Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens the thought and prevents drowsiness.Lu Yu, The Classic Art of Tea
It’s not often I reach out to an artist and ask them to be a part of my Tea Blog. Julie Celina struck a chord with me with her inviting and thought provoking art pieces. I of course particularly love the tea themed works and couldn’t resist sharing her amazing ability with all of my followers. The following article has been written by Julie and she has kindly shared some of her pieces for all to enjoy.
I’m Julie Celina, a 25-year old artist from Denmark. I paint to remind people of their unique strength and beauty. I have made art in many different mediums, pencils, watercolours, acrylic, tea, and now mostly oil.
I have always been drawing, and drawing has always been my thing because it was a way to express myself that suited my temper. I constantly felt the urge to create something, and I have always been a quiet and patient person, who loved taking my time to perfect every feature and every shadow in my artworks. In my early teenage years, I started drawing really realistic portraits and fell in love with different faces. In this process of studying so many people in my drawings, a curiosity for people in general developed. In the end, this led me to study social anthropology at university to learn more about cultures and the different ways people live in this world.
I now have a strong faith in humanity, and understand that we have so much we can learn from each other if we are willing to listen to and respect each other. This is what inspires me to paint different people from different parts of the world.
The topic I chose for my bachelor thesis at university was related to tea and how tea farmers were being treated by their employers. It is widely known that the conditions of tea farmers often are less than fair, but the tea brands are covering themselves under certifications like Fairtrade that are not efficient enough in making sure that the tea farmers are being treated fairly. But the consumers blindly trust these certifications or a label that says Eco-friendly. Inequality like this always gets me fired up, and I started talking to everyone I knew about this problem. After this study, I started falling more in love with plants, and especially the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis), I began learning everything I could about this plant. I did several paintings about tea because I always have to paint what is in my heart. In the spring of 2019, right after I had written my bachelor thesis, I went to Nepal to study abroad, and as a part of this trip, I also went to a tea farm to volunteer. This was a small privately owned tea farm, where the couple who owned it and worked there managed it by themselves and weren’t treated badly by any employers like on the big-scale tea farms I had based my study on. When I returned to Denmark I started volunteering for a small tea company that sourced their tea in a very ethical way, and I learned a lot from the woman who owns that company.
It was when I volunteered for this small tea company that I started painting with tea. I liked the monochromatic look of each painting I did, and I also loved to see what colours I could make with each different kind of tea. This tea company, I volunteered at, makes a Christmas calendar each year with 24 different kinds of tea. I had one of these calendars, and for each day of December 2019 until Christmas, I would make my cup of tea, drink it, brew another cup with the same leaves, and use this to paint a tea painting. The motives of these 24 tea paintings are all women representing a feeling I associate with tea. This collection was later exhibited in a non-profit café in the city where I live, where some were sold.
I have experimented with many different painting mediums, but now I mostly paint with oils, I find this medium suits my temper better because it dries very slowly, and I have a long time to push around the paint on my canvas. In the future, I dream of creating my art full-time and making my art my professional career. The pictures in this article are both some of my oil paintings, mixed-media, and tea paintings. More of my art can be found on my website, Instagram and Facebook.
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