Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Another Lotus 6, complete the painting

Paint a lotus bud and a pod to make the painting lively and balanced.

Dab and wash the whole piece with watery green and put stamp to balance the layout.

I put two, one square and small. Another round and big thus create some contrast.

Another Lotus 5, paint leaves and colour petals

Use a large brush loaded with medium dark ink to paint the leaves.

I start from the upper left corner quickly and roughly stroke downward.

The upper right corner is just some unruled random strokes.

Then apply very very very light red on the petal. At the tip of the petal, I dot darker red (just a little bit darker, not too much). The darker red mixes with the lighter and they together go out of their boundary make me feel the air is evaporating and the water is flowing.

Dab some very very very very light green between the flower and leaf

Another Lotus 4, paint stamen and pistil

Now the green is a drier but not completely dried.

Use a fine brush to paint the stamen and pistil. The ink goes out of a little bit. It doesn't matter. Imagine you see this flower from the bank of water pond, you can not see each stamen and pistil.

At the same time, use this dry dark ink brush to dot randomly on stem to show the thorns.

Another Lotus 3, paint a flower bud and stem

Use very light ink to paint the stem, then outline on one side with dry dark ink to make the stem looks crisp and strong. (I can not find the English word, in Chinese we say it "chi", the spirit. Everything we paint should have a spirit.)

Another Lotus 2, put green for the lotus bud

The brush is quite wet so the colour runs out freely and create a watery feeling.

Another Lotus 1, outline the petal

Use a samll brush to outline the petal. The ink is light and the brush is quite dry.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Painting lotus 7, finish the painting

Paint a bud, paint some more leaves, dab some water at the bottom.
Stamp your chop and take a photo.
Thank you for looking.

Painting lotus 6, flower stems

Paint the opaque yellow and the black stems.

Painting lotus 5, white yellow for flower heart

Prepare gamboge yellow and titanium white colour for the flower hearts.
A tiny bit of opaque white makes the yellow brighter.

Painting lotus 4, outline and highlight petals

Now come back to the petals, they are drier but not complete dried.
Use a fine tip samll brush to outline and highlight the petals.

Painting lotus 3, leaf

Leave the petal alone and work on the leaves.

Use a large brush, load with very light ink in the whole body of the brush and then dip in some very dark ink at the tip.

The brush is slanted so as to have a bigger stroke and ink shade gradience.

Painting lotus 2, petals

Each petal is done by one single stroke. The colour runs out and produces a watery effect.

Painting lotus 1, carmine colour

Dilute the carmine colour with wet brush till you get it transparent and runnable.

Step by step lotus, 7, outline lutus buds

Step by step lotus, 6, leaves without outline

These are done by medium and large sized Chinese brush. The leaves are by sheep hair, and the stem by wolf hair.

Step by step lotus, 5, outline flowers

Step by step lotus, 4, outline leaves

Step by step lotus, 3, outline of waterlily

This is a waterlily, done by small outline brush, (water colour size 4)

Step by step lotus, 2, outline exercise

Outline exercise done by an outline brush, equivalent to water colour round tip size 4.

Step by step lotus, 1, the real flower

This is a beautiful water lily I took from Cairns in Queensland of Australia.
However in Chinese painting, we find more often another kind of lotus that has a bud with seeds in it.
This link brings you to more flower pictures.
I do not dare to post other people's picture on my website.

Bamboo joints detail

This is a bamboo branch from one of my student's garden. The name is Buddha's belly bamboo. It has fat and round nodes at the bottom.

At each node, there are one or two small branches. They came out from the opposite side of the bamboo. It looked elegant, balanced and pretty.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Chinese zodiac characters

Here is the Chinese characters for the zodiac.

This link to more information about it.

My third marbling with oil

I dropped a few drops of conola oil then dropped a few drops of ink and stirred.

I took this photo in the evening so the shinny white is the reflection of the flash.

Oil gave the marbling an interesting effect, but how can I paint on after the oil?

My second marbling paper

After I take out the first piece of marbling paper, I stirred the ink water with a fork, did this second piece of marbling paper. The image is much lighter, vague and blury.
However, it could be a good background to paint on.

