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.

Sweet Sorrow

Ripe red strawberries, delicately patterned china cups, and a spread of sweets and small sandwiches fit for a queen. The table could not have been better set for a meeting of sketchers eager for camaraderie and a few hours of painting.

Out of the winter…out of my life…these hours spent in focused creativity stand starkly against the backdrop of my mother’s move this week to a nursing home. She—no longer able to hang on in her home in New York; me—sketching tea in Connecticut. Inexcusably incongruous…but there it is: a daughter’s respite and sadness contained in a few strokes of paint and bitter lemon. Sweet sorrow.SketchersTea_013116