“Where the Pear Tree Blossoms” – a walkthrough

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.💛

10 thoughts on ““Where the Pear Tree Blossoms” – a walkthrough

  1. Wow!! I was immediately catched by your painting in the moment I saw it! I love the fact and also the way you use natural pigments! Your approach to art is so pure, it’s like I could jump into this scene and be more near to God! And seeing the process made me definitely want to try miniature art even if I feel I cannot be so spontanuous and good in it like you. I can feel this pear tree garden, thank you! I will maybe cry now, but from love. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Thea! I’m really touched reading your comment, knowing that the art has a potential to reach another soul and make connections is so encouraging. And don’t be afraid to try miniature art when you get a chance, I think you will really enjoy the process! your work is already very refined and I can sense the love that you put into your work, and that’s all really matters😇 Thanks again for your thoughtful feedback 💛

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  2. Hi, I love your art, really beautiful. Just a question, do you use a certain glue to apply gold leaf to your Wasli paper? and do you also seal the gold leaf with a sealer afterwards? Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Rabia. For gold leaf gilding what I normally use is the glue I use to mix pigment with – so gelatin or gum Arabic will work for gilding in general. If you have intricate designs to gild, then using either 1. readymade gilding glue, 2. garlic paste, or 3. adding sea kelp to the gelatin will take longer to dry so you will get crisp edges

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      1. Thanks Chumik for the reply. Please also tell me if the gold or silver gilding needs to have another coating on, as they can tarnish over time?

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  3. Chumik I have just discovered your art on IG and here and I am entranced by it. I’m also excited to read your detailed blog because the more miniature painting work I do (I am a complete beginner) the more technical questions come up. Which is good.

    I have a question about something you say in this post: “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.” What is the *paper fibre* that you mention? Is it liquid (as in the pulp/water you would use to make paper)? or actual thin paper?

    I’m intrigued to know more because I adore any translucency and this may be my dream!

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    1. Hi there, thank you for such generous comment! it encourages me SO MUCH to share more of the process.

      For your question, yes, the metallic paper is comprised of metallic leaf on a thick paper, and a layer of thin paper pulp on top of the leaf, and pressed in the paper making process (though I don’t make the paper myself). Hope that clarifies your question.

      and yes it’s a great thing about being intrigued and having more questions as you go, I also look forward to seeing your work🤓

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes that very much clarifies! I am going to try this as an effect added to already-made paper I think. Khadi Papers in England (where I am) can supply ready made pulp of cotton or lokta which I think I will try. Thanks for your encouraging comments too.

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  4. Yes that very much clarifies! I am going to try this as an effect added to already-made paper I think. Khadi Papers in England (where I am) can supply ready made pulp of cotton or lokta which I think I will try. Thanks for your encouraging comments too.

    Liked by 1 person

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