In this Issue:
The Ning Yeh Story
Painting Bigger: the Key to Unlock the Freedom of Chinese Brush Painting
Access to Virtual Office Hours
Three Free Resources
Springtime - Opening the Door to Chinese Flower Painting
Tools for Painting Larger
An Artist's Studio
Harmony Between Thinking and Feeling
The Ning Yeh Story
by Evan Yeh
Ning with parents and grandfather in China, 1948
How a Seed of Chinese Culture Made Its Way To America
The Last to be Trained
Because of a family tradition that spanned three generations before him, Ning Yeh was one of the last to participate in a multi-disciplinary Chinese cultural training that encouraged study of calligraphy, poetry, history, philosophy, and painting.
Dodging Events that Would Compromise the Seed
Just before Mao came to power in China, the Yeh Family left for Taiwan. In the process, they shielded their family tradition and understanding of traditional Chinese culture from the effects of Mao’s initiatives like the Cultural Revolution.
Then, just as Taiwan was about to undergo a cultural and economic transformation due to its rapid industrialization, Ning Yeh came to the United States for Graduate Studies. He met his wife Ling Chi, had a son (Evan), daughter (Ja-Shin) and received a PhD in Asian Studies all the while gearing up for a career as a diplomat.
Painting in Taiwan with mother’s supervision, 1964
Disappointment is Actually Opportunity
However, Taiwan’s unusual status in the international community (only recognized by the U.S. and a handful of its allies) made the career of diplomat a dead end. So instead, Ning fell back on his family tradition of painting and in the process built much stronger ties between the cultures of the East and West than he ever imagined was possible as a diplomat. For the next five decades he would personally teach thousands of students in person all around the United States.
Growth Spurt and the Creation of Oriental Art Supply
In the late 1980s, he would star in an instructional television series Chinese Brush Painting with Ning Yeh. The series, which would go on to win an Emmy award, ran for a year nationally on The Learning Channel, and for many years afterwards on PBS. In the process, tens of thousands more people discovered the beauty of Chinese Brush Painting and the Yeh Family tradition. Oriental Art Supply was realized during this time to provide Ning’s worldwide students with the quality supplies that they needed to learn Chinese Brush Painting with Ning on their television sets.
Next, in the late 90s Ning would be selected as the principal artist for a national ad campaign for the paper company Weyerhauser highlighting the company’s efforts to make paper more sustainable. Collaborating with Hollywood director Irv Blitz and actor Jeff Bridges, Ning and his paintings would be featured in television commercials and print ads in publications like Time, Newsweek, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Above: Ning Yeh teaching Coastline classes, 2019
The Fifth Generation and Growing the OAS Family
Finally, the new millennium finds Ning at his creative peak producing a treasure trove of beautiful masterpieces that embody a lifetime of work harmonizing the cultures of the East and West. Oriental Art Supply, the company he created with his wife Ling Chi is now managed day to day by their daughter Ja-Shin and their son Evan and is focused on continuing to share the Yeh Family treasure of Chinese Brush Painting with a new extended OAS Family all around the world.
We see Ning’s story as a metaphorical lifeboat that carried the precious cargo of centuries old understandings of Chinese culture, wisdom, and tradition through many precarious straits to land on fertile ground where it could be planted, nurtured and grown for future generations to enjoy.
“Water Fairies (Narcissus)” from Ning Yeh’s Red Album: 80 Paintings and Ideas
An Album of Chinese Brush Painting: 80 Paintings and Ideas by Ning Yeh
This hardcover album contains 80 full-color, full page compositions by Ning Yeh. Each painting lists all the colors, brushes, and paper used.
Accompanying each of the beautiful original paintings is a story. The tales reveal the spiritual background of the subjects, legends and romances, and artistic observation and experiences of the artist. They are shared with a casual, humorous, earnest, and intimate style which touches everyone in a special way. To this day, the Album is still the pride and joy of the artist. It is indeed one of the most beautiful, enjoyable, and inspirational works of art - both painting and writing.
183 Pages, Text in English
Online Access to Ning Yeh’s Recorded Livestream
Originally streamed live on January 14th, 2022 this special event featuring live demonstration, lecture and Q&A with Ning Yeh. Watch Ning demonstrate a breathtaking lotus masterpiece along with his 500 year old family tradition of Horse.
Ning Yeh has a website!
Painting Bigger: the Key to Unlock the Freedom of Chinese Brush Paintingby Evan Yeh
Chinese Brush Painting in general is an excellent artform for artists who are looking for more simplicity and freedom in their experience. The philosophical roots of Chinese Brush Painting avoids much of the judgment that can be stifling in many Western forms of art. By focusing on expressing your own idea of the spirit of your subject you create an environment where your efforts can be appreciated immediately even as you continually work to improve your skill.
