Featured above: Cody, our third generation representative, holding a Valentine's Day card made on Red Banner Paper and immersed in a Snow Scene. Get the Snow Scene Lesson for free with purchases over $50 by using the code "GLSFREE" at checkout.
In This Issue:
The Mechanics of Mastery
Plum is the Winter Gentleman!
Spring is Coming!
The Mechanics of Masteryby Evan Yeh
Over the Holidays, we spent some time thinking about the set of skills that a master Chinese Brush Painter possesses and how we might help our extended OAS Family identify and develop those skills. Of course, whenever one embarks on any journey towards mastery, it helps to be aware of what all mastery-development processes have in common. Whether it be playing a sport, or cooking, or in our case, Chinese Brush Painting, an effective journey towards mastery can be summarized by the following general steps.Step A: Decide that one will become a master.
Step B: Begin to develop and demonstrate the skills that a master possesses.
Step C: Maintain a positive, joyful attitude even when faced with difficulty or obstacles.
Step D: Create using developed mastery skills.
Step E: Evaluate the output of the creative process, appreciating the things that went well and identifying what you would like to change.
Repeat Steps B-E.
As we get into the more specific process of mastery when it comes to Chinese Brush Painting, it will be helpful to keep this more general process in mind. With that in mind, we will examine the 7 Chinese Brush Painting Mastery Steps:
Step 1: Confidence with the Brush
The evaluation of art is entirely subjective. It is not like sports or mathematics or other hard sciences where objective measurements can be taken to evaluate observations. One thing is universal amongst impactful art: confidence. Even a layperson can immediately sense if art was done confidently. If this sense is present, the artist effectively creates an impact with their art.
The nature of the brushes, technique, ink and paper in Chinese Brush Painting make the confidence of the artist completely transparent. Initially, when working with a brush, building confidence should be the goal. Paint decisively, using your whole body to move the brush. Think of the brush as an extension of your hand which is an extension of your arm which is an extension of your body. Think of the way someone moves when they do yoga, tai chi, or dancing and move your body and your brush in this way.
A tool that I have found invaluable in building my own personal confidence with a brush is a large piece of “magic” paper. Magic Paper is a special grey-blue paper that allows you to paint strokes with water. The strokes show up black and disappear as the water evaporates. This allows you to “paint” on Magic Paper over and over again. Practicing on rice paper is essential for developing moisture control but prior to mastering moisture, one must develop confidence with the brush. The easiest way to build confidence is through repetition. A large piece of magic paper is a wonderful tool to encourage the type of repetition that not only builds confidence but also a sense of freedom and delight while using a brush. Nothing you do on magic paper is permanent, the only thing that lasts after a session of painting on magic paper is the confidence you gain with the brush!
Another important tool in Step 1 is an OAS Practice Roll. Part of gaining confidence with brushes is removing the scarcity of paper. With handmade single sheets of paper, it is easier to get intimidated. With the 50 foot long continuous Practice Roll, you are likely to feel more free. Also, because the Practice Roll accurately simulates the moisture handling of more expensive handmade papers, you will begin to work on Step 2 of the mastery process and discover how Step 1 and 2 are inter-related.
Will you start the journey to Mastery with us? Confidence with the brush awaits all those who embark on this journey! Stay tuned! We plan to discuss the other steps of the Chinese Brush Painting Mastery Steps in future newsletters.
Plum is the Winter Gentleman!
The four basic subjects in Chinese Brush Painting are referred to as the Four Gentlemen. They are: Bamboo, Plum, Orchid and Mum. Focusing on these four subjects can help you develop the fundamental techniques that unlock the most joy during painting. Each of the Four Gentlemen is chosen to represent a season. Plum is the Winter Gentleman!
Formerly China’s national flower, the plum embodies qualities of resilience and perseverance as it can often be seen blooming in the cold of winter. China recently changed its national flower from the Plum to the Peony, rejecting a cultural symbol of resilience through hardship in favor of a symbol of abundance and honor. Regardless of its status as China’s official flower, winter is the season of Plum!
