Public Market and Those Seattle Clouds!

Public Market and Those Seattle Clouds ~ Gouache & Watercolor by Niya Christine. Copyright

#24/365 Paintings 2013

There’s something about Seattle. The chill in the watery air, abundance of coffee house choices, the smell of the sea — all those productive worker bees running around looking for new gluten free bakeries and reuse ideas for their homes, offices, gardens and wardrobes.

The public market stands by it’s consumer “meet the producer” goals. It opened in 1907 and is as continuous and robust as the clouds in Seattle.

I just had to paint this at a steep glance UP given how the market is architected on a steep hill. Plus, if we are going to gaggle at clouds, let’s really get the full effect of sky!

Exhausted Coffee Beans

Gouache & Watercolor Painting by Niya Christine. 20/365. Copyright 2013

#20/365 Paintings 2013

Gosh, I’m no expert, but living inside the shade of the coffee tree — in cozy pod families — with the occasional balmy breeze — lifting the leaves to symphonic notes… sounds pretty nice to me. In fact, I wonder if Peet’s coffee invented it’s classical-music-atmosphere-brand from the lives of beans in trees?

One day everything changed for the beans. There were popping sounds and the drip of men’s sweat heavy on their little coffee bean bodies. Peace was broken. Then came the agonizing pull — their belly buttons, legs, arms, skins — tossed aside like lumps of clay into a basket on a dusty abandoned road. An old pirates ship as far as they were concerned. Drowning in coffee bean strangers, they couldn’t find their families. Everybody was screaming. Some yelled in Kona, others in Columbia. They suddenly wished they had buckled down and learned each other’s languages instead of being lazy beans in trees. Maybe they would’ve found their families if they had.

Dramatic? Maybe to us. But beans are durable and well tempered. After the initial trauma, they were just very sleepy. Exhausted from the separation anxiety from their tree homes and unable to fully process that life would be very different — they took a siesta.

Hare Communion

Gouache Painting by Niya Christine 17/365. Copyright 2013


Yeah, I’m kind of thinking it’s their first date.

Since rabbits are nocturnal, they are having a nice, calm, measured talk after a night of adventures and playing. She’s says “You almost had that cat outsmarted. You could have done it, had the owners not woken up to the ruckus.” “Yeah, he reflects and wiggles his whiskers… next time, I’ll draw her out. You know how cats are… all about the ego. I’ll tell her not to get her whiskers twisted up, when I out run her.” She clicks her tea cup against his coffee cup and says “Righto.” He laughs and says… “I love your Aussie/New Zealand accent. I’m a simple Californian boy myself. I drink strong coffee and have macho DNA. But you? You are a wild, well traveled, exotic, sweet, beautiful Aussie at heart who drinks tea.”

She giggles, they sip their coffee and tea and he looks at her spots and flirtatiously flicks his hind foot and says, “I’d like to see you again.”

“Yes… ” She bats her eyes and her chunky cheeks puff up in female rabbit fashion, “… you’re my best mate.”


Tummy of Tea

Cat with Tummy full of Tea, Gouache #15/365 by Niya Christine. Copyright 2013


I tried to make this cat look like a stuck up, tea going, upper Eastside NY or London cat. But I’m afraid she looks more like a strung out rock star. C’est la vie. I love this project because I have a few hundred more times to practice. And it’s quickly becoming a well ingrained part of the day vs. another thing to squish in.

What tea are you putting in your tummy today? For me, it’s a smokey Russian Caravan with real cream and honey. ; )

A Caribou Coffee Obsessed Bear

Caribou Coffee Bear Artiste, Gouache #14/365 by Niya Christine. Copyright 2013

This eccentric bear thinks about Caribou about as much as I think about painting. He happened to wander into town one day. As he dodged the tranquilizer bullets from local authorities he saw a sign for Caribou coffee. That night he was supposed to be hibernating. It was a very cold and long winter. He couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t go back to town for Caribou coffee and risk being shot. So he painted… and painted. He painted all winter long. He’s super proud of this one.

Project notes: It’s official… after this painting my new toy is gouache paint. Oh, and I sketched for this week’s paintings today. All I can say is that after 2 weeks of not painting animals, I am in withdraw. So you’ll see some coffee & tea animal concepts this week. I’m looking forward to it. Thank you all for your kind comments and emails. It really makes all the difference!

Fresh coffee ~ What a flirt!

Niya Christine's 5/365 Paintings 2013. Gouache, "Coffee Gets Fresh" Copyright 2013

#5/365 Paintings for 2013

I have nothing clever to say about these brewing cups of very strong, fresh coffee. Except they smell so good they seem to want to date everyone in the room.

My biggest thrill in this painting was the discovery of a new medium: Gouache paint. I’ve had one traditional painting class in my life, my first year of college. There was a woman in the class who painted old people portraits. Old, like 90’s old. She loved old people and she said the gouache had enough opacity to capture the flesh while also enough translucency to express the lines in their faces. I never forgot that. I got a job the next semester as co-director of the local women’s center. I asked to launch a program for women artists, gutted out a room and opened a gallery. I found this woman again and she was our first exhibitor.

I still remember those old faces in the room – happy, wise, guppy, loving, beauties.