Posts Tagged ‘percolator’

Continuation of the Coffee Watercolor Series

January 28, 2013
Watercolor with Jadeite Mug in Progress

Watercolor with Jadeite Mug in Progress

Last night’s arctic blast clothed the weathered old man in an icy shroud that he sought to shed.  The patchwork quilt draped over his sagging shoulders hung like a duster down to his knees as he shuffled across the uneven wooden floor of his front room.  Holding his favorite Jadeite mug in both hands, he waited patiently for the gurgle to commence within his stove-top percolator.  In just a few minutes, the sun would be cresting the distant range to the east, and he wanted to worship Aurora this morning with an open book in his lap and fresh coffee in his mug.  On this day he had much to remember.  Today would be a day for remembering.

As the percolator hissed, steamed and finally began its chortling, his memory was carried back to a cold, pre-dawn morning in the small, cramped kitchen of a spare urban apartment.  It was 4:30 a.m.  He had only slept two-and-a-half hours, the result of another all-night study and preparation for his Humanities class that would begin at 7:35.  He still had to dress, eat, walk three blocks to catch a bus, connect with a commuter train, and meet his morning class.  He was only thirty-seven, but already felt that he was seventy-two and worn down by life.  He stood beside his small stove, staring at the stove-top percolator he had taken on many a camping excursion, waiting.  

Looking up from the percolator that seemed to be contemplating whether or not to  bubble, his eyes ranged over the pile of books, manila folders and hand-drafted notes taken the night before.  Hoards of writers and artists from the neo-classical and romantic persuasions, all struggling for his attention.  How on earth was he going to synthesize all this information within the next three hours?  All he could hope for was a percolating mind in synergy with the percolating coffee–but right now this just wasn’t happening.  As he stood, contemplating, vignettes drifted through his consciousness, remembrances of graduate study, of seminars, conversations in the study carrels and coffee shops of those days, mornings in the park with a soul-mate and late nights of discussions when ideas were born as muses stirred and whispered their affirmations.  

And then the coffee was ready.

As the solitary old man poured the brew, inhaling with delight the aroma, he couldn’t quite discern what it was that he was feeling this morning–contentment or melancholia.  He couldn’t determine whether the memories were filling him or emptying him.  And he wondered: is memory something you have or something you have lost?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

By now, maybe some of my readers are wondering what is going on with these snippets of stories of an old man waking up to coffee.  These are just my attempts at writing fiction.  I have had these stories floating in my mind for over a decade, and wondered what to do as I began writing them out.  So, I decided, why not just fling them out on the blog as well?

Right now, there are probably some tears on this painting in progress.  I often enjoy playing VHS tapes on my small TV in the man cave, or listening to a DVD on the laptop.  While painting this, I’ve been listening to Neil Young playing and singing “Bandit” at his solo performance of Greendale at Vicar Street in Dublin.  The song is about a painter.  And I am not crying out of depression, just a fullness of feelings (if that makes sense)–a good cry, actually, a cleansing cry.  I feel a real connection as I hear this song and meditate on the words.  Neil Young has done a lot of that for me over the decades.  It is turning out to be a good night.

Thanks for reading.






Musings over Morning Coffee

January 22, 2013

Old Judge Coffee cropped

Coffee Musings

Within the ramshackle Missouri farmhouse, an aged, graying man stretched in his chair next to the smoking, wood-burning stove.  Squinting out the window into the first rays of a piercing sunrise, he watched as the shafts of winter light lanced the mists that played across the broad gray surface of the Mississippi River.  Neelys Landing was still sleeping, but the man continued to watch for the town’s first waking sights.  As the sunlight glanced off the curvature of his celadon green Fire King mug, he slowly and delicately sipped the Old Judge Coffee brew, delighting in the hot moist aroma that caressed his weathered cheeks.  What was so familiar about that smell?  Of course!  Mount Hood Coffee.  The aroma-induced recollection brought the pleasant shock of recognition, suddenly sweeping him back forty years, and away seventeen hundred miles, to an Oregon morning walk that marked the turning point of his life.  Suddenly, neither the time or the distance was significant.  Everything was rolling up to the shores of his consciousness, like the surging tides of the Pacific Northwest . . .

When the Light Fades and the Temperatures Drop

January 21, 2013
Still Life in the Night

Still Life in the Night


Great painting is like Bach’s music, in texture closely woven, subdued like early tapestries, no emphasis, no climaxes, no beginnings or endings, merely resumptions and transitions, a design so sustained that there is no effort in starting and every casual statement is equally great.

N. C. Wyeth’s final letter to his son Andrew, February 16, 1944

The three-day weekend has offered so many gifts to me, and so many pleasures, as I immersed myself in quality reading and took advantage of several opportunities to enter the studio.  Tonight, after the school preparations were made, I withdrew to the Cave and resumed this watercolor sketch I began early this morning.  As stated in earlier blogs, I am poring over a collection of Andrew Wyeth drybrush watercolor sketches of dim interiors, and am trying to find a way to break away from the light that has bathed my watercolor compositions for years.  I honestly do not know how to paint a dark composition, with light playing on only an object or two.  I’m finding this a very difficult adjustment, but am intrigued with what I’ve already discovered today.  D’Arches watercolor paper is so exceedingly bright and reflective, that I feel as though I am violating its properties by working over the surface with glaze after glaze of dark colors, seeking to drive away the light.

Tonight, I worked the reds and yellows into the coffee can, and now have to figure out how to deepen and darken the can, except for the small part that catches the light.  The same issues arise from the percolator, which sits in the semi-darkness, and has very little highlighting present on its surface.  I’ll be intrigued to see how this one shapes up in the days ahead.

Thanks for reading.