Fundamentals of Chinese Flower Painting: Plum Volume 1
An accessible, relatively short book (80 pages) that provides element-focused instruction for Plum. (Trunk, branches, flowers). Artist/author is the renowned Chow Su-sing.
Ning Yeh takes you through two stunning plum compositions with stroke-by-stroke video instruction. There is also element work on just the Plum blossoms. 2 full hours of instruction!
DV307-08: 2 DVDs $34.95 reg. $50.00
OASLife.com download $14.95
OASLife.com stream on demand $9.99 per month
Spring is Coming...Orchid is the Spring Gentleman!
It’s already characteristically warm here in Orange County so we are seeing signs of Spring! The beautiful grass orchid is the Four Gentlemen’s symbol of Spring. With it’s graceful leaves and delicate petals it is, in many ways, the most simple of the four gentlemen subjects.
Fundamentals of Chinese Flower Painting: Volume 2 - Orchid
63 pages, Chinese/English
One of our more popular books not written by Ning Yeh. The book was out of print for a time but has been reprinted.
Features both spontaneous and fineline style in both color and ink only.
Designed to build a firm understanding of the fundamental methods for rendering the Orchid. Artist Chow Su-sing teaches in a key elements-focused, illustrative manner, detailing traditional painting techniques.
Red Shuen Paper
Perfect for this time of year. Great for calligraphy, ink subjects or even lighter or metallic colors like white, silver or gold. In Chinese culture Red is a symbolic color for good fortune and Joy.
Red Shuen Paper
P04RD: 5 Full Sheets $17.50
5 Full Sheets 27”x54”
Red Banner Paper
The type of paper that is often used to make the red envelopes that are given to loved ones for Chinese New Year. This non-absorbent paper is subtly decorated and great for painting simple compositions to give away for gifts and even making your own DIY envelopes.
Spring Banner Paper
PN01A: 10 Cut Sheets $5
10 Cut Sheets (10 3/8”x 14 1/2”)
Special Brushes for Special Jobs
We are highlighting several of our most indispensable specialty brushes. Once you have your four basic brushes (2 hard, 2 combination), you’ll want to add some or all of these brushes to your collection.
|The BIFF Brush is versatile in its own right but it has one thing it does better than any other brush: painting perfect bamboo trunks is easy with the BIFF Brush!||Mountain Horse Brushes are great for two different purposes. With ample moisture they are dynamic brushes for painting line and blade strokes. As the brushes get drier, they are excellent for textures like rocks for landscapes and branches and trunks.|
|This 4½” Wash Brush is excellent for adding backgrounds to landscape paintings or any composition that would benefit from a wash. This brush is the perfect tool for painting giant bamboo trunks. Also, Ning Yeh has pioneered some exciting single stroke techniques using large wash brushes demonstrated in his Closeup Poppy Lesson.||The Phoenix and Dragon are our two largest brushes that we carry regularly. They are useful for painting large leaves like lotus or iris. The Dragon brush is made of stiffer hairs so it holds a point more effectively, while the Phoenix has softer hairs that produce more volume. Either is great for simple ink demonstrations when the painting strokes should be larger so they can be more easily seen by an audience.|
Spring Workshop May 28th-31st
Fineline with Ling Chi - Crane Thursday 5/28/20: 9:30AM-3:30PM $120
Four days of exciting painting instruction combined with excellent hosting and delicious, healthy home cooked lunches make for a wonderful, artistically expanding experience worth traveling for.
Save the date! Summer Workshop July 9th-12th
Our workshops tend to fill up quickly. Late July is a wonderful time to visit our Orange County location as our close proximity to the beach makes for beautifully mild summer weather.
Spots limited to the first ten enrollees!
Call 800-969-4471 to reserve your spot!