Three coffee paintings by Shrewsbury artist Lena Jarl-Churm will be raffled by Daily Brews coffee shop to raise money for Hope House
Painting in coffee has been done before - but not in the way that Shrewsbury artist Lena Jarl-Churm does it.
She has developed her own blend, using dark chocolate and the finest roast from Shrewsbury coffee shop Daily Brews to create a medium that is more Mocha than Espresso, but allows her to create complex, moody forests.
Daily Brews CEO Vytis Kiuberis had the idea of asking Lena to paint in coffee to raise money for Hope House, after selecting her to exhibit in his shop during the Shrewsbury Arts Trail
Lena a member of Shrewsbury's Visual Arts Network was initially flummoxed by the idea. She said: "We were discussing which of my watercolours he wanted to choose to exhibit for the Arts Trail - Vytis turned to me with this sparkle in his eye and said 'have you ever painted a coffee painting?'
"I had never done it before but I said I'd give it a try and he gave me some of his own coffee to use. When I got home I thought 'what am I going to do?' I had no idea where to start, so I just decided to go for it. I experimented for two weeks. I had to add some dark chocolate as a thickening agent, to allow mark making.
"We have a lot of forests in Sweden, where I come from. I love working in the Ercall forest by the Wrekin every morning. I can sit there and just breathe in the trees. When I didn't know what I was going to paint, I thought I will just pour out coffee and see where it goes. From there I created the forest with the help of chocolate.
"Fortunately, Vytis loved the paintings. He bought three for the shop and I also did one as a gift for Vytis (the Daily Brews image). I really enjoyed doing it and I will continue with it - I already have a few ideas of how to go ahead. It was very nice to have a chance to do it and to have Vytis believe in me that I could do it."
Lena also painted this image as a gift to Daily Brews for commissioning her to paint in coffee - you can see more of her work at artbylenajarlchurm.com
Vytis said: "Coffee and art are not so far apart - they both bring people together, encourage people to chat, improve our morning and help us find inspiration."
You can't just paint with any old coffee, as Vytis explains: "It's best to use espresso that's been steamed five or more times. It's a challenge as coffee is not real paint so if you need to use a darker colour you have to paint a lot of layers. You can only use paper as a canvas, since traditional canvasses don't soak up the coffee properly. More than 500 espresso shots were used for this project!"
Daily Brews, which opened in 2019, will be selling raffle tickets for the paintings in aid of Hope House from June 10 to July 10. Tickets are £5 each for a chance of winning one of the three paintings.
You can see Lena's artworks at the Daily Brews coffee shop at 24 The Square, Shrewsbury.