Mixed media painting with collage “Ramen noodle” series


Ramen (/ˈrɑːmən/) (拉麺, ラーメン or らーめん, rāmen, IPA: [ɾaꜜːmeɴ]) is a Japanese noodle dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles (or 中華麺, chūkamen) served in a broth; common flavors are soy sauce and miso, with typical toppings including sliced pork (chāshū), nori (dried seaweed), menma (bamboo shoots), and scallions. Ramen has its roots in Chinese noodle dishes. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, such as the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu and the miso ramen of Hokkaido. [Source: Internet]

It can be traced back to 17 century. Nowadays, with the invention of instant noodle by Momofuku Ando (安藤 百福), ramen is the most popular and accessible Japanese food around the world.

My goal of painting ramen is to make it as pretty as yuzen washi paper.

Often you would see flower pattern or animal pattern on washi paper. But never food items. So I try to design ramen noodle this way with very classic Japanese color palette, black, white, red and gold like picture above.

Digital sketch

Time lapse videos of digital sketch can be found here.



Layers diagram

Picture above illustrates different layers in this painting process. The sequence is from bottom to top. The first two layers of clear shellac is to seal the wood board. For any kind of wood surface, this step is necessary in my point of view. You may see people apply gesso directly on wood panel. Gesso is the ground for paint on top of it. But it is never the protecting layer for wood beneath it. As a mixed media project, protecting wood surface is important for future archival value.

Adhesive is for Japanese handwritten letter. I cover the entire surface with it. Once it is dry, I apply another two layers of clear shellac to seal the paper. Acrylic paint can be used on shellac directly. The underpainting is semi transparent so the kanji on letter can show through. Here is a photo for all 4 underpaintings.

Ramen noodle underpaintings

Next is the acrylic varnish. This is to protect the acrylic paint layer. Also it provides an even base for oil paint layer. Yes, there is oil over acrylic method. But I would like a separating layer in between oil and acrylic paint.

Then the oil paint layers go as usual. The gold pigment layer is the last color layer. Retouch varnish is really helpful. In some of my previous works I skip the retouch varnish step and the final glossy varnish beads up badly on painting surface. More over, the final glossy varnish can move the gold pigment more or less. So retouch varnish can prevent that happens.

In the end, the final glossy varnish will protect all underneath it and makes the painting shiny.


It has a lot steps. Don’t forget that I also paint the edges and polish them with wax before the acrylic underpainting layer. And protect the edges with painter’s blue tape until the very end. Sometimes it may feel that it can never get to the finishing point. But, at last, I did it. One interesting thing, the noodles may connect each painting somehow. They may form a bigger painting.

This is my another mixed media with collage art experiment. The entire process gives me experience to do more mixed media artwork in the future.

I hope you enjoy this series. Bon Appetit~

Fun fact, in Japan, you need to eat ramen noodle really loud and make the eating drinking sound. Otherwise it can be considered disrespectful. No quiet dinning for ramen.

Thank you.

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My paintings are an outlet to express the imagination I have inside my head that I can not put into words. After trying many mediums, I always find myself coming back to paint and brushes. In my current artistic practice, I use oil paint and mainly create portraits of mythical creatures and animals transfixed in the shifting colours of seascapes and landscapes. There is a natural spirit and magic to these creatures and their energy draws me in. Choosing to paint these creatures as real living wildlife rather than abstractions, I use bold and vivid colours to express the imaginary intertwined with reality, finding magic between the seams. Using a saturated colour palette, I create bold and striking imagery, contrasted between foreground and background, subject and landscape, and light and darkness. Weaving their bodies and the surface of the landscape into each other through organic forms and flowing brush strokes, I find beauty, strength and innocence in these creatures that reflect my inner world.