Single Shuen Paper

So... really there's four things to brush painting. Three of them are the ones that are touted often, the ink, the brush, and the paper. The fourth element, fleeting as it is, is water. Water to carry the ink, to dilute it, to apply it to said paper and use the characteristics of the paper.

I started on just plain newsprint. Cheap, plentiful, and it does absorb water/watercolor/ink the way a good ink painting paper should. It is NOT sized the way printer paper or, even more so, watercolor papers are, to allow the water/ink/liquids to lie on the surface and be spread. It is absorbent and sucks up the ink/paint/water like a sponge.

Practice "rice" paper, which isn't made of rice, but is made of nice, long fibers, came next, and machine made rolls are relatively cheap. $10 for 600" is pretty darn tootin'. But then I found a roll of ten sheets of 13 1/2" x 57" (I have NO idea who came up with those dimensions) Double Sheun in my closet. It's a two-layered paper that's been pressed together, and it's thicker and more absorbent, but oddly enough that allows for better water control as the fibers allow the paint to be laid down and there's more thickness to just take the water straight down and not allow it to spread.

The last set of paintings, with Gabe's Japanese iris, Genevieve's bamboo, and Akuni's hummingbird were all on the double Shuen. It made a difference in both the color and the control I had over the colors and ink. It really sucked everything in quickly, and I had to adjust the amount of paint and water and really overload my brushes for the bamboo attempts. I hadn't realized, until I found and used that paper that I was finally at that point where the quality of the paper really makes a difference in my results.

Today I found a roll of the single, or Special Sheun in my closet. In a moment of either hubris or pure cheapskatedness, I'd bought a whole roll of ten sheets of single Shuen, which is the same paper, but only one layer. Nothing to absorb the excess water. Nothing to keep the paint from just spreading wildly. And it shows the colors applied absolutely, the moment you touch the brush to the surface, it takes it, brilliantly, beautifully when done right. Horribly if one has too much water or hesitates or goes over it or, for heaven's sake, *pauses* in the middle of a stroke. The hesitations show. Some professionals call it "Honest Paper". I had a few other choice words for it. *laughs*

I took one of those sheets, roughly tore it into two pieces and did these. Apologies for the lack of quality photography, I just wanted to get these up. I may have to take them in the daylight as my lighting wasn't actually adequate to the originals themselves. Both are done in the style of Chi of the Brush and while I used the book for reference, I actually didn't paint anything that was exactly as they showed in the book, either. I think it's kind of funny to do the painting and then add outlines to kind of bolster the illusion of the items in the painting, but... I kind of like how it worked out on the iris.

On both the pictures I used a little GIMP-y magic to repair the torn paper... as I was pretty rough on it, 'cause I was scared of it. But the results... yeesh... the results...

First the wisteria:
2nd try at photo for Wistera

I'd been thinking of doing wisteria for a while, but I hadn't gotten good enough at color blending on the brush. Now I think I am. The gradations on each petal just... happen, now. Every gnarl in the branch just shows. It's amazing to me how this paper shows those so *well*.

And then the monster Bearded Iris:
2nd Try at Photo for Bearded Iris

Uhm. Yeah. The falling petals had a three-color blend on them... light purple, dark purple, and then black ink, all blended to do the color variation on each stroke for the petals. It was... fun. *laughs*

I still need to work on the structure of the bearded iris one a bit more, but I think it's getting there. *grins*

I think I could get addicted to Single Shuen.
That wisteria is just... wow! Delicate and strong at the same time. It makes me *feel* things. Art, that is.

Thank you, very, very much. That's... wow. *grins*

*dances* I'm getting somewhere with this! Yay!
They both are just wow.
The work on them is amazing. I see Yumi really liking the wisteria.

I feel so much from your paintings.
Absolutely gorgeous! Your bearded iris has an honest-to-gosh beard. Your fine line work is really confident. I love the swirly marks. And the wet-on-wet bleeding has a lot of balance. Lovely pictures. I really enjoy when you post your artwork.
Hee. I'm glad you like them! Yeah... it's interesting to try and represent all those ruffles and things with 'flat' paint. *laughs*

Thank you, so much, for the specifics of what struck you. I'm really glad you're enjoying these, too. It's more fun when I can share 'em.
*grovels* you are absolutely fabulous ... whatever you say, those paintings are simply gorgeous. I love them.
*petpets* *snugs* Thank you. Yay! I'm glad you love 'em!! I keep thinking of them as bastard children... *laughs* Love 'em anyway, but know I probably should be embarrassed by them.
well, at least they aren't your redheaded stepchildren ... you don't like em and you treat them like shit. you shouldn't be embarrassed by them ... they're beautiful.
The iris is lovely, but the wisteria is gorgeous. We had wisteria on the outside of the theatre block at my old school, and you have it . . . just right.
*beams* I'm so glad!! It's hard to know when I've never seen a real wisteria before, just pictures. *laughs* But I understood the structure, so... it was fun to do.

*dances about* Thank you!!
I feel like I should find a word besides "wow". The wisteria is really, really lovely. I was scrolling down and for a while just saw the gnarled branch, which wasn't very appealing-- and on it's own, it looks a little like a lizard. But then just the tops of the upper petals of the flower gave the picture such a softness. And then that kept going. So nice. I do like the sense of this paper.
It does look like a lizard!! Hee... it's the old, grumpy part of it. Which is always good for balancing the delicacy of the rest.

I'm so glad that you liked how it progressed. *happy sigh*

Yeah... it's bemusing paper.

Thank you!
The iris is so pretty, and the wisteria is stunning. *_* Those colours really do blend very smoothly - you do that on the brush? *boggle* I can't wrap my non-artistic brain around that, so I'm just going to assume it's magic and leave it at that. :p

I think it's terrific that your skills are to a point where you need better equipment to make the most of them and to keep improving. *beams* Go you!!
*beams* Yeah... it's actually easier on the brush than trying to dab it onto paper that sucks it up at once. *laughs*

Yay! Magic!

I'll keep trying. It's fun to learn through experience with the medium. Whew...

Thank you!! And thanks, so much, for supporting my habit! Hee.
I'm glad to see they both have your chop on them. (Is 'chop' the right word?) They are both lovely but I still like the bamboo in the fog the best.
It is the right word! I have no idea why they're called that, but they are...

*smiles* Yeah... the bamboo in black and white is very much a classical thing. I really need to do more of it...

Edited at 2008-11-01 07:25 pm (UTC)
Those are absolutely amazing dear, you can see you improving, almost with every painting you show. The wisteria makes me want to hold my breath when I look at it... So much detail, so much beauty, so much *flow*. It's absolutely gorgeous...

The iris has a little less of that flow but the bolder lines have their own elegance. I love the understated leaves in the background, the way the colors get lighter towards the end of the leaves. While I'm completely in love with your wisteria, this one is very good too
I keep trying... which I guess is how anyone learns...

... and it's only my first wisteria and I already know what I'd do to improve the next one. It's cool to see that someone outside of me can see the improvements, too.

*smiles* at your comments on the Iris, too. I'm glad that it struck you that way! Wow. Neat...

Yeah, it's different. Thank you, very much, for your so thoughtful comment on these!

I love the wings on your icon. *happy sigh*
Thank you!!

*giggles* I'm glad you like 'em.

I'm kinda surprised by how much everyone likes 'em, as they're... well... they're first attempts! Yeesh...

Ahem... I'll have to keep trying, or just keep relying on beginner's luck or something.