Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Ancient Art of Painting with Coffee (or Tea)

A new LinkedIn Group said “for coffee painters only.” I couldn’t resist. “What is coffee painting?” I asked. One question led to another; and before I knew it, I was hooked!
From India -- Coffee Paintings By Amita & Mira Chudasama

This environmentally safe medium which sounds cutting edge and modern is actually as old as time itself. First used in China, Thailand, and India, coffee and tea as a painting medium has been around for centuries. 

It’s safe, inexpensive and extremely versatile creating wonderful textures and values. But from what I’ve learned, it’s not as easy as it sounds. For enduring quality, the mixture must have the right amounts of coffee or tea, and water. One painter added a few squirts of Elmer’s Glue for consistency and permanency.

The beauty of it all is it gives the artist an opportunity to experiment and to be creative. Used with charcoal, pencil or ink, the results are simply amazing!

My favorite artist uses tea to create wonderful characters that charm and humor us. Brian Kesinger ‘s “Tea Girls” are whimsical, authentic, and creatively crafted. Brian sells his creations on Fine Art America (FAA) and at the following link:

YouTube has helpful videos on coffee painting from a basic “how to” to more complex training pieces.

There are other applications you may find of interest. In my mixed media painting “Lucky Lady” I used an actual playing card burned on the edges. Had I known how delightfully coffee and tea stains make things look old, I would have used the YouTube technique here: Aging/antiquing paper:

Use your imagination and have fun with this truly ancient art.