Conducting Business at Epoch Coffee

She was on the phone with a colleague

She came in and sat down with a coworker at the storefront table next to me. With her shiny black hair, and the widely woven houndstooth coat were just too good to pass up. I was in the middle of painting her profile, when her phone rang.Ā  It seemed important. There was an interchange of project schedules and the like.

Painting live in coffee houses has taught me that people move a lot, and the artist has to adapt and be fluid with the active environment. As I paint and stare at a person, even their personality and behavior changes. One has to be observant in order to capture with intent: what is real and what is temporal? I hope that makes sense.

51 Comments

  1. Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Lavanna, Great article about you in the Statesman this morning!! Keep stretching those nerves of steel AND the great work! You are an inspiration to all! Laurel Daniel

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Hi, Laurel.

      I just went over and looked at your plein air blog. You are so good, and you’re here in Austin. We should try to get together and paint, huh? I suck at landscapes. Maybe you could give me some pointers.

      ~Lavanna

  2. Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed the article in this morning’s Statesman. Very interesting reading how you started doing these paintings. I really liked that they quoted from the girl genius post, which is one of my favorites.

    And, Les Amis…I still miss it.

    Cheers.

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Hi, James.

      I’m afraid to look at the article.
      Thanks for the feedback.
      Keep writing!
      ~Lavanna

  3. Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Hi Lavanna,

    I enjoyed this morning’s article about you and then got promptly waylaid by your site and related links. What a great project you have going!

    When you get a moment check out the site of Denver based artist Kim English. I think you would enjoy his ability to compress gestures, shapes, and information into simple flat shapes. From what I understand he has students in his workshops paint five or ten minute studies all day long–a schedule you would be right at home with. Of course, they have the luxury of a model that stays still for that long.

    I look forward to seeing you and your work around town,

    Will

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Hi, Will.

      What an honor, that you would leave a comment at my BLOGUS MAXIMUS.
      I love your work.
      I have some friends that have studied with Kim English. It would be a fun thing for me, I am sure of that. Hah! you understand the difficulty of painting the moving, unposed subject.
      You know where to find me ~

      ~Lavanna

  4. Jeff French
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Hey Lavanna, I saw the Statesman article on you this morning. Pretty cool! I also spent some time checking out your site. It’s really nice.

    I see Kelsey is at UT now. Last we talked I think she was still deciding.

    Jeff

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Hi, Jeff/

      Yes. she’s a Classics Major, but she is going to switch over to Nursing, if possible. She said, “I thought that I loved Classics, but then I found out I didn’t know what that meant – other than being Club Prez in high school, and listening to Def Lepperd if we passed the test”.
      So good to hear from you~
      Lavanna

  5. Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    bet you get more spontaneous creativity working in public

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Comedy Mike.

      Spontaneity is something that a comedian definitely understands. Best to you.

      ~Lavanna

  6. Morris
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lavanna,
    Like the rest of the folks who have blogged I also read the Article about you in the Statesman. It was refreshing to read something “positive” for a change. Have fun and keep up the good work. If you have not read the article yet you should as I thought it was well written.

    Take care,
    Morris

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Hello, Morris.

      I’m afraid to look at it; but I have seen the links for it off several friend’s FB pages.
      Thank you for the feedback.
      Seeing people in their best light is important for the heart, isn’t it, Morris?

      ~Lavanna

  7. Posted January 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Lavanna, love your work! Great energy and great concept.
    Keep it up! A friend sent me the AA article. Go girl!

  8. Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    What a great idea! I love your pictures. What city is Flightpath coffee in ?
    ~Sarah B.ee

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Sarah Bee.

      Austin, Texas

      ~Lavanna

      • halobee
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Ah. Beautiful city. I lived there in ’98. Keep up the good work. Love it!

      • Posted January 19, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Hi, Halobee.

        Have you been back to Austin to visit? It has changed a lot.

        ~Lavanna

  9. Taresa Pigg
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    LAVANA WHO KNEW? yOU NEVER PAINTED in Andrews. i’M IN mARBLE fALLS Now. I never had kids, just pets. There are a lot of us in the hill Country.

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I was always a slow starter.
      Taresa, you don’t remember me drawing and painting?
      We should get together.

      ~Love, Lavanna

  10. Jay K. Shiffler
    Posted January 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Lavanna: What a great read this morining……It was definately worth sharing with family and friends. I also saw the video at the Statesman link……You really should let me buy one……they are all so wonderful…..thanks for letting us in on your fun, passion and talent…….I will certainly follow your blog……

    Jay

    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi, Jay.

      Thanks so much for the kind words.
      I particularly like it that you shared it with your family and friends – its intent is exactly that – sort of like a visual Prairie Home Companion, if you like.
      My friends think that I am crazy not to sell them. I’m just following my gut on this entire venture, and letting it grow organically. At this point, I’m hanging on to them for a while.
      I keep on art journal on everything that I paint.

      Thank you,
      ~Lavanna

      • Jay K. Shiffler
        Posted January 19, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        I’ll look forward to the table top book……

  11. Posted January 20, 2010 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Hi, Jeff/Yes. shes a Classics Major, but she is going to switch over to Nursing, if possible. She said, I thought that I loved Classics, but then I found out I didnt know what that meant other than being Club Prez in high school, and listening to Def Lepperd if we passed the test.
    So good to hear from you~
    Lavanna

  12. Posted January 20, 2010 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Since stumbling on your site yesterday, I am greatly impressed.

    I bet this approach leads to many challenges; similar to painting a child subject (with ants in his/her pants).

    You must be skilled in discrete looking as staring at your subject might alert the person and end the attempt.

