During the last two years I have become aware of many new watercolour artists, some via WetCanvas and many more recently from Facebook. Keest Van Aalst's book `Realistic Abstracts' started me off exploring many new (to me) artists. Amongst several of those who have made a big impression is Fealing Lin. Actually I now recall it was an issue of `Watercolor Artist' where I first saw one of her paintings. I had intended to do a feature for some time and providentially the latest issue of `Watercolor Artist' June 2012 has an article about her, specifically on portraiture. Portraits are only part of her repetoire though as some of the following paintings will show.
Originally from Taiwan, where she studied painting under Professor Ching-Jung Chen, before then moving to the United States where she now lives. She is a renowned artist who has won many awards and is a much sought after workshop teacher.
Fortunately the magazine article gives us an insight into her methods and materials. Her favourite paper is Fabriano - presumably Artistico - 300 lb hot pressed, but she also uses Canson for smaller figure paintings. Her favourite sizes are either 16" x 12" blocks or 21" x 15" Sheets.
With regard to paints her favoured brands are Holbein and Daniel Smith. She uses only transparent colours, no black or white. Her portrait and figure painting palette consists of Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Red Light, Alazarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Quinacridone Gold, Hookers Green, Mineral Violet, Cerulean Blue, Turquoise Blue and Ultramarine. Despite saying she uses only `transparent ' colours note some of these are opaque, especially the Cadmiums.
Brushes, which she says she's not `picky' about are mostly rounds in sizes 10 to 16 plus some squirrel mops. This presumably is specific to her portrait work, because a report on one of her workshops on landscape painting quotes various sizes of flats.
Drawing is accomplished with a 3B pencil and she occasionally uses liquid frisket - masking tape to us Brits - to preserve small lights.
Her tecnique involves using large brushes and working upright at an easel. She is definately one for `drippy' washes allowing colour to freely mingle on the paper. She does use several layers of paint but keeps brushstrokes to a minimum to avoid overworking. She lets each layer dry before proceeding further. According to the article her paintings can take `a couple of hours', `a couple of days', a few weeks or even several months depending on what she is working on and as she says `luck'! She does work from live models but mostly photos and intially draws carefully. She uses contrasting or complementary colours to draw the viewers eye. Like Charles Reid she emphasizes painting shapes rather than things. Her final advice is to study design, make good shapes and always return to the basics. This specifically refers to her portrait painting and she differs in other subjects. A tough one to emulate.
I have also e-mailed her with some questions about her landscape work and will publish her reply when I receive it.
Note added 12/06/12: I received a prompt reply from Fealing LIn to the following questions.
1.What is your landscape palette?
2. What brushes do you use for landscapes?
3. What paper do you use?
"My basic palette of watercolours: Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Turquoise Blue, Prussian Blue, Green Gold, New Gamboge, Quinacridone Gold, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Alazarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, Opera."
"I use brushes as large as possible both round and flat. My favourites are 2", 11/2", "1", 1/2" flat and No12 round. Riggers , old oil brushes, tooth brushes and palette knives are very useful for me".
"D'Arches (presumably this means Arches) 140lb cold press in sheets or blocks are the ones I always have in my paper drawer but I use all kinds of brands on my sketch books"