Four years ago, Steve Bewsher put down his brushes and palette knife in favor of a coffee-shop branded plastic rectangle.

Since then, the 54-year-old has painted over 200 colorful city scenes using his flexible friend, admitting he regularly stops off at the Costa Coffee branch in well-to-do Cheshire village Alderley Edge to stock up on his unusual tool of the trade.

Steve is represented by Gateway Gallery in Hale, Greater Manchester, UK, where his work sells for up to £2,000.

He says: “I was painting demolition scenes near my home in Macclesfield and became frustrated with my palette knife as the blade wasn’t long enough to create the effect I wanted”.

“Searching through my bag for an alternative, I happened upon an expired gift card and to my surprise, it did the trick, helping me to apply and move around the thick, angular layers of paint that I like to work with.”

Opportunistic Steve then tested out a variety of pilfered plastic loyalty cards, including Cafe Nero’s and Starbucks’. But once he tried the Costa version he was hooked.

“There’s just something about it,” he said. “It’s slightly thinner and more bendy than the others”.

“It gives a random, smeared look to the paint, which I really like, and It’s just the right width and you can get nice sharp edges.”

Moreover, he laughs, “it’s free, and it’s not often you get free painting tools.”

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Steve Bewsher paints with a coffee shop loyalty card

Market Street Shoppers, Steve Bewsher

Construction at Tib Street, Steve Bewsher

A New Skyline, Steve Bewsher

Approaching Storm, Steve Bewsher

Tib Street, Manchester, Steve Bewsher