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I was fortunate enough to attend a watercolor painting workshop held by Angelika Kolbe this past weekend. Angelika is staying for 4  in Southern California before returning to Berlin, Germany, so I had the great opportunity to paint with her again during the weekdays.

Monday, October 3, 2011. This was a color study using crimson, prussian blue and lemon yellow. It was fun to paint. I am learning to keep my painting as a unified whole instead of my usual tendency to have a part break off as its own entity.

Monday, October 3, 2011. This piece was started with a crimson wash. Only 3 colors were used in this painting: Crimson, prussion blue and yellow. No white was used. Due to the pale crimson wash at the very beginning, Angelika showed me that I could, at the end, add yellow to make such a pretty warm pinkish yellow around the sun. Since we were given only a very large filbert brush to use, it was quite good for me. This way, I had to focus on the whole composition instead of veering towards details like I normally would gravitate to, too early in the painting process. I find Angelika’s exercises very helpful to me and I enjoyed every morsel of it! I am so happy that my paintings are getting more cohesive as a whole.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011
We are back again this morning, to paint, under a gazebo in the garden at the Company of Angels store with Angelika. It is a rainy day! Angelika says, let us paint with gray. We started with a three color study. Mine (painting on the top) is not quite gray yet. During the post-exercise review, I realize my adjacent colors could be mixed together more.

A closer look. I did enjoy painting that morning. Outdoors, under a gazebo, in the rain, in the company of a handful of water-colorists.

Here is another color study. I was compelled to make the colors rich. Angelika exclaimed “Oh Jzin…such dramatic green!” I am more convinced now, after group painting experience, that paintings are a reflection of their painters  whose inner personalities rush outward and they cannot help it. I realize I have tremendous urge for drama that I constantly internalize, outwardly tone down and rationalize away. Painting, and these types of water-color painting especially, to me, is a spiritual exercise. Among other things, it allows one to face one’s lifelong cummulation of tendencies, beliefs and energies. That was what I felt as I was silently painting.

After this richly colored one, I was able to convince myself a little better to do one a little more “muted” to go with my outward desire to be deemed more sedate/grounded and less flamboyant. In the end, I put in Excalibur on the bottom left. I call it “The Sword, Waiting”. Excalibur, that is, quietly being there, next to the dormant tip of the lake. Indeed, in retrospect, my heart is much on fairy tales and fantastical stories these days.

It rained and poured around the gazebo as we painted outdoors. Rain is very uncharacteristic of Southern California. As a self-respecting Southern Californian, I was compelled to do what Southern Californians do, that is, to apologize to Angelika who is visiting from Berlin, for the rain. Mercedes (check out her amazing paintings) said “We are painting wet on wet on wet!” Haha! Below is a closer look at that sword painted by removing wet paint away with the edge of my large filbert brush. White was not used in any of the painting exercises. This piece was done with 3 colors: Crimson wash, next comes the Prussian Blue, followed by Citron Yellow.

By today/Tuesday, I have a tidy little collection of color studies in my dining room. Joy! How I missed painting. I have not painted regularly since that day the sun went down with my firstborn’s autism diagnosis. Now I am painting again. My joyful heart is so grateful for it.

You may view my Life Drawing and other artwork here:


  • Neli

    Dear Jzin,
    It’s so nice to have inspiration and to be able to create such a beauty! I love your sun picture – the colors, the blending of the colors and the composition.

    Thank you for sharing with me your creations. It’s always a pleasure to see everything that comes from your loving, talented hands and creative, wise soul.

    Love you,


    October 4, 2011
  • Dear Jzin,
    how beautiful to see your paintings on this site. It’s such a pleasure to have you in my painting course, to paint with you and to see how you are able to turn each single exercise into a speacial and individual creation.
    I wish you much success and joy with your artistic activities!

    October 4, 2011
    • Kamar Finn

      Dear Angelika,
      I was very inspired by the colour work of these paintings and was wondering if you do any workshops in Europe (I am an art teacher in a Waldorf school in England…)
      best wishes,

      August 27, 2016
  • 楼主很有才华!

    November 4, 2011
  • Anna Scalera

    These paintings are truly beautiful! You are inspiring me to try similar exercises.

    October 4, 2015

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