This post is about the process in making “Where the Pear Tree Blossoms.” The idea generated as an expansion formally and conceptually from an earlier work “Confluence.”
The original composition looks like this, I painted a thin layer of pale orange ochre on golden paper. The paper itself is made following the traditional method by pasting metallic leafs onto a thick paper, then covering with a thin layer of paper fiber to facilitate painting or calligraphy. Painting on gold paper has been a classical genre of traditional Chinese art for it’s sumptuous aesthetic.
Even though the paper is entirely covered with pigments, I like the effect of subtle golden light coming through.
This is a nice color, but I wasn’t sure about using it as the background. I know some people would make a sketch/planning on a notebook before starting to paint, but usually for smaller pieces I keep it more spontaneous.
As you can see it changed quite a bit. I first covered the background with semi-transparent calcite, and started making the waves in blue. But it didn’t feel quite right. I actually laid it aside and worked on another painting, and after that it came to me how it should be.
I wanted the background to be a deep and vibrant blue, so I used pinewood soot ink first and layered on top azurite, mixed with a bit of cochineal.
On the left is the color after only one layer of azurite, I applied 3-4 times, as you can see on the right (the beautiful blue of the natural mineral is not so easy to capture with my phone), the golden line of the creek is drawn by the back of the brush on damp pigment, revealing the gold paper below.
After the background is set, I then decided on the stylization of the trees in the foreground. I wrote about the steps in my earlier instagram post, basically, I’m being more whimsical in my approach, finding inspirations from Indian miniature painting while observing nature in my surroundings. Here are some pictures of the Basohli style, taken from the book “Masters of Indian Painting, 1100-1900.”
One tree at a time. It’s a slow but rewarding process.
All these colors are from natural pigments, and that extra golden highlight comes from 23ct shell gold. Gold is such a mesmerizing color that make me want to use for every painting.
It may seem like so much work with all these details, but actually once I decided on a pattern it can be finished within a reasonable amount of time.
And it’s complete. I feel that this subject could be developed further. Please kindly share your thoughts on this, or anything you’d like to know more about the process.💛