Project – Week 1 – Tea Tree of Life

I can’t believe it’s the start of project weeks already!!  As usual my art teacher suggested project titles and I have decided to do “Rubbish”.

The reason behind this was brought about that night whilst I was laying in bed thinking the title over.  My first thought was to paint a rubbish heap with seagulls flying over it and the machines used to move it.  I then concentrated on something my art teacher said “making something beautiful from rubbish”.  I then started thinking about recycling and what I personally use a lot of that I could recycle into something beautiful and I thought well I drink a lot of tea, then the idea of using used tea bags sprang to mind.  I was mulling over their shape, (I like Tetley and those bags are round).  I started thinking about doing a tree and I was immediately struck by Gustav Klimt’s Tree of Life.  I got up and immediately wrote down my idea, as I knew if I didn’t I wouldn’t sleep.

The next morning I got up and did this sketch.

Tea Tree of Life
A6 (4″ x 6″)
19/04/13

I knew I had an awful lot of preparation to do but luckily, I had 7 weeks in which to gather together everything I would need to bring my idea into fruition.

Firstly, I decided to dry out as many used teabags as I could and save them up.  Next was to purchase a canvas, I found a 40″ x 32″ canvas (it didn’t look that big in the shop…it looked huge when I got it home!)

Once, I had enough used teabags to start me off, I spray coated each one on both sides with Crystral Clear Acrylic Coating.  I then coated both sides in Gesso (allowing each side to dry first).  I then painted each one with Metallic Acrylic paints on both sides (allowing each side to dry first).  I painted 49 in total in 7 different colours.  I continued collecting the used teabags and only sealed them with the Acrylic Coating.

Tea Stained Canvas
40″ x 32″

The canvas I covered in cold tea (which really helped to add to the collection) and provided a wonderful background colour.

I couldn’t wait to get to my art class this morning.  After setting up my easel I set to work.

Tea Tree of Life (WIP I)
40″ x 32″
14/06/2013 

Apologises for the photograph, I managed to cut off the right-hand side.  I used regular Acrylic paints and some of the Metallic colours to paint the tree, I had also added tea leaves to the paint to add texture to the bark and leaves.

Tea Tree of Life (WIP II)
40″ x 32″
14/06/2013

Using a hot glue gun I then set to work sticking the bottom teabags first to make the ground and then continued sticking the fruit onto the tree and adding some fallen fruit at the base too.  I thought I was finished so asked my art teacher her opinion.  She suggested fine gold lines on the tree bark and adding extra swirls to help the tree stand out further.  I was able to leave it on-site as it wasn’t fully dry enough to take home.

I am missing next week’s lesson due to a hospital appointment.  So this will get finished on the very last day of term.  In the meantime however, I have my miniature of the “Pork Pie Church” as URC is known locally to complete before the last day of term, so I will be kept busy.

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