What is common between people, coffee beans, personal stories and art? The answer is Common Ground, the so-named exhibition that opened last Friday.
Local artist Lauren Daae created a series of artworks, in which she brought all of the above together, telling people’s stories through their intense and touching portraits painted with coffee. Daae’s first-ever reception was held at Art Concepts Custom Framing.
Gallery co-owner Byron Fichter, introducing the artist, pointed out that Daae not only has an undeniable talent, but she also has found her niche that makes her stand out in the world of art, which nowadays often is one of the most difficult parts for many artists.
“That one connecting liquid,” coffee, as she called it, that makes her art work so different from everybody else, became Daae’s favourite medium as a result of a routine coincidence.
“It’s not the most romantic story it could be. I wish it was more profound,” said Daae, who has a background in digital painting, but always wanted to actually hold a brush and use more textile.
“I have four little kids and it’s really difficult to have paint around. I was pulling out what I had in my art supplies and I had just dried up tubes of paint. And I had seen a lady on Pinterest that had stained with the bottom of her coffee cup a large mural out of circles from her coffee cup. I had seen that and I knew coffee could somehow work,” said Daae.
Her first experiments involved instant coffee, but as she progressed she switched to brewed ones. Further into the process she also realized that it works the best when she let it boil for a long time until almost all the liquid is gone and then paints with coffee grounds.
Now coffee art takes up most of Daae’s time. She doesn’t want to say that she wouldn’t touch digital anymore, but lately, she’s been mainly working with coffee and also experimenting with watercolours.
To create the series Daae used three different brands of coffee including Tim Hortons and various blends.
To create every piece she has to first prime the canvas, and after the work is done and dry, she covers it with the finishing layers to ensure the longevity of her art.
In her first series, she focused on people who meant a lot to her and inspired her in life and the connections between people.
“Looking at the way our world is these days, just the importance of genuine relationships and people taking time for one another, that was really pressing to me,” said Daae. “For all of these pieces it was just a joy for me to have the time to reflect on each person.”
Most of portraits are Daae’s family members, but a few were people she knew of and whose stories changed something for her. For example, the portrait called 86 Years depicts the man she’s never met.
“He was a bachelor that lived near my family years ago. He died before I was born. He captured my attention because this bachelor guy was just a quirky character. I don’t know, for some reason it almost hurt my heart. There were just two very low-quality pictures of this man, and that’s it. And that’s all that exists. He had no family… It just struck me,” recalled Daae.
Her family knew that man really well, and her grandpa had a lot of stories about him, so the portrait she painted had some symbolism in it.
Works she created were coming to her one by one. Daae plans to continue adding more pieces to the collection exhibited at the gallery.
“I do plan to continue this series. This is certainly not every person that I wish to paint,” said Daae.
She also said that she will share her secrets and technique at the master-class that will take place Nov. 16 at Art Concepts Custom Framing.