Saturday, October 31, 2015


'susan edwards' ~ watercolors, acrylic paint, gouache, colored pencil and oil pastel on teabag

last january i was asked by the documented life project to be a featured artist at the end of october.  it seemed so far away at the time!  interestingly enough, i started painting on teabags again in early october, which fits right in with the theme for the month, 'translucent papers'.   i'm gonna share a project that uses teabags to make prints.  since i'm not someone who likes to work with prompts they  created a very broad prompt for the week - 'just create'!


here are the supplies that i used, but  you really don't need more than watercolors and matte medium.

1.  watercolors - this is my big slant well palette which has watercolors in the front section, and gouache in the back.  you don't have to use both - you can use only watercolors, or only gouache.

2.  colored pencils - because they can be helpful on tiny paintings.

3.  white oil pastel - i just like using it on faces.

4.  white gouache - white watercolor will work as well.

5.  blending stump - for spreading the oil pastel around.

6.  liquid matte medium


the  brushes that i used for painting...  if you're going to use white oil pastel, don't use your good brushes - the oil pastel will wreck them.

what we're going to do is paint on a teabag and make a print from it.   it's easy and there are no rules...  you could use water soluble oil pastels or caran d'ache neocolor II crayons instead of watercolors!


any kind of empty tea bag will work; i'll use two kinds - one that unfolds, and one that doesn't.  i'll start with one that doesn't.  i like to use teabags that have already been used, but you could empty the tea from a new bag and proceed!

first i drew the face and shoulders - i dressed him in a jacket and tie.   i used an 8B pencil because it shows up well.  i've found that it's good to keep things simple, partly because you're working on such a small surface, and partly because tiny details are probably not going to show up once you make the print.


here's what the teabag looked like just after i put white oil pastel on his face.  for places i couldn't get to with oil pastel and a blending stump, i used a white colored pencil - i like prismacolors because they're soft.


if you're not familiar with using watercolors and oil pastels together on faces, here's how i do it.  and, you don't have to use white oil pastel for the skin - you can use only watercolors, or watercolors and gouache. i just like the effect of white oil pastel and watercolors together.   after i put the white oil pastel down i added watercolors and white gouache.   i have no 'method' for this; i just fool around with watercolors and gouache until i like it.


next i laid the painting face down on a piece of paper.  i used some 100% cotton printmaking paper that i had - you could also put it face down on a page in your journal. 


here i've  squirted liquid matte medium on the back of the teabag, and spread it around/mushed it in (with a 1/2" flat brush) until the teabag is completely saturated with matte medium.  i haven't used matte *gel* medium for this, but i'm pretty sure it would work as well.  

when you're sure that the teabag is saturated with medium, carefully lift it up and lay it on another piece of paper (or on a journal page).  as you'll see, some of the paint from the original will have been transferred to the other piece of paper and you'll have a print.

 i gently pressed the teabag onto another piece of paper - all that matte medium glued it in place.

now let both the teabag and print dry.


this is what the original and the print looked like just after i picked up the teabag...  the original looks like it did before i made the print; you never know!

'james edwards'

after the teabag was dry i added a bit of red watercolor to his lips, and white gouache to his skin to bring back some highlights.  i glued the tag down so it wouldn't flop around.

'james edwards' younger brother'

this is the print after i added more white oil pastel  and gouache to his face, and watercolors here and there.  i just messed around with him until he felt done...


now an example of a teabag that can be opened up...  everything's the same, except opening the sides of the teabag after you paint it.   or you could open the teabag first and then paint it!


after i opened the teabag...


laying face down with matte medium slathered on the back.  i carefully pressed down with the flat brush all over the teabag to make sure the medium had soaked through everywhere.


the original on the left (i pressed it onto a page in my 'daily book') and the print on the right.  the print is on a 4" x 6" piece of paper that i later stuck in my 'pochette', along with james and his younger brother.

'susan edwards'

the teabag/original after i added more oil pastel, watercolors, and colored pencil...  i covered up the hat with ivory acrylic paint because it seemed like she needed a bird on her head instead of a hat.  : )

'jeanette edwards'

the print after i messed around with it.


so you can see more detail...  i put white oil pastel on her skin, and then added watercolors.  i used the black colored pencil to bring a little definition to her eyes...  she's pretty crazy looking, but she seemed to wanna stay that way.

i think my favorite thing about doing this is that it's an easy way to start two paintings, which may or may not end up looking like each other.   somehow the print usually ends up looking like the alter ego of the original.


another teabag painting (on the left) and its print...

i hope you have fun with this!  please feel free to ask questions in the comment section or via email!

