When I first arrived to China I was really excited to hear that Hangzhou was the “arts” city of China because of the huge art university by the lake. Before I arrived I wrote an excited email to the university about attending night classes or weekend workshops. Unfortunately they never replied. When I did arrive I found out very quickly that one small difficult barrier here was language. There were NO art classes in English, in fact there were NO night time, weekend or holiday classes at all. My first few paintings were a very uneducated attempt at my own ink images inspired from all the Chinese images I had been seeing in the galleries.
I used my western knowledge of composition, tone and focal points and then added watercolour techniques such as adding salt and wet on wet effects. At the time I really loved the effect of these images. They sold exceptionally well last year. I am sure I will re-visit this technique again later on.
I have always loved texture. After reading an inspiring book I decided to play with tissue papers and watered down paint. The ceramics are everywhere here in China so it was the natural source of my next inspiration. I still love this painting even though it has now found a new home. Next time I would like to have a real blue and white bowl in front of me and paint the designs more precisely. Otherwise I am really happy with this piece.
This leads me to my final development to date! Texture with tissue paper and gesso. I have always adored the fresh, blurry flickering colours of Impressionism (a movement I was teaching to my grade 6 class) so decided to try this technique on a pre-textured canvas. I loved the effect which, at first was absolute pure fluke. I knew the light was going to be important in this image therefore colour and tone were crucial to my final result. I am really happy with this piece as it is unusual for me to paint such earthy colours.
After I had a coffee with my friend in Binjiang I was waiting for the bus in the rain. When I looked down I suddenly noticed firstly, that the drops looked like my lotus paintings and secondly, the reflections of the lights and umbrellas on the wet road were beautiful. As soon as I got home I had planned to capture the reflections I put these colours down first with the intention of coming back and adding people reflected but I couldn’t do it I LOVED the colours and simplicity of the piece so I added the horizon line and voila! Rebecca Jardin’s first abstract piece.
Ever since I arrived to China I have been fascinated by all the fish here. They apparently bring good luck which is why you will often find them by doorways in shops and hundreds of them in ponds next to ancient residences. Even in the art work two fish represent marriage. I have been wanting to paint fish, dragons and a phoenix for a very long time. Now I can check at least one off of my list! I would like to do one or two more of these but with different colours. With this piece I did try one new technique which was splashing water letting it dry a bit and then dabbing it with a dry brush which lifts off layers of paint underneath. I like the effect, especially for capturing water.