In this Issue:
Chinese Brush Painting Mastery Step 7
Getting Back to Painting After a Break
Best Flower and Bird Painting Tools
New Single Xuan (Shuen) and Sale
Best of Autumn - Fall Painting Favorites
Learning How to Receive Love
Must Have Tool for Stress-Free Holidays(helpful gift guide included!)
Chinese Brush Painting Mastery Step 7: Showing and Sellingby Evan Yeh
Step 7 - Showing and Selling
For anyone who intends to show and sell their artwork, one of the most important things to focus on is self appreciation and acceptance. In the process of living my life, I have come to believe that there is no objective standard by which the world judges artists. Everything is a matter of taste and opinion and so the most important place that an artist can focus is to create a belief that they have tremendous, unique worth and as a consequence everything that they create has tremendous value.
Depending on our previous mental habits this belief may seem like the next logical step or it may seem very difficult to attain. Wherever you start on your journey to self acceptance and appreciation, it is important that you start. In a certain way, the goal of your life’s experience is to identify the part of the Universe that is embodied uniquely through you and to go about expressing it for all the world to see.
Day by day you should practice focusing on the unique qualities that you possess and affirming and appreciating them. This will result in two very important things.
- It will make your paintings more unique as they will begin to reflect and express something unique that only you possess
- It will begin to attract others who see and wish to celebrate that uniqueness by purchasing your paintings and telling others about what you are doing
Some of you may be saying, “doesn’t this all sound a bit egotistic?” First and foremost, the Universe does not judge those who act out of ego. There are laws of the Universe at play every moment of every day and they can be utilized by those who act out of ego just as effectively as those who act out of humility. So being absent of ego is not a criteria for being a successful artist. But for those of you that are searching for deeper satisfaction than just acting out of your ego, the question you should ask is, “Who am I?” If you pose this question to the Universe and faithfully wait for your answer you will discover that you are more than your ego. Your ego is just your mind’s limited idea of who you are. Once you discover who you really are, you can go about expressing this and being assured that your intentions are holy acts completely in line with your life’s ultimate purpose.
Now that we have discussed this critically important precursor for Step 7, we should discuss some practicalities. First and foremost, it is important that the traditional way that most of us think that art is marketed and sold is inaccessible to the large majority of artists and is under tremendous pressure from new technology. We imagine a crowd full of people in black turtlenecks in a New York loft looking sideways at a piece of Avant Garde artwork or posh gallery shows with people sipping champagne. If you feel this is your path to selling your artwork, by all means, I encourage you to pursue it but all of us should understand how technology has completely transformed the way art is bought and sold. There is a branch of technology that is focused on removing the traditional obstacles between an artist and their patrons. Everyday you see examples of artists who are successfully using this technology to build connections with patrons and selling their work directly without the assistance of promoters or galleries.
A key change in mindset brought about by the availability of such technology is as follows:
Rather than thinking that I am making original paintings that I will sell one by one, artists are now thinking I am creating original images that I own the reproductions rights for. Of course the originals can be sold but the images can also be reproduced as artist quality prints or even printed on posters, t-shirts and other merchandise and sold.
Diving deeply into the technological tools helpful for a modern artist is beyond the scope of this article but I did want to mention two essential tools that I think are the most important. They are a smart phone and Instagram. It is hard to escape smartphones nowadays and most of us have access to one. For those who have yet to discover the power of smartphones, let me just say that for a visual artist, the ability to take a high quality picture of a flower, a piece of scenery, one of your paintings, or anything else inspiring you may encounter and instantly share it with worldwide audience using a device that can fit in the palm of your hand is invaluable. This device has become so ubiquitous that the issue for most is not whether you have one but whether you have harnessed its full potential towards your artistic intentions. Suffice it to say, if you do not have one, I would recommend getting one. If you have one already but don’t use it for anything other than emergency calls, I would start learning how to do a couple simple things like how to take a picture and upload it to a social media platform like Instagram or Facebook.
