Tea Bag Art by Dawn Gettig, and a Short Interview with the Artist

Dawn Gettig, painting on a tea bag, titled Little Bluebird of Happiness
Dawn Gettig, Little Bluebird of Happiness

I recently discovered Dawn Gettig’s tea bag art and got quite inspired, so I asked Dawn to tell me more about her art.

Mira Tudor: Hi Dawn, I came across your tea bag art at http://dawngettig.com today and really enjoyed your use of this medium—its wear made me think of some of the softer creases and stains of life. Then I read your own words about the serenity you need in your life, and realized that sometimes we achieve serenity not against a blank canvas, but, on the contrary, by falling softly into those creases and stains of our life. So I’d like to ask you to tell me more of what you see in the used tea bags you use as your canvas.

Dawn Gettig: I see images, faces, or patterns that inspire the finished art. Often, I simply use my intuition and follow it as it tells me what the empty tea bag wants to become. Sometimes I see a woman’s face or a woodland bird or other creature. Other times I paint an abstract image. Often it is the color of the stained tea bag that inspires the subject matter and other times it is the shape of the stain. I use different types of tea bags . . . herbal tea, green tea, black tea. I love the variety of the different colors, shapes, and sizes of the tea bags. Mostly, I just love the organic feeling and color of the tea bag.

MT: Your paintings of birds and animals come alive against the backdrop of the tea bag as they would against a landscape. What media do you work with to create them, and have you tried before media that didn’t work with the tea bags?

DG: I am a mixed media artist so I use all types of media with the tea bags. Mostly watercolor and/or acrylic paint but will add in graphite, paint pens, pastels, inks, and more. Thick oil pastels don’t work as well on the tea bag substrate because it is so small.

MT: Have you worked with unconventional canvases before?

DG: Yes, I have tried many different substrates. Handmade paper, fabric, leaves, tree bark, stones. But I am especially drawn to tea bags as an unconventional canvas.

MT: What will come after the tea bags?

DG: Well, I am always working on many different art projects and learn many different techniques from other art teachers along my lifelong journey as an artist. I enjoy a wide variety of painting styles and subject matter. I love painting abstracts on large canvases because the story is different for each person viewing the art piece. I really have been enjoying the muted fresco look of painting on joint compound and hope to find the time to create more fresco-type art.

MT: Anything else you’d like to add?

DG: Thank you for the interview, Mira! Please visit me on Facebook Dawn Gettig Facebook and on my website at Dawn Gettig

MT: Thank you, Dawn, for granting me this interview!

Dawn Gettig, The Fawn
Dawn Gettig, Jackrabbit

Misted Trees by Emily Magone, and a Short Interview with the Artist

Emily Magone, acrylic painting titled Misted Trees
Emily Magone, Misted Trees, 12″ x 48″, Acrylic

Interview with Emily Magone

Mira Tudor: Hi Emily, I discovered your paintings in your online gallery at http://www.emilymagone.com and was quite taken with the effects you seem to get with acrylics, as in Misted Trees One, which has a “misty” push and pull redolent of the iridescence of silk. It also has neutral tones reminiscent of Asian art. Which Asian artists, and artists in general, have been important on your journey?

Emily Magone: This is a beautiful question, and something I hadn’t realized until you asked! Being self-taught and growing up in an isolated town, I didn’t have much exposure to the arts (much to my dramatic teenage chagrin). My college degrees are unrelated as well, so my knowledge of art history is rather basic. The most influential artist on my journey remains my high school art teacher, Dave Studebaker—who specialized in Western- and Native American-themed landscapes and scenes—and taught perfect rendering. The world lost him far too early and I have immense gratitude for the safe space and influence his classroom provided during those years.

I have great appreciation for the delicate and peaceful style of Asian art, and I’ve done quite a bit of painting on silk over the past few years as an exploratory medium—which has perhaps influenced my work on other surfaces. But the richness of acrylic on canvas will always have my heart. 🙂

MT: You seem to have spent quite a lot of time with trees, mist, and the sea (or ocean). Why these elements? What do you associate them most with in terms of your inner life? And what are the places that you go back to in your memory when you paint these scenes?

EM: I have indeed! I was born and raised in the northwest corner of Montana with frequent trips to the Washington coast. The trees and mist are elements that bring me the most peace and calm. The floating silence of the fog as it settles between the trees—I can go there in my mind in an instant and feel the cool mist on my face and hear the sounds of the earth minus humans.

These feelings are what I want to bring to others as well: the calm and serenity. It’s so important to maintain our connection with nature on a daily basis. It is healing in so many ways.

My childhood memories of full days spent in the woods on my bike building forts, eating honeysuckle, mushroom hunting, catching giant frogs in the creek, and collecting gorgeous rocks are what fuels my woodland paintings. And I am forever returning to the Pacific Northwest in my mind. The Olympic Peninsula and the Washington coast in particular. Glacier Park, and, in recent years, the Norwegian fjords and the Croatian coast.

One of my next goals is to get some first-hand exposure to the Northern Lights to fuel a full Aurora collection of work!

MT: Thank you, Emily, for this interview. Happy journeys!

Here are two more works by Emily Magone.

Emily Magone, watercolor titled Vast
Emily Magone, Vast, 9″ x 12″, Watercolor
Emily Magone, acrylic painting titles Lamp Post
Emily Magone, Lamp Post, 24″ x 48″, Acrylic

There’s much more in Emily’s Gallery

Daniela Donțu’s Portraits

I saw two portraits by Daniela Donțu at Elite Art Gallery a few days ago, and was quite struck by her technique and aesthetic. Here’s Stări (1) / States [of Mind] (1) and Gânduri / Thoughts.

Daniela Dontu, States [of Mind] (1), at Elite Art Center
Daniela Donțu, Stări (1) / States [of Mind] (1)
Daniela Dontu, Thoughts, at Elite Art Center in Bucharest
Daniela Donțu, Gânduri / Thoughts

For some reason I couldn’t identify right away, I found these paintings mesmerizing. It took some photographing of old photos to realize what has drawn me to Donțu’s work, States [of Mind] (1) in particular. It’s the way the fluid handling of paint creates the suggestion of reflection-filled layers, as if you were looking at the man through a series of windows—or veils of affective memory.