for us!)

    I think the paintings are lovely as always! And good for you for continuing to experiment and try new things and push yourself! Thanks for sharing it all.

  4. Yes, those morning pills have lots of antioxidants (antidepressants if you ask me...)and I have something for you at the bottom of my post today.

  5. loveitaly9:44 AM

    I love them, too! I bet they'll enjoy seeing their black cups looking more filmy in their pale reincarnation. It's more "watercolor-y!" (It's what you do so well, and that's why they want YOU to do them, Carol--remember that!) Those are all marvelous...(aren't we always our own worst critics!?) good luck!

  6. These are just lovely. I'm sorry I don't know anything more technical and helpful to say, but they did make me smile and crave something warm to drink--which is saying something as I'm sitting in the heat in southern Italy :)

  7. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Your paintings are always beautiful and your practicing and experimenting are paying off. I am getting the FEEL of them being black. Especially good is the cup you like best.
    As an oil painter dabbling in watercolor I have a high respect for anyone doing watercolors. It isnt easy to do what YOU do in watercolors. Much easier for me to do Oils. So keep up the good work. WE like it, REALLY REALLY like it...ALL. ;-)
    Cris in OR

  8. the top one is just perfect.

  9. heather12:12 PM

    I'm such an amateur. So I have an amateur question. Is it just not okay to use a black watercolor? Like in the Crayola sets of childhood? I never even thought about painting something black as being difficult but I'm learning every day. I'm always just so impressed by your paintings of objects that are glass or clear. That seemed like the hardest thing but once again, I'm coming from colored pencils and never had my mind think of giving glass a color to define it and wouldn't even try (until now, thanks to you!).

    I think it's great that you're trying new things! And who can't relate to procrastinating while trying to create?

  10. maria a.12:15 PM

    I love all the paintings, and I love the photo of the samples.
    I do not understand a lot about art, but as a lay person the yellow macaron on the last painting looks a bit like sitting on the edge of the cup.
    I guess you intended it that way. So please do not take it as a critic, just the opinion of an uneducated onlooker.

  11. After reading your post today I don't wonder you got chocolate all over your keyboard. You are overdosing on the stuff. Stay calm and keep painting those black cups. People think black is easy and I know it isn't (mainly 'cos you told me) but I think you are doing a sterling job, as we English say.

  12. I LIKE your paintings very are very talanted!

    you mornings smells good!_

  13. What I'm going to say probably isn't very helpful in the critical sense, but it's the truth. I really really enjoyed looking at all these different configurations and I truly think the all have something wonderful in them. I hope it's not mean to say, but if it means we keep getting to look at all these beautiful things, I kind of hope you "struggle" for a bit longer.

  14. If I were a black cup I would stand in line all week just to be painted by you!

  15. Marigold5:24 PM

    Bravo Carol for going out on a limb and blooming even brighter!!

  16. You should see me paint, then you would know what a problem is!!

    Your doing a terrific job, good things take time.

  17. Maryanne5:26 PM

    Okay so these are samples, not the ones you are going to give to the project? Sooooooooooooo are they for sale?

  18. I hope you figure out how to do it. Good luck! Whatever you end up with, will still be a joy to see.

  19. I'm loving those black cups...and I know you'll get them just the way you want them. Persistence and practice...we talk about those characteristics a lot around my house--wherever that house might be!!

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  20. Hi - I've been visiting your blog for several weeks now - I love it! Thanks for the beautiful artwork, entertaining posts, and reminders of Paris.
    I saw the lovely tribute to your blog at Little FrenchGardenHouse - very nice - and thought I should tell you in person that I am totally enjoying my visits to your blog.

  21. BIG BIG MERCI all! :)
    Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. Now that I've come out of the "cup" closet, it feels good to be able to share them with you> :)

  22. Don't get can do it! Won't you show us your progress.....

  23. Seriously, that cherry...when it was it in the photos I said ...that pony do't ride
    when I saw the painting I said, Ride em cowgirl!!!

    Perfect touch of whimsy and humor

  24. procrastinator11:23 PM

    The colors are getting stronger!!
    From another procrastinator...

  25. What you're doing is fantastic!
    The compositions are so unusual and intriguing.
    I want some of those coffee chocolates or "magic pills" too!

  26. I like your paintings, love the cups... Good luck... Check my blog if you have time...

  27. i've said it before and I'll say it again, your blog is so wonderful to read! It's like a mini-holiday.
    Thank you.
    I read about a watercolor artist putting a wash of yellow down, letting it dry, then putting a wash of black on top for a bright black. It doesn't do anything for me, but you might want to try.

  28. Everything you paint is incredible~your instructor must be proud and envious!

  29. "I've been trying to figure out how to paint BLACK cups or just anything BLACK..."
    May I first suggest seeing black round objects. I am sure you are aware that verticle highlights on a round cup suggest volume. Therefore you need to either leave white paper for those highlights or "gosh" paint opaque white in. Yuk.
    Anyway, to "see" those hight lights, get some white card and cover a few with aluminum foil as well. Place these just to the rear and a tiny bit to the left and right of the edges of the black cup and if you rotate them and tilt them they will catch light and reflect off the shiny surface of the black cup, bending with the curve of the cup revealing the true honest rendering of the edge of the object.
    How to actually paint this, I can't suggest, since I never spent enough time painting water colors. (when I was a kid.)
    Love your work and words!
    Steve in Chicago

  30. I keep stumbling upon your blog everytime i search something :D
    Must say your watercolors are awesome and an ispiration for me!


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