In this Issue:
Year of the Tiger - Chinese New Year
NEW Limited Ning Yeh Art Paperweights
A Time to Release Everything Unwanted
Everything Red and Loud
Plum Blossom - the Symbol of Perseverance
A Story of Dismantling a False Belief
Gong-bi Painting - Tools and Inspiration
Gong-bi Painting - Tips and Tricks
Moisture Control - Tips and Tricks
Year of the Tiger - Chinese New Year
This year is the Year of the Tiger (2022) which makes it an opportune time to whip up those tigers you’ve been wanting to paint!
We want to enable you to paint tigers on your own so that you will have a robust collection by the Chinese New Year. How many of you would agree that time flies? Before you know it, the Chinese New Year will be here, so get started!
Were you born in the Year of the Tiger? If you were born in any of the following years, then your Chinese Zodiac Sign is the Tiger: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, and 2022.
Best Brushes for Animal Paintings
"What brush should I use for animal painting?"
When painting animals, we highly recommend using a larger combination brush (a brush with soft hairs on the outside and stiffer hairs on the inside).
Combination Brushes give you versatility for varied stroke shapes but have enough body to give you a sense of control. Two of our favorite brushes are our Full Lotus Brush and Super Flow Brush.
When painting animals, it is easier to work in a larger scale. Larger animal paintings are more forgiving and allow