Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? “Spillin’ dat tea!”
It’s really not, although I guess it could be. I’ve decided to try out tea staining my watercolor paper to see what effect it will have on my paintings. I first heard about this technique when I discovered the artist Tea Kitsune (Instagram | Twitter) but didn’t bother experimenting with it until now. Partially because I’ve been busy with “real life” and partly because I’m stuck with deciding where to go with my art. I mean, I love doing my layered paintings but want to push further somehow.
So tea staining isn’t exactly hard, per se, but it does take a bit of time to do. You have to let the paper sit in the tea for a bit so the color soaks in. The longer it soaks, the darker the color can be.
Watercolor paper soaking in tea water
Two pieces of watercolor paper soaking in tea water.
As you can see, the trays I’m using are perfect for two pieces of 8.5in x 5.35in paper but just a tiny bit too small for a 9in x 12in piece. Either way, letting all the water evaporate from the trays leaves some beautiful marks on the paper and I loved using my first two attempts with the smaller paper in paintings.
8.5in by 5.5in on tea stained watercolor paper
Contrails | 8.5in x 5.5in | Tea stained watercolor paper and white gel pen | 2022
(This one let me try out my new white gel pen and it worked BEAUTIULLY!)
“Fox and Butterfly”
8.5in x 5.5in on tea stained watercolor paper
Fox and Butterfly | 8.5in x 5.5in | Tea stained watercolor paper | 2022
I hadn’t planned to do a little forest scene with a fox and a butterfly but there you go. It was a nice change of pace for me to do, actually. I so very rarely do non-abstracts that it’s a nice to do something different.
I’ve also been doing some beginning bookbinding, and completed my first book. It was a wonderful learning experience and there are some steps I’d do differently now that I’ve finished, but overall it turned out great! I’m already starting on a second book, this time with parchment resume paper instead of gridded paper. Here’s the quick little video I did of my first completed book over on Instagram.
So that’s all I’ve been up to lately. I’m having fun making my own faux leather from paper bags to use as eventual covers for the handmade books. It’s enjoyable and somehow soothing to crumple and smooth and work the paper into it looks kinda-sorta vaguely like leather and then use it to create a book cover. I just need to get my workspace organized a bit better so I don’t have things drying in odd places and I’ll be set!
Until next time, be creative!