Caffeinated Critters

by Melissa Bruglemans-LaBelle

Gallery Two
April 28
- May 22, 2022

Artist Statement by Melissa Bruglemans-LaBelle

For me, coffee has become a much more sentimental component of my life. More than I ever intended. I am constantly asked how much coffee I drink and I am often greeted with concern or fascination. I’m considered to be a “rookie” as far as avid coffee drinkers go. I only started drinking coffee a few months after my second son was born. I was a burnt out mother of two extremely active boys who were a mere 17 months in age apart. At first, it was the glue that kept me together never did I realize it would morph into something more.

For many people, coffee is merely seen as a vehicle for caffeine – a way to wake up in the mornings or stay awake at night. This is where I have to strongly disagree because coffee is so much more than just a caffeine dose. Coffee has a history – it commands nostalgia and prompts memories of all those who have indulged before us. It functions as a comforting gateway into meaningful conversation and gatherings. It lovingly involves all your senses and makes incredible artwork.

It’s now been over five years since I began painting with coffee in 2017. I’m constantly amazed by what this unconventional medium can do and I’m still confronted by new challenges. I still battle with my need for perfection and learning except that which I could not completely control. Despite those struggles I feel like I’m constantly moving closer to something brilliant. I’ve now learnt to walk now it’s time I learn to run.


Artist Biography

From the time Melissa could hold a pencil she was creating art. In 2002 Melissa received her first BA from the University of Alberta (Augustana Campus) for Studio Art with a minor in Art History.  In 2006 she received her second BFA from Alberta College of Art and Design. 

The majority of Melissa’s works focuses on painting, drawing and mixed media which have been on display both nationally and internationally. Her work is characterized as being thoughtful towards emotion and feeling of movement. Melissa’s current passion for painting with coffee allows her to tap into the warmth and fluidity of the medium along with her subject matter. 

Melissa’s most recent accomplishment was placing 3rd in a National Art competition for 2021 called Faces of Canadian Healthcare through HealthPro Canada. This aided in raising both money and awareness for the Airdrie Health Foundation. In 2020 her work along with a select group of artists were featured at the Studio 52 Projects Annual Art Show. In February 2020 Studio 52 and its art show was chosen to be part of the 2020 Alberta Winter Games as Arts and Culture Representatives for Airdrie, Alberta. 2018 was an extremely busy year for Melissa as she sold 100 Limited Edition Coffee Prints of the late Gord Downie raising well over $750.00 for the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. Her work was also accepted as part of the Western Showcase Art Gallery at the 2018 Calgary Stampede. Melissa also had a small piece chosen and permanently placed in Luciano Benetton’s: Imago Mundi Art Collection located in Venice, Italy.

She currently lives in Airdrie as a wife and mother of two young, very active boys while running a small art business named Touch of Paint Advertising. Here she creates pieces for her clients which are used for both commercial and residential purposes. 

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