    • Posted January 20, 2010 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Hi, there.

      Yes, people are constantly moving. I makes me paint their noses longer than they actually are. Oh, well.

      ~Lavanna

  13. Posted January 20, 2010 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    I like your artistic style. And being able to read the thought’s you have concerning the paintings and your work process was very interesting.

    • Posted January 20, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Hi, Patrick.

      I left you a wordy critique on your blog, as you requested of your readers. You know how to write interesting stories.

      ~Lavanna

  14. Posted January 20, 2010 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    just loved your work.
    also your paintings.
    thanks for sharing.

    • Posted January 20, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Hi, Rajat.

      Ahhh, The Indians have found me! šŸ™‚
      I truly love that.
      I just sneaked over and left you a comment on your blog. Please write more. What you have to say is interesting to Westerners, and is clearly spoken.
      If you could tell us more about the fusion of technology and Indian culture and interests, that would be great.

      ~Lavanna

  15. Posted January 20, 2010 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    What a fantastic way to make images! Full of movement! Fantastic.

    • Posted January 20, 2010 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Hi, Louise.

      I’m so ignorant, I had not even heard of Carmine Superiore. After looking at your blog, I really want to go there!
      You are lucky, but I don’t even trying to keep warm. I’m a thin-blooded Texan.
      I’ll be back and check up on you!

      ~Lavanna

  16. Posted January 20, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Wonderful painting. It is always amazing to find new discoveries when it comes to our talent.

    • Posted January 21, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Hello, WiseJamaican!

      I love your site. I left you some comments.
      I’m wondering: are those proverbs that Jamaicans grow up hearing? Does everyone know these proverbs?
      ~Lavanna

  17. Mike Burton
    Posted January 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Alana sent me the link to the video and artcle in the Austin Paper. I remember when you and Verlan lived in San Marcos and I came there to visit one afternoon in the early 1970’s. Glad to see you are doing what you are doing.
    Best Regards,
    Mike Burton

    • Posted January 21, 2010 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Hello, Mike.

      I saw Alana this spring, after a gap of 30 years. She looks good, and is smart and funny. She said that she still has a T-shirt that I made for her in 1970 – it’s a rainbow with the bubblewords, “free”. Doesn’t that just sum up what is on a teenager’s mind? šŸ™‚
      I hope that you are doing well.

      ~Lavanna

  18. Posted January 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I bet capturing the true essence of the person is difficult when first seeing them from afar. One advantage you do have it the fact that they do not know you are observing them for that purpose…so they can not fake it. šŸ˜‰ I have been a fan of your site for a few months now. I absolutely love the concept! Also, do you mind posting the link to your article in the Statesman? Would love to read it.

    • Posted January 21, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Hi, Brady.
      I recognize your name from Twitter. How are you doing?
      Thanks for the comments – I heard from one of those Social Media types that a successful blog starts with a strong concept, and everything else will fall in place. I didn’t intend to blog in the beginning, it was just the organic, natural medium for artistic documentation.
      I will have to see if I can figure out how to link that article. But the blog is about ya’ll, and not about me. So, let me think about that – ok?
      ~Lavanna

  19. Jay.me
    Posted January 20, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi, what great paintings. Austin must be a very interesting place to work. Has anyone noticed you painting their portrait and approached you?

    • Posted January 21, 2010 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Hi, Jay.me

      Yes, I have been noticed, although it is not my preference. It is obvious that I am painting, but I am careful not to get caught when painting a person -sneaking my peeks at them.
      I also try to get my back to a wall, so that folks can’t come behind me.
      It may surprise you to know that when I do get caught, people are thrilled.
      I also wonder if folks that have been painted by me unaware stumble upon the blog, and see that they have been painted. Just don’t know…
      ~Lavanna

  20. Posted January 21, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    hi Lavanna! i just stumbled upon this post. i love this! continue what you’re doing you are very talented. šŸ™‚

    • Posted January 21, 2010 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Hi, there, Yanangski!

      I love your blog~ yanangski.wordpress.com
      It made me so happy – let’s have coffeeeeeeeeeeeeee~!

      ~Lavanna

      • Posted January 22, 2010 at 2:39 am | Permalink

        i love your blog too! i actually added you to my google reader blog list. ^_^

        i wish i can fly there and have some coffee with you and your daughter, i bet the coffee shops there are lovely. šŸ™‚

  21. Posted January 21, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    beautiful art,

    I used to live in Austin, TX, during 1997-2000,

    thank you for the uneatable post.
    cheers, šŸ˜‰

  22. Posted January 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I love your work!! I am a visual artist (photography) and have such an appreciation for your medium style. I want to visit a coffee shop so you can secretly scetch me! šŸ™‚

  23. Posted January 22, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    lavanna, just popped in after reading the morning paper where i found a story about you and your work here in this place – i couldn’t resist the temptation and came to take a peek – your work is marvelous! i can even see the movement of your subjects in each portrait – awsome!

    • Posted January 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Hello, there.

      Thank you for stopping by. I hope that you have a wonderful day, today.

      ~Lavanna

  24. Posted January 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh! Gorgeous! What a gift you have. I could stare at your work all day.

  25. Posted February 12, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I love the tension in this particular painting. The sense of movement, although she is still – and that is reinforced by the calming quality of the left portion of the composition. Delicious.


One Trackback

  1. By Gorillas drinking coffee. « Artistic License on January 19, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    […] involved style of Guerrila art in the form of the work presented on Lavanna Martin’s blog: http://lavanna.com/2010/01/18/conducting-business-at-epoch-coffee/ the earlier examples of “Guerrila Photography can be found here, or […]

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