You Can Paint!(V


Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

- Philippians 4:4

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

- Philippians 4:6-7


Lesson Five  Watercolor Basics


Because of  my interest in gardening, I borrowed several volumes of Time Life Encyclopedia gardening books from the university library. This is a series of popular gardening books with beautiful print. I like them because its language is so fluent and easy to understand, and there are many descriptive illustrations in each chapter. Best of all, there is an encyclopedia of plants in the appendix of each volume, with beautiful botanical paintings and small print explanation of each plant's characteristics and growing tips. They not only taught me many things about gardening, but also led me into the fascinating world of watercolor painting. Such are the benefit of reading good books!

Now each of those botanical paintings are watercolor masterwork, painted by professional botanical artists. They not only precisely depicted the characteristics of plants,  but also captured the gracefulness of their shape and the richness and delicacy of their colors.


I tired to imitate them on blank name cards, but could only achieve some likeness,  far from the graceful beauty of the originals. Because the ordinary colored-pencils I used tend to make uneven color spots and a misty effect on the paper. I experimented with watercolor, but because of my poor skill, still without  much success. Then I got busy with other matters, and left it behind my mind.


A year passed. For writing a gardening book for kids, I borrowed those Time Life Encyclopedia  gardening books from library again. After finishing the book, I had some time to admire the botanical artworks in their appendix.


It happened that one day, Dad bought a set of German made watercolor pencils back for me. At first I did not know how to use them, and for fear to spoil the picture, I used them as ordinary colored-pencils. But soon, I found I could use them to improve my unsuccessful watercolor paintings, and make them shine.


I felt my lack of training in brushes and watercolor. I admire those artists who can use brushes and colors with freedom and ease. To make up I began to practice calligraphy. I regret I did not train myself in calligraphy when I was younger.


I began to combine watercolor pencils and watercolor paints to imitate those botanical artworks. This time I was more successful. Later I painted on blank name cards. The effect is almost like printed works. I felt greatly encouraged and more and more interested in watercolor painting.




Paintings I did on blank name cards with watercolor paints and water color pencils


There are more, but unfortunately my scanner suddenly broke. Will put them on later.


A couple of weeks later, one morning I prayed in my heart silently, "God, please make my scanner well".
My place is too far from the town, I can't carry the scanner there, and there is no one to help.
After I prayed thus, I turned on the scanner, and it worked. It had been outputting blank image,
 but now it's turning out color image again. I am so happy. "Thank you, God, for helping me when I was helpless."

Besides imitating botanical illustrations, I imitated some landscape watercolors that I found on the internet. As I painted more, I painted with more ease and skill.


I found watercolor has much richer colors than colored-pencils, and that it can depict grander scenes, and  also capture light and shadow better. Compared with oil, watercolor is less costly and easier to handle with.


I began to love watercolor painting. I felt like climbing up a new mountain, and having a new view of painting.



Painted with watercolor paints and watercolor pencils on sketch paper

Our first lily, also my first painting of such large size.    
Four roses on the same branch, bloomed this summer in our balcony garden. When one faded, three were still in full bloom. Dad insisted on me painting them. Although reluctant at first, I did. And it ended up to be my best watercolor painting so far.

Moreover before long, I had to leave home and dad. I feel happy to leave a beautiful memory for dad. Thank you, Father, for walk beside me and encourage and support me in my life's dark days....

My first experiment in figure painting. Did for a sister in the church, who ran a hair salon and wanted to have a painting of Jesus in her workshop.
My second figure painting. Looks like something wrong with the proportions? I will take care next time.
This watercolor is based on a pencil sketch I found on the internet.
This is a landscape painting I like very much. I have imitated it with different painting  media many times.


Dream of Home

In the twilight of dawn I dream of home

Our food tastes with the smell of smoke

the fire crackles in the earthen stove

The air is so fresh after the summer storms

When torrents from the mountains flood the river banks

The sky is decorated with twinkling stars

The moon pours her light upon bedside floor


The crickets play their nocturne all night long

The river makes its gurgling in the valley beneath


The rice is ripening in the fields

They fill the air with the smell of harvest


Oh, home that I once had in childhood,

Can I have again in adulthood?


Recent Practice (All imitations)


Besides botanical artworks, I also like the landscape watercolors of  Roland Lee . He is a real  master of watercolors. His works, not only are matchless in number, but also in perfection and ease.


I also like those young park artists in America. They captured for us Nature's  fresh and free breath, her rough and grand scenes, and her many and different beauties.


Among the female watercolor artists, I like the bright and fresh landscapes of Beth Whitney , and Irish artist Mary McSweeneywhose paintings depicting Irish rural sceneries and old customs, are rustic and simple, yet deep and thought provoking.


In my learning process, I find many step by step demo on the internet very helpful. Following are some demos I like especially:



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