Florida-based contemporary artist Lynne French paints with watercolor and oil, yet rarely picks up a paintbrush. Instead, she uses a technique known as Chinese-inspired Zen Tissue Watercolor.
Lynne’s tissue and watercolor paintings, which can take months to create, are based on the meditation rituals of a Buddhist monk named Hsuan Hua. Lynne found her niche at the Chouinard Art Institute in California, where she studied with master impressionists Millard Sheets and Phil Dike.
As She Materialized, which is seen below, is one such Zen meditation painting. You can see how the watercolor and tissue blend together to create a stained glass appearance, along with an intricate web of texture that adds an ethereal delicacy to each painting.
The colors in As She Materialized are hauntingly beautiful, growing deeper and richer at the edges while still offering a translucent blue in the middle as if the artwork were actually a window in which you could see through.
Lynne’s next painting, titled Winter’s Nest, pairs rich jeweled tones and lighter pastels in the background. Her prolonged use of white space in the body of the bird yields a simple, yet profound, visual effect.
In this particular piece, the tissue paper competing with the watercolor is more crinkled and eye-catching. This creates a texture very much like rough tree branches covered in brittle bark, or perhaps the veins of leaves, which offer a fitting background as the bird glances up shyly from where it had been shielding its head within the tight quarters of its feathered body.
Last of all, Migration is definitely the subtlest painting of today. Although the tissue paper is thick and textural, Lynne used a very limited color palette—primarily purple and red hues—to tell a story that is as old as time.
In this painting, two woman covered from head to toe are quite literally carrying the weight of their world. It is in the chaos and uncertainty of Lynne’s creation—through the complex way she arranged her tissue paper and the monochromatic color scheme—that we understand how these woman are feeling and what they must be going through as they travel into the unknown.
To see more of Lynne’s unique mixed-media masterpieces, or to browse through her more traditional oil paintings, be sure to visit her website.