By Niya Christine. Copyright

#107/365 Paintings

Sam was a pet store canary for many years. He was one of the few that didn’t want to be picked, purchased and taken away from the pet store. Sam was a bit of a closet journalist. He liked to listen to the facts and chirp out the stories at night when the store closed. Canaries are pretty, so people hung out around them and spilled some of the grittiest details about their lives.

But there was one conversation in particular that Sam couldn’t get out of his wonderfully feathered head. It went something like this:

Boy: “What do you really want, though?”

Girl: “To be a boy.”

Boy: “Yeah, but that’s in the works…”

Sam perked up. “In the works?” Sam wasn’t the least bit interested in becoming Samantha. But, he realized that if a girl could become a boy (a magic trick for sure) then he could become what he had always wanted to be: An owl. Suddenly, he wanted out of the pet store really bad. So, he preened for days in front of potential buyers. About 3 days later a very nice elderly couple bought him. He tried to escape to the woods to become an owl, but something luckier happened. The old man was an artist. Sam and the old man bonded. Sam would drag out newspapers and magazines with owls on them and take naps on top of the photos. The old man painted one of Sam’s owls. Of course Sam thought he had understood his complex psychology and loved the old man all the more. But the man simply wanted to paint an owl that day. Sam stared at the painting for days. And, just last week he chirped out a 1/2 “Who.” The old man laughed so hard. “You’re a Canara-Owl” he said. Sam was very pleased with himself.

Guilty Dog Spilled the Beans

Guilty Dog Spilled the Beans. Painting by Niya Christine. Copyright

#29/365 Paintings

Hmmm, I dunno… does he look guilty enough? And do you think this is all the damage this puppy caused? I think he has the blushing red-I’m a bad bad boy-I’ll never do it again-look, down pat. I think he’s new to the family. After spending too many mornings waiting for his puppy chow because his posh parents had to grind their coffee to a fine espresso powder for cappuccino, he’s a bit jealous. In fact, it’s worse than that. I think he has those beans hopping in fright at night while the household sleeps. His growls and puppy threats might make us laugh. But for the beans, this guy is a monster.

So, before making that lush cup of coffee, give your puppy a cuddle and some chow. Less beans spilled in the long run.


Project notes: Radio interview Tuesday night. KSVY Bay Area about the what’s, why’s and how’s of painting daily.

Details: Tune in Tonight for an Hour of Coffee Talk with Fiction Writer & Painter “Niya Christine” ( Plus Enjoy a Mix of Hot Music from Black Artists.. James Brown, Louie Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr. & More!!!

Streaming Live Online from (7pm to 8pm)–Sonoma Sun FM “Some Like it Hot!” Radio Show ~ Hosted by Diana Dawn


Darjeeling Duck

"Darjeeling Duck" Watercolor by Niya Christine. 21/365. Copyright.

#21/365 Paintings 2013

Looks like a happy fella, doesn’t he? The thing is, this guy, being ridiculously concerned about his aroma amongst the female ducks takes his herbal baths very seriously.

One day, he overheard a good looking young man at his pond talk about how the herb changed his life for the better. The young man wasn’t uptight anymore, his confidence grew — as did his range of girlfriends.

Our Mr. Duck had always enjoyed his Darjeeling tea baths in the morning while swiveling about with the females. He went on and on to anyone who listened about the mixture of soil, altitude, sunshine and rain in the hilly parts of India where Darjeeling grows. “It’s the champagne of teas.” He had said to them and put on a dopey smile.

It’s important that he never know how his Darjeeling baths had stained his backside so black that the females became a bit frightened of him. And, that while his romantic aspirations are admirable, there was a slight misunderstanding about the kind of herb the handsome young man was referring to. Nah… for now he’s a happy, heart-on-his-feathers, duck in a cup. And, the right female will love herbal baths.

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.”


Espresso Me to Nirvana!

Niya Christine's 365 Paintings Per day #9. Copyright 2013

9/365 Paintings of 2013

“Express Me Into Nirvana” is what I feel when I walk into a coffee house. The sounds of the espresso engines roaring, milk foaming against the backdrop of a brick wall. Baristas laughing about nothing at all, happy for the buzz of talk and coffee. And the smell, oh the smell of coffee. For a second we are important, happy people with things to say, concepts and emotions to express. Back to a time when society ran around in numbers, tribes, gatherings.

There is a wonderful article at Design Decoded about the history of the espresso maker. The thing that jumps out at me is the “PRESSURE” of the chemical process. Illy’s (Italian roasters) describes it: ‘A jet of hot water at 88°-93°
C (190°-200°F) passes under a pressure of nine or more atmospheres…’ “‘Nine atmospheres of pressure is the equivalent to nine times the amount of pressure normally exerted by the earth’s atmosphere. Good espresso is good chemistry.'”

Pressure—pressurized pure sensorial brain pleasure. Combine this with the shortness of morning hours or a coffee break in the afternoon “in between” things and we have the makings of a marvelous, creative experience that only tightly structured spaces can produce.

I suppose this describes the process of a painting per day as well. : )