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Geisha at Kinkaku-ji

This was a commission I did over the last few days. It's a scene of the Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, Japan. The day is bright, with some Autumn leaves in color on the trees in the background. The afternoon sun hits the gold on the pavilion, lightening up with a gorgeous shimmer. The geisha is in the foreground with her parasol up.

I used a specific color palette for this painting. I'm focused on improving my color palettes within my paintings, so I've been reading through Zoltan Szabo's Color-by-Color Guide to Watercolor.

My main color and the center focal point is the pavilion, so I used Aureolin (Coblat) Yellow. To complement the yellow, I painted the trees and background with Permanent Violet Bluish, and some Blockx Green, (actually Blockx Green was recommended but I didn't have it, so I substituted it with Cobalt Green. It's very similar, and of the same family as the Cobalt Yellow. The skies and water were painted with Cobalt Teal Blue and Quinacridone Rose was used in the geisha's kimono. I used my David Smith samples to paint this watercolor. I do like most of the paints, but some of them don't sit awfully well on my paper. I'm not sure if this is my paper, or possibly some oil residue in my brush, or the constitute of the paint.

I also tested David Smith's metallic range on the pavilion. I added some gold, silver, and iridescent pearl to give the panels the ultimate sheen I could.

You may be wondering why I'm bothering to list all these colors. Well, this limited color selection gives the overall painting a mode and atmosphere: a soft background. They are pleasing together; harmonious. nothing is too jarring or distracting in an off-putting way. The yellow and violet complement each other. All these colors are of the same chroma, intensity, or saturation.

This painting is 9 x 12 on 300g cold-pressed watercolor paper. I prefer cold-pressed to hot. I like the textured look and feel to the paper. I like my paintings to look like they've been painted on paper, than the very smooth surface, hot-pressed gives you. Both are great! My personal preference for my style of painting is using cold-pressed.

I started with the sky. Then, began to build up the layers of trees in the background. I began on the pavilion, building up details in layers of color. The reflection in the water was next. The trees in the middle ground and the geisha were last.

This painting has been sold, but it will be available for print soon at 6 x 9 on a high quality card stock. Keep checking out my shop page if you're interested in getting your own print, or send me an email and I will reserve one for you.

If you are in the Yokota area, then of course, there are no shipping charges!

Many blessings,


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