How to make gelatine solution for traditional chinese and japanese Painting Styles, like Nihonga and Gong Bi

Nikawa is the japanese word for the gelatine solution that is used in certain old chinese and japanese painting styles, namely nihonga and gong bi style. The gelatine solution is used as a binder for pigments, as well as for preparation ( sizing ) of the paper, to reduce its absorbancy. In this video I used 20 g of good quality gelatine, and 200 ml of water.

You can see the process in the video below…

Continue reading “How to make gelatine solution for traditional chinese and japanese Painting Styles, like Nihonga and Gong Bi”

New inspiration – Eyvind Earle

I recently bought an artbook of one of the artist I really admire – Eyvind Earl.
Even though my personal style in drawing and painting is very different, and of course, not as developed in skill jet, I really love the paintings of Eyvind Earl.
There are a lot of things I can learn from them, even though its not my particular style. For example when it comes to the clarity and beauty of his shapes and compositions.
I also love the more graphical style approach, that jet is still highly detailed.
Here are some impressions…

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Mountain Water Clouds & Moon – Some work in progress pictures

Finally I did it. This picture was a lot of work, even if it may not look so. There are lots and lots of layers of soft grey washes done here. It may not reach the hundred-mark, but I am sure there are about 60-80 layers.

For those who are interested in, I managed to remind my self of taking some work in progress pictures… so here they are:

Here you can see… almost nothing. But a thing you can notice is how fine chinese rice paper is. It really is nearly about transparent, especially after it´s wet. The dark line in the upper third revers not to the painting, its a stroke on the painting board that is shining through…

First few washes, defining the mountains and the moon in negative space.

And on it goes. The difficulty here is to repaint exactly the same forms, for example of the mountains to not get them fuzzy edges…

By so far, I was quite happy with the overall composition, but realized that something was really missing. Layer-amount at this point: about 30

So I decided to paint in some clouds for getting more live into the painting. I started to softly define them through negative space, always paying attention not to get to sharp edges.

More and more clouds where rising…

And, of course, the golden moon. Hi is done in gold-leaf of fair-trade gold (23 K) from thailand. A really lovely, warm gold-tone… 

You can also see that I darkened the foreground mountains a lot more since I started…

And finally done…

I choose a passage from the Dao-Te-Jing from Lao-Tsu, that I rally like as balance text for the empty space in the right-under corner. 

It is about the water and it´s softness that is superior all hardness.

I also add my artist-name and my seal.

And so it is ready now, to be mounted onto a traditional chinese silk scroll…

Thanks for watching! 

If you liked, please leave a comment !

New Atelier – Workspace !

Since I decided to do art more seriously and sooner or later  for a living, we now did some structural changes in our home.

Thanks to my girlfriend, I now have a own room as painting- and working-room ! What great luck ! 

The room is about 3,50 meters wide and 5 meters long. But one thing I love the most is the hight of about 2,50 meters !

Enough space over the head for creative input 🙂

Have a look:

Finally enough space, for even hang and store my work in progress paintings and papers for drying after being prepared for painting…

Ps : 

By the way,

if you are ever considering to carry a BIG thing from one room to another, like we had to do with our selfmade childs-loft-bed that is

about 2m x 2m x 2m …

consider VERY well if it takes more work for deconstruct the whole thing or to carry it in one turn.

We decided not to deconstruct it,

end ended up with a giant 2 cube-meters construction in a not too big kitchen :/ 

… well, after a lot of rubix-cube-work, we finally managed it to carry the whole thing to the new destination.

Puhh… 🙂


No Scetches were done for this one.

I found out that I am not very good at “planning” my works.

It´s more the way of “natural growing”, with all the mistakes that may happen that I like.

So I start with a “wild” layer of traditional japanese Sumi Ink, and then try to “see” the picture.

You don´t know were you are about to going with this method, but if it works you will get some kind of “natural harmony” without too many interruptions of the “artists artistic artificiality” 🙂

Ask me if you want to know something.


After a while, not being able to paint, I decided to finish this pice :

Like most pictures I do this time, there was no sketch for this one.

Unfortunately, I did no earlier picture of this painting.

