A Mug At 4 A.M. – Even painting caffeine keeps you awake.

A Mug At 4 A.M., painting, 11 x 14,  acrylic on canvas
A Mug At 4 A.M.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Painting Details

This painting is titled “A Mug At 4 A.M.” It is an 11” x 14” acrylic painting on canvas. It was painted in the sleepless and painful hours of the night, finished just as the coffee maker was starting its morning batch of coffee.


The inspiration for this painting – as a non-artistic person in reality, I have always wanted an awesome kitchen, I have always loved kitchen things, images, utensils, tools. I love (loved, I haven’t had the opportunities recently) cooking, baking… food, tasting, certainly, has been one of my favorite pleasures. And I have the waistline to prove it, a strong line of ancestors who loved food and loved making the best-tasting food possible, despite budgets or size of family. If you love someone, feed them well.


I had a decent kitchen, though not my dream kitchen, a few years before I met my current husband.  I had some cute pictures and knick-knacks, plenty of room, cupboard space, counter space, and wall space. However, things changed, people move on, I moved on, and as part of that moving on, I lost my kitchen things as well as my big kitchen.


Since then, I haven’t had the opportunity to be as creatively decorative as I’d like. Not everyone has the same taste, and mine, as my ancestor’s, can be considered cluttered and maybe a little eclectic, or at least not really cohesive. I’ve kept my decor tame, for the most part, since moving on and meeting my husband.

I know… this is a long story, considering it’s just a painting of a coffee mug.

Coffee and Mornings

So, I love coffee. I love coffee that tastes rich and dark. I love mornings, the type of mornings where everyone else is still sleeping and I’m sipping my hot, rich, deep coffee, and smoking a cigarette (I am still cigarette and nicotine free, today is my Day 11!), and everything in the house is quiet – well, maybe you can hear a couple of clocks ticking around the house – and the only other human life stirring is the paper boy or maybe that one person who has to start their drive to work at four o’clock in the morning…

Afraid of the Dark

You know, for someone so afraid of the dark – me – I sure love being awake and witnessing the dark when there is only one or two other people moving around “out there”. It does get a little creepy-scary thinking that this is the time when aliens are out looking for their next abduction, but if my puppy is near, or there is someone else awake but not expecting me to acknowledge them, then I am ok. I feel safe enough.

So, to me, this painting embodies my love for real coffee, it looks simple enough to display in a kitchen or a little breakfast nook. I also love the dark background.

Color Details

Can you tell what color the background is? I love the color brown, it was part of my wedding theme. But this painting, its background is purple. It was mixed from cobalt blue and cad red medium. In some places, I added just a touch of titanium white or a touch of burnt sienna, which is the color of the outside of the mug, with some help from titanium white. The inside of the mug was made from raw sienna and titanium white. The handle, a little thin, contains my mixed purple, some titanium white, and some burnt and raw sienna.

Location, Location, Location

I currently have this painting hanging above my stove. It has replaced “Whilst Some Leap As Far As They Can”. I thought I had posted something along with that painting, but I see that I have not.  I will need to fix that. When I do, I will link to it from here.

Inspiration Number Two

A mug.

A second part of my inspiration, as noted in the title, comes from a neighbor blogger. Her posts remind me so much of someone so tied to the earth, so appreciative of the simple things that life gives, appreciative of taste, appreciative of words, and of a time that, for me, has been lost since my grandmother passed away. The timelessness she brings, the old world, a cherished stained glass of a darkened church. Paper, Pen and Mug. You should check out her blog.

Paper, Pen, and Mug

And Mug. A nice hot mug of dark rich coffee.

The author of Paper, Pen, and Mug. Reading her posts bring me back to a time before I even existed. Stained glass and cathedrals. Written letters from across the ocean. Her writings remind me so much of a time lost, of a time I am even too young to have known.

For some reason, she also reminds me of someone I knew well over ten years ago. Someone who easily became my friend, even though we were the complete opposite of each other. This other person, she was from Brooklyn, an older woman. About twenty-seven years older than me. And I was mid-thirties. I will call her Frances, only because I have to tell you more about her.


Frances was loud and crass and had a rough voice from years of smoking. She and her partner moved here, to Florida, and Frances just happened to be hired into the small department where I was working at the time. The person that was supposed to train her called in sick that day, and the next. The department Lead handed the job over to me. Remembering back, it just so happened to be on my birthday, the end of April. Sometimes it snow in April.

I can’t train her,” I whispered to the Lead, incredulous he would even consider that. I knew the job very well, but I was, as I am now, quiet, shy, socially awkward, terrible with verbal conversations to the point of stammering and losing track of topics easily, and all the blushing. Totally unqualified for teaching anything to anyone. Later, she told me she heard what I said. I was mortified. She laughed at me.

We became great friends fairly quickly. Good thing, because we only had until December to live out that chapter of our lives. I have never known a friend like her. Someone I could be me with, I didn’t stumble over words or feel like hiding my head down into my shirt. She was always frank with me (thus, the moniker), and I could tell her all of my honest things without fear of being judged or shunned.  We talked about everything. EVERYTHING.

Her partner became jealous of our friendship. This was not unusual – Frances was banned from other platonic friendships back home in New York.

However, ours turned into something more. We became lovers for a short while. When Frances admitted it to her partner after a short separation (a separation much shorter than our time as lovers), her partner laughed in her face and said, “you wish!”

When Frances told me her partner’s reaction, all I could do was shrug. It was the truth; she chose not to believe it. No need to push it.

We had a chance to travel – expenses paid via a contest she won – and ended up in Manhattan. We had a New York room with a view, walked almost everywhere, and missed the Statue and the Park.

We caught a couple of games in the WNBA Finals at the Mohegan Sun.

I loved her. And I love her still.

She taught me about five-year plans

I don’t have much experience with friendships, but I think she is one of those rare people who shifts foundations. For me, at least.

One little mug of coffee, and all this. Seems there was more to that painting than just a quiet night and the anticipation of the morning’s brew.


(c) 2017 Lisa A Ramsey





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