Cafe Conversations

I was recently in Vancouver visiting my daughter Jenn and her beautiful family for a couple of weeks. Love. While I was there my other daughter Katie joined us from Calgary with her baby Henry. So perfect. The time in BC was low key. Exactly what we all seem to need at the time. Enter cafes and coffee shops.

Cafe Conversations by Helen Shideler

When in Vancouver

Coffee Shops and Cafes are a big part of the culture on the west coast. And Jenn and I had the opportunity to go to Savary Island Pie Company one drizzly day. I was completely taken in by the coziness of the place and the lighting in the cafe and snapped a few photos. No secret, I really love watching people - especially in cafes. They get so engrossed in their conversations. I try to imagine what they may be talking about and often thought it would make a great series of short stories. (I’m really going to do this)

Really snuck a few photos

I saw snuck as the customers really were engrossed in their conversations had no idea that I was taking their photos. Honestly, at the time, I did not think about it. I just loved the atmosphere.

A few more photos

And of course when visiting with family, one must take as many photos as they will tolerate. Right?

When I arrived back home and started to revisit my photos, the interior of the cafe really stuck out to me. And i knew I was going to paint it . Only -

Only I remembered a situation from my past whereby a restaurant was filming for a TV commercial and the place was full of customers. One couple in particular became very agitated and started to loudly complain about the filming. Apparently they were ahem, having an inappropriate rendezvous and for some reason did not want to be filmed. They were really bashful for some reason?

Lesson well learned

Whenever possible I ask permission to paint the people I photograph unless they are part of a crowd in a public place. The alternative is to alter their appearance so they would not recognize themselves. or…

What’s a painter to do?

Remember all those family photos? I figured that I should be able to swap out the people in the cafe with images of my daughters. I mean, why not add an additional layer of complexity to my work. And of course my daughters would not mind. Right?

And it worked out ok, they are both still speaking to me!!!

Until next time, cheers