The Sweet Smell of Tea Leaves

Day 7 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - Reading Tea Leaves Tea Bag in Glass Mug Watercolor - #doodlewash

Fridays are probably the toughest night to sneak in a painting, so when faced with a prompt of leaves, tea leaves as well as “glassy things I know I can paint quickly” were the first to come to mind. I’ve now painted several glasses of tea and it’s fun to finally repeat the same subject matter rather than jumping off to something entirely new all the time. It helps me learn a bit more each time and observe things that I didn’t notice before. We have tea each evening before going to bed and are too lazy for anything more fancy than a tea bag and a kettle of hot water. But I have to admit to smelling the tea bags before popping them into our glass pitcher each night. I love the smell of tea leaves. It’s almost as soothing as actually drinking it. Certain smells have that wonderful effect. The feeling that makes you pause for a moment and remember things you thought you’d forgotten. I think that’s why I love to paint things we eat and drink. There are so many wonderful memories there. Things that remind us just how wonderful life was, and therefore, how perfectly wonderful it’s going to be in the future.

I spoke with my sister briefly this evening as she’s planning something for my mother’s birthday next week, which is just a couple of days before mine. Yeah, I know, I was sort of like a belated birthday present, if you consider the cute baby result instead of the hours of going into painful labor. That part had to suck. Sorry, mom. Even though I know my mother never reads this, as my attempts to buy her a computer have always been rejected, I’ll still avoid revealing the surprise. Suffice it to say, it’s lovely and thoughtful, because my sister is just that kind of person, and even though I’m miles away, I’ll be contributing to the occasion remotely. My mother never really drinks much tea, preferring black coffee instead. I don’t like to limit myself so I prefer to have all of it. In most cases, you’ll find me just saying, “yes,” when asked to choose between things. I love so many things, especially when it comes to edible things, that choosing seems rather pointless.

As my own birthday approaches this Thursday, I’d love to say I’m excited, but since I celebrate the entire month, it’s really just another fun day. I would be remiss, if I didn’t admit that I don’t particularly love that I’m getting older. I have to renew my driver’s license before the big day and I’m waiting until the last possible moment to preserve the rather fetching photo I have on my current one of my 10 years younger self. I’m going to say it. I looked rather hot back then! When I look in the mirror now, that face staring back at me isn’t as youthful, but it’s delightfully wiser. It knows things that the young guy on my license couldn’t have even imagined. But the eyes. The eyes are the same. Sure, there’s more wrinkles on the edges there, but they still smile in the same way. And that makes me happy. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that no matter how old I get, I’m still capturing the joy of life. All the simple stuff that doesn’t seem like much at first, but has the power to remind me of the things that truly matter. Like the warm hug of a best friend, a mother who taught me how to approach life creatively, and the simple and unassuming joy I find in the sweet smell of tea leaves.

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Perylene Maroon, Quinacridone Gold, Phthalocyanine Blue, Burnt Sienna, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al-Star Fountain Pen – Extra Fine, with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
 Day 7 - #WorldWatercolorGroup - Reading Tea Leaves Tea Bag in Glass Mug Watercolor - #doodlewash
Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
21 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    Love your little raft of a teabag, looks quite inviting, so you know what I just did, right? Yeah, my teabag is making tea in my favorite mug, one that has printed on it the equation for coffee! As for aging, Charlie, it’s much better than the other option. Happy celebration to you – I bet we’ll see more as the week gets you closer to your candles.

    • Author

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Haha! You rebel… drinking your tea from a mug clearly meant for coffee! Love it! And yeah, aging always beats the alternative… hehe…

  2. matraskarate 3 months ago

    My favorite… a day without tea is like…. just kidiing i never skipped a cup of tea

  3. Mlleshopping 3 months ago

    There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.
    LIN YUTANG, The Importance of Living

  4. loved the painting in your picture

  5. Elizabeth 3 months ago

    It needs a cookie to go with it.

  6. Terri Young 3 months ago

    Well this was a timely post. I just did a 2 page art journal spread using tea bags. The prompt was transition and immediately thought teabags. I drew the new teabag and a cup of hot tea, then placed the dried teabag on the page. I took 3 empty teabags and painted on them to show the final transition. Even though iced tea is a staple for me I didn’t think to draw a glass of tea until I saw your painting. Oh well, next time. And happy birthday to both you and your mom. I celebrate mine on the 19th. Aries rule!

  7. Teresa Robeson 3 months ago

    Such a beautiful story to go with your lovely painting of a cup of tea! A very happy birthday to you and your mother! I wish I could celebrated with you…I could make chocolate cupcakes (you haven’t lived until you’ve had a Magnolia Bakery cupcake–I have their recipe that I always bake) and you could make tea! <3 <3

    • Author

      I’m SOOOOOOO in for that!! Can you get here by Thursday?!!! 😃💕 hehe… that sounds delicious! If I was actually having a birthday party you would definitely be invited. (not just because of the cupcakes, of course)

  8. Jenn 3 months ago

    Oh I have been sooo busy and have not been able to keep up… But I just love your post . They ways bring the warmest smile 🤗🤗

    • Author

      Awww thanks so much, Jenn! 😃💕 Yeah… hehe… I just keep on painting and rambling daily, so no worries, just stop in when you can!!

  9. jeanmackayart 3 months ago

    You’ve been doing a great job on all the glassy objects! Thanks for your posts and the big net you’ve cast to bring sketchers together.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Jean!! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m trying to stick to practicing one thing more so I can develop more skills. hehe… and it’s my pleasure to bring everyone together! So much more fun that way!

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