This leads us to our second most important technology tool and that is Instagram. There are so many social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter and many more. But for those of us who really know them, there is no question that the most effective one for visual artists like painters is Instagram. I know many artists who network and sell their work using no other tools other than Instagram. When they meet people, they don’t hand them a business card, they just direct people to their Instagram account. Instagram is really a picture sharing platform. In this way, it is by far the easiest way for a visual artist to create an online presence and to begin networking that online presence with other artists and influencers as a way to build an audience and make connections with possible collaborators and patrons. Among the social media platforms Instagram is the most focused on pictures (excellent for visual artists like painters) and is also known for encouraging people to make rapid connections with other like-minded artists.
There is an old adage among salespeople that goes “People buy from who they know, like and trust.” So a common way for artists in this new age of technology is to communicate and share bits of their life as an artist as a way to make a connection with their patrons. I am amazed at the trust that is built up between artists who share in this way and their audiences.
One general comment that I would like to make is that as an artist you should always be trying to connect directly to potential patrons who may collect your work. We all enjoy participating in art societies, support groups and events like art trade shows but be conscious if these events are really attracting a large group of potential art patrons or if they are really targeted to attract other artists. Connecting with other artists is enjoyable and those relationships can be helpful for providing inspiration and sharing techniques but they should not be mistaken for efforts to attract patrons.
The funnel analogy. Digital marketers often imagine a funnel. At the top widest point they are pouring in potential customers and as the funnel gets more narrow they are asking for increasing levels of commitment from these potential customers. For an artist, this can look something like this:
Now the great majority of artists thinking about starting to sell their work may not be set up for all of this, but all of it is more accessible to an individual artist than ever before. Rather than printing a fancy coffee table style album, you can have a simple electronic book in PDF format that features a collection of your work. Rather than printing out hundreds of copies of your paintings to sell as prints you can partner with a print-on-demand that will print copies of your artwork as the prints are sold and even handle fulfillment. There are services that bundle many of these services together and also will help you build and launch a website to serve as an initial contact point for everything. You can look at https://www.artstorefronts.com/ as a starting point but there are many more offering similar services.
Have patience with yourself and don’t be overwhelmed. Often making the decision that you will show and sell your work will bring into your experience the right circumstances and situations to get started. Also it can have a positive maturing and organizing effect on your creative process to think about focusing for a period of time, producing a body of work and showing and selling that work. Then you can move into a different creative space and restart the mastery process again to produce another body of work.
"Last Days" (Left) and "End of Season" (Right) from Chao Shao-An's Album Paintings
Album Paintings by Chao Shao-An
This album by Chao Shao-An is an explosion of inspiration to those wanting to create their own album of paintings.
Chao Shao-An’s spontaneous style paintings in album format brings Western emphasis on creativity to Asian art by communicating poetic mood and natural beauty through subject, brushwork, color, form, perspective and composition.
Subjects include figures, animals, insects, aquatic life, flowers and birds. Book is bound in traditional Chinese style, which is backwards from modern western books.
160 pages, Chinese/English
"Devotion(Camellia)" by Ning Yeh from his Album: 80 Paintings and Ideas
Album: 80 Paintings and Ideas by Ning Yeh
Imagine sitting down with Ning Yeh in a cozy living room with a steaming cup of tea and the gentle rain pattering down on the roof.
Ning Yeh tells you about all of the adventures he’s been through, sights he’s seen, and legends from his native country. Not only that, but he even pulls out his original paintings, which include horses, peonies, chrysanthemum, Yosemite, Taiwan, the Yellow Mountain, his home town, and many more.
Even though Ning Yeh can’t physically sit down with each one of you, this album is a treasure vault!
Getting Back to Painting After a Breakby Evan Yeh
Getting Back to Painting After a Break
Many of us that have been painting for a while have had the experience of painting fairly intensively for a period, taking a break, and then having to restart.
