Thursday, March 12, 2020

Painting with Tea with Alexis St. John at Phoenix Tea

On August 10th, Phoenix Tea hosted a Painting with Tea workshop presented by local artist and illustrator, Alexis St. John.  Alexis has experimented with tea as a painting medium for some time and was kind enough to share her experience through this workshop.

We were were provided with all the tools we would need including paint brushes, paper, tea paints (Oolong, Lipton Black Tea, Hibiscus, and Puerh), and clever wooden brushes carved from tomato stakes that would become my favorite tool for this workshop.  Phoenix Tea provided artistic fuel with endless cups of excellent tea.

We were encouraged to paint whatever came to mind, from samplers and doodles to full-page washes and freeform art.  Alexis has found that gum arabic is an effective thickener while cornstarch tended to make the tea pasty and pale.  Matcha mixed into the Hibiscus added a thicker texture and a fair amount of opacity.  Hot press paper retained much of the depth of color with minimal spread while the teas tended to spread, fade, and change color almost immediately on other paper.

[A tea sampler created by Alexis using the same tools from the workshop]

After the event, we each took home a recipe for black tea ink, a wooden brush, and our tea masterpieces.

[A tea blogger's first attempt at painting with tea]

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