This piece is quite large, a 2x2 foot square. The girl is watercolor & colored pencil on paper. The background is acrylic paint on top of a birch panel. The golden parts are real gold leaf that shine in the light. She took me about a fortnight to complete.
|Baien -梅園- | Watercolor, acrylic, & colored pencil on wood | 24 x 24"|
She is called "Baien" after a heavenly nature park which I visited last time I was in Japan. Baien is in the sleepy little seaside town of Atami, not far outside of Tokyo. Atami is famous for its onsen (natural hot springs.) The town is a bit old fashioned and quaint, and that's what I love about it! You can explore its slightly shabby steep streets endlessly and be greeted by friendly faces everywhere you turn.
Anyway: I'm glad we decided to pay the small entry fee for Baien. It was well worth it because it turned out to be one of the most beautiful, serene, and peaceful places I've ever been. The area was in a quiet valley filled with plum and cherry trees of all sorts. Waterfalls and rivers wove alongside the walking paths, and filtered sunlight streamed in from above. Here and there were old style Japanese houses and gardens through which you could wander. It was early spring, so the weather was perfect.
We stayed in a hotel close by. And yes, the onsen (hot springs) are marrrrvelouuuuuus.
One morning, I got up early and had a peaceful soak in the hot water. There weren't many people there, so I felt like I was in my own private paradise. The water was soooo warm and comforting, the sunlight was streaming in through the windows and making the steam glow all around me, and my stress level was truly at 0. I closed my eyes and tried to lock in that memory, since it was such a perfectly blissful moment.
Those happy feelings have come back to me lately. And that's why I wanted to paint "Baien" girl, to remind me of being perfectly happy and enveloped softly by the warmth of the natural water. The bright pink flowers in her hair remind me of that beautiful Baien park forevermore. I hope you feel serene, peaceful, and content when you look at her.
So now you know the story behind her. Check out this step-by-step process video! It's just 52 seconds long, don't worry.