This was a special request for a workshop to paint white poppies for a Peace and Remembrance Day in November 2018.
The gift of a vase or a painting of a vase is a wish for peace because the character for vase (瓶) is pronounced píng, which sounds like the word for peace 平 安, píng ān. A vase with crackled glaze sounds like “year after year peace”.
It took me a while to get the effect I wanted, and which would be achievable by total beginners. I needed a wash to show up the white flowers, but white pigment can look thick and dead. My final method was:
- All ink work first, including mid outline petals & vase, plus dark stamens and calligraphy. Let it dry thoroughly (hairdryers are a boon). Tip: make an outline of the vase shape, put in plastic sleeve, use as guide under your painting paper.
- Titanium white petals painted on the back as a resist. Dry thoroughly. Painting on the back softens the effect on the front.
- Mineral green or blue on the vase, on the back so that the ink cracks show. Dry thoroughly.
- Wash of green and/or blue, also painted on the back. Use a largish hake brush for ease and speed. Careful with the white, which may run when wet. Need a mid or darker colour, as it will be less intense on the front.
I mostly used thin machine-made bark paper so that I could wash from the back and get a subtle colour on the front. I love the texture of mulberry paper, but it was too thick for a wash on the back to show well (first example above).
The participants seemed very happy with their paintings !