Many including myself have noticed that what once felt comfortable when you were in the flow, now feels awkward. This is compounded by our emotions. We feel clumsy and uncomfortable and often will even start to panic. “Have I forgotten how to paint?”
The Feeling is Universal
I can tell you that this experience is common. Even my father Ning Yeh has shared with me his version of this experience. So even master artists have this feeling of awkwardness when they restart after a break.
A Couple Important Lessons From Ning Yeh
Have Faith in the Process
After having experienced this awkwardness and working your way through it, you become far less emotional about it. You recognize it and embrace it. You may even find that this feeling is leading you into a new direction. The awkwardness that you feel may not just be because you are out of practice but it also may indicate a change in your perspective. Different is not always worse. A new direction may yield unexpected fruits.
Sustaining Momentum Until You Have Created a Significant Body of Work
One of the most important lessons that I have learned from my father is what immense fruits can be born from building up creative momentum and sustaining it until you have created a body of work. Before I learned this, I was always starting and stopping before I really created any momentum. As a result, I experienced a decade where I was seemingly “busy” creatively without producing anything meaningful.
Additionally, things also always felt hard because I was always figuratively pushing the rock up the hill but never pushing it long enough until I got it over the hill.
Understanding Momentum Universally
There is a universal law at work here. Sustained focus produces momentum. Sustained positive focus such as getting into a creative flow while painting produces positive momentum. At the same time sustained negative focus such as dwelling on the negative aspects of a person or situation produces negative momentum. Sustaining either focus over time makes results (good or bad) happen quickly and powerfully.
The key is to learn how to create and sustain positive momentum and use it to create the beauty that you want to experience in life. This could be paintings, relationships, money, health or anything. The next thing to learn is to catch negative focus early before momentum has begun to build. I’ve gotten quite good at this and I can testify that learning this one skill has produced an entire decade of life completely free of hardships.
Different Reasons for Breaks
Sometimes breaks are necessary and healthy. Time to rest and refocus is invaluable and sometimes your relationship with painting can get into a place that feels stuck or even like a burden. Then, by all means, take and enjoy a break from painting or whatever focus that has you feeling tired.
Other times breaks happen by accident. We get distracted and lose focus. We get drawn away by the intention or requests of people around us. These types of breaks can be avoided or at least while you are dealing with these things, I have found a couple ways to continue to flow energy towards your goals as an artist.
Practical Tips for Sustaining or Restarting Your Painting Momentum
- Set up a Magic Paper Doodle Station. This is just a piece of magic paper, a bowl of water and a brush. We have one of these setup at OAS for people to test brushes and I am there at least a few times a day getting 5 minutes of stroke practice whenever I have a small amount of time.
- The Ideal Companion Set is a great way to incorporate color into short painting sessions. The colors are semi-moist so they are ready quicker with less preparation than other color options.
- Set up a dedicated painting area and have all of your supplies setup and ready to go. This seemingly small step is often the key factor for those who are able to create and sustain momentum long enough to produce bodies of work.
- Work the OAS Chinese Brush Painting Mastery Process. The mastery process is a repeatable set of skills that you can circle back to over and over again to build confidence and momentum in your painting life.
- Keep your emotions on an even keel. Learn to recognize and embrace the phases of creating, building and sustaining momentum in your painting process. Think about a favorite location that you have traveled to many times. The journey to that location is never filled with doubt. You know that you will arrive eventually and your job is to enjoy the way there. It can be this way with your painting or anything else that you want in life.
- Take a class or take regular classes. Many times I talk to people who think they need to practice and become skilled before they take a class. Of course, practicing before a class can help you have a more enjoyable experience but classes by OAS Affiliated Teachers like Mayee Futterman, Leigha Nicole, and Lorean Weng can be the perfect way to restart your painting journey. These classes are designed to walk you through step-by-step to a finished painting.
