Monday, August 31, 2009

Flying Coffee Grounds!

Enlightened Feline, encaustic on wood w/embedded coffee grounds

I always make a mess when I add coffee grounds to my encaustics, but I love the effect. The most accurate and tidiest way to incorporate coffee grounds into wax paintings is to glue them to the substrate first and then add the wax.

However, what I do is paint a layer of wax, gather a handful of coffee grounds (I love the feel of those earthy crumbs in my hands) and rub them into the warm wax, making my hands smell like beeswax-coffee heaven. Then I drip more wax on top or sacrifice a clean paintbrush and get it full of grounds by painting wax directly on the coffee. Then I fuse the layers of wax and grounds with a heat gun and the non-adhered grounds go flying everywhere, making a huge mess.

I mention all of this to come out as an imperfect, messy, inaccurate artist. I tend not to follow directions and instead follow my intuition. I'm also very impatient. Wait for the coffee grounds to dry on the glue first?! That will take forever!

I will admit to wanting to be more patient and to try following directions more often. I don't think my house (or my partner) can take much more artistic chaos. And I do want more balance in my creative life. So, perhaps next time I will use the glue technique. Perhaps.

How do you create? Are you a messy-pants like me or do you have a clear, clean organized way of creating? Somewhere in between? Do tell!


  1. I love this piece. Maybe it's the kitty. !! (I love messy.)

  2. i take up every room in the house plus my outside studio!!! making a mess, then cleaning it up... then making another one. i am trying not to wreck our inside multi purpose room so when i want to get really messy i do it outside:) love hearing about your process! and seeing your gorgeous pieces.......

  3. I'm a HUGE messy pants. All I can see is what I'm working on. Everything else flies.

  4. Great piece. I can't believe it contains coffee grounds.

    I don't follow too many directions when I create. All I know is too avoid anything toxic. I am far too careless.

    I rarely use glue or glazes in my work anymore. I was always finding too many embedded animal hairs, unidentified bits and small spiders. I am not too tidy or organized. I think I am more creative when I am spontaneous and disorganized.