Get Inspired by Carl Eytel

Carl Eytel Watercolor

Carl Eytel (American, born Germany, 1862-1925), Oxashe, before 1925, watercolor, 8 3/4 x 7 inches. Collection of Palm Springs Art Museum, 7-1964.6


Create natural paints with ingredients from your pantry. Using colorful spices, coffee and tea, paint a watercolor landscape inspired by artist Carl Eytel.

What is a Watercolor?
Watercolor is the process of painting with pigments when water is applied. Pigments are different from acrylic or oil paints, which are thicker, darker, and do not need water to be activated. It is one of the earliest forms of painting, dating as far back as the prehistoric cave paintings, when natural ingredients were used for mark making.


  • Two sheets of white paper: watercolor paper or heavy stock paper
  • Paint brushes, makeup brushes, or Q-tips
  • Coffee (or coffee grounds), tea (or used tea-bags), and/or spices
  • Cups or small containers
  • Room temperature water
  • Hot water
  • Pencil


Step 1

Steps 1 & 2

Look for colorful spices in your pantry such as turmeric, chili powder, or mustard. Find used tea bags and coffee grounds, or coffee and tea if available. 

Measure approximately 1 teaspoon of each spice and pour in a small container. Slowly add room temperature water to each container and mix to create a paste-like consistency. In a separate container, add coffee or coffee grounds. Pour approximately ¼ cup hot water. Repeat for used tea bags.

Step 3

Step 3

Test your palette on a sheet of white paper by creating individual swatches for each paint. If pigments are too thick, add more water; if they are too watery, add a small amount of ingredients. (Tip: applying additional layers of each paint will strengthen the colors.)

step 4

Step 4

On a new sheet of white or watercolor paper, lightly sketch out your design with a pencil. Don’t worry about too much detail; rather consider large areas where you want to apply colors.

Step 5

Apply paints, keeping in mind that adding more layers will enrich your colors. (Tip: this project can be done throughout the day or over time, to allow each layer to dry before adding more color.) After dry, hang or frame your creation.

Step 6

Submit a photograph of your final work. We'll be sharing a selection of submissions in the weeks to come!