Chen’s Canvas: Modern Girl


Jason Chen, JagWire reporter/illustrator

For this week’s blog, I have some new art actually up for examination. On today’s edition of Chen’s Canvas, we’ll be looking at a piece I recently created as my first concentration piece of the year. The image is a continuation of my concentration from last year, Asian-influenced art nouveau.

If you’ve read some of my other blogs, you’ll have some idea of what this concentration revolves around. Many of my other pieces are similar in composition to the is piece, usually containing a woman in the foreground and then some sort of image as the background. For this image, I struggled to make the composition unique and new. In the end, I ended up using the same layout design as many of my previous pieces.

The time spent on deciding how I want the image to look resulted in me falling behind on schedule and meant I was only able to finish one concentration. That one concentration is seen below. The inspiration for the piece — Modern Girl — came from the 30s and ’40s advertisement posters which contained the use of beautiful Shanghai girls.

I depicted the girls in the same medium as my other pieces — pen and watercolor. However, for this image, I decided to give the piece a different element to make it unique. For the Modern Girl, I used the styling of art nouveau stained glass as a main component of the piece.

The stained glass look required me to use planar-analysis to break up the face of the girl. I also used various line weights throughout piece, which is an element that I have included in several other images. Like the other pieces in the concentration, I used watercolor as the main source of color for the image. The lady’s dress — a Chinese Qipao — was brightly painted in contrast to the dark smoky background.

Inspired by the Shanghai girls of the past, the piece captured the essence of a modern woman in pen and watercolor.
Inspired by the Shanghai girls of the past, the piece captured the essence of a modern woman in pen and watercolor.

I have to admit, this isn’t a piece that I love the most. The Asian art nouveau concentration is also losing steam. I’ve started to hit a wall, and I’m struggling to come up with new ideas. However, I’m sure I’ll be able to finish the year with enough artwork.

Junior Jason Chen is quite the artist and his art reflects on a wide range of styles and topics through mediums that include watercolor, pen and ink, pencils and frequently a touch of acrylic. In AP Studio Art, his classmates regularly comment on having him “sacrificed to the art gods.”  


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