Let me show you my best painting secret!
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This mystery has been confounding many people for years. Perhaps you have wondered this yourself. No? Well I have searched for an answer. Then it came to me in a flash of enlightenment this morning. Or maybe it was the caffeine kick. Whatever. I am going to draw back the curtain on this conundrum once and for all.
I have been in search of a great cup of coffee for many years. True. At great cost I might add. Once upon a time, as a student, I tolerated instant coffee. Today students drink Starbucks. The brats!
Then the drip-drip coffee machine became popular. You know the type American cops have at the station? With a glass carafe that is always filled with hot, black and tasteless water. Nuff said.
Then as I grew older and had a bit of money to throw about I tried the French press. This is a silly invention that does not develop your pecs. It does give you bits of coffee grounds in your cup though. Annoying.
I moved onto the stove top espresso thing. That metal pot. It has so many parts that screw together that you feel like Jason Bourne assembling a sniper rifle. It did make a strong cuppa-joe. But too little and the risk of burning was high.
Then I threw caution to the wind and purchased an automatic espresso machine. A contraption that worked under pressure. But never enough it seemed. Also the milk frother "wand" was useless. Unless you liked listening to lots of splutters and wheezing noises. But your milk remained cold and unmoved.
The machine made passable espresso for exactly twelve months. Thereafter the warranty expired and so did the machine. It needed more maintenance than an Alfa Romeo. Which is a lot. So I lost money on that experiment.
Then George Clooney convinced me to try a Nespresso pod machine. What the hell I thought. How bad could it be? Actually the coffee was rather good. It worked. We had reasonable espresso and it was quick. But then we ran out of pods.
Ordering pods from the official online store was murder on the wallet. You had to order a thousand (or so it seemed) sleeves of pods at ruinous expense. So we tried generic pods that were allegedly compatible. They were not. Results were spotty. I lost my patience!
Finally I stumbled upon the Aeropress. A simple device that involved some exercise and plenty of OCD fiddling. I liked it a lot. The coffee was strong and good. Cleaning up was a breeze and running costs low. Reliability was excellent. Only snag was that portions were still a little small for two people. But the hope of simplicity had arrived.
Then like a ray of light caressing my soul I found the Chemex coffee system. A glass device that is part chemistry kit and part work of art. It is in fact exhibited as art at the MOMA. It also makes a wonderful cup of coffee. Even in large amounts, if desired.
It seems that pouring hot water allover freshly ground coffee beans makes the difference. Plus filtering the coffee adds something unique. This is nothing like the drip-drip filter system.
I must emphasise that grinding good coffee beans just before brewing is essential. I recommend the Severin coffee grinder for this.
There it is. The best coffee comes from simple low tech means. The key is simplicity.
This brings me to painting.
The best paintings come from simplicity. Simplifying shapes. Simple use of values and color. Simple and strong composition. What you leave out is often more important than what you put in. Keep it simple and results are often better than expected.
If your painting does not work out ask yourself if you could simplify it further. Chances are you will get to the essence of your subject this way. If not I suggest brewing a good cup of coffee and reading a nice book. This too shall pass.