All Posts on Emily Lupita Studio

This Week at Emily Lupita Studio: Fireworks

This week I finished a new painting in my Japanese kimono series. This one is called, “Fireworks.”

2-1 Fireworks Kimono

This painting reminds me of the excitement I felt as a little girl in Iowa watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July each year & also of the amazing fireworks I saw at the summer festivals in my adopted hometown of Miyakonojo, Japan.

6-2 Fireworks Kimono Black Circles

These paintings are part of a book I’m working on titled Long-sleeved Kimono that will feature haiku about Japanese culture along with my Japanese kimono paintings.

6-2-2 Fireworks Kimono Blue Squares


-Emily Lupita

All Posts on Emily Lupita Studio

Q & A: What type of paints do you use?

irodori paints

Q & A: What type of paints do you use?

I use a type of watercolor paint called Irodori Antique Japanese Watercolors. They are made in Japan by Holbein.

When I was living in Japan I fell in love with the fantastic contrast of patterns and colors in the traditional Japanese textiles used to make kimonos and yukatas (cotton summer kimonos).  I was looking for a way to paint my own vision of these vivid patterns and came across these watercolors at my local art store in the city of Miyakonojo, Miyazaki, where I was teaching English in an academic high school at the time. I had been using the Holbein watercolor paint set in traditional Western colors for several years at that point and got so excited about this particular Irodori color series as soon as I saw it.

This is the description of the paints on one of my boxes:

“Ancient oriental watercolors are characterized by their delicate hues. Now today’s artist can journey back into time to create with the same timeless palette used by Japanese and Chinese artists 15 centuries ago. Delicate and harmonious, the 48 Irodori colors are created using pure pigment in gum arabic for clean, crisp results that won’t darken or muddy. Highly saturated, they granulate very freely, and are more opaque in the true Asian fashion.”

Sure enough, once I started using this Irodori set in the antique colors, I knew this was the paint for me. That was more than a decade ago and I’m still using the same paints. I’ve had to refill a couple times, but lucky for me Dick Blick Art Supplies carries the series and I can re-order online instead of traveling back to Japan. Although…it would be a wonderful excuse to get to return to the land of the rising sun.

All Posts on Emily Lupita Studio

Q & A: Who is the character in your watercolor paintings?

Who is the character in your watercolor paintings?

Her name is Lupita and she is a representation of women & girls across the world who seek out beautiful moments. I have several different collections of Lupita paintings reflecting the many sides of my Lupita character.

The Lupita on a Journey collection is my main collection and is inspired by the Japanese ancestor doll, where the viewer imagines the face of a loved one inside the blank face of the doll.

Japanese doll 1

Other collections include the Lupita Sisters, Lupita Portraits, Lupita Dreams, and the beloved Lupita Monsters, who are full of mischief and often broken-hearted, a compliment to the sweeter Lupita versions.

5-1 Lupita Wings Blue Purple Rainbow

This painting is part of a series I made in the Lupita on a Journey collection of Lupita with wings in different designs and colors. As you can see here, the years I lived in Japan have influenced my artwork a great deal, especially in terms of space and pattern.

[Japanese doll photo taken by Emily Lupita Plum-Guclu at a private home exhibit in Miyakonojo, Japan, 2003]