Despite sketching my coffee practically every work day for the past 5 months I am still not bored. Simply because there are still so many things to explore and I haven’t conquered the crema yet. Part of the challenge is the ridiculous time limit I set for myself. I refuse to drink cold coffee… or even warm coffee (I know that is how it is supposed to be). I like drinking it hot so I have to do my sketch in under 3 minutes.
But also there are the unique patterns every day, interesting edges and textures to explore AND the colours to match. I have been using Daniel Smith Monte Amiata Natural Sienna as the base colour but a few weeks ago when the lock on my palette came off, I added Goethite (a colour that many of us know about thanks to Jane Blundell). Goethite is about the closest match to coffee that you will find and it is a lovely granulating pigment, so you would think that it would completely hit the spot for me. Surprisingly it hasn’t to date. I think that is partly because of a palette disaster I had as a result of not allowing the pan to dry for a number of days (see image below). Oops!
But it is also because I prefer granulating effects (and colour separation) that are the result of different pigments reacting to each other, rather than the gritty single hue granulation of many of the Daniel Smith pigments. This is a completely personal preference.Part of me wants Goethite to be perfect and part of me doesn’t really want to add another colour permanently to my palette.
So today I was experimenting with another way to get the perfect coffee colour. I mixed Quinacridone Gold with Potters Pink with a touch of Steels Grey III. This breaks all the standard advice I give beginners – ie. not to mix more than three pigments, and if possible stick to only two. But hey, I love breaking rules (especially if it is something I have stuck to for years), and the result was very promising.
And just for the record, I am still giving Goethite a go and have prepared a new half pan which I am leaving for a full week before putting in my palette to avoid a repeat performance of this mess. Note: this photo was taken after I had cleaned up the huge first day disaster and the second day ‘continued spread’ as well, so you can imagine what a mess it was on day one!
So if any of you have sketched a coffee recently, what colours did you use? This doesn’t have to be watercolour – I would love to hear of some pencil colours, or any medium, as well!