A Handful of Coffee is the sixth and final artwork in my series of studies of old hands. To share with you something of the process of creating this artwork, I have compiled this montage of nine stages from the initial sketch to the finished portrait. As with all of the ‘A Handful of …’ pictures, this is a pastel painting on Pastelmat paper.
When I first saw the image that I referenced for this study, I instantly knew that I wanted to draw it as a part of the ‘A Handful of…’ series. I often wondered if this was a wise decision as it feels quite different to the others, and I was concerned that the close to monochrome nature of the picture would be too dour, imposing or simply unappealing as an artwork. I will admit that this niggling doubt did not go away whilst I was drawing it!
However now that it is here in my studio with me, the gentle colour shifts and the earthy nature of it’s tones has a certain comfort to it, and a uniformity that is very pleasing to my eyes. I have fallen in love with this image all over again, and I feel that it rounds off the series beautifully.
What conjures a wry smile for me, is how before work began I kept telling myself that of course yes, it would be a lot of work, but aren’t all my pictures? How hard could it be? I soon had the answer to this question! After a lot of bean drawing I had a combination of four or so colours that I would use for each one, but they never did achieve the flow status that I was so sure would come with repeptition. Each coffee bean is an individual, and they all came with their own little personalities. And these hands, well, they have the finest wrinkes of the series, and the most elusive colouring of all.
What I can say is that the reward of an artwork can often be measured in direct relation to the difficulty that it presented in the creation. This may not be seen by anyone other than the artist, as the sometimes simpler looking elements can be deceptively challenging, however I believe that this one speaks for itself.
The completion of this artwork marks the end of a mammoth task, a series of six studies of old hands which has taken me a year to draw.
Now for a well earned cup of tea, coffee will never again look quite the same for me!
Now that the full series of hands studies has been completed, I will soon be making available limited edition prints and greetings cards of A Handful of Chillies, A Handful of Salt, A Handful of Lotus Seeds, A Handful of Faith, A Handful of Love and A Handful of Coffee.
Thanks go to Réhahn Photography for his amazing image.