Coffee and Cigarettes

Beginning a Cafe Still Life Late at Night in the Man Cave

Beginning a Cafe Still Life Late at Night in the Man Cave

. . . the arts give us our best data for determining what sort of creature man is.

Ezra Pound, “The Serious Artist”

Years ago, I watched the film “Coffee and Cigarettes” when it first came out.  I had seen the trailers and was mesmerized, thinking this was a must-see film.  I didn’t finish the movie, thinking it was totally vacuous, and a waste of my time.  But I never forgot it.  And I always wondered what it was in the trailers that led me to think it was a great film.

Two mornings ago, getting ready for school, I scanned the TV channels over breakfast, and saw that “Coffee and Cigarettes” was airing.  At 6:00 a.m.  So I tuned in.  And immediately, I saw what had nailed me on the trailers.  The black-and-white cinematography of the arrangements of cups of coffee and saucers on cafe tablecloths from a high angle were exquisite.  I got excited.  I saw that the movie was re-airing at 11:30, so I set the DVR to record it.  Coming home, I sat through another thirty minutes of the film.  Again, I was knocked over by the still-life shots of the arrangements on the table.

So.  Today after school, I went to an antique store, found some pillow cases with a cafe table generic design on them.  Bought a pair of Ultima China diner’s mugs, and returned home, feeling I had hit the lottery.  I spent part of the afternoon setting up several arrangements on my drafting table, till I finally settled on this one of a mug on the checkered cloth, an antique pair of spectacles with their case, and a yellowed envelope with a 1961 postmark and 4-cent canceled postage stamp.

All I have had time to do was sketch the composition, darken a background, and lay in some wet-on-wet shadows on the table top and coffee mug, and stain the envelope.  It got pretty wet and soupy, and I still have some school work to complete for the morning.  Already it is 11:51 p.m., so I figure it is time to put this on the blog, finish my school work and head for the sack.  Glad tomorrow is Friday.  The weekend promises to be beautiful and I have received a plein air painting invitation that is too good to turn down.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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