- Stay plugged in to the OAS Family. We’ve received many wonderful compliments on how our stream of inspiration, encouragement, and tips and techniques have helped people get back into the flow of painting or sustain their painting efforts over time.
Magic Paper 15” x 13”
Magic Paper is a special gray-blue paper that allows you to paint strokes that show up black and disappear as the water evaporates.
Ideal Companion Set of 12
These semi-moist watercolors have rich and vibrant transparent colors in a self-contained, portable, lidded plastic palette.
This bowl has three separate sections with a diameter of 6 inches.
Best Flower and Bird Painting Tools
Flower and Bird Brush
A delightful throwback brush Many of you who own Ning Yeh's essential book Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide may recognize the Flower Bird Brush. With the dominant popularity of the Flow brushes and the introduction of our Pre Flow brush, the Flower Bird brush is now a bit of a "best kept secret." I recently had a chance to reacquaint myself with this brush and I have to say, I was delighted! Here are some of the things that I noticed:
- Unique size: It is larger than a Flow Brush and longer and slightly narrowed than a pre Flow Brush. This unique size makes it versatile and easier to control than other similarly sized combination brushes
- Underrated as a line brush: Combination brushes are most commonly used to paint fuller shape strokes which the Flower Bird brush does nicely. But I was surprised at how well it painted tapering line strokes like orchid and bamboo leaves. The brush has a good tip!
- Great as a travel brush. Often when we are painting on the go, it helps to have a single brush. I think the Flower Bird fits the bill. Inexpensive, versatile and excellent quality for the price.
Flower and Birds: A Perspective by O-shi Yang
This is easily our most popular book not written by Ning Yeh. Much thought and care was put into the creation of this book. O-shi Yang, a member of the popular Ling-nan School of Painting, is an ambassador of this influential style and unlocks its secrets in easy to follow, sequential instruction.
Each section is filled with sequential tutorials as well as finished paintings. Sections are sufficiently detailed with discussions of different styles of painting and different elements that make up each category. Together they give you sufficient tools to dive into Chinese Landscape Painting.
Limited copies available! 157 pages, text in English
Vintage Double Xuan (Shuen)
This paper is Ning Yeh’s favorite paper for Flower and Bird painting. No longer available in full sheets, we have a limited quantity of pre cut sheets in convenient flat packages.
The paper is a good mix of the vibrant color of Single Xuan (Shuen) and the moisture control of Premium Jade Plate Double Xuan (Shuen).
Bright Light Watercolor Set of 15
All the colors you need for flower and bird painting are included in this set! It deliver excellent color hue and intensity for the price and is color fast when wet mounting.
They are also available in individual tubes, so frequently used colors can be replenished with minimal waste.
New Single Xuan (Shuen) and Sale!
Plum Painting on Jade Plate Single Xuan (Shuen)
Premium Jade Plate Single Xuan (Shuen)
We have a limited quantity of cut sheets of our popular Jade Plate paper as a single xuan (shuen). It is the most sensitive of the rice papers, cheerfully displaying dynamic strokes and complex shade variations with translucent fluidity and original spontaneity. Ideal for flowers, bird and animal painting and even low moisture landscapes.
10 Sheets (Approx. 27” x 17”)
108 Flowers Book 4 by Ning Yeh
Ning Yeh’s teaching is invaluable, combining traditional Chinese art and instruction in English. Many master brush painters are wonderful at what they do but are unable to communicate in English. Westerners who teach brush painting in English can communicate but may not have had the training. Ning Yeh is a delightful combination of both, bringing the world of Chinese brush painting to the English world.
108 Flowers Book 4 has a wonderful selection of flowers and plants that use Red and Rouge. Try out your new colors with this treasure of flower paintings!
135 pages, text in English
Overstock Sale - 50% Off Bright Lights Red & Rouge
For the first time we are offering an overstock sale for two iconic flower colors - Red and Rouge. These Bright Light Tube colors are a wonderful combination of traditional Chinese colors with accessibility, while still being budget friendly!
