There is a woman called Ruby Silvious and she is the queen of painting on tea bags. Here’s her Instagram feed which will provide some evidence of her skill and precision. Beautiful work.
I was reading an interview with her today. I think she paints with everything but she mentioned gouache in particular. I had a go with gouache a few months ago, with a set I bought in Lidl. It was lumpy and I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing so I threw the set in the bin.
This afternoon, however, I had a little look at a video on YouTube on gouache and how to use it. The thing about gouache is that it’s very opaque, has great coverage, and vibrant colours. Judging from Ruby Silvious’s work, it seems quite suited to tea bags too. The woman in the video spoke about quality and intimated that you get what you pay for. She mentioned Reeves as a cheapish but good quality brand and, what do you know, my local Art and Hobby shop in Nutgrove stocks Reeves gouache sets. €10.95 for a set of 12 tubes. So I bought a set and had a go with them this evening.
I like them. You can get them to behave like watercolour if you use a lot of water but, if you go easy on the water, they are like acrylics but with a lovely matt finish and they seem to blend quite easily. They are also forgiving in that you can paint over mistakes and rework things without them looking overworked. And, indeed, they work on tea bags very well.
Here’s a few things I did this evening. Again my painting skills aren’t great but I’m not really bothered. I’m not exhibiting this stuff. I’m just doing it for the sake of doing it, really.
First, here’s the set
And here’s some of the colours and blends
Here are some experiments with washes. On the second one down, I threw salt on the wet paint to see what effect it would have. The bottom one shows the opacity and sturdiness of the colour.
Here’s something I did to see how something painted over a background might look
And finally, here’s a fish on a teabag.
Gouache, eh? I like it.