Gansai Flowers

It’s also been some time since I’ve painted some flowers.  I guess it’s more a spring theme but I do love the bright colours and feel that summer, especially in the sunny days, brings in some vividness.  Furthermore, I was in the mood for some water colouring for a change.  It somewhat invites freshness and a sense of feeling light.

Japanese watercolour palette

In addition, I have long wanted to start using these traditional Japanese water colour paints, known as Gansai, I had bought in Tokyo last spring.  The colours are brilliant yet subtle.  And are highly pigmented so a little goes a long way.  What makes them special is that they are primarily derived from natural pigments such as shellfish or clay and combined with chalk, thus resulting in a bold yet natural look.  And once I dipped my brush on paper with one of those paints, wow!


As you would with watercolour painting, best to start with a bit and work your way up.  But even in the first layer, the colours really came out beautifully and not looking all washed out.  I really liked the pastel colours of mint green and lilac.  Unfortunately, I still don’t have confidence yet to simply start brushing away blindly so I need to outline my flowers and leaves with pencil first, especially where in this case composition is crucial.  But that will come with time.


Am sorry, the above photo looks a bit green since I had taken it under a shade where the shutters were green!  Paper is actually white.  For the background, I decided to paint it blue and went for the “salt on wet paint” trick.  It’s quite a skill to get it right so could be a hit and miss in some areas.  Not to worry, it still looked cool.  As with the finishing touches, I added some dots on the flowers and veins on the leaves with another Japanese product, watercolour pens called  “Sai Japanese Traditional Colors” which worked out really well.

IMG_1189 (1)

All in all, I am well pleased with how this experiment turned out.  I should like to practise more on using watercolours especially with the Gansai.  The effects are so elegant and settling to look at.  Preparation though could be rather onerous because you need to go through the motions of stretching the paper by having to wet it and tape it down but I guess you get used to it, and the effort is worth it in the end.

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