Lychee Fruits on Tree, Pt. 2

Lychees (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Lychees (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Today we added the lychee fruit to the leaves we were practising last week. This stage was much more fun, and quite a bit easier… not surprising that those two statements should go together really 🙂 .

Not to say I didn’t have problems with them regardless. My first few attempts have the dot texture as more of a dash and had everyone in class laughing because they thought they looked more like Rambutan, which I’d never even heard of. I must try some sometime…

After a quick Google, it turns out they don’t really look a great deal different from each other and are most probably related… and now I can paint both! Here are photos of both trees to demonstrate the difference:

Lychee Tree

Lychee Tree

Rambutan Tree

Rambutan Tree

Lychee Fruits on Tree, Pt 1

Lychees (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Lychees (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Farewell Chinese Summer Landscape… today we moved on to flowers in class and began painting a composition of lychees hanging on the tree. This is the first stage, the leaves and branches.

I think the group I paint with have all been taken by surprise a bit today… there are four of us in the Advanced group and we’ve been doing this for a while, but today was a real challenge for all of us!

We’re using the largest of our brushes for the coloured part of the leaves, which is made from very soft goat hair. This means they hold a lot of water/paint which is hard to manage on tissue paper, which is effectively what we’re painting on… they also don’t spring back into shape after a stroke, so you’re forever trying to understand the physical abilities of the brush. In order that the colour in the leaves didn’t just soak in cauliflower shapes across the paper they had to be applied very fast and confidently, one stroke, right first time.

I have three of these already just from today’s class, this is the best… and I suspect I’ll be doing quite a few more before next Monday 😉 .

Back to Civilisation….

Koala (Graphite)

Koala (Graphite)

Unfortunately I didn’t have much luck with internet while we were away this weekend, so this is my first update in a few days… I did manage a bit of sketching though. I would have liked to do more but the weather was awful and not very inspiring… I have come home armed with some photos of the tree climbing place we visited, and maybe they’ll make it into a quick watercolour sketch one day. It was great fun clambering around rocks and trees in the pouring rain, I wish I knew where all my muscles had gone to though, I am rather sore today!

The Koala here was watching us from the neighbouring animal park as we scrambled around, no doubt wondering what on earth we thought we were doing expending so much energy. They are notoriously lazy animals, this guy could barely keep his eyes open 🙂 .

Summer Landscape (Chinese Spontenous Style)

Summer Landscape (Chinese Spontenous Style)

I’ve also uploaded today’s Chinese Painting additions… we’re on the last stages of this one now, just some more emphasis to add. In other words we have to go over those leaves yet again! Today was fun though, I love how the soft pale grey washes painted with the paper soaking wet can look so much like mist and spray from the waterfall.

Apologies for the strange colours of these, both are photographs of the originals, one taken in natural light this morning, one after dark by incandescent bulb (hence the yellow). Neither are as white as they should be…

Summer Landscape, Pt. 2

Summer Landscape (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Summer Landscape (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

As you can see, we had a very productive session this afternoon at Chinese Painting Class. After adding some shading to the rocks we painted last week, and going over all the leaves again to make them bolder, we had the nerve racking task of painting the rocks that are poking through the waterfall… probably the most important and most difficult few strokes of the painting. Too light and they’d be lost, too heavy and they’d seem to be closer than the tree.

I think I got it about right and also showed some nice dry brush marks, however the same can’t be said for the rocks on the right – I didn’t get the shading light enough and now they seem to be the closest thing in the scene. Hopefully they’ll recede a bit when everything else is added and the left hand side is touched up a bit too.

Loose Painted Horse

Loose Painted Horse (Watercolour)

Loose Painted Horse (Watercolour)

I’ve been worried and quite concerned how quickly you can loose touch…it seems that within the space of three or four days I’ve lost a year of practice and commitment and reverted to my original fear of doing anything… and that’s quite scary after you feel you’ve achieved some progress…

Please don’t ever underestimate the power of practise (or continuity), and do it every day! (or as  often as you can). Keep doing something, anything, because the moment you take a day off (or two, or three) it becomes so much harder to get going again… The gremlins start whispering and you forget everything you know for certain.

So today, despite all the inertia, I found something that inspired me, a picture of a horse painted in a Chinese style on the front of a magazine that captured essence & a sense of character… I just had to try it. Mine isn’t as lithe… the bits individually look sort of horsey but don’t quite add up. Nonetheless, I am very chuffed that I picked up a brush (size 10, sable) and played with paint (Ultramarine Blue, Quinachrodone Magenta, Viridian Green) and succeeded in painting something that looked as much like a horse as this does!