Blue Blooms watercolor on Yupo 7x5" by Meera Rao
I don't know the name of these flowers but when I saw them a few weeks ago in a bouquet I had bought, I pulled out my watercolors, a small sheet of yupo and just painted them free hand. It was very gratifying to just relax, trust my instincts, simplify, and concentrate on capturing the essence of what I was seeing. Painting a simple blue flower - nothing more. I liked the resulting Zen like quality of flower with white space around it.
Just this morning I was looking for one particular book in my library. I stumbled across "Complete Sumi-e Techniques" by Sadami Yamada. I had forgotten I owned it and had not opened it in years. Sidetracked from my search, I started flipping through it and read about yohaku or 'white space' the unpainted area : "the importance placed on this area in a painting is considered equal, and sometimes superior, to the actual painted area." And : ...it is the intimate relationship between the concept of 'color and 'space' that makes perfection possible" The 'painted' part is considered as 'fullness' and the blank space as 'emptiness' with both combined to bring balance and create beauty.
The author writes: " When asked what was the most difficult problem in painting, Ike-no-Taiga, a great master of the Edo period, pinpointed the importance of white space by simply answering, 'the unpainted area is the most difficult part' "
I love how an important composition element is explained in spiritual terms and that what to leave unpainted is a challenge experienced by artists all through the ages. The other thing the book emphasizes is hours of practice :)