I just forget about that, while I am painting 🙁  Have to think about next time…

I did a rough and wet in wet wash, for getting some texture and than try to see the ready painting in this…

After being so far, I found the yellow a little bit too light, and the moon to less in contrast, so I added more yellow.

Added some foliage-texture to the tree on the right side, and decided to use the random “splotches” for some fantastic bubbles. I wanted them to reflect the light of the moon, and to lead the eye of the viewer towards the moon, so I added yellow to most of them, always to the side they show to the moon.

And so instead of painting further on the leaves, I started on the left side, I was pulled to the bubbles…added some darker blue on the side not showing to the moon, and finally some highlights with white, for give them a more 3D-look.

Ok, finally got to work with the leaves 😉 

Because the way, that turned out, would lead the viewers eye (composition-matter) out of the image, I decided to interrupt it.

Added some more leaves, and darkened the foreground with some japanese sumi, and color mixed, to create less saturation in this area.

It gives a sense of chaos and fights the peace and harmony. In this case, it is not just too much detail, but also in the wrong place…in the foreground which should normally just being there to frame the pice…

It´s one of my general problems. I really have to fix this. I will. I want too! Really! >.<

New picture, new luck…

To give the whole composition another central point, I decided to add people there. I really love to draw small people…well, not small, but far away XD

I really was happy with this choice, because it brought a little more “live” in the picture.

Since me and my wife got a little son, I choose to put in a “small” family.

Put in a dark frame, as I always do, and used Photoshop for lightning adjustments as well as color correction. 

I use this, because for our stay in Ecuador I did not take my scanner. So I just can use my camera (it´s not a really expansive and good one, but it´s what you would call “ok”)

and make pictures of my pictures. Because of that the colors are always a little bit unreal and not the ones in the picture. 

With photoshop it is possible to correct this mistake to a certain point.

After all, I am happy to finished this piece, even if it´s not a masterpiece. I never did one…if I think about.

Thanks for watching !

Working with No-Tan´s – value-scetches

I just found an old blog-entry of mine from 2013…

The words “No-Tan” come from the traditional japanese art and mean the general, and most often the tone-value structure of a picture. 

“No” has the meaning of dark, saturated ink ( traditional japanese painting is mostly done in black-white ), while “Tan” has the meaning of more diluted, and brighter ink.

Continue reading “Working with No-Tan´s – value-scetches”

My Workspace – most important things

As a turn of faith, I am currently located in Ecuador, next to the capital Quito.

I am not completely happy with it, but will return to Germany in December, so it´s what you would call an interesting experience. 

Because of the situation, my workspace is much smaller, than it used to be, but have a look on your own:

In these day´s I use only japanese Watercolors, called “Shin-Gansai”.

I prefer the one´s from the Holbein Corp. 

They have excellent shining and brightness and are really fluid. (You can see the Box in the back, the dark-brown one under the window.

I made this experience often: Whenever the question comes to quality, japanese stuff is one of the first choice. ( For example the tools, papers, clothes, etc.) 

As you can see I use Chinese Brushes, and German Paper. 

The Paper is made of Bamboo, has a nice surface and is a very good end ecological Paper.

I use japanese Sumi, what is a kind of ink for my black, because it is a lively black, with a very soft bluish tone. The sumi is solid, you have to rub it on stone, together with water to make the tone you want.

Also a very important tool are the small naps of ceramic, you can see on the picture.

They allow me to mix a special color or tone, that I use for larger areas, without great changes in the color. I came to these ones very late, but now I don`t want to miss them.

Of course I have certain other things I use, like rubbers, pencils, pens, salt and alcohol for creating texture, etc. but I think these are the most important things for my work by now.

First Blog Entry – Welcome

Hello everybody,

since I´ve started my Deviant-Art-Profile, I am now getting forward with my Blog.

Here, you will see inside information from my art, workspace, thoughts and ideas, as well as tutorials and in-work-progresses.

Of course you are welcome to ask me questions , just write me a mail, or to post comments.

In this day´s a homepage, where you will find my work and expositions for buy, is in progress. You´ll get the info when it is online, here.

Of course I do requests. Just send me a mail, or post a question here, we will then discuss the details.

I hope you´ll enjoy this Block and have a nice time!

Thank you for watching