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Fancy a cuppa? The art of the teabag

I love a good cuppa and I am the first to admit that I am a rather fussy tea drinker. I insist on it being strong but not stewed, the bag stirred not squeezed and a dedicated timer ensures a consistent 2 minutes brew. And then there’s the milk! Only a little, too much and I can’t drink it. Well I did say I was fussy!

I follow my Granny and her love of a lovely strong cup, unlike my one of my Aunties who unbelievably reuses her tea bags, as she likes the faintest of cups. Sacrilege!

This week however, I was inspired by an artist who also reuses her tea bags, but in the the name of art it’s perfectly permissible.

It’s an older post but Becca from Patina Moon has created beautiful watercolour miniatures on used teabags. I was really taken with using the teabag paper as a background to paint and print on, the colour and texture adding a unique effect to her work

Another artist who uses tea bags as her canvas is Ruby Silvious whose project 363 Days of Tea, records her daily impressions in beautiful and quirky, miniature paintings and collages.

As much as I admire these beautiful, tiny pieces of art, however I know now that working small is not for me. For years I would carry my little watercolour box and postcard paper on holiday with me with a view to relaxing under a tree, or beside a lake and capturing my memories in paint. However, it was far from relaxing as every time I was left feeling frustrated and thoroughly dissapointed with my efforts. Needless to say, when I returned home the paints would be shelved until the following year, along with any aspiration to become a working artist.

I knew I wasn't born an artistic genius, but I also knew that many great artists were self taught. But that’s the point. Successful self-taught artists teach themselves through rigorous experimentation, relentless research and repetition. It took a while but since this dawned on me I have been developing a regular practice, spending too many hours to count on reviewing artists and their techniques and most importantly turning up, trying it out and giving it a go.

Little worth having is gained without hard work, whatever line of work you’re in. It’s this hard work that is slowly revealing to me what kind of art I love to create and what kind of artist I am.

So now when I paint my memories, they are not neat watercolours. They are energetic, gestural and expressive paintings. The frustration has not gone, but it is kept in its place by the knowledge that I can work through it, move forward and if it all gets too much, take a break and make myself a brew!

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