Buddha Watercolour- Feng Shui and Art

Cherry Blossom Buddha, watercolour, Emily Boylan, 2017

I became interested in Feng Shui and Art after a customer of mine told me about the meaning one of my paintings had in the philosophy of Feng Shui. Feng Shui is not a Buddhist practice, though it is popular in China, where Buddhism is the most prevalent religion. I found out that not all buddhists practice Feng Shui, although some do, and the buddha is used as a symbol within that practice.

This is an area that I have heard about for a long time, and Eastern art has always been a strong influence on my painting, because I am drawn to simple, strong lines and minimalism.

As I read more about Feng Shui, I saw the relationship with buddhism and the way that the buddha figure is seen to represent many things, including peace, and prosperity in this school of thought. Cherry blossom petals are a subject that I had painted before (see below) so it seemed natural to me to include them with this Cherry Blossom Buddha painting, especially given the colour scheme. I chose a golden green for the robes of the Buddha because to me this is a colour of new growth, like new shoots and leaves that spring up on a tree branch


In my research (which is only beginning, so I still have a lot to learn) I read about other symbols you see in ‘Feng Shui’ art, such as Koi fish and Peonies. Peonies, like the ones in my Pink Peonies painting above, are a symbol for love and romance, however they are such a strong symbol of passion that some practitioners of Feng Shui would not place them in the bedroom of a long-married couple, fearing that they might lead to an affair.

Koi fish, a symbol of abundance, due to how quickly fish can multiply are believed to be most beneficial when pictured in groups of nine, although pairs are often found,  (symbolising marriage)and the traditional means of depicting them is in a stream. I was lucky enough to visit some real Koi fish in the San Francisco Japanese Tea Gardens this past May.


Above is a photo I took of the Koi in the tea garden pond. Apparently in Feng Shui, the black Koi fish is said to neutralise bad luck- so it’s lucky I managed to get one in shot! There is a handy site Feng Shui and Fish where you can learn a lot more about Feng Shui for decorating, than what I touch on in my article.

I’m moving to a new home soon, so it is really fascinating to me to study Feng Shui and see if I can apply any principles from it to my new home. I do believe that the things we surround ourselves with have an impact on our minds, so it is a practice I am looking forward to learning more about. If anyone can recommend some good books to me about Feng Shui as it relates to art especially, I’d love to here from you either in the comments or by email.

Best wishes for a lucky week!



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