Coffee Chocolate And Herbs - Abstract Paintings

I was recently invited to help decorating a new cafe in Portland, OR. 
When back in 2012, I showed six of my realistic and semi-realistic paintings in Coco Cafe in San Francisco, the owners of the cafe loved my work so much that they asked if they can purchase all the paintings from me to keep them in the cafe (here is an article about it: When Paris Comes To San Francisco ) . That is how my art is now permanently showing in San Francisco. You can say it was easy: I had art, customer liked it, they bought it.

In Portland the situation was quite new to me. I was asked to help to decorate absolutely new cafe from scratch. And on a top of it, there are some challenges along the way for me as an artist, which I certainly embrace and love. 

First of all, the cafe in Portland is unusual. It is cafe that will be serving Kosher Chocolate with healing herbs (extracts) , coffee, and herbal teas. 
Second challenge, I had to use materials that I already have on hand, as the manager of the cafe is trying to make a statement and have as little footprint on Earth as possible. Besides new production equipment and materials, everything else is thought to be either reclaimed, repurposed, or made of recycled materials. It is going to be filled with cute interesting finds.Which is a super great idea.

 And I jumped into the project without hesitation. 

We've met with general manager of the cafe, Drea Shelepova, and discussed the concept, materials, and ideas. It took us a few hours to come up to the conclusion on what we can accomplish for the decor. 
First, we exercised an idea on Art Nouveau . We thought the murals with elements of this style will be looking good on the walls. However, the execution of the idea was very pricey and permanent walls' art would not allow enough space for the activity and events board. 
Finally, we came up with a fresh idea to make abstract art that would resemble Chocolate and Herbs, e.g. rich brown color would be played against warm muted green as "herb" statement. 

With excitement and the feel of a great beginning we started drafting:

I had some high quality acrylic paint in my possession for more than a year (it was used for some other project, but I had plenty left-overs), and I also had a few art boards and stretched canvases that were never used as I painted primarily in watercolor and on paper. I've received those blank canvases long time ago as a gift. So the idea about reclaiming and recycling was pretty closely reached. I was glad that my stash of forgotten art supplies will meet my creativity soon. 

I've painted multiple samples and we agreed on the conceptual designs:

Another challenge for me was the sizes of the pieces. The art was supposed to be larger than my usual watercolor art. It was to be painted in acrylic. And I needed to paint abstract with a thought of organically incorporating herbs and chocolate elements. 

When painting abstract it is important to remember about the composition. And it probably seems at a glance that abstract is easy to accomplish, but I would say it is quite contrary, abstract art needs to be thought through from very beginning when artist applies the paint and carried though the very end when the last brush stroke is completed. 

Besides, painting in acrylic requires quick application as this paint dries very fast. 

But it appears that my excitement was transformed to the canvases and I had a feeling that the paint pretty much painted itself:

At the end of painting big, I had to make a few little adjustments to keep the edges clean and neat:

I can't wait to see how the painting will look on the walls of this new cafe!!!

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