If that feeling of freedom is your goal, then we always encourage students to paint larger. Use a bigger brush like our Large Flow, Super Flow, or Full Lotus brush. Paint on bigger paper like 18” x 27” or larger. Use larger sheets of magic paper to practice and make the only goal of the practice to feel freedom. Common problems like moisture control and strokes that lack dimension can be minimized when you paint larger and more decisively. Bigger strokes will use excess moisture more productively. When you direct the moisture on your brush to a larger stroke, you will create big beautiful strokes rather than small strokes where the excess moisture just creates bleeding.
Also, it is much easier to properly load a large brush with different layers of color to get the beautiful multi-tone strokes that fade from dark to light. Small brushes require greater skill to load. It is easier on a smaller brush to load darker colors too deep and end up with a flat, mono-tone stroke that lacks variation and dimension.
A nearly fool-proof way to feel more freedom when you paint is to paint large abstract, zen style strokes with a big brush like our Super Flow, Full Lotus or Large Mountain Horse brush. For those who want maximum drama you can even size up to our Dragon or Phoenix brushes. When you initially explore this type of painting make the goal pure enjoyment. Imagine it as exercise or emotional release rather than art. Make enjoyment your goal and most assuredly you will eventually create art that will be satisfying
OAS Virtual Office Hours
“What are Virtual Office Hours?” Great question! Every month we host a 90 minute online, invite-only event (accessible exclusively through the internet) with a short lecture, detailed demonstration and live q&a session. We have covered a variety of subjects, including how to control moisture, essential strokes in Chinese brush painting, wet mounting and, most recently, Chinese landscape painting basics. We are offering recordings of these live events for a limited time. To purchase access to these recordings, simply go to our website and search for “OAS Virtual Office Hours.”
After checking out, we will manually send you an email that will contain the website link to the recorded event and the password within 24-48 hours.
This is NOT a physical product.
Online Access to Virtual Office Hours Video Demos
Three Free Resources
Would you like weekly encouragement, inspiration and motivation? Have you ever wished that you had a mentor to come alongside you and ask you thought-provoking questions, help you devolop your own unique skills in brush painting or provide you with helpful resources for your growth?
At Oriental Art Supply, we don’t want to simply sell a product and then leave you on your own - we want to enrich your life with the beauty of Asian art, philosophy and culture.
We have several ways of supporting you:
In our email list, we deliver deep philosophical articles to aid you in your mindful lifestyle, inspire you to paint, and encourage you to become the best artist you can be. To join our email list, simply scroll to the bottom of this page and fill out the email form on the bottom, right-hand corner and click "Get 10% off!" If you have any issues, feel free to call us at 714-969-4470 and we can sign you up manually.
We offer free video tutorials on our YouTube channel so you can unlock the treasure of Chinese brush painting and gong-bi. We have a vault of over 50 painting video tutorials and publish a new tutorial every week. Take advantage of this free resource! To visit our YouTube page, click here.
It is easy to feel alone on this journey of brush painting, especially if you live in a place that geographically has had little exposure to the Asian arts. That’s why we created our “OASLife” Facebook Group over ten years ago to connect you with like-minded artists and admirers. In this group, we share paintings, inspiration, ask questions, get advice, and support each other! To join our Facebook Group, you must have a Facebook account. If you already have an account, click here to join. Please fill in the questionnaire so we can add you to the group quickly.
Springtime - Opening the Door to Chinese Flower Painting
Chinese Flower Painting: A Worthwhile Investment
Our recent Virtual Office Hour Session on Essential Strokes of Chinese Painting and my mother’s follow up video on Camellia reminded us of how worthwhile it is to invest in Chinese Flower Painting!
Learn a handful of simple strokes, and some basic techniques on color blending and you open a door to thousands of possibilities. There are so many flowers and each of them appear in so many colors that the possibilities are just endless!
There is a reason why the books on Chinese Flower Painting emphasize the volume of possible subjects. Whether it be Ning Yeh’s four book series 108 Flowers or Oshi Yang’s 100 Flowers, the masters understand that building confidence with the basics of Chinese Flower Painting yields tremendous dividends.
Dogwood from Ning Yeh’s 108 Flowers Book 2
108 Flowers Book 2 by Ning Yeh
108 Flowers by Ning Yeh is being described by one of his A+ students as being an “Encyclopedia” to painting flowers for the Chinese Brush artist!
