In this Issue:
Chinese Brush Painting Mastery Steps
Flower Painting Essentials
The Ferrari of Brushes
Harmony with Oneself
Year of the Ox 2021
Paint More Confident Lines - New Limited Brushes!
How to Paint Vegetables
YouTube Channel and Email List
Chinese Brush Painting Mastery Steps
by Evan Yeh
What is the Mastery Process
Oftentimes when we are studying Chinese Brush Painting whether on our own or in class with a teacher, we do not realize that there is a tangible set of skills that, when properly developed, can make all painting activities more successful and satisfying.
The Chinese Brush Painting Mastery Process is our way of identifying these skills and teaching them methodically to empower the OAS extended family of brush painters and Asian art enthusiasts to be more confident and experience more joy when they paint.
If you are new to this idea of a Mastery Process, don't worry. It's not as scary as it sounds. Anyone can do it. It just takes a little bit of focus over time. Slowly but surely, your skills will improve and with it, your experiences painting will become more joyful!
If you haven't seen steps 1-3 or just need a review you can look at them here in our OAS Blog.
Step 4: Placing the Strokes in Composition
Order of the Strokes
Think about the order of strokes. Spontaneous style brush painting evolved from calligraphy. Chinese is a pictographic language. In other words, Chinese characters are really simple paintings. When training in Chinese Calligraphy, it is very important that the strokes are done in a specific order. This order is not random. It is the most efficient way to write the character to get the ideal spacing and balance.
Stroke by Stroke Instruction
When starting out, it is extremely beneficial to choose instruction that details stroke-by-stroke sequential instruction. This is what has made teachers like Ning Yeh and Mayee Futterman so successful. They provide enough structure so it is clear what must be done next. This allows a student to tackle ambitious compositions without getting lost.
When following this type of instruction, it is important to stay in the present moment. There will be a lot of detail and that can cause you to be overwhelmed. Just do one thing at a time and don't overthink the strokes. Stay focused on the instruction and keep your mind otherwise clear.
It is a bit like the difference between a map and GPS. Some instructions are like Maps. They show you the overall picture and leave it up to you to find the way. While other formats are like GPS, they tell you exactly which way to go and what turns you need to make and when.
Some Composition Sayings
If you are more of a map person, here are a few principles of successful composition that Ning Yeh mentions in his books.
Host and Guest
Most successful compositions have a major element that anchors the composition and a small element that balances. This idea of Yin and Yang is explored through many parts of Chinese culture, philosophy and art. Whenever you hear Ning Yeh refer to "host and guest" in this instruction, this is what he is referring to.
Fish Looking for the Same Food
When painting flowers or plants you will see Ning paint them so that their origins resemble an overhead shot of "fish looking for the same food". That is, the strokes seem to be heading for the same point without overlapping.
This example of a group of bamboo leaves in Ning Yeh's Book Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide is a great example of the idea of "Fish Looking for the Same Food."
No Chicken Foot
A chicken foot is a stroke that finishes with three points that resembles a chicken's foot. This is a common mistake when painting branches and is unnatural. Better to alternate twigs coming from either side of a main branch.
Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide not only shows correct ways to paint elements but also features common mistakes in what Ning Yeh calls the "Boo-boo Pad." Here is an example of the dreaded "Chicken Foot" alongside a more desirable element where the branching twigs are alternating.
Divide the White Space
One final thing to think about when placing strokes in composition is to think not about the strokes but about dividing the space of the paper in interesting ways. This takes the pressure off of the strokes themselves and is a trick that master artists use to make their paintings more interesting and balanced. For more information on this, see the post in our blog.
Enjoy The Journey Towards Mastery
We hope you are enjoying your journey towards mastery of these basic skills of Chinese Brush Painting. Many of these and much more wonderful information is covered in what many call the "Bible of Chinese Brush Painting" - Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide by Ning Yeh.
We encourage you to use this and any other of the wonderful tools available through Oriental Art Supply (OAS) to begin or continue your journey through the wonderful world of Chinese Brush Painting and Calligraphy.
Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide
Subjects include: Orchid, Peony, Horse, Landscape, seal/signature, wet-mounting and more.
BK01: Chinese Brush Painting $24.50more info
108 Flowers Book 1 by Ning Yeh
Over his years of teaching his students Ning developed a list of flowers that he wanted to paint and develop lessons for but because of their relative obscurity were not included in his teaching thus far.
The results were for a four book series 108 Flowers which open up the incredible world Chinese Flower Painting in Ning Yeh's unduplicatable style.
Dimensions: 8.25" x 11.75" inches approximately
142 pages with instructions completely in English.
