Japanese Kimono Painting (Watercolor on Paper)


Last year, I produced a series of images in a theme loosely titled “Goddesses (Among Us)” and while they were all smaller (9 x 12″) I wanted to thematically continue the project – albeit larger. That was my mindset when embarking on this new Japanese kimono painting, so I went with 16 x 20″.

Furthermore, I was keen to complete this piece quickly. Larger paintings take an exponentially longer time to complete – for obvious reasons. The medium of watercolor does lends itself to staying loose; it is almost a quality of the pigment that working fast is beneficial. Overworking (or repairing) watercolor is very difficult, unlike the ease of the opaque mediums like oil paint.

Japanese Kimono Painting
Kimono I (2021)
Watercolor on D’Arches 140 lb Hot Pressed Paper
16 X 20″

Most importantly, this piece was the first one created during my 30 day sabbatical from social media (Nov. 2021). It was a huge relief to be able to concentrate on art, not algorithms.


This Japanese kimono painting was derived from the two sources below. I tend to mash up at least two references to create a new, original work of art. I can clearly see that one reference leans towards cosplay, because historically the kimonos of Geisha are far more demure.

While I am exiting the social media platforms that are not “sparking joy” I must admit there are a small, select tools that I will always need to keep. This could be the topic of it’s own blog post. One of them is Pinterest, which is a great resource for saving and organizing inspiration.

Lessons Learned – Painting

  • I am experimenting with hot pressed paper. I have almost always used rougher, cold pressed paper but the tooth made it frustrating to paint crisp details. Life is too short to not experiment with paper!
  • I need to concentrate on comfort.
    While not really a lesson learned, the sedentary nature of my day job makes it undesirable to create artwork for long stretches while sitting. So, its a combination of ergonomics and new furniture to help me settle in for the long haul.
  • It is said that certain weights of watercolor paper need to be stretched in order to avoid cockling, or buckling. For this outing, I destroyed the first sheet (rather, repurposed into test scraps) since the process of deeply wetting the paper made it warble deeply. I was going for flat as possible.