Subjects include Cotton Rose, Daffodil, Day Lily, Dragon Pearl, Dutch Iris, Eggplant, Foxglove, Geranium, Grape, Heavenly Bamboo and more!
144 pages, English
Diagram from O-shi Yang’s book 100 Flowers
100 Flowers by O-shi Yang
O-shi Yang provides anatomical diagrams, foundation drawings, detailed step-by-step instructions and a multitude of completed compositions for the growing artist to emulate.
Some of the subjects include peony, begonia, pine, poppy, hyacinth, taiwan cherry, pear, magnolia, rose, fuchsia, sweet pea, camellia, dahlia and more!
240 pages, Chinese/English
Paper for Chinese Flower Painting
Double Xuan (Shuen) is the preferred paper for Chinese Flower Painting. You can decide between our Premium “Jade Plate” Double Xuan which has superior moisture control while still showing beautiful color or our Vintage Double Xuan which is a bit more free with moisture and shows vibrant, intense color.
Bamboo Painting by Ning Yeh on Premium Jade Plate Double Shuen
Premium “Jade Plate” Double Xuan (Shuen)
This paper cheerfully displays dynamic strokes and complex shade variations with translucent fluidity and original spontaneity.
Peony in Vase by Ning Yeh on Vintage Double Xuan (Shuen) Paper
Vintage Double Xuan (Shuen)
Vintage Double Xuan shows color exceptionally well and has the solid moisture control that one would expect out of a Double Shuen. This is an old batch of our regular Double Shuen (SP) that we had cut to the popular size of 13¼” x 18”.
Landscape Painting on Semi-Sized Xuan (Shuen) Paper
Semi-Sized Xuan (Shuen)
This combines the smooth feeling of raw shuen paper and is more forgiving with excess moisture and even allows you to “pull” or redirect excess moisture after application
This is a great paper for painters with experience with Western watercolor looking for a bridge between their Western watercolor brush technique and Chinese Painting brush technique.
Peony Lesson on Semi-Sized Paper
Ling Chi Yeh presents a satisfying tribute to the “King of Flowers” with a Peony composition done on semi-sized paper with the Full Lotus brush.
For those of you who are just beginning your journey of flower brush painting and aren’t confident in moisture control, we recommend trying a semi-sized paper.
Paint Bigger for More Freedom
When people are newer to painting and are struggling with indecisive strokes, we often suggest that they paint bigger. 1/3 of a full sheet or 18" x 27" is a very popular size to work for final compositions. When you work this big, it helps to have a bigger combination brush.
Whether it be our tried and true Super Flow Brush or Ling Chi's new favorite Full Lotus Brush, a bigger combination brush can help you paint the large full strokes that can be the key to experiencing more freedom when you paint. Grab a big brush and let it fly!
Choose the Super Flow for a slightly longer brush or choose the Full Lotus for a fuller body and slightly more control.
OAS Super Flow Brush
Dimensions: 2⅛” x ½”
Full Lotus Brush
Dimensions: 2” x 9/16
An Artist’s Studioby Evan Yeh
The place where you paint is important. Artists are intentional about shaping the area in which they do their creative work. Do you have an extra room in your house? Then you should set it up as your studio! Physical locations become the focal point for creative energy and going into a space regularly and summoning your creative energy can make that place increasingly powerful for amplifying and focusing your creative energies.
If you can’t spare a whole room, then section off an area of a room and create your painting set up there. Use a shoji screen or a divider to give the space a sense of privacy and solitude. Finally, make sure you have a set of materials that are set up there for when your painting muse decides to inspire you.
It is clear from our own personal experience and feedback from our extended OAS family of customers, that those who have a dedicated area to paint are always the ones having the most satisfying experience cultivating and expressing their artistry.
So, if you have yet to define your studio space, now is the time. One very helpful tip is to have a separate set of accessories for your studio space. I recommend choosing porcelain accessories for your studio space. There is a luxury that porcelain has when working with ink and colors that adds to the satisfaction of painting. Preparing your colors in the porcelain flower plate or stackable dishes has sensual quality that can help center you in that critical time before you begin to paint. Porcelain accessories have a weightier, luxurious feel and are also easier to clean. Their extra weight is not a factor in a studio setup that rarely has to be moved.
Premium Accessories and Featured Items
Porcelain Blending Plate
Dimensions: 87/16” x 43/8”
3 sections; 6” diameter
Porcelain Flower Plate Large
9 sections; 7¼” diameter x ½“ deep
Porcelain Flower Plate Small
7 sections; 6” diameter x ½” deep
Stackable Porcelain Dish
Dimensions: 3½” diameter
CW30: Set (5 Dishes & 1 Lid) $32
Hand Painted Dragon Porcelain Brush Rest
Holds up to six brushes at a time
Oriental Gate Brush Hanger
Each side has eight pegs for hanging brushes, allowing you to hang sixteen brushes with all being visible.