BKNY01: 108 Flowers Book 1 by Ning Yeh $24 reg. $29.95
Vintage Double Shuen: Ning Yeh's Favorite Paper for Chinese Flower Painting
Our customers who have been with us a while will know this paper as Double Shuen SP. This is an aged batch of Double Shuen SP that we have in packages of 24 cut sheets (13.25"x18")
People who know rice paper will tell you, the older the better. The chemical processes that are used to make Shuen paper mellow over time and the paper becomes better at handling moisture, and shows wonderful color with smooth transitions.
Our latest attempt to replace this paper with a new batch has been unsuccessful. The quality is no longer available at this price point. If this size works for you and you enjoy Flower Painting, this would be an excellent paper to stock up on!
24 Cut Sheets (13.25"x18")
P25BL: Vintage Double Shuen $24
What's Better Than Happiness? How About Double Happiness!
Our large double happiness brush is one of the favorite brushes for people who do larger Chinese calligraphy work.
However, as we've seen in the last two of Ling Chi's Holiday subject videos on the Christmas Tree, and the Holiday Candle/Holly, she loves this brush for flower painting as well! She uses the long body of the brush for fuller petal strokes but then uses to tip for thinner details.
Great brush for right now or for your Holiday Wish List!
HSP04: Double Happiness Large Brush $34.95
The Ferrari of Brushes
by Evan Yeh
I was having a conversation with one of our customers. He is a long time Tai Chi practitioner who teaches Tai Chi in Kentucky. He had recently purchased a Super Flow Brush. He was sharing with me that compared to his other brushes, using an OAS Super Flow was like "driving a Ferrari."
Only afterwards did I find out that the Super Flow was his first OAS Brush. In the conversations leading up to his purchase of the Super Flow, it seemed like he had been an OAS customer for years and I just assumed he already had a full collection of OAS Brushes. After sampling the quality level of an OAS Core brush like the Super Flow, he immediately loaded up on a full collection of OAS brushes.
This got me wondering how many of our OAS customers still were without the benefit of OAS' core brushes? If you are in that category, you will not regret investing in OAS' Premium Artist Brush Set or if you are on a budget our OAS Pre Series Brush Set. If you are already set with one of those sets, perhaps you'd like to get your own Super Flow Brush and feel what it's like to paint with the "Ferrari" of brushes!
Drawing Painting Trees by Lu Si-chiong
By narrowing the focus to just Trees, artist Lu Si-chiong is able to cover details that are absent in most books. As valuable as any other part of the book is the general technique section in the very beginning that focuses on brush loading, moisture control, and stroke technique.
Dimensions are: 8.25" wide x 11.75" tall. Instructions are in both Chinese and English and the book totals approximately 117 pages. Watch a video book review.
BK16: Drawing (Painting) Trees by Lu Is-chiong $30 more
OAS Super Flow
OAS Flow brushes offer a sable core to give you a sense of control while the softer outer hairs provide more volume.
The OAS Flow brushes' thoughtful, quality construction makes them versatile brushes for varied shapes, like bone strokes and flower petals. Each Flow brush has a stiff bristle core for strength and resilience surrounded by soft natural hairs for suppleness.
OAS' Flow brushes offer a stable core to give you a sense of control while the softer outer hairs provide more volume. Each of them delivers elegant and graceful shapes for brush painting or calligraphy.
C2E: $40 more
Premium Artist Brush Set
This brush set includes four core brushes that are essential to Chinese brush painting. With these brushes you can paint a wide range of subjects - flowers, landscapes, calligraphy and more! Includes the following: OAS Large Flow, Orchid Bamboo, OAS Flow, and Happy Dot.
PBSET01: $70 reg $86
PRE Series Brush Set
This brush set is similar to our Premium Set in that it includes four essential brushes. We offer these brushes as an alternative for those who are on a budget but still want quality brushes. They deliver high performance for a value price.
HCPRE: $40 reg $48
Harmony with Oneself
by Evan Yeh
There are two major ways to find harmony with oneself. The first is the practice of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is something that we are all born with. Children naturally pursue their interests and curiosities. YouTube is filled with videos of prodigies. In the past it was easy to think that this phenomenon was rare because the only time we encountered a prodigy was when they became famous enough to make it on television. Nowadays with YouTube, the sheer number of children with professional level skill as singers, dancers, artists, or musicians compels us to consider that perhaps we are all born with exceptional potential. The practice of self-criticism or self-rejection is a learned practice. Maybe as a small child we were around a parent who had a learned habit of self-criticism.
Perhaps we were around an authority figure or a teacher who was having a bad day. I have found this to be a common story for those who have chosen to study art as an adult. Early on in life, they encountered criticisms from an authority figure that
caused them to adopt a belief that they were not artistic or creative. Because of this adopted belief they put off studying art even though they were naturally interested in it. The simplicity of Chinese Brush Painting often is the encouragement that people need to give it a try.
There can be volumes written about self-acceptance. But here are some tips for increasing your amount of self-acceptance.
