Categories
Berkeley Food sketch Ink and watercolor wash Interiors Sketchbook Pages

Awkward Tea and Sketches at Imperial Teahouse

Imperial Teahouse Evening Sketch, Ink & watercolor, 7x5"
Imperial Teahouse Evening Sketch, Ink & watercolor, 7x5"

The title is true: both the tea and the sketches were awkward. It was a warm November evening during our weird extended summer and the doors to the patio were open. But that didn’t diminish the smell of frying food and the annoying sound of constant chopping from the small kitchen. I totally botched the perspective when I drew the tables. The little girls look like they’re floating but they were sitting on a bench, also drawn awkwardly.

Cup of tea with lid, ink, watercolor & gouache, 7x5"
Cup of tea with lid, ink, watercolor & gouache, 7x5"

At the Imperial Tearoom, they serve the tea Gaiwan style: the loose tea floats in a cup with a lid but no handle (foreground above). To drink it, you’re supposed to tilt the lid and drink from the cup using the lid as a strainer.¬†Awkward.

I’d recently given up caffeine so selected some sort of ginger, ginseng and weed concoction. Fortunately it tasted yucky so it didn’t matter how hard it was to drink. I was really just there to sketch, but the sketches turned out mostly yucky too. I added gouache to the teapot above at home to try to fix the anemic painting I’d done on site and to the saucer below to try to hide all the trouble I had with ellipses that night.

Tea with floaty stuff in it, ink & watercolor, 7x5"
Tea with floaty stuff in it, ink & watercolor, 7x5"

When I ordered my tea I didn’t see prices on the menu, just the teas to choose from. When I paid the bill, I discovered the stupid cup of tea cost $6.00!

Categories
Art theory Oil Painting Painting Still Life

Tea and Lemon, Surface Quality Study #1

Tea and Lemon, Surface Quality Study #1, oil painting on panel 8x10"
Tea and Lemon, Surface Quality Study #1, oil painting on panel 8x10"

This painting is a study based on the exercise in Peggi Kroll-Roberts “Surface Quality” video. I watched the video, then turned it off and painted from my still life set up, trying to incorporate the lesson: paint the darks with thin paint (so that they recede, don’t reflect light that hits lumpy edges, and don’t draw attention to themselves) and paint the light areas with rich, thick paint (and of course mix the correct colors and values).

When Peggi demonstrated this exercise she used a cube of butter (in her still life, not to paint with! though her paint is very buttery). I had to replace the butter with the yellow lemon because while I brewed the tea in the other room, my cat had a little feast, licking my only cube of butter into a misshapen mess.

There are some passages in this painting I like very much, such as the lemon, its leaves and blossom, the tea, and the way the tin in back is kept all in shadow.

I did buy another cube of butter to try the exercise again, and that will post tomorrow while I’m off at Peggi’s workshop.