• Evelyn Espinoza

Postcards From A Beijing Winter

A new series of small watercolor paintings based on a trip I took to Beijing, China in 2008. These paintings are studies from photographs I took during a very cold, short trip to and around Beijing. The idea of postcards stemmed from the small 6 x 9 size, the limited color palette used, and the simplified painting technique applied. The subjects chosen are not particularly typical postcard-esque, and I think that is what sets them apart. When I go back through my photo album from Beijing, these are the images I'm drawn to; the memories that keep coming back.


 

Sisters Walking

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

$100.00


I loved watching the little bundled up sister toddle about wherever she pleased as her older bundled up sister, held her by the hood and responsibly guided her around bikes and people. They remind me of my boys: Chuy and Àngel. I took several photos of these two, walking around street vendors, ensuring the little sister didn't bump into anyone else, before walking up this quiet alleyway. I noticed many of the children so buddled up and well padded, they looked like little marshmallows. I bet if they got knocked over, they'd roll like little balls.

 

Hutong Haircut

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

$100.00


So much of life was done outside within the Hutongs, the traditional city living in an area of Beijing. It was fascinating to meander around for the afternoon. The alleyways leading to family homes were very narrow. The larger, more communal areas hosted markets. There were hardly any cars; mainly bikes. This gentleman received his usual haircut from his barber on a bike. Their faces are red from the bitter cold.

 

Four Old Men at the Summer Palace

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

$100.00


Although this was taken at the Summer Palace, the temperature was far from anything remotely Summery, as the red-faced gentlemen show. Bitter, bone-numbingly cold. There was a slight warmth given out by the sun and I suppose they may have been sitting there to warm up. Inside with a hot drink seems a better way to me, though. These friends knew each other well based off of their easy conversation and body language.

 

Hutong Birdcages

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

$100.00


Life in the Hutongs. These birds sang sweetly from their cages as I walked by, no doubt trying to keep warm in the Winter sun. I think what I found most interesting was the amount of activity and daily life happening outside, despite the temperatures.

 

Hutong Wiring

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

SOLD


Fascinatingly dangerous and complicated. All these incredibly, intricately woven wires were hanging not very far from my head. The branches in the background added to the orchestrated mess and tangle which inspired my composition.

 

Lama Temple at Sunset

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

$100.00


The Lama Temple is very beautiful when the late afternoon sun hits the gold painted roof tops. The focus is on the building, not the throngs of people below. I visited this temple on New Year's Day, which ensured lots of visitors. This is probably the most postcard typical painting of the series.

 

Walking The Great Wall

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

$100.00

The stark colors attracted me to paint this scene. Going to the Great Wall in December ensures minimal tourists. The barren mountains on either side of the wall gave a wonderful contrast to the blue, purple tones in the wall's reflections. This was a remarkably clear day with bright blue skies.

 

Four Guards on Duty

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

$100.00

I don't know what the joke was, but I loved capturing the facial expressions and body language of this scene. I did wonder why the poor young chap on the left didn't have a winter issue coat on. I think I caught him mid cough, or splutter. I loved the bright red doors behind them, with the heavy shadows from the sun.

 

The Plant Seller

watercolor on cold-pressed paper

2022

9 x 6

SOLD


I enhanced the colors within the photo a little bit to produce the teal, red and yellow watercolors. I like how the gentleman blends in between the foreground collection of plants wrapped in cellophane protective plastics, and the background of the hodgepodge of building behind him. I don't think he was having a great day selling many plants. The cigarette seemed to be the best part of his day.

 

I hope you enjoyed this series of Postcards From a very cold Beijing Winter. I will share any more I paint to the series with you.

Evelyn

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