- You are enough. Many times criticism is used as a tool for motivation. It is important, regardless of our past, to practice looking in the mirror and saying these words aloud. “I am enough.”
- Learn to accept compliments with a simple “thank you.” It wasn’t until I was 30 years old that I realized that I had a habit of always deflecting compliments with self-deprecation, self-criticism. It felt so much better to open myself up to compliments, offer a smile and simply say “thank you.”
- You can accept yourself and still change and improve. You are a constantly evolving being. The process of life naturally gives you feedback on who you are deciding to be. Self-acceptance does not mean you limit your potential. In fact, it is the most powerful state from which you can evolve and improve.
- Reject people or companies who play on your insecurities to manipulate you into what they want you to do. Once you start practicing self-acceptance you may notice that you begin to be drawn to different people and different companies. This is a natural part of self-acceptance and should be embraced.
You are enough. You can have everything that you want. You are loved more than you know.
To finish reading Evan’s series on Harmony, visit our previous blog posts:
Harmony Calligraphy Lesson
This is a calligraphy lesson showing the word for “Harmony” in two different styles (print style and grass/running style). There is also a section on Calligraphy Basics which includes the 5 basic strokes and a diagram for writing the word “Eternity” in print style.
Mood Seal: Harmony
Capture the mood with a beautiful seal. Each piece is selected and hand-carved
in China, so while the carvings are fairly uniform, no two stones are the same.
Use these seals to capture the spirit of a painting, accent a card or letter, or
simply enjoy the unique pieces of art they are.
2021 is the Year of the Ox
2021 is the Year of the Ox. February 12th is Chinese New Year and now is the perfect time "brush up" on your Ox painting skills.
This wonderful pocket reference book in the How to Paint Series has an incredible section on Ox. The half of the book dedicated to Ox is very strong with excellent sequential instruction combined with finished masterpieces for inspiration.
Book Dimensions: 8.25" high x 5.75" wide, 84 pages, Chinese only
P005: How to Paint Horses and Ox $11.00 more
Limited Ox SealOnly 15 of these Ox Mood Seals left!
What if you decided that you were going to do 21 finished paintings this year and adorn each of them with this Ox Mood Seal? We can picture you now showcasing your 21 finished paintings and speaking of the meaning of the seal and the promise you made to yourself at the beginning of 2021.
Dimensions: 5/8” Square Positive Imprint
SL21OX: Ox Seal - $45
Earn Ox Lesson as a Free Gift with Any $50 Purchase
The perfect lesson for 2021, the Year of the Ox. Express the spirit of this noble beast who embodies the ideals of strength, reliability, calmness and patience.
This composition is both accessible and beautiful. Our stroke by stroke lesson walks you through the line work and ink work so you can paint your own Ox for 2021.
GLS057: Ox Lesson by Ling Chi Yeh Free with purchase of $50+
Red Banner Paper
The same paper used to make the iconic Red Envelopes that are handed out during Chinese New Year. Can be painted on easily and, unlike rice paper, will remain relatively smooth after painted on (very little buckling or wrinkling).
Great for making quick cards or small paintings to give away.
PN01A: 10 Cut Sheets (10 3/8" x 14 ½") $5.00 more
New Year Paper Sampler
Our New Year sampler is great for making cards or smaller paintings. A perfect compliment to our Red Banner Paper, it gives you all the variety you need.
30 Cut Sheets (13 X 9”)
P04X-SM: New Year Paper Sampler $20
Paint Your Own Cards
OAS's "Paint Your Own Cards" is packed with Raw-Shuen-Colored card stock that blends well with OAS's popular papers for card painting. Include 10: 10" x 7" Sheets and 10 matching envelopes.
POC: Paint Your Own Cards $12.95 more
A hand painted card from an OAS Customer who used a paper similar to our new Tea Color Mulberry Paper and pasted it onto OAS Paint Your Own Cards.
Paint More Confident Lines with this New Family of Brushes
The first brush to be born into the family was our Biff Brush, followed by the Full Lotus Brush, and finally our Twig Brushes.
The Twig Brushes are a cross between our Biff and Double Happiness - shorter and thinner than the Biff but larger than the Double Happiness Small.
Sometimes simple strokes can be the most stressful - the final stem on a flower after all of the other strokes turned out well. These brushes are excellent, providing the stability when painting tree branches or flower stems. Don’t let the last stroke cause you anxiety or stress!
This family of brushes was not created so much as it just happened. We collected the brushes as they intrigued us individually and piqued our curiosity. What is the common thread that binds these brushes together? They are all short, full-bodied combination brushes. What does this mean in practical terms? They provide greater stability and more consistent results when painting those difficult strokes.
