Yuantong Temple watercolor inspired by tranquility

by China

The subject: Considered one of the most important and famous Buddhist temples in the Yunnan province of China, the grand Yuantong Temple in Kunming delights the senses. The magic begins with the unusual design as you enter through gates above at street level and then descend a long series of steps onto the main temple grounds. Most Buddhist temples are built so that one climbs upward to the main temple and grounds from the entrance gate.

The inspiration: As one wanders the covered walkways skirting a large pond, it is not unusual to hear the soft echo of chanting monks as well as other singing, chanting or saying prayers in various worship halls. Carp, turtles and frogs are fun to watch in the pond, and turtles often gather in the sun around the perimeter of an island in the center of the pond, delighting children and adult visitors equally. On that island, connected to the temple entrance and a majestic hall in the back by two bridges, sits an elegant octagonal pavilion.

It was as I leaned against a wall gazing at the pavilion, mesmerized by the peacefulness and subtle magic that I was inspired to create the watercolor of the Yuantong Temple you see above.

Artist’s tools: I used the program Procreate on my iPad Pro combined with an Apple Pencil. For this Yuantong Temple watercolor, I began sketching in the buildings, bridges and pond shape, selecting an ink brush with a bristle style I felt was most relevant to the scene – a magnificent Buddhist temple in China. Wanting to also capture the sense of tranquility, I used several different brushes types and watercolor paints to add splashes of color, textures, and the soft reflections of the bridge, flowerpots and buildings in the green-water pond.

A print of this digital painting on your wall is the next best thing to being there yourself…as well as a great gift for anyone in your life who loves Chinese culture and history. Click here to see the Yuantong Temple watercolor in my online gallery.


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Looking for more things to do and see in Kunming?

For more things to do in and around Kunming, we have an excellent number of articles including the Top 6 things to do in Kunming, China, plus Stone Forest in Yunnan great day trip from Kunming, and Visit Dragon Gate in Western Hills Xishan Park outside Kunming.

TitleAddress DescriptionDirections
Baiji Temple (Chicken Temple)
111 Da Wa Lu, Xianggelila Shi, Diqing Zangzuzizhizhou, Yunnan Sheng, ChinaDirections
Stone Forest
Unnamed Road, Shilin Yizuzizhixian, Kunming Shi, Yunnan Sheng, ChinaStone Forest In Yunnan Great Day Trip From KunmingDirections
Jinbi Square Arches
Jin Bi Guang Chang, Xishan Qu, Kunming Shi, Yunnan Sheng, China, 650221Top 6 Things to do in KunmingDirections
Yuantong Temple
30 Yuantong St, Wuhua Qu, Kunming Shi, Yunnan Sheng, China, 650031Top 6 Things to do in KunmingDirections
Green Lake Park
Cuihu Lake, Wuhua, Kunming, China, 650031Top 6 Things to do in KunmingDirections
Kunming Old Town
Bao Shan Zhong Biao Lao Dian ( Guang Hua Jie ), Wuhua Qu, Kunming Shi, Yunnan Sheng, China, 650221Top 6 Things to do in KunmingDirections
Wuhua Square
229, 269 Wu Yi Lu, Wuhua Qu, Kunming Shi, Yunnan Sheng, China, 650221Top 6 Things to do in KunmingDirections
Western Hills | Dragon Gate
Xishan Mountain, Xishan, Kunming, China, 650000Top 6 Things to do in Kunming

Visit Dragon Gate in Western Hills Xishan Park Outside of Kunming

Directions
Huating Temple
Xi Shan Gong Lu, Xishan Qu, Kunming Shi, Yunnan Sheng, ChinaVisit Dragon Gate in Western Hills Park Xishan Outside of Kunming

Monk on a Walk at Huating Temple, Kunming China

Directions
Lu Xun Park
China, Shanghai Shi, Hongkou Qu, LuXun GongYuan, 鲁迅公园 邮政编码: 200000Shanghai City Parks: Dance, Exercise, BreatheDirections
Victoria Harbor Promenade for the Symphony of Lights
10 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong KongDirections
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), 1 Sky Plaza Rd, Chek Lap Kok, Hong KongHong Kong Layover: Getting Into the City So EasyDirections
Bridal Tea House
Bridal Tea House Hotel - Yau Ma Tei Arthur Street, 5 Wing Sing Ln, Yau Ma Tei, Hong KongHong Kong Layover: Getting Into the City So EasyDirections
Kowloon Station
108 Austin Rd W, West Kowloon, Hong KongHong Kong Layover: Getting Into the City So EasyDirections
Baisha Village
Xin Shang Duan, Yulong Naxizuzizhixian, Lijiang Shi, Yunnan Sheng, ChinaDirections
Black Dragon Pool - Lijiang
Hei Long Tan, 1 Minzhu Rd, Gucheng Qu, Lijiang Shi, Yunnan Sheng, China, 674100Directions
LaMu's House of Tibet - Lijiang
Xin Hua Jie, Gucheng Qu, Lijiang Shi, Yunnan Sheng, China, 674100Directions

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Michael Hodgson

Co-Conspirator at HI Travel Tales
Winner of a 2018 Silver Medal from the North American Travel Journalists Association for travel writing excellence, Michael has authored more than 16 books and penned many hundreds of feature articles over the years. His bylines have appeared in Backpacker, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Outside, The San Jose Mercury News, Portland Oregonian and more. His travels have taken him to all seven continents. He is a member in good standing of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
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