Autumn Harvest Gift Lesson
Learn to paint pumpkin, the gourd and the character for “autumn.” With this simple lesson, you will have beautiful and elegant subjects for handmade cards.
Best of Autumn - Fall Painting Favorites
Pine Needle and New Big Pine Needle Brush
One of our most enthusiastically received recent limited edition brushes is our Pine Needle Brush. People fell in love with its clever tip and its unique hairs that provided enough stiffness for energetic lines while still having enough suppleness to make turning or curving line strokes.
Also the Pine needle brush brought its “big brother” along which we are calling the Big Pine Needle Brush. Capable of painting fine lines when you use just the tip but the longer wider bristles gives the brush more versatility for some thicker strokes and textures.
Colored Xuan (Shuen): Brown
Brown xuan (shuen) paper instantly gives a refreshing feel to a familiar subject with no other changes. It is a great color to express the spirit of Autumn.
Our colored xuan (shuen) papers will not be replaced once they sell out. Modern colored xuan (shuen) papers are now silk screened and do not paint nearly as well as these colored xuan (shuen) papers that we have at OAS.
12 Sheets - 18” x 27”
Book of the Chrysanthemum by Su-Sing Chow
The Fundamentals of Chinese Floral Painting book series by Su-Sing Chow are one of our most popular books. Like many of Su-Sing Chow’s books, it follows this teaching style:
- Element breakdowns (flowers, leaves, and stems)
- Accessible instruction and final compositions in both Fineline and Spontaneous style
- Work in both ink and color
Artist Stationary - 24 Cut Sheets
Artist Stationary is a vintage batch of Pi Paper cut to standard stationery size (81/2” x 11”).
This paper gives a special texture to lines, allows for smooth color blending and is very versatile - appropriate for landscapes, animals, plants, printmaking, paper craft, mixed media and more!
Pine Lesson on Artist Stationary
This wonderful Pine tree lesson by Ning Yeh uses our convenient Artist Stationery (Pi Paper conveniently cut to 8.5” x 11”). It is the perfect lesson to try out the new Pine Needle brushes!
Learning How to Receive Loveby Evan Yeh
Gary Chapman wrote a best selling book called the 5 Love Languages. In the book he describes the way people express and receive love and how misunderstanding love languages can lead to stress in relationships.
He lists the five love languages as follows: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time and Gift Giving
An easy way to see the value of this is to think about a mother and son. The son is grown and has his own family now, working ambitiously to try to provide for his family and raise his children. Even as busy as he is, whenever his mother has an issue with her house, he is there playing the handyman, mending a fence or unclogging a drain. When Christmas comes around he spares no expense at giving her an expensive, thoughtful gift. The mother, however, misses seeing her son and his family regularly as the visits are few and far between. The Son’s love languages are Acts of Service and Gift Giving but the mother only understands Quality Time.
In general it is helpful to understand love languages so you can recognize when someone is trying to express love for you even if it is a love language that is not easy for you to appreciate. It is also beneficial to know the love language of those who are closest to you so that when you take the time to express your love, it is done in a way that is most well received.
Gift Giving and Receiving
The season is upon us for giving gifts! It always amazes me how much of our national economy revolves around gift giving during the Holiday season. The origin story behind the phrase “Black Friday” is that retail stores lose money the whole year until the Holiday Shopping craze begins on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Although this is inaccurate, Holiday gift giving still accounts for up to 20% of annual spending.
I’ve been guilty of all forms of poor Holiday Gift Giving and Receiving. Some of these include the following:
- Waiting until the last minute and wandering aimlessly through the mall eventually buying something expensive and poorly chosen due to panic.
- Buying a gift for someone as a way to curry favor with them in the hope that they would give me something back in the future.
- Poorly communicating what I wanted to loved ones and feeling disappointed or resentful when they were unable to read my mind.
Some Tips for Holiday Gift Giving and Receiving
- Don’t mix up other relationship issues with Holiday Gift Giving. If there is resentment or confusion in a relationship, talk it out and resolve it separately.
