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4.4 out of 5 stars23
4.4 out of 5 stars
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This book from artist and teacher Lian Quan Zhen is a guide on combining traditional Chinese painting and modern watercolour techniques. An interesting premise.

The book includes 12 demonstrations and 17 step-by-step tutorials. Those examples are quite detailed and you can clearly see what's going on. Quite amazing to see how he turns mundane looking reference photos into beautiful works.

With Chinese painting, rules are more relaxed. For instance, there's no so called perspective points, or even vanishing lines. Modern watercolour techniques are more of representational drawings, and focus on getting the proportions right. Of course, within each style, there are many other details like the tools you use, how to handle brushes. All those are mentioned in the book.

It's refreshing to see how a scene is interpreted with Chinese painting methodology, and using that mindset to draw from observation. For example while Chinese painters would pour black into to make masses, watercolours can also be mixed and poured. What the author says about spontaneous style is true. It's important to break out of the comfort zone and try new methods. With representational drawing, it can be sometimes difficult because you want to capture what you see, at least with the right proportion.

The downside of the book is sometimes the examples are not so clear cut as to the combination of techniques. Well, the Chinese paintings fused with watercolours are alright. As for the some of the modern watercolour paintings examples, it's difficult to see that they are Chinese influenced or made with Chinese painting techniques. At times, it's hard to feel the spontaneity of the Chinese style. I'm saying this because I've seen that kind of spontaneity in an artist friend who mixes the East and West style brilliantly, combining colours with bold blacks (watercolour artist seldom use black), using flat washes or dry brush effortlessly in the same painting. You actually have to see it to realise that this kind of combination techniques are actually possible.

Also, Chinese paintings are sometimes quite minimalistic, but most of the examples are the fill-the-page type. I wish there were more coverage on using white space.

Overall, it's still an interesting book to get if you want to learn and practice some Chinese paintings techniques for your watercolours. I recommended it to artists who are more adventurous and don't mind some experimental fun.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on 18 September 2015
A really good book on the techniques of achieving beautiful results of landscapes, not just Chinese painting but others as well .This book gives detailed information on the seasons in landscapes and tips on using the materials ,brushes and paints ,inks .Beautiful illustrations .Really pleased with it .
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on 8 April 2014
A very good introduction to the Art of Chinese watercolour painting of landscapes. The main ideas, and differences with Western landscape painting, are explained clearly and there are good number of examples used to enable the interested novice to try their hand. Well worth buying.
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on 7 May 2014
Very pleased with this book as it was well described just what i needed to help me with my hobby thank you
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on 24 February 2015
A lovely book but a bit too advanced for my skills at the moment. - a book for the future, perhaps!
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on 7 March 2015
Not quite as luscious as I expected, a little light on instructions and techniques, though high on ideas.
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on 30 September 2013
Any expectations that I had of this book were surpassed many fold, it's easily read and regardless of whether one is an experienced artist or new to painting, it's aworthwhile addition to ones library!
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on 15 June 2014
Lovely book, so very different and has left me so inspired. I intend to try and copy this style of painting and impress my friends.
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on 5 January 2015
Beautiful book with lots of great techniques to try. Liam Quan Zhen is a great artist.
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on 10 November 2013
Although I have not started using the book as a guide to painting but at first glance, the content is interesting and clear step by step guide is provided. It also provided a variety of landscape paintings and techniques. I have enjoyed looking through the paintings and have learned about the history of Chinese painting.
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