Stunning watercolour painting time-lapse of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan

A London-based artist created this magical time-lapse of a hyper-realistic watercolour painting of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan.

In the video, captured on March 19, Yorkshire-born Matthew Phinn paints a pretty winter scene of Shirakawago, a village of 150 old thatched farm buildings in northern Gifu Prefecture.

The time-lapse video shows the progress from blank canvas to the finished work of art.

"This painting demonstrates a traditional transparent watercolour technique, using English paints and paper with both English and Japanese brushes," explains Phinn. "After the initial pencil, I use masking fluid to mask out the lightest areas then apply the paint, finishing with a fixative to protect the surface.

"Various effects can be achieved through painting onto wet paper, dragging a large dry brush across the paper and varying the type of brush and gesture," he adds.

Since 2011, Phinn has been a permanent member of Japanese Watercolour Society, with which he exhibits annually. He lives in west London and regularly visits Japan to paint, teach and exhibit.

"Shirakawago has often been recommended to me during my time painting and exhibiting in Japan," he explains. "The remote mountain village of traditional thatched houses is blanketed in snow through the winter and is also a popular beauty spot during the autumn. I’ve always been drawn to painting snow scenes, particularly with water so I found the perfect place here!"