Painting with Coffee???

Coffee art, by Rosie, a member of SeaGirls WI.

In late September, SeaGirls WI members were lucky enough to be invited to join the Bodmin Gaolbirds WI for their October meeting (by Zoom of course!), which included a ‘painting with coffee’ session.

Members were advised to gather the required materials beforehand: thick paper, paintbrushes, small cups, boiling water and instant coffee. Coffee ‘paint’ is created by adding varying amounts of coffee to the water to create different strengths of colour.

The session was hosted by Karen Bessell, a Brisbane-based art educator who was a founder member of the Gaolbirds and whose mother is a current member. Karen had kindly set her alarm to the early hours of the morning to attend the evening meeting from the other side of the world.

Karen showed the group an example of the finished painting, then talked them through the painting process from sketch, to layering on the coffee ‘paint’, using the depth of colour to help create a sense of distance, to adding the finishing touches. The subject of the painting, ‘A walk through Lanhydrock’, was inspired by Karen’s childhood walks through the beautiful woodland in the area. In less than an hour each participant had their own painting, and all were amazed and inspired at how such a common household ingredient could be used to create something so beautiful.

If you’re interested in one of Karen’s workshops, she will be leading a Christmas-themed painting Zoom session for CFWI members on Wednesday 2nd December at 11am. Tickets are £5 and you must contact CFWI to book your place – (01872) 272843 or

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  1. Painting with coffee is clever! I’ve often thought with this Lockdown I would like to paint ….. but where to get the kit?? Well I have printing paper and there always a jar of coffee in the kitchen.

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