About Japanese watercolors
The tradition of Japanese watercolor painting has been preserved by highly skilled artisans who have continued to prepare the painting supplies. Such painting uses washi (Japanese paper) and iwaenogu (powdered pigments made from plants and minerals). Iwaenogu are produced in an elaborate series of processes. The mineral pigments come in ten particle sizes, and differences in particle density produce various effects, such as shading and perspective. The natural stones used as pigments include lapis lazuli, turquoise and coral. The trace impurities in these add subtle beauty. Gold leaf and platinum leaf are also used. They are mixed with glue before being applied. Due to the delicacy of the materials, substantial experience and knowledge are required to make best use of the materials, and painting in this style takes a long time, as the next coat can’t be applied until the previous one has dried.
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