CoffeeScapes – n. A word I made up to describe the landscapes I see (and paint) inside an Armenian coffee cup

Have you ever had a beautiful, fragrant cup of Armenian coffee, drank it down to the  dregs in the bottom of the cup and then flipped it over, turning it clockwise with the intent of having your fortune read – or just seeing what the inside of the cup held for you?  If you have, then you know about the beautiful landscapes that are created by the coffee as it flows slowly down the sides of the inverted cup.  Each cup holds a different treasure of positive and negative design.  And that is exactly what inspired me over 25 years ago to paint coffeescapes using Armenian coffee as my medium.

Let me backtrack a bit.  My name is Anush, and I am a 3x cancer survivor.  Seriously.  My first diagnosis of breast cancer was when I was only 34.  We didn’t have breast cancer in our family.  It just snuck up on me.  It was devastating and scary, especially since we had no health insurance and had two young children.  But this is not a post on my cancer struggles, but about my art.  I had surgery, and while I was recuperating my sister would come over every afternoon to visit me on her way home from work.  I would make us both a cup of Armenian coffee, and we would sit and talk, flip the cups, and my sister – who likes to read the cups – would explain the mean of the lines in my cup.  That’s where it all started.  Coffeescapes.

It was during one of these visits that I saw the cup as more than just “a fortune”.  I saw it as a whole beautiful and unique work of art.  And this is when I decided that I wanted to reproduce the design on canvas….only exploded many times.   I was so excited to do this.  I asked my husband if he would pick up wood for me to build a canvas.  I bought canvas and a staple gun, a backsaw and a mitre box, did my math calculations and came up with a 10x exploded view of the cup.  My original Coffeescape painting is 6’ x 18” (the 18” dimension allowed for some of the bottom of the cup as well).  And I didn’t want to paint just any cup, but one that was filled with a positive message.  A couple weeks into our coffee drinking/reading journey my sister read a beautiful cup.  One filled with angels and hope.  This was the cup I would paint.

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I set about creating a permanent pigment out of Armenian coffee and painted away.  I hung it up in our dining room and that’s pretty much all that became of that canvas, other than good conversation with friends over dinners at the house.  But it started an idea brewing in my head.  Someday I would have an art show where I would feature coffeescapes.  We would even have the opportunity for attendees to drink a cup of Armenian coffee and order a custom canvas of their cup.

Well, it finally happened.  It took about 25 years for the dream to become a reality, but just last month, (January 18-31, 2018) my show, Coffeescapes: From Cup to Canvas – The Unique Art of Anush Movsesian Avejic opened at Roslin Gallery in Glendale.  The show featured 26 works of art.  Coffeescapes as well as other painting using Armenian coffee as the medium along with some of my illustrations.

It was my very first showing of my work.  It was a dream come true for me.  We opened with a wine and cheese reception, and the closing featured an Armenian coffee reception where patrons drank a cup, had a reading done, and ordered their custom canvas!

Here are some of my pieces.  If you are interested in purchasing or a custom canvas, please email me at anush@essentiallyanush.com

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This is a double canvas set called “Coffee with Laura”.  It is a memorial to my dear friend Laura, whom I lost last year and the thousands of cups of coffee we shared over a lifetime of friendship.  I drank 2 cups of Armenian coffee…the top one intentionally for me and the bottom for Laura.  The canvases parallel a strong bond between two women.  Both have a wishbone, mine is intact, but Laura’s is broken.  This set is for sale.

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“Ride the Wave” (above) – SOLD – New friendships are forming.  Be wary of an older woman who is posing as a friend.  You are coming to terms with a past relationship and its sad ending.  Open your heart to new relationship and new beginnings.  There are many ups and downs on your journey.  Ride the waves and they will see you through.

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The canvas is titled “Inner Strength”.  The receiver is a strong woman, set in her ways.  She is trying to bring about change in her career.  In order to do so, she must put her priorities in the right place – which isn’t the current situation.  In order to succeed she must do something very difficult for her:  swallow her pride and allow her friends to help her.

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“A Blessed Change” (above) shows a couple coming together to discuss a direct change in their journey through life together.  They have the opportunity to make a 180 degree change from their current situation.  Reliance on friends is key to lead to their success.  Prosperity is there shown as a tower of birds which signify good luck and victory over challenge.  The presence of the number seven brings an extra blessing.