- If you are difficult to shop for, take time to shop for yourself and communicate to your loved ones the things that you want.
- Reconnect before you shop. If you haven’t spoken to a loved one in a while, give them a call and spend time reconnecting.
- With the pandemic making online shopping easily accessible, shipping gifts directly to loved ones is now very common. If you give yourself enough time, this can be such a wonderfully stress free way to do your Holiday Shopping.
- Consider organizing a gift exchange amongst your family. Every year our extended family does a gift exchange. We draw names and each of us is responsible for purchasing a gift for one other family member who is not in our immediate family. We set a $100 limit and each person participating in the gift exchange is encouraged to put together a wish list. This may seem un-romantic but we have found that this reduces the amount of stress related to Holiday shopping by making it easy to shop and by reducing and eliminating returns.
- Receiving gifts with grace is a smaller piece of allowing yourself to receive the things that you want. So many times we deny ourselves the things that we want out of a false sense of unworthiness. Those that know you best know that you deserve whatever it is that you want. Allow yourself to receive those things whether they be as gifts or through any other means.
Paint Your Own Cards
Painting your own cards is a wonderful way to share your artwork with those that mean the most to you during this busy season of holidays. It adds a personal touch that can never be bought at the store and it shows that you care enough about someone to make them a card.
Includes: 10 sheets (10” x 7”) and 10 envelopes
Ways to Give and Receive
One of our favorite tools for making the Gift-Giving Season as stress-free as possible is called Elfster! It is a free online tool that organizes gift exchanges so that you can spend less time stressing out and more time celebrating!
How to Use Elfster this Christmas (or for whatever other gift exchanges you want):
1. Create an account with Elfster (visit elfster.com and click “Start Your Secret Santa”).
2. Invite your gang! You can send them an invitation link or enter their email (make sure you get permission!).
3. Make a Wish List to give others an idea of what to get you! This feature makes it much easier for others to get meaningful gifts that you love instead of gifts hastily bought out of panic.
4. Instantly draw names!
5. Have a blast instead of stressing over buying/getting gifts!
“I don’t know what to put on my Wish List!”
Don’t worry - we totally get it! You think of all these different things that you would love to have throughout the year but as soon as it comes to creating a wish list, your mind goes blank! That’s why we’ve compiled a few gift ideas that you won’t want to forget to include!
Don’t forget to include albums on your wish list! Many of us wouldn’t buy an Album for ourselves because we don’t feel like we could justify the expense or treat ourselves. But remember that there is joy in giving, especially to someone we love! If someone has the love language of giving, this is how they communicate “I love you!”
Paintings by Chao Shao-An
This comprehensive collection of master Chao Shao-an’s breathtaking spontaneous style paintings is a square, hard-cover album.
Paper can make a wonderful gift, since it is the gift that gives back! If you receive paper, you can paint on it, mount or glue it to a card and voila! You have your personalized thank you cards all ready to go!
New Fallen Snow Xuan (Shuen) Paper
This single xuan (shuen) paper has a fine mist of crystal shimmer sprayed evenly on the paper.
5 Full Sheets (27” x 54”)
Check out these other popular papers that come in 5 Full Sheet packages!
Specialty brushes often fall under the I-don’t-want-to-indulge-myself category. Your wish list is a wonderful spot to place all of your heart’s desires and let Santa do the rest. Give others the opportunity to shower love onto you!
Dragon and Phoenix Brushes
These are the best quality oversized brushes that you will find. The Dragon Brush offers dynamic, bold strokes for large shapes. Hold onto it and pass it on to future generations.
The Phoenix Brush is ideal for extra large petals, leaves, branch work, calligraphy and washes.
Dimensions: 2-5/8” x 3/4”
Dimensions: 3- 3/16” x 13/16”
Thank you so much for reading our Autumn 2021 Newsletter! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (714-969-4471).