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Joanna Dell and Car­oline Hen­nekes hosted water­color painting at Penny’s coffee shop. Col­legian | Alexis Daniels

Have you ever painted with coffee?

On Sat­urday, Oct. 19, several Hillsdale stu­dents gathered at Penny’s coffee shop in New Dorm to do just that.

The event, called “Water­color with Jo and Caro,” went on for at least an hour on Sat­urday, pre­pared and set up by junior Car­oline Hen­nekes and senior Joanna Dell as a way to relax.

“It’s a very relaxed time to kind of exper­iment,” Dell said. “Water­color is very exper­i­mental. Some­times it goes well, some­times it doesn’t, but that’s the beauty of it.”

Hen­nekes said water­color is a perfect medium for having fun.

“It’s very messy, and I think life’s messy. We were talking even before coming here about how nice it is to do a medium that is so messy. It doesn’t have to be perfect,” she said. “Some other mediums are very precise, so some­times it’s very stressful but it’s nice to feel more relaxed.”

Each student who reserved a spot for the event was given a sheet of sketch paper, paint­brushes, a water­color palette, and three cups of espresso – light, medium, and dark roast. The goal was to paint some­thing autumn-themed using the water­colors and the espresso.

Sophomore Ruth Moreno, who painted a road under autumn trees, said the espresso made things inter­esting because once it dried, its lines were darker and more defined than usual water­color.

“It would almost leave lines,” she said. “So if you put a spot of the coffee down, it creates more of a line around the edges, which kind of was good and bad.”

Despite having to smudge out some coffee to downplay the strength, Moreno said it worked well.

“I was really happy with how the coffee turned out,” she said. “It basi­cally looked exactly like the paint, which made it really cool because it just blends right in and instead of having to mix the color with the water, you have the color there already.”

Freshman Hallie Scott said she has never been an artist, but she loves cre­ating art and went to the event to de-stress from her homework. She said she loved the idea of painting with coffee. 

“They had one with a lot of grounds in it so it adds texture to the paint, so I think it’s fun,” Scott said. “And it’s weird how ther­a­peutic it is. You wouldn’t think it would be ther­a­peutic but I was really stressed before and now I’m really calm.”

Hen­nekes and Dell said they hope the event not only gave people a break but also encouraged them to look at the world in a dif­ferent way for a while.

“It is when you have to start to look at some­thing and actually look at it to paint it or draw it, that you start to see what it actually is and how intricate it is,” Hen­nekes said. “It just opens your eyes to things.”