Wake up and smell the coffee!

Painting a monochrome is such a good thing to do if you haven’t painted for a while. So I often start a new term with one, but let’s be honest, it can be a little boring. So I had a bit of a brain wave. We experimented painting with tea and coffee …and no one spotted I was making them do a Monochrome.

This was my demo piece:

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The issue we quickly found is it is hard to get a really dark tones. Even espresso was pretty weak. Adding just one teaspoon of water to one teaspoon of instant coffee, gave a sticky liquid which took ages to dry. It also dried with a sheen. So layering was the way to go. Thinner layers dry with an interesting hard dark edge. Thanks to Barbara, we discovered that roibos tea produces a beautiful warm colour and that seven layers is the limit.

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Some people added ink, which worked well, others used a spot of mint tea to add green. What I noticed is that people painted in a looser and freer way than usual. I think because it wasn’t ‘real’ paint, and it was a bit oddly behaved, people were a bit more relaxed. I think their painting benefited- what do you think? The room smelt lovely!

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