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Coffee paintings by Karen Eland


Painting a cup of coffee or a mug is an artform. But what if coffee itself was the painting medium?

If we asked a physicist to discuss “color”, he would tell us about electrical impulses, wavelengths, combinations of frequencies of the visible spectrum and such aspects but we will talk about it in the simpler and more tangible sense.

Take for example a magnificent blue: cobalt blue – which has had a brilliant career – starting from the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (1361-52 BC) where a bottle painted with this substance was found on the windows of the cathedrals, as in Saint-Denis outside Paris or the porcelain of the Chinese Ming Dynasty.

But here, we will refer to another substance: the “humble” coffee bean, the one that creates a wonderful shade of coffee-ochre and can impart an artistic visuality beyond its delightful taste!

Karen Eland is an artist who discovered her penchant for painting from a school age, when she was 14 years old. In the years to come, it soon became a ritual to paint portraits in a New Orlean’s coffeehouse while drinking black coffee with a little nutmeg sprinkled on top.

Eventually, she was drawn to the rich color of the espresso and feeling inspired, she just dipped a brush into her coffee cup. According to her website:

“The happy results sparked a new art form, and she explored the potential of coffee as paint by recreating famous masterpieces such as her Mona Latte, eventually working from her own photos and ideas as well.”

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