Sketcher’s Tea 2017

I recently hosted a Sketcher’s Tea—an excuse, really, for sketchers to come out of isolation in March and share a cup of tea and an afternoon of painting together. Sketching tea cups seems straightforward enough. And yet, there are lessons to be learned each time I do it. Perspective, shadows, painting whites, lost edges, reflections, patterns…the art of mastering the simple and the complex is what makes sketching tea cups both challenging and fun.

Tips and Techniques– I often start by making a small value sketch so that I know where the lights and shadows fall. It can be hard to tell with all the patterns on the cups or if the lighting is coming from multiple sources. The paper sketch makes it easier to translate the values to the painting. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on this– couple of minutes might be fine.

39 Comments on “Sketcher’s Tea 2017

  1. I want to come to a Sketchers Tea……..will just have to have one here!😎
    Thank u for the tips….values are important ( in lots of ways). Beautiful lesson, Jean

  2. What a lovely and colorful page! I especially liked the detail in the rose buds, the hot tea, and the stunning lacework on the napkin or hand towel. The tea really looks hot and delicious. Nicely done.



    • Thanks Carole! I decided not to draw any of the patterns before painting them and I was pleased how it turned out– not too fussy, but you get the pattern. I’m glad I added the lace…it was fun to try.

  3. As a tea tottler myself I have enjoyed your tea cup pairings very much.
    I can feel the warmth of the tea. Your lace work is so delicate and the cross
    Stitch is a wonderful touch.

    • The first row of cross stitch got too heavy, but the second was better. I really enjoyed adding the lace. Get out some tea cups and let’s schedule our next party…I know someone who would bring good pastries.

  4. Stunning and inspired (as usual 😉 If you still have it, would you be able to share your pencil value sketch? It would be fascinating to see how that step informed the final beautiful result. Thank you!

  5. You nailed the tea color – i drink a strong British blend every morning, and I swear that’s exactly the color….and the lace, what a perfect finishing touch. The wonder (and much of the appeal, I think) is how you make it all look so light and easy.

    • Thanks Lynn– The tea is layered burnt sienna and quin gold. I was curious to see how much of the painted pattern you can see through the tea. I think the “light and easy” part comes with a lot of practice (and sometimes luck).

  6. The pursuit of Lightness! So ethereal, it is deceptively hard to do – I love the lace too. I was also thinking about the little value sketch, I have sketchbooks that I scribble in before I sketch in my better sketchbook, then sometimes my best one…. haha is that weird? Or just OCD? All the while trying for a look of spontaneity – Mad!! (but oh so fun)

    • Hi Sheryl- Yes…so deceptively hard to do. I think that’s why I did three tea cups…I wanted to keep trying. And now I want to do more. And not strange at all to have those scribbled sketches…I have done the same thing.

  7. What a beautiful sketch (and such a fun idea!) I love the delicate colors and patterns, the lost edges, the lace, the light and shadows–everything!

    • Thanks Susan– we had a nice afternoon at the Sketcher’s Tea…and then I came home and kept going with these. Maybe there are some sketchers or friends you could invite to tea!

  8. “Sketchers tea” – sounds like a good idea to me! I might just have to invent an online version of that for the art form I belong too, especially as many of us on there are Brits. Nice work, Jean! 🙂

  9. Lovely Jean, I especially like the little vignette of the lace-edged table cloth or napkin. I’m an import from another tea drinking culture – Australia. I don’t like coffee in paper cups (only in desperation), but would never drink tea that way … it’s the sit down ritual that is essential. 🎨💕

    • Glad to spark your interest. It’s amazing how many people own fancy tea cups and sets– and yet rarely, if ever, use them. The sketching opportunity might be worth poking in your attic.

  10. The sketch of your tea and cup is so invitingly real, it inspires me to brew my favorite afternoon cup of green tea. Serving tea to your sketch group is a great way to share art thoughts, critiques and ideas. My five member painting group meets once a week to paint and share art conversations; we also gather for salon day for discussion on art topics about composition, use of color, other well known artists, etc.

  11. Thank you for adding the thumbnails, Jean. After you do your thumbnails, do you paint the values as you see them, or do you ever emphasize a value that may not be evident in your subject in order to get a more pleasing range of lights, darks, and mids?

    • Great question- I guess it depends on the subject and lighting, but I may push the values for the sake of making the piece more vibrant. I didn’t have great lighting for the cups so I followed my value sketch more than reality (especially for the smaller ones).

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