Art and Inspiration
Teresa's mother had given her that first teacup, a simple Blue Willow cup and saucer. When her grandmother passed away, Teresa inherited a pretty cobalt-blue cup and saucer by Royal Albert. A girlfriend who often sat in her kitchen sipping tea noticed the blue teawares and began to give her blue teacups for Christmas and birthdays. And so a collection began.
While Teresa enjoyed drinking tea from the pretty teacups, she got the greatest pleasure from admiring their beautiful colors and patterns. She marveled that such miniscule pieces of art appeared on such thoroughly useful vessels.
Teresa was taking art classes at the local rec department, and she’d made excellent progress with her watercolor painting. Her instructor had encouraged her to enter a local juried art show, but Teresa didn’t feel she was ready for that.
One sunny fall afternoon, Teresa decided to go outside on her patio to paint. First, she focused on the last of the morning glories in the backyard flower garden. The periwinkle color was glorious, and Teresa painted several blossoms, but the result was lackluster. She turned her attention to an autumnal display of white and orange pumpkins. A fall-themed piece of art would be nice to have in her home, but Teresa painted the pumpkins and found them unbearably boring.
She walked into the house to make a cup of cranberry tea. Out of habit, she reached for the Blue Willow teacup from her mother. Teresa caressed it and fingered the rim. It still had that small nick in the back, but if she painted the teacup, who would ever know?
Forgetting the cranberry tea, Teresa headed outside with the Blue Willow teacup and began to compose a scene. Something bothered her, though. The single teacup looked a little too perfect, a little too stiff. She went inside, retrieved three more blue teacups, and headed back outside.
Teresa stacked them haphazardly, staggering the handles and giving the teacups a casual appearance. Bright blue watercolor paints began to fill the paper, and soon, Teresa was quite pleased. Despite the inspiration of nature around her, Teresa had found beauty right in the middle of her kitchen with everyday objects she used and had taken for granted.
For once feeling satisfied with her work, Teresa took the teacup painting to her next art class to share. The instructor, Harriet, asked to speak with her after class.
"Thanks for staying, Teresa. I'm quite impressed with this painting. What do you plan to do with it?"
"I haven’t planned to do anything with it," Teresa said. "Hang it in my kitchen, I suppose."
“I told you!” Harriet said smugly. “I had a hunch this would be the hit of the auction, and I also think you need to seriously consider painting more works in this style.”
“I’m thrilled it did so well, and yes, I’ll absolutely think about painting more works like this,” Teresa said.
And she did. She went home and thought about how much joy the actual painting of that piece had brought her. Maybe she would create a few others and see if she could place them in local galleries. Maybe she'd create some notecards and prints for sale, too. Suddenly, her artistic possibilities seemed endless.
But first, Teresa sat in her kitchen, where she sipped a cup of cranberry tea, looked at her Blue Willow teacup, and again admired its beauty, so pleased she had helped others see it as well.