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“Believe in Love” (above) shows feelings of isolation and loneliness.  The receiver of the reading is standing tall, as a woman, her arms crossed over her chest protecting her heart.  There are opportunities to love again, but she is not ready.  Faith, introspection, and spirituality are needed to achieve openness.

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“Opportunities” (above) – SOLD – is the title of the above canvas. Reading: There are many opportunity, but you are creating roadblocks. While you have a great capacity to love and an open heart, be protective of your heart. There are many opportunities on many different paths. Trust your heart and follow your dreams. You can be your own worst enemy or your own best friend.

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“Soorj”. Armenian coffee painting on canvas – SOLD

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“God is Infinite” – Armenian Coffee on Canvas – SOLD

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“Aghavnie (dove) with Pomegranate – Armenian coffee on Canvas – SOLD

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“Through the Pomegranate Tree” – Armenian Coffee on Canvas – SOLD

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“In the Garden” – Acrylic paint and Armenian coffee on Canvas – SOLD

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“Pomegranate Peace” Acrylic paint and Armenian coffee on Canvas

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“Pomegranate Shadows” – pen and ink and prismacolor pencil illustration

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“ZenPom” – pen and ink with prismacolor pencil – SOLD

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“Wish for Peace” – pen and ink and Prismacolor Pencil

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“Forget Me Never” – pen and ink and Prismacolor pencil

 

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I Paint With Armenian Coffee

If you’ve ever experienced drinking a small cup of Armenian coffee, you know that it packs a punch.  We pulverize/powder our coffee beans.  Even the “espresso” or “Turkish coffee” setting on the Trader Joe’s grinder isn’t fine enough.   I have found that it creates a beautiful and rich pigment that I love painting with.   What sparked my interest in painting with coffee happened years ago with a diagnosis of breast cancer and recovery.  But that story will happen when I show you my coffee landscapes.  But for today, I’m happy that I finished up four of my 12” x 12” paintings.  This is a final photo as I’m packing and storing them til my show in January.

8F08A156-00F5-460E-9E04-5ABBF3870A36I have the two coffee cup paintings…one says “Soorj” written in Armenian, and the other “coffee”.  The peace dove with pomegranate and the Armenian infinity symbol within a pomegranate.   I have this thing for pomegranates, which are not only the symbol for my Armenian culture but is also symbolic of abundance, prosperity, creativity and fertility.    To see some of my metal silver and copper pomegranate jewelry, please visit my shop at www.pomegranateandeye.etsy.com

Seven Months Later…

Unbelieveable how quickly time flies.  Here we are rounding the corner into the new year.  It’s December and two weeks until Christmas.  I last posted about taking this giant leap of faith in myself.  I said goodbye to my job of 14 years and took the jump. Both feet.  No looking back.  No more steady income.  Poof!  Finito!  And since that initial jump, seven months have flown by.

It’s been a productive seven months.  I started painting a series of paintings using Armenian coffee and recreating the landscapes that are the “fortune” in the cup.  These abstracts are 1’ x  3’ (exploded view 5x the cup dimension) and still hold the reading of the drinker of the coffee.  And then this lead to the painting other subject matter with coffee and doing smaller canvases.

I have wanted to create my own line of blank greeting cards, and that has also come to light in these past seven months.  I’m in love with pomegranates and so I created a 6 card pomegranate assortment from my illustrations…kind of like a “pom for all seasons” pack.

The most exciting thing that’s happened is that I’m going to have a show!  Roslin Gallery in Glendale is going to show my works in January, so I’m kind of in the home stretch as I’m dealing with both Christmas coming and producing work for my show.    Having a gallery interested in showing my works has been super validating and everyone needs a little validating, right?  I’ll have a collection of my works at the show:  coffee abstracts as well as subject paintings; pen and ink and colored pencil illustrations as well as my silver and copper jewelry.

Here are some of my pieces that have happened over these past seven months:

 

And finally, one of the reasons I haven’t posted in so long is that I was hoping to develop my website but it just hasn’t happened yet.  I was under construction for a long time and one evening, whilst at a Holiday event I was discussing my site (or lack of one) with a friend and he said, “Well, maybe you don’t need that right now.  Maybe all you need is your blog and to have it point to your etsy shop.”  And it was like an ah-ha moment.  He was so right.  Why complicate things.  And so here I am.

I don’t have my artwork on my site because I am getting ready for the show in January.  However, I am available for custom work.  My greeting cards are on my site along with my handmade jewelry.  Please pay me a visit:  www.pomegranateandeye.etsy.com

It feels good to be back here.  I hope to keep it regular.