* * *

“If I paint my dog exactly as he is, naturally I would have two dogs, but not a work of art.”

 ~ Johann W. Goethe (via tumblr)

62 comments:

  1. This is a project I'm going to have to try! Thank you for sharing your technique. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Replies
    1. donna, i hope you have fun with it!

      xoxo

      Delete
  3. What a wonderful technique! Thank you for sharing it!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. katie, thank you for letting me know you like it!

      xoxo

      Delete
  4. I love this technique! One question about the teabags... are they already used tea-stained bags or did you just open up a new one and dump the tea out?
    Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bobbye, i used bags that were already stained from being used, but you don't have to do that. the staining adds a nice element/another layer, though.

      you're so welcome, and thank *you*. : )

      xoxo

      Delete
  5. This is completely wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're welcome... thank you for telling me you liked it. : )

      xoxo

      Delete
  6. Wonderful post Lynne! I love how comfortable you are with your materials. James Edwards is fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beautiful! I haven't seen this technique before...inspiring. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you, sabrina! i hope you have fun with it!

      xoxo

      Delete
  8. What a wonderful new technique to try and new site to follow. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. mary, you're welcome... thank *you*... : )

      xoxo

      Delete
  9. I haven't seen this technique used with teabags before. What beautiful results. What beautiful artwork!. A feast for the eyes. I will definitely try it out.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A few drops of citronella in a tiny bottle of olive oil makes a REALLY effective insect deterrent. Just be sure to use the skin grade citronella - used as an antiseptic for years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you! i do carry badger balm's 'bug balm' with me, but this is an even simpler solution.

      xoxo

      Delete
  11. What fun, Lynne to get to see the whole process! I love the subtlety of the prints. And the tea bag is such a perfect little format for your delicate work.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh my goodness Lynne...your are rockin' the tutorial today! Thank you SO much for your sharing spirit!

    Susan Edwards...she is very special. But so is James.

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. you are such a wonderful teacher!
    thank you for sharing how you did these.
    the originals are wonderful and then the print and final touch-ups are awesome to see with the original. Very cool. I think the prints make me feel like i am going back in time, old images. love the quote at the end too.
    lovely Samhain to you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This technique is lovely and new to me. Will have to try it!..........Question, can you use water soluble oil pastels?...........I've used text wove paper for calligraphy and paste paper and it's great.

    Thanks so much. Love your delicate work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sue, you're wecome! thank *you* for your kind words!

      water soluble oil pastels will work, although you'll get different results depending on whether or not you wet the oil pastel before you make the print.

      text wove is great to make the print on. : )

      xoxo

      Delete
  15. Wow! These are fabulous! What a great technique. Thanks so very much.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love this! And you did such a nice job of explaining....thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kristin, thank you.... i wasn't sure if i made everything clear or not. : )

      xoxo

      Delete
  17. So cool. I really love how this turned out. You have inspired me! Off to make some tea and art.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. jennifer, nothing can make me happier than having inspired someone!

      happy painting... : )

      xoxo

      Delete
  18. WOW! I was going to have some tea this afternoon anyway. Now I'll save the bag so I can give this project a try. Beautiful work with an other-worldly feel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hee! yes, after you drink your tea you'll have the beginning a new project. : )

      thanks for your nice words, kathleen...

      xoxo

      Delete
  19. Very nice work! love the techniques. What brand is your watercolor palette? I have been looking for something like that. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info! My Sennelier does the same but it's only half the size .. Love this one!

      Delete
  20. I've been waiting for you to surface lol and of course you did but in a surprising way lol great lesson for Art to the 5th and great exposure for you to get the accolades you deserve my friend xxx

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh gee! What a great new-to-me technique. I have tea bags saved up and will give it a go in between big projects. I especially love the last example which shows you left the tea bag closed until just before printing. I'm always interested in the printing/transfering processes.

    ReplyDelete
  22. These are totally awesome Lynne. You wee paintings are such a delight. I will have to give it a go and see what happens. Thanks for sharing a really cool technique.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Ah so wonderful to see your post again! I have been playing with teabags and the transfers as well so I really enjoyed seeing yours! You always make my muse smile and me too!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you so much for being our featured artist this week, Lynne! I love what you created and shared so generously with everyone. Your art is ethereal - I just know it all comes from a beautiful place of peace!