Brush Roll with Single Layer Pockets
10 Individual Pockets
Best Bottle Ink
Practice Roll 18”
50 continuous foot roll of machine made rice paper, wonderful for practice and suitable for finished work as well.
Bamboo Brush Cup
A simply elegant cup, great for holding extra brushes or even loose change!
ACBC04: $5 (reg. $10)
Fine Mist Spray Bottle
Ning Yeh Four Gentlemen Paperweights
Paperweight Dimensions: Approximately 2¼” in diameter and 1” tall (apologies for the incorrect size description in our last newsletter). These are limited edition designs. Make sure to get a set before they are all sold out!
Poly Wool Blend Felt
Felt prevents excess moisture from forming a stain on the painting when working. This polyester wool blend is sturdy and can handle absorbing excess moisture.
Dimensions: Approximately 23” x 35”
Happy Dot Brush sold separately
Celadon Ceramic Ink Dish
This ceramic ink dish can also be used as a brush rest.
Approximately 13/4” wide x 4” long (including handle) x 1/4” deep
M002: Book of the Orchid by Johnson Su-sing Chow
Harmony Between Thinking and Feelingby Evan Yeh
Three Sets of Terms for the Same Idea
We hear these terms tossed around quite a bit and it is good to spend some time defining terms and realizing which are different names for the same idea. As human beings we have different ways of using our brain to make decisions.
When we analyze facts, weigh pros and cons, and consider cause and effect relationships we are thinking, being analytical or “using our left brain.” When we go with a gut feeling, follow our heart, and use our intuition, we are feeling, being intuitive, or “using our right brain.”
Modern World and the Dominance of the Analytical or Left Brain
It is important to realize that a number of modern trends have led to the dominance of left-brained thinking or analysis, especially in the workplace.
The rise of the computer as the ultimate tool for both work and creativity has created the ability to perform complex, multi-level analysis which are being used to identify and eliminate long held biases that negatively effect good decision making. Computer driven statistical analyses have had dramatic effects on industries from bio-technology (bio informatics) to sports (sabermetrics).
The internet and the rise of 24 hour news channels has created an almost insatiable hunger for facts and information. All the answers to all the questions seem to be at our fingertips. Hours of staring at microfiche in the library has been replaced with google searches that take minutes or even seconds.
As a reaction, we have seen a rise in practices like mindfulness, meditation, and yoga that all, in their own way, seek to quiet the analytical mind so that the influence and benefit of the intuition can be experienced.
What About Being An Artist
Art is often associated with the intuitive, right brain, or feeling side. The reality is you will use both parts to be a complete artist.
When we study a master’s stroke technique, we are likely using our left brain. If we take time to plan and organize our workspace, we are likely also using the analytical side of our brain.
For those of us seeking to reconnect with our right brain or intuitive side especially while painting, it may be helpful to play music while painting. Music often rests the left or analytical brain and opens the door for the feeling or intuitive mind.
During our special demo, lecture, and Q&A featuring Ning Yeh, a participant asked “What is going through your mind when you paint?” Ning answered “I think happy thoughts, rhythmic music, if it weren’t for concerns about copyrights I would have played music while I painted (today), I always do that.”
A “Set Point” for the Best Inspiration
It is worthwhile to note that regardless of whether or not we are using our left or right brain, analytical or intuitive mind, it is important that we establish the highest possible “set point” for inspiration. This means we should focus our thoughts in a way that creates the best feeling emotions. Just like Ning says, we should “think happy thoughts” and play “rhythmic music” until our dominant emotions are things like joy, enthusiasm and passion.
From there, the best inspiration will come and whether it be processed by our left brain into thoughts and ideas or our right brain into gut feelings or leadings of the heart, we can be assured that we are getting the best possible inspiration from a source that is totally unique to our personal perspective. For artists, we should seek balance and harmony between these two sides. In this harmony, we can focus all our faculties toward the creation of our art.
Fundamentals of Chinese Floral Painting: V2 Book of the Orchid by Su-sing Chow
Designed to build a firm understanding of the fundamental methods for rendering the Orchid. Artist Chow Su-sing teaches in a step-by-step, illustrative manner, detailing traditional painting techniques.
63 pages, Chinese/English
Thank you so much for reading our Spring 2022 Newsletter! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (714-969-4471).