My first marbling paper

I put a very thin layer of tap water in a flat bottom tray (15inch diameter), drop 5 drops of Chinese bottled ink, I touched the tray very lightly so the ink water flew naturally a little bit.

I lowered a piece of my "classic" hand towel paper carefully and lifted it up. Turn over the side on top of a kitchen towel to absorb the water. It came out like this.

I would prefer a sharper edge in the marbling. Maybe I should make the water less running by cooking a starchy paste.

However, I'm happy with my first try.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Chinese character, spring

This is the Chinese character for spring. In Chinese painting, people often
sign by dating only the season instead of the exact date.
Isn't it to mark your creation date by spring?

Chinese zodiac of year 2007, pig

This is the Chinese Character of pig. This year in Chinese zodiac is the year of pig. In China, we use 12 animals to represent each year. Every 12 years, there is a circle.

It starts by mouse, then boar, tigre, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and the last pig. This year is the year of pig. From next year, we will circulate all over again.

Chinese painting brush for dying fabric

Chinese painting brush can be used with dyes. Actually it is the best brush for silk painting.
This piece of silk painting is done by these brushes.

Chinese painting felt

To protect the table, I use felt.
The one at the very bottom is a sheep wool felt. The nature oil of sheep wool prevent ink from spread out.
However, the synthetic felt or old newspaper serves the same.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Chinese painting brush

There are many kinds and sizes of Chinese painting brush. Mostly they are made of animal hair, range from wolf, sheep, cow ear, horse, chicken, rabbit, pig, yellow weasel, you name it. Some people make brush out of baby's first hair as a life souvenir.
Different brushes, as in water colour or oil painting, are used to serve different purpose.
I buy all my brushes myself. Everytime I go back home in Beijing, I go to art shops to buy one sample and take back home to try. When it is good, I buy hundreds for my class until I visit home again.
By the way, the knife in the middle of the brushes is for cutting paper. It is not made of any hair.

Chinese painting brush for first class

In my first class, I gave students two brushes.

One is a large sheep hair, reletively soft (but harder than the sable hair in water colour painting.) In the picture is a white hair one.

The other one is a medium wolf hair. It has a beautiful bouncing strength. When you press down the brush, it reflects your strength and bounce back. I use it for thin bamboo stick, orchid flower or a freehand outline. You find in this picture the brown hair. My kids (4 and 7 years old), find it fascinating that mom dares to use the hair of the "big grey wolf".

Chinese painting brush for second class

After a couple of classes, usually after students already got a feel of the Chinese brush and the way of holding it, I gave them the third brush. It is a tiny wolf hair used for outlining and painting fine details such as the pistils and stamen of the flower, house, figure etc.
You can use a water colour nylon hair brush size 3 - 5.

Chinese painting colour

Chinese colours are a blend of pigment of bondings.
These are some of the colours I use. I usually do not use chips or powder colour as they require more preparation.
As long as water based, it works well on your brush. It has a free flow.
Other western manufacture's water colours are perfect right. You can start with inexpensive student level colours.

Chinese painting ink stone

This is a 8 inches x 8 inches or 21cm x 21cm ink stone. It is practical to have a bigger sized stone.
I like to grind my own ink. Drop a little bit of water (a half tea spoon) and grind in circular motion. I take it as a calming down and mental preparation time.
When I was young, my sisters put a couple of cypress leaves inside. It smell the fresh forest. In Chinese, we say it the fragance of ink. (mo xiang)

Chinese painting bottled ink

This is a bottled Chinese painting ink. It is convenient and of good quality. Students in my class got it in my first class.
This ink is very condensed. I drop it into a plate and dilute with water until I get the desired darkness. Usually in time ink with 3 to 4 times water you get still solid back. Dilute it on in your ink plate, do not dilute in the bottle.
Other brand of ink serves the same. Japanese or Korean ink is made with the same tradition.

Chinese painting exercise paper

Yes, this is hand towel as you find in gas station and public toilet!
This is the paper my students and I use for exercise Chinese painting strokes. This paper is strong and absorbant. It reacts very similar to ink as rice paper. It's cheap, you dare to mess around with it and really feel free, no guilt.
When my students get comfortable and confident with their hand control, they start to use rice paper.