When we first introduced the Biff Brushes, the way that they provided beautifully consistent bamboo stalks was revolutionary! A large portion of our OAS Family has migrated from using wash brushes to using Biff Brushes for their bamboo stalks. Why make painting harder for yourself?
Another common stroke that causes artists to stumble, is the bone stroke(also called the branch stroke). It is too easy to paint bone strokes with inconsistent thicknesses - starting off too thin or pushing down too hard and getting a stroke that is wider than intended.
Now obviously a master painter or dedicated student could brute force his way through the process and eventually paint satisfactory bone strokes. But why not use a brush that works with you instead of against you?
The Full Lotus Brush is the perfect brush for painting bone strokes, as it has a full body that supports your stroke by pushing back against you, instead of collapsing as you apply pressure. It makes it easy to paint consistent widths, instead of creating branches that look more like ribbons that get thicker the farther out they extend.
We believe that having a few solid brushes is better than having fifteen deficient brushes that work against you.
We've got a free video demonstration of our new Twig and Big Twig brushes by Ling Chi painting a simple tree composition.
Tip Dimensions: 7/8” x 5/16”
HSP10: Twig Brush - $15
Tip Dimensions (Large): 1” x 1/2”
HSP10B: Big Twig Brush - $22
BIFF (Small) & Flyer 1-1/8” x 5/8”
C4C: Biff Small - $19
BIFF (Large) & Flyer 1-1/4” x 3/4”
C4E: Biff Large - $25
Full Lotus Brush
Tip Dimensions: 2” x 9/16”
CSP04: Full Lotus Brush - $39back to top
Painting Vegetables and Core Accessories
Su-sing Chow is a master artist whose passion for sharing the beauty of Chinese art and culture have influenced a generation of artists including Ning Yeh. Master Chow has a wonderful mix of spontaneity and attention to detail and his books have some of the best English instruction for books that have both Chinese and English.
This volume is #1 in a four volume set and it focuses on vegetables. Johnson Chow does an exquisite job weaving his subject matter a tapestry of cultural history and significance. The importance of food in Chinese culture is on full display here and the subject matter is a perfect match for Chow’s elegantly simple style.
110 pages, Chinese/English
M112: Vegetables (V1) - Vegetables, Fruits, Insects & Aquatic Life $30
Black Brush Hanger
This handsome black hanger brush hanger is fashioned after an Oriental Gate.
Uses: A suitable centerpiece for an artist painting area or studio set-up, the hanger has 8 staggered pegs on each side.
This allows you to hang 16 brushes total with all of the being visible and accessible without doubling up.
Prolong the life of the bristles and handles of your brushes!
Easy to assemble with provide instructions
Dimension: 17” x 12” x 4”
Alternative use: Some like to use these ornamental pieces for hanging jewelry.
It’s an elegant decorative piece!
BR10: Black Brush Hanger - $50
Dragon Porcelain Brush Rest
Instead of resting your brushes on a paper towel or trying to balance them on top of the water bowl, give them a home with this porcelain brush rest! Perfect for avid painters.
Dimensions: 6-3/8” x 2” x 1-1/8”
Alternative Information: Blue dragon designs are hand painted. Expect slight variations from what’s pictured on our website. White porcelain with blue hand painted detail of a dragon. Six indentations along the top accommodates up to six spots for brushes.
Additional Uses: Can double as a paperweight
BRPD: Dragon Porcelain Brush Rest $15
Brush Roll - Single Layer Pocket
If you’re constantly traveling or painting on-the-go, this brush roll is for you!
Usage: organize and hold brushes for easy travels
Dimensions: 14⅛” x 13¾” x 1/8”
Material: bamboo, polyblend
Additional Information: has ten individual pockets
BR08A: Brush Roll $9.95
Oriental Art Supply’s YouTube Channel
One resource that many OAS Family members aren’t aware of is our OAS YouTube channel. It contains numerous painting tutorials (landscapes, birds, flowers), calligraphy demonstrations, book reviews and other insightful techniques that you won’t want to miss out on! We post new videos regularly so make sure that you hit the “subscribe” button!To access our library of helpful videos, simply go to our Youtube Page and click the subscribe button to receive updates.
Oriental Art Supply Exclusive Emailing List
If you haven’t signed up to receive emails from Oriental Art Supply, you are missing out on exclusive material released in advance for our emailing list.
Emails include book reviews, techniques that will help you reach your full artist potential, tips on which materials are best suited for your needs and more!
If you have signed up but are not receiving emails from OAS, you can check your spam folder or talk to your provider to see why you’re not receiving emails from OAS.
You can also call us at (714) 969-4470 and we can check to see if you are subscribed to our emails. We are always happy to resolve any issues that you may be experiencing!
To sign up for our emails, go to our website, scroll to the bottom of any page and fill in your email in the box in the bottom right-hand corner. First time email subscribers will receive a 10% off promo code to use on their next order.back to top