Wendilee Heath O'Brien




whopaints - watercolor, pastel, oil and Asian ink paintings


  My vision is two fold. Artistically, art communicates emotions, stories and higher ideals. To achieve this, I work in 5 mediums. Each medium has a distinct voice determined by its unique properties. I choose the medium depending on the emotion I want to evoke. For example, watercolor is liquid. No other medium can create the organic shapes that water moving pigment can. Pastel sculpts. By applying the pastel lightly and with varied strokes, multiple layers create
physical as well as visual depth. Asian Ink Painting is a fleeting moment of the brush on absorbent paper. Consequently it captures the essence of a gesture or a spirit.
For Asian Gold Leaf, Kinpakku, because the binder is water soluble the pigment floats onto the gold allowing for the gold to emanate from the colors. And oil is viscous creating
literal depth that shifts volumes as the viewer moves in relation to the painting.


My need as an artist is not to be ‘brandable’, but to be technically competent and skill versatile in order to create work which speaks to another human being. To achieve this, I am trained in Western and Asian watercolor, composition as well as the classical materials including vegetables, minerals, gold leaf, wet lamination, sea weed glue and the distinct Japanese brush.

Secondly is my belief that original art must be accessible to and affordable for everybody. Consequently, I work all the time. This not only allows me to keep my prices down, but it also means I am constantly honing my skills and vision. I paint every day to ensure constant growth. I offer rent to own as well as installment plans to keep work accessible to folks in all walks of life.

Materials used in Asian Ink Paintings

PAPER There are two basic kinds of paper- absorbant and non absorbent. I use mostly the absorbent. It is a pulp paper, tissue thin and registers each shift of the brush as well as moisture and pigment content.

COLORS There are two types of colors, vegetable and mineral. The vegetable colors are transparent while the minerals are opaque. The latter is made from rocks ground to varying consistencies. There are 16 grinds for most colors.

INK The black ink is called sumi in Japanese. It is made by burning pine logs in enclosed buildings. The pitch is collected and mixed with a binder. I reconstitute it by grinding the stick on slate.

WHITES The opaque whites are ground sea shells. Originally ground pearls were used.

BRUSHES The brushes are constructed very differently from Western ones. They are made so that the entire brush from tip to base is used.

MOUNTING Because the paper is so thin each painting must be wet mounted and stretched. This is the same process used to construct scrolls.

OTHER SUPPLIES The paper is so thin and transparent that it can be painted on both sides. Cream can be used as a resist. Tea and Coffee are used as washes.

HANKO Is a seal carved in wood or stone and used to sign paintings. Mine was made in Japan. It is my registered Hanko and I used it at the bank and at work

GOLD LEAFING First paper is stretched onto a board. This is treated with 12-14 coats of dosa- nikawa and alum. On the final coat the leaf is laid. Iwaenogu- the ground minerals are used for painting on gold leaf.

visit whopaints gallery - Wendilee Heath O’Brien
316 Main Street, Winter Harbor, Maine 

To see more of Wendilee's art and to learn more vist www.whopaints.com