The Morning GIF: watercolor memories

A traditional Asian brushwork technique clashes with the most 21st-Century format in this intriguing GIF. 


Lorraine Murphy


Published Mar 21, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 7:45 pm CDT

Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

A simple-looking, ink-wash painting of two birds, this GIF belies the complexity of technique underlying it.

The birds were first painted invisibly in water on high-quality watercolor paper, then the ink was added later and bled out through the channels laid down by the brushstrokes. A traditional Asian brushwork technique, it’s nonetheless startling to watch in action, and putting it into GIF form—the most 21st-Century format—heightens the resonance between its historic roots and its contemporary expression.

Whether or not Tumblr is packed with Chinese art scholars, it knows what it likes, and it likes this image. So far, it’s garnered 1960 notes, resulting in its addition to the popular Tumblr, The Absolute Best GIFs.  

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*First Published: Mar 21, 2012, 10:43 am CDT