Zhe Zhang will be walking across the commencement stage this month, but not without first leaving a visual legacy. As she worked on her bachelor of art degree, she also created unique watercolors of campus. Zhang was born in China and raised in Las Vegas. She incorporates both cultures into her work."The past four years with UNLV College of Fine Arts, I expanded my knowledge of arts and improved my skills," Zhang said. "Learning different art styles through art history, … I created my own style of pen and brush drawings. I am more determined than ever that I want to pursue arts as my lifelong career."
Here, she tells us more about her UNLV paintings.
How do you describe the style of these paintings?
My UNLV watercolor painting series is a hybrid style with several creative painting techniques. For example, vibrant colors were chosen to emphasize the vivid landscapes of our campus; paints were heavily layered on the paper to give the painting a tactile appeal; spontaneously painted brushstrokes were used to create nature and fluid visual feelings in the compositions.
Which paintings are your favorite and why?
Crooked Tree presents a panoramic view of the beautiful campus, and it is my favorite painting of the UNLV series. As a College of Fine Arts student, I walk by this crooked tree almost every day when I am in school. Its unique shape gets my attention and stands out from all other trees on campus. This tree is like a person, has its unique personality and charm.
Yellow Flower Tree is another one I like a lot. This blooming tree adds more bright and warm color to the Vegas summer and it is hard to ignore it when passing by. Close valued yellow paints are used to create visual contrast with the blue sky.
Which was the most difficult?
Pine Tree. It was an interesting experience — with unexpected gain. I accidentally ripped the surface of the paper when tearing off the dried watercolor masking fluid that covered the cloud. Quickly, I realized that the ripped paper surface had created uneven texture in the composition, emphasized the smoothly painted landscapes in the foreground of the composition, and made the cloud look stereoscopic and flowing. A new technique to depict subjects like cloud and water was discovered from a mistake.
See more of Zhe Zhang's works on Instagram: butuarts.