Selling baozi

Baozi are meat-filled dumplings eaten at breakfast, those big metal things are steamers. This is a watercolour painting.

I’m excited about this painting even though it looks a lot like previous pictures – it’s the first watercolour I haven’t altered in Photoshop, and I’ve tried out a few things that I’ve been thinking about for a while:

The whole picture was built up first with just two colours, a yellow ochre and prussian blue (dark, very staining). And then when I added colours (the red of the lanterns etc) I used the ochre and blue in the mix. So there’s a cohesion in the colours as well. I think you could probably make any image out of two base colours like this, even if they were bizarre – violet and lime green say. I always have problems with colours being too chaotic, so this two colour base is a great shortcut for me.

All the colours are muddy, except on the focus point (the girl).

There are lots of different whites – reddish-whites, bluish-whites etc made with washes, the only pure white (=paper) is on the focus area – the table, the girl’s face, the steamers.

I worked hard to make sure all the perspective is off :); there are no parallel lines, if you follow the lines of the wall or the table they don’t quite meet up, to grab your attention a bit more.

The apex made by the hands passing the baozi is supposed to echo the apex of the steamers.


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