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222 The Artist Paints a Cow

    Since she wasn't working on something that would take too much time- she was just offering a demonstration to Yunhe- Yujia decided to do a quick and easy painting of a cow.

    She would only draw the head and part of the body of the cow, in order to give her some more time to work on details like the face. Only drawing the top half of the cow was also something that made her capability to draw a cow, despite not knowing cow anatomy very well, easier.

    She began by taking some of the black paint, and with a tiny brush, she placed a quick sketch down on the canvas. Back in the modern world, sometimes she made sketches with paint like what she was doing now. Other times, she would use pencils. However, when using pencils and oil paint, a fixative was required. So, in cases like this, it was better to work with a paint sketch.

    Yujia didn't have a reference picture to work with. Sadly, the internet and search engines didn't exist. So, she summoned her best recollection of what a cow looked like from the various cow-paintings she had seen in this time, and the photos she saw in her past life.

    Once she had the basic sketch down, which looked decent in her opinion, she went to take a bit of the reds, yellows, and blacks. She demonstrated to Yunhe as she blended the colors.

    "I'm making a brown here," she explained, "So mixing these paints on this glass will make the shade of brown that I'm looking for."

    He nodded thoughtfully.

    The browns were blended in with the blacks, laying down the basic shadows of the cow. The shades of blacks and browns acted as the base layer of the cow. Though later, Yujia planned to layer more colors on top of it, the base layer would still show through, making this step the foundation of her painting.

    Next, Yujia mixed yellow and white, going in with this cream color to the actual furs of the cow. She applied the paint with brush strokes that went with the same direction of the cow furs, in order to maximize the realistic texture. Though this painting wouldn't be the most realistic because of the time frame, she still wanted to capture as much of the cow as she could.

    Just like this, Yujia continued her painting with layers and layers and more layers. She would use bits of white to mix highlights, then bits of black to add darker brown shadows.

    All the while she painted, Yujia explained her steps and actions to Yunhe. She tried to explain with as basic language as possible, just so that he could understand all these unfamiliar terms and concepts.

    She also took a bit of blue, which was shocking to Yunhe since he didn't expect her to use the blue. However, Yujia toned down the blue a bit by mixing some white and black, making it more of a blue-gray. With this cold-toned shade, she blended it into the shadows, her reasoning being that this blue would allow color complexity, further emphasizing the realism.

    Her finishing touches ended with a few loose brush strokes that acted as highlights.

    Once she did that, Yujia stepped back.

    What was depicted on the canvas in front of her was indeed the subject of her lunch: a nice portrait of a cow.

    "See," Yujia said with a smile, "This is why I like oil paint so much."

    Yunhe blinked, rising up to look at the canvas on the easel a little closer. "Wow. I like it too."

    Yujia personally thought that the painting turned out nice, considering how quickly she accomplished it- within an hour. The cow looked gentle, giving off a calm, relaxed energy.

    It also reminded Yujia of her lunch. She was hungry again.

    To tear her thoughts away from lunch, Yujia asked, "You wanna try?"

    "Yes. Of course." Yunhe paused. "But first, let me just look at your artwork for a few moments."

    "Be careful though. It's not dry yet," she warned.

    She probably didn't need to say that. Yunhe was generally a very meticulous person.

    "Oh yeah. How long will it take for it to dry?" he ended up asking.

    Yujia thought for a moment, then answered, "It depends. I've never used this specific formula for oil paint before. The drying time can vary depending on what materials the paint is composed of. Sometimes, it can dry in a day, and other times, it takes more than a week. It also depends on the solvent and medium used."

    "I see."

    "Oh," Yujia pointed out, "Also, because of some of the materials used, the fumes when painting might be toxic. They're kind of bad for you. That's why you should always do oil paint in a well-ventilated room. Since we're painting out in the open air today, it wasn't too big of a concern."

    Yunhe's eyes narrowed. "It's... unhealthy to paint with oil paint?" He took a wary step back from the canvas he was observing.

    "Well, as long as you're careful, you'll be fine. In a well-ventilated space, the things you breathe in won't be enough to affect you." Yujia shrugged.

    "Painting with normal ink is not damaging," he stated.

    "Painting with normal ink also cannot achieve this effect, don't you think?" Yujia laughed. "I think it's all worth it. Don't you think it's so satisfying to work with oil paint? And the fact that it takes so long to dry really does help, especially when I was trying to figure out the fur strokes and the contrast of shadows and highlight. You can't blend so well with ink, don't you think?"

    "You're right," Yunhe eventually admitted, smiling too. "I want to give it a try sometime."

    "You definitely can. I have plenty of supplies in this kit, and I plan to ask Master to give me the formula so I can make more myself," Yujia replied cheerfully.

    "For your shop?" Yunhe tilted his head.

    "Exactly."

    Now that he finished observing the cow, Yunhe rested his head on a propped up hand. "I wonder what the introduction of this strange paint will do to the art world. What about all those concepts and principles of art? Do you think they'll change?"

    Yujia thought about it. "Hm. Principles are principles. Mediums are mediums. What you use to create the artwork does not alter the basic principles. I think they'll stay the same, frankly."

    "Ah, great. So I'll just keep working on Spirit Resonance," Yunhe laughed.

    Yujia thought back to how her master insulted- or no, critiqued- Yunhe, telling him that he lacked Spirit Resonance. She laughed a bit too.

    Then, Yunhe pointed out, "You're not wearing your pendant today?"

    "Even you noticed?" Yujia's hand instinctively dropped down to her waistband, which should've held the pendant. "I guess I need to be more careful."

    "No. I just tend to notice random details like this."

    "I think I left the pendant at the Yu Villa, while I was visiting..."

    Yunhe's eyes widened. "You visited the Yu Villa? When?"

    "Just yesterday." She gave him a puzzled smile. "Senior Brother didn't know?"

    "No."

    Yujia sat down, tapping her fingers against the table. "Well, I was visiting Noble Yu- or, he's Senior Brother Yu now, I suppose. He's all busy preparing for the exams that he got sick."

    She brought up this fact since she was under the impression that Yu Zixu and Ye Yunhe were fairly good friends.

    "That's not good," Yunhe sighed.

    "Definitely not. I'm pretty sure I left my pendant there on accident. I'll have to go pick it up sometime later, but I feel like I've been disturbing him too much lately. I don't want to be the reason for why he can't study well for the exams."

    Yunhe glanced up, thinking. "The exams are going to happen tomorrow, aren't they?"

    "Yeah. I'll go get my pendant tomorrow, after he takes the exams."

    "You can take your time," Yunhe told her, "The pendant honestly doesn't mean that much. And if you've for sure lost it, we can always replace it."

    "That's a relief to hear." Her lips curled up slightly, relaxed with the idea that it wasn't a big deal.

    "Yes. And also, when was my Junior Sister so considerate? Afraid that searching for a pendant would disturb the studies of someone else?" He grinned.

    "I haven't been considerate in the past?"

    He half-shrugged. "I don't know. You feel more considerate than usual."

    "Am I, really?"

    Yujia snorted at the thought. She imagined that she was just being a decent person.

    If it was her Senior Brother Yunhe in the scenario instead of Yu Zixu, surely she would act the same towards him, wouldn't she?
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