    ReplyDelete
  25. So very cool Lynne, I hope to give this a go soon!
    Love your lil figures and faces!
    warmly,
    Jackie
    http://www.creatingwithoutcrayons-jackiepneal.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you, jackie!

      i hope you give it a go and have a great time with it!

      xoxo

      Delete
  26. Lynn, Thank you for this study on how to do these lovely prints! I love both of the images
    and I love them all. Susan is in my heart though. Love and hugs. xoxo Annie

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hey Gurl - These little prints are so beautiful! I want to try this technique right away! Also the clouds above Susan Edwards are really lovel - and now I want to paint clouds too! haha
    xolivia

    ReplyDelete
  28. Fascinating post. chock-a-bloc full of great information written so clearly. thank you. I am looking forward to trying this but I know that no-one can match the special look of yours. Every single one is fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  29. your turn...........love, love, love... all of it, so wonderful and imaginative... muah!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Lynne, thank you for sharing this very unique printmaking method, and all the other wonderful info. I especially love the little boy's face, and I agree that a bird hat is perfect for the girl. xox

    ReplyDelete
  31. Beautifully done and so lovingly shared! Thank you Lynne - I love working on tea bags, and hopefully can try your method sometime soon - although the creative muse seems to be whirly me around in many directions lately! I love all of these pieces, but especially love seeing the original beside the print - so similar and yet so different. Beautifully done - as always!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hey Lynne! I just wanted to thank you for joining us as a DLP featured artist! I was so excited when you said yes as I am a big fan. You are such an inspiration and your take on the challenge is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing this with all our participants...it is very generous of you. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hey roben-marie! you're welcome! i'm happy that others *liked* this technique! when i got a lot of positive responses on the morning i posted it, i was smiling... : )

      i wish you a happy early winter, and thank you for your nice words...

      xoxo

      Delete
  33. Ohhhh I love how that first print looks like a polaroid transfer. Xx

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh Lynne! I had to revisit this because it made me so happy the first time. I was sad to see my first comment didn't post but that's OK, I was just meant to come back again. Your work makes me so happy. It truly puts a spring in my soul. Thank you so much for sharing. I was honored to have you as a featured artist! Hugs ! Xx Rae

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a very creative and wonderful idea Lynne! I love the end product, it has such an ethereal quality to it. The texture of the teabag paper is lovely, you're so clever! xx

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thank you, Lynn, you have inspired so many of us ... including me. Seriously, I have so many used tea bags, maybe at least a hundred. I have used a couple of them in some drawings. I can't wait to use your transfer technique. Oh, I can't express how much I love you naming your precious subjects. Thanks again and keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  38. fascinating post and process ... beautiful results too

    ReplyDelete
  39. I love this Lynne will give it a try in the new year.. A bit crazy with Christmas at the moment..

    Happy Christmas and all good wishes for the new year to you.x

    ReplyDelete
  40. Oh oh oh my GOD Lynne! There are no words. This work makes me squeal. I love what you do! Greetings to you and I thought about the fern 'tree' earlier this year and wondered if you two had a visit with each other. Bless, Norma, x

    ReplyDelete
  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  42. hey lynne. i figured i'd stalk by and now i'm glad i did (;
    you are still up to totally great shit!

    this is a groovy idea - you have a hell of a knack for taking ordinary things and making them cool.

    xo,
    a

    ReplyDelete
  43. I have only recently discovered your blog and I am so glad as I think your work is lovely.
    I especially like these tea bag paintings and I have been having an enjoyable few hours this afternoon having a go.I really like how the print has a mottled finish like a wall painting from Pompeii or an old church.
    I had some interfacing scraps and a few tumble drier sheets that I had painted gesso on with the intention of painting on them so I had a go with this technique on them and they worked quite well...especially the drier sheet which gave in addition an interesting blobby texture.I also used Inktense blocks to paint with and they totally worked.I also used a soft gel semi-gloss medium which was kicking around and that worked too.
    Thank you for pointing me towards a new addiction!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Oh my word, I love Susan Edwards, used to go to school with a girl with the same name.. Sweet memories..

    ReplyDelete
  45. Oh my word, I love Susan Edwards, used to go to school with a girl with the same name.. Sweet memories..

    ReplyDelete