Learning Chinese Watercolor Painting

I’ve started a new class here in Shenyang.

I had planned to do this since we got here… it only took me a year to find one!

Chinese Watercolor Painting!

These are a very famous style of Asian painting using ink and watercolors painted on silk cloth. They are often mounted like a scroll and then “framed” with more silk.

LB got one of a tiger for his birthday. It’s big. And awesome.

The class I’m taking meets in the home of a new friend. She sets up tables and has a laoshi who is a local painter trained in all types of Chinese painting come in to teach the class. We each have our own paintings that we work on and laoshi floats around helping as we need it and telling us step by step how to paint. It’s nice because you can work at your own pace on whatever you want, with as much or as little help as you need.

We pick out the painting we want to paint from a stack of reference books and then she prints the outline out in black and white. That goes under the silk on your board and you paint right over the outline. Makes it quick and easy since you don’t really have to draw it from scratch.

It felt a little like cheating to me at first, but it was definitely much faster and nice to be able to start working on the color layers so quickly. Truthfully, I don’t have a problem with an artist using tracing as a means to get a painting or drawing started. That’s how many of the old masters started their paintings. Including Leonardo Davinci and Michelangelo. Did you know that?

It was quite different than I expected. With the black lines and shading going on first and then layers of color being built up on top. I always thought watercolor paintings started with the lightest areas and then got darker and darker as you go.

Not so with these silk paintings.

I love learning this technique and I’m already dreaming up ways to incorporate it into my own style of art. I can even see myself trying a watercolor portrait soon once I get the technique down a little better.


2 thoughts on “Learning Chinese Watercolor Painting

  1. This is great! I was hoping that you would take advantage of some art teaching while you were there. We’re looking forward to following your progress and future
    watercolor art.

  2. This beautiful work. What I am looking for is an answer to my Mother’s question “Chinese painting on silk using ink and water color” like the old scrolls. How does the artist keep the watercolor from running if the painting gets wet?
    If you know or can point me into the right direction, please do.
    Thank you