Artist Finds Tea-based Paint a Viable Alternative

A tea painting by Jeffrey Axelrod

Painter Jeffrey Axelrod has brought a whole new meaning to “the art of tea.” Claiming that making paint from tea “costs pennies,” Axelrod has recently gained popularity as the modern pioneer of making art using tea – a method he has been practicing for the last seven years.

Another tea  painting by Jeffrey Axelrod

In order to obtain the full spectrum of colors that he needs for his paintings, Axelrod claims to use over 200 teas; he blends five or six of them to create a unique shade. To create a variety of hues, he includes flavored teas (like plum teas) for blue colors, African rooibos for oranges and reds, and intense Japanese green teas like matcha for green colors.

Axelrod believes that painting with tea touts other benefits, too. Mistakes can be erased simply by applying water with a paintbrush. The drying process can be catalyzed with a blow dryer – but usually Axelrod lets them bake in the sun, preventing the colors from ever fading.  But most importantly, Axelrod believes that tea produces art which cannot be replicated with water colors or acrylics – the results are entirely unique.

You can read more about Axelrod’s work here or view his artwork on his website here.

June 18 2010 10:47 am | Miscellaneous

2 Responses to “Artist Finds Tea-based Paint a Viable Alternative”

  1. DSM on 09 Aug 2010 at 4:35 am #

    I can attest to the practical and aesthetic possibilities of using Arbor Teas as a watercolor myself, having first tried this beginning in 2006.

    Besides tea by itself, milk in the tea makes a beautiful shade that is less obviously on the surface and appears to inhabit the fibers and whole thickness of the paper, and the viscosity and the “grip” the color has on the paper is pleasantly different, too.

    Adding a little powdered turmeric to the tea gives the wash a little graininess, which can be a useful effect as well.

    The ancient Chinese used tea in their brush painting (http://www.nelson-atkins.org/art/Exhibitions.cfm?id=103 ; http://is.gd/e9Nhb), so I guess we need not be too worried about the colorfastness of these materials.

    Fun experimenting!

  2. Tricia on 26 Aug 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    I’ve known about tea-dying fabrics, but I never stopped to think about the range of colors you might get from tea. I just figured it was all “tea colored.” Fascinating. Gotta give this a try some time. Thanks for introducing us to such a talented artist!

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