This week NYC Urban Sketchers visited the Bronx Museum of the Arts. They have an exhibit called "Reflections in Tea" which includes a tea service, and then participants are invited to come have tea in the tea house (unoccupied in the sketch because I painted it before the Communitea event started) while chatting with the artist, and write stories on used, dried tea bags.
The bags are hung up on the house an nearby walls to create a fluttering quilt of stories, drawings, and poems about tea. It's visually stunning and has a wonderful community-building vibe to it that is often missing from museum exhibits. I didn't get to participate fully (though I did have a cup of tea and enjoyed listening to people talking in the house as I sketched) because I was too caught up in what I was doing, but I'd definitely go back. Fully disclosure: I might still bring my sketchbook, the sun was going in and out so I was focusing more on the tea bags on the wall than the house, but I'd love to do a sketch with people in the house when the sun is streaming in.
I did a quick one in my sketchbook before swapping to nicer paper and taking my time. They had all these great subtle shadows that were full of color that I really wanted to capture.
I started using my spray bottle to get some blooms and watermarks in the tea bags. I was pretty happy with the result! We happened to be at the museum on a day a writer was in to check it out and blog about it. She asked me if I was planning on putting the writing and drawing on the bags. Even though it's an essential part of the exhibit, I decided to omit it in my sketches because I felt they were stronger without it, and also if I were to include it I would want to really do it super detailed, which isn't really conducive to quick sketching onsite. If I were to do it quickly, I'd just ruin the sketch.
Also, this was my first time out with my palette with all three of my new Daniel Smith colors (the Manganese Blue previously mentioned, as well as a Brown-Iron Oxide replacing my Burnt Umber and a Quinacridone Sienna to replace my Burnt Sienna). So far I'm loving the additions!
Also, check out my instagram to see a photo of this last painting in front of the wall I was copying!