Summer Newsletter 2022
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In this Issue:

The Difference Between Children and Adults
New Water Dragon Paper!
Painting Challenges
Two New Brushes!
Secret Weapon Brushes for Bamboo Painting
Don't Be Bamboozled by Bamboo
What Does It Mean to Be Present?
Learn to Paint with Ning Yeh

The Important Difference Between Children and Adults

by Evan Yeh

Home Town by Ning Yeh, from his book, An Album of Chinese Brush Painting: Eighty Paintings and Ideas
BK24: Ning Yeh’s Album: 80 Paintings & Ideas $50 add to cart

Habits of a Resistant Mind

An odd thing that I have noticed in my 8 years of teaching adults in a private lesson type format is more often than not, I find myself investing a large amount of time, skill and energy convincing them that they should try.

It seems so strange that they are volunteering to be there, paying for my time and expertise to teach them and act as a guide, and yet when I ask them to do something, the first thing that they offer is an excuse as to why they cannot do what I am asking.

I also notice that children have this issue far less than adults. Many are unaware that they should have a “comfort zone,” and especially have not developed a habit to justify why they should stay in their comfort zone when they are asked to try something. More times than not, children just go for it!

The funny thing is that I do not believe that children have a higher capacity to learn than adults. They just have less mental resistance to trying and judge themselves less harshly if they are initially unsuccessful.

Adults have a higher capacity to understand things than children. They have the wisdom of their life experience and they usually have a greater command over their bodies than children. However, they cannot benefit from these advantages, if they have developed the mental habit of first focusing on the reasons why what they want to do will be difficult or impossible.

Past successes we have had as adults do not serve us if they have created an “ego” that is so desperate to protect itself that it will not risk failure to try to learn something new.

How to Go from Trying to Doing

“Do or do not, there is no try.” -Yoda

This iconic quote from the most famous Jedi master offers some wisdom for the modern world. What this statement means to me is that there is an inevitability of success to everything attempted if you have a long enough view. That is, you may try and fail 100 times but eventually you will succeed and when you do you will realize that the entire time (including all the previous failed attempts), you were not trying but actually doing. All the failures were as much part of your success as the final successful attempt; ergo, “do or do not, there is no try.”

Practical Tips:

  • Knowledge is not helpful if it argues against what you desire. Develop the habit of letting go of statements that argue for your own limitation. No matter how true they have been in the past, they must be released for you to get what you want.
  • Develop the habit of looking at things simply and innocently like a child would. Try new things with an open mind.
  • When you develop a habit of trying new things, you discover the universal truth that anything you focus on over time with an open mind, eventually becomes reality.
  • The more confidence you develop in this universal process the more quickly and effortlessly you will create the experiences in your life you wish to experience.

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Make a Splash with Our New Water Dragon Paper!

When we were testing this paper, the first thing that came to mind was the phrase “fiberless Dragon Cloud.” Many of us know, have painted on, and come to appreciate Dragon Cloud paper. With its ability to control moisture and subtle visible fibers, the reputation of Dragon Cloud paper is well established.

Truth be told, as much as we love the visible fibers in Dragon Cloud paper, having a paper with the same qualities without the visible fibers would be more versatile.

Enter Water Dragon Paper. With an ability to handle excess moisture without bleeding, including taking a background wash, all while still showing good color vibrancy, Water Dragon Paper has impressed us! This is a limited edition paper, so make sure that you get enough to create a body of artwork!

P55H: Water Dragon Paper - 5 Full Sheets $15

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Painting Challenges

15 Strokes Challenge: First method demonstrated by Ling Chi Yeh

15 Strokes in 15 Days

We hosted a “15 Strokes in 15 Days” Painting Challenge as a warm-up to our June Challenge. There were two ways to participate. You could either begin with a single stroke painting and finish with fifteen strokes, experimenting with any number of subjects or you could begin with a fifteen stroke composition and refine it down to a single stroke.

15 Strokes Challenge: Second method demonstrated by Evan Yeh

June 30 Day Painting Challenge

In June, we hosted our bi-annual 30-Day Painting Challenge (June and November) where we ask the artists to paint every single day for thirty days. This format allows people to paint with complete freedom in subject and number of strokes.

108 Flowers Book 4 by Ning Yeh

108 Flowers in 108 Days Painting Challenge

Starting on July 8th, we began our most anticipated challenge of the year - the 108 Flowers Painting Challenge. Join us for this exciting floral painting challenge! We recommend that you paint every day with a focus on flowers. The challenge continues through October 23rd.

If you are looking for more guidance, we recommend painting with Ning Yeh’s 108 Flowers book series. He starts with an introduction of material and flower painting basics. Each flower subject has step-by-step notes on color preparation, brush use and composition detail. Ning introduces each flower lesson with a picture of the finished painting (an original by Ning Yeh) accompanied with the English name of the flower and its Chinese name and meaning. He details each stroke on the original painting with numeric sequence in step-by-step fashion.

November 30 Day Painting Challenge

We’ll close out this challenge season with another thirty days of painting in November! Paint every day for thirty days and post pictures to our OASLife Facebook group. The OASLife group has grown so much this past year and we’re excited to see all the new participants contributing beautiful paintings and encouraging comments!

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Top to Bottom: the Perfect Gentleman Brush (Hard) and the Lotus Petal Brush (Combination)

Two New Brushes!

Painting Challenges are a great excuse to get to know a new brush and we’ve got two wonderful new brushes to add to your collection! Both of these brushes are limited quantities so get them while they last!

The Perfect Gentleman

This new brush has similar classic dimensions as our Small Orchid Bamboo brush. It is made of different hairs to produce a bouncier, more energetic brush that finishes strokes in a fine point with ease. Excellent for tapered line strokes like those used for Bamboo and Orchid Leaves.

HSP03: The Perfect Gentleman Brush $16 (reg. $20)

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The Lotus Petal Brush

Similar in size to the Large Flow brush but with a fuller body and a bit more bounce.

Being a combination brush, it excels at fuller strokes used for flower petals, leaves and animal painting, but because of its extra bounciness, it is also competent at line strokes, even lines that finish in a point. A great brush for single brush painting (doing an entire painting with just one brush)!

CSP03: The Lotus Petal Brush $22 (reg. $27)

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Secret Weapon Brushes for Bamboo Painting

by Evan Yeh

What is a Secret Weapon Brush?

"Secret Weapon" brushes are brushes that have a combination of hair and shape that make them specialists for doing a certain stroke.

When Evan was making a video for the 15 Strokes in 15 Days Painting Challenge, he needed to make a series of bamboo paintings and needed to make acceptable paintings in a single take for the camera.

He chose a specific set of OAS "secret weapon" brushes. Each one was ideally suited for a certain element in his bamboo paintings and they allowed him to make the video in one take to meet his deadline.

Here is a curated list of “Secret Weapon” Brushes for Bamboo!

Small BIFF Brush

For the main bamboo trunk

C4C: Small BIFF Brush $19

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Big Twig Brush

For the young bamboo trunk

HSP10B: Big Twig Brush $22

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Mountain Horse Medium Brush

For the bamboo leaves

H2G: Mountain Horse Medium Brush $20

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Twig Brush

For the bamboo branches and twigs

HSP10: Twig Brush $15

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Bonus Feature! The Gentleman of Summer

Ning Yeh Bamboo Paperweight Limited Edition

Approximately 2¼” in diameter and 1” tall

PWNY003: Bamboo Paperweight $12

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Don’t Be Bamboozled by Bamboo!

Take on this iconic subject with confidence! These resources will give you the guidance needed to complete your own Bamboo composition!

Book of the Bamboo - Fundamentals of Chinese Floral Painting Volume 3

A wonderfully simple but satisfying instructional book by master artist, Su-sing Chow. With work in ink, color, fine line and spontaneous style, Master Chow mixes element instruction on trunks, leaves, shoots, and branches with wonderful finished masterpieces.

M003: Book of the Bamboo by Johnson Su-sing Chow $15

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Chinese Flower Painting 2: Bamboo DVD

Ning Yeh delivers step-by-step instruction with his signature charm and wit. He offers in-depth discussion and close-up details on every stroke, brush loading and color blending, discussing each component in detail.

DV310: Chinese Flower Painting 2: Bamboo 60-minute DVD $36

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Bamboo Trunk Techniques with OAS Brushes Lesson

This lesson shows you how to use the BIFF brush, Happy Dot brush, and Orchid Bamboo brush to create the perfect bamboo trunk and nodes!

GLS028: Bamboo Trunk Techniques with OAS Brushes Lesson $6.95 (or free with orders over $50)

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Bamboo & Orchid Leaves Techniques with OAS Brushes

This lesson shows you how to use the Orchid Bamboo brush and Mountain Horse brush to create dynamic bamboo and orchid leaves.

GLS029: Bamboo and Orchid Leaves Techniques with OAS Brushes Lesson $6.95 (or free with orders over $50)

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What Does It Mean to Be Present?

by Evan Yeh

When You’ve Heard Something Many Times, It is Time to Understand More Deeply

Before I get into a discussion about what it means to “be present,” I want to discuss a phenomenon that I have experienced with myself and other people I have met. Often we do not understand or apply very key wisdom because we have heard it too many times without understanding it or applying it. This is true with the idea of “being present.” If you have an interest in meditation or Eastern teachings you have heard this phrase many times. So what is happening when you tell someone to “be present,” and they say “yeah, I know, I am being present but I can’t stop stressing out about having to go to the DMV tomorrow!”

We haven’t really talked about what it means to be present yet so maybe this is putting the cart before the horse but I wanted to address this phenomenon beforehand because I think, for many of us, the trick is not about getting new information but actually stopping to consider, understand and apply critical wisdom that we have heard before. In case you did not understand the irony of the exchange above, it is that the person above thinks that they are being present but in actuality they are thinking about something in the near future and not being present (focusing on the here and now). When we stop to consider, understand and apply information, that information becomes knowledge and as the old adage says “knowledge is power.”

What Does It Mean to “Be Present”?

When I think about the phrase “be present,” I am reminded of Chinese phrase 现在 (Xiànzài). This is not a fancy or poetic phrase. It is literally translated as “right now.” What I like about this phrase is that is that if you examine the words separately, we have 现 (Xiàn) which speaks to being present more as an element of time paired with 在 (zài) which speaks to being present more as an element of space like when a child responds to their name being called in roll call by saying “here!” So together, we have this idea of being here in this present time and also here in this present space.

How Chinese Brush Painting Can Help You Be Present

The spontaneous style of Chinese Brush Painting comes from the practice of Chinese Calligraphy. Practicing Chinese Calligraphy is a wonderful way to meditate on an idea and to ponder that idea more deeply as you practice writing. Calligraphy is unique as an art form in its singular focus. One word, one brush, one color, one stroke at a time.

This singular, meditative focus is carried over into the spontaneous style of Chinese painting with its emphasis on capturing the spiritual essence of a subject. Try this as an exercise in your spontaneous style painting. Clear your mind and set your focus on one idea that you believe embodies the spiritual essence of your subject. For example, when painting a bird, try freedom. Bamboo, think strength through flexibility. Orchid, delicate beauty.

The sheer spontaneity of Chinese Brush Painting can help you be in the present moment. When we hold expectations we are really thinking about the future. Use the spontaneity of rice paper and the Chinese brush as an exercise to paint without expectations. Instead do a stroke and see what happened, then do another stroke. Feel the difference when you delight in the unexpected occurrence of the present moment rather than judging something as correct or incorrect based on how the moment measured up to your previous expectation. Be present, and paint!

We invite you to discover the beauty and serenity of 现在 (Xiànzài). The glorious feeling of connection when you focus completely on this present time and this present space. Happy painting indeed!

"The Four Treasures include your Brush, Ink Stick, Ink Stone, and Rice Paper. Grinding ink is a mental exercise to lead the mind into absolute tranquility."


Calligraphy Set

High quality set for those wanting a traditional authentic approach to studying Chinese Calligraphy. Includes: OAS Flow Brush, Ink Stick, Ink Stone, Calligraphy Grid Rice Paper, and Instructional Booklet.

SET02: Calligraphy Set $55

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Celadon Ceramic Ink Dish

Originating in China and dating back as far as the Shang dynasty, celadon has long been prized for its durability and likeness to jade. CW95: Celadon Ink Dish $7

add to cart A Misty Mountain Stream from the book, A Collection of Artworks by Zhou Ping-Guang


A Collection of Artworks by Zhou Ping-Guang

A handful of paintings show a modern, western art influence with daring splashes of color accenting the gorgeous muted color palette and detailed line work.

128 pages. Text written in Chinese/English

BKF001: A Collection of Artworks by Zhou Ping-Guang $22 (reg. $35)

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Landscape is ‘shan shui’ in Chinese. Shan is mountain, and shui is water. Landscape is the harmonious union of land and water.

Learn to Paint with Ning Yeh

Tranquility is the happy union of mountain and water. Plants and folks are the children of such union. Trees are clustered as happy dots. Houses are smiling. Mountains greet each other. Mist floats calmly. Fields are shimmering by the water. - Ning Yeh

Perspectives throwing you off when painting village scenes? Can’t seem to paint reflections on water? Wondering how to paint the sky without hard edges? Ning Yeh answers all of these and more in his Landscapes Lesson Book 1. The book includes fourteen complete landscape composition lessons, as well as a bonus chapter on landscape basics.

Begin Your Own Class with These Ning Yeh Classics!

Each one of Ning Yeh’s instructional books includes detailed diagrams and paragraphs clearly explaining each step of the painting process and breaking it down into easy-to-follow segments. If you have never painted before, we recommend using these books as a linear learning experience, using “An Instructional Guide” as a starting point, following with “A.B.C. of Chinese Brush Painting” and finally working through “Landscape Lessons 1.” These books will equip you to paint with joy and confidence!

Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide by Ning Yeh

BK01: An Instructional Guide $24.50

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A.B.C. of Chinese Painting: Ning Yeh

A.B.C compliments the Instructional Guide by offering additional step-by-step, learn by yourself instructions. Artist Ning Yeh expands on traditional Chinese Brush Painting by exploring a variety of different rice papers, offering alternative painting methods and integrating western watercolors (thereby increasing the color palette).

BK02: A.B.C. of Chinese Painting $29/a>

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Online Newsletter Exclusive Feature!

New Olive Xuan (Shuen) Paper!

This newly available colored xuan paper has been aging nicely in our warehouse and it is showing wonderful color display and above average moisture control qualities for a single xuan paper.

Painting on colored xuan paper is one of the easiest ways to give the same painting a different feel and a sense of antiquity.

P04-S30-O: 5 Full Sheets(27" x 54") $15

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1 comment



Thank you for your essays of wisdom! They are sensitive, insightful and resonate with me.

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