Chinese artist and avid traveler Kwan Yeuk Pang captures the world around him in a series of spectacular watercolor sketches. His use of desaturated color, restricted palette, and carefully constructed layers of washes work together to create rich, atmospheric scenes. From the bustling streets of Shanghai and Hong Kong, to the ornate cathedrals and cityscapes of Europe, each painting manages to capture a wealth of delicate fleeting moments.
The urban sketching movement invites artists to document their day-to-day with rapid drawings and paintings in journals or sketchbooks. Even though the process is often fast, talented urban sketchers like Pang are able to freeze the moment and amplify its qualities. For example, in one image of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, he uses essentially two colors to construct the scene: a peachy orange for the sky and architectural highlights, and a bluish-purple for the shadows and foreground. Caught in the scene are many tourists and locals, as well as the iconic Venetian pigeons, dotted around the wide paved plaza or taking flight into the cloudy evening sky.
In another piece depicting a winter cityscape in Hangzhou, China, a blaze of fiery orange and red shows the street warmly lit with strings of glowing lanterns against the cold blue night sky. The umbrellas of passersby reflect the light from above in crimson and yellow, while specks of white show the snow falling softly, only to melt away on the water-slicked street.
When he’s not urban sketching, Pang shares his skills teaching regular classes of up to 60 watercolor enthusiasts. You can see more of his impressive paintings on Instagram.