“Keep playing with your food and drinks- you never know what you’ll discover!”
Karen Eland aka the Beer Painter is an Oklahoma born, Bend Oregon resident who takes the term “playing with your food,” to new, artistic heights.
Although Karen says that having taken a few art classes at the age of 15 got her solidly interested in the world of art, she didn’t begin working with beer until four years ago.
The monochromatic nature of either coffee or beer painting is somehow both soothing and challenging to me. I really do find the shades of brown beautiful and the fact that it’s a drinkable medium appeals to my whimsical side.
Don’t think Beer Painter is limited to just tasty craft beers and rich urban coffees she also works with spices, tea, wine, and some liquors. If it is drinkable, she can paint with it!
It was an easy leap from doing coffee art to beer art being surrounded by so many quality brewers.
Karen views the brewing world with love and appreciation for the artisanship that is required in making our beloved brews:
I want to create more art to highlight the level of art that goes into making a delicious beer, whether it’s individual ingredients or the procedures and chemistry.be
Karen is currently a certified beer geek who is not only is a hop loving Chainbreaker drinker but admits that her early beer interest was next to zip due to the distasteful taste of mainstream lager. That is until she tried McMenamins Terminator Stout:
and a whole new world opened up. It’s not my favorite anymore but I like the path it set me on.
Also, like most beer geeks, Karen isn’t able to choose just one beer that she loves the most, but does state that for the moment she would perhaps prefer something along lines of a bourdon-barrel aged dark beer. Maybe Three Floyd’s Dark Lord, Deschutes’s Black Butte XXV or, in fantasy rich and lucky land, Samuel Adam’s Utopias.
Karen could then take on of the world’s mots expensive beers and make one of the world’s most expensive beer paintings: a bottle of Utopia goes for about $190. The important question is rather or not you’d be able to use such a fantastic and rare beer for art instead of lip smacking consumption?
How Beer Painter Paints
After drawing the sketch, I erase most of the pencil so it doesn’t blur. Then I build many layers, usually from light (water mixed in) shades to the darkest. It’s on absorbent watercolor paper called Arches, which has been made in France since 1492!
Score another point for France’s bull headed determination to keep old traditions alive- super absorbent watercolor paper? Yeah, we do that. We do that the best and we’ve been doing it since before America was a country. Merci.
Karen states that even though she’s done some huge paintings (including a four panel piece for Worthy Brewing), one of the most difficult pieces with a small commission of a lighthouse:
It was hard to get the right gentle fade of the light into the dark sky. It would have been easy in oil paint to just add the white light over the dark sky, but in beer painting you have to leave the paper showing through for the white parts.
When asked of she was available for personal orders, ya know, a cat portrait done in the new Hello Kitty beer maybe, she not only said yes but also that she had already done a few cat portraits. (Reddit’s cat addiction is seeping into all corners of reality.)
Your inner beer artist
There have been times when I’ve spilled a bit of beer on a napkin and thought- what pretty colors, but spilling drinks does not make one a painter make and Karen has shown just what can be done when you put America’s favorite craft pastime with humanities most prevalent art form.
“And a big thank you to all the craft brewers and supporters! We are all a part of bringing more beauty to this world.” -Karen Eland
Isn’t she a delight!
Check out more from the Beer Painter with this video or on Etsy.com. Prices are extremely reasonable and if someone gets another one of those beer painted cat portraits commissioned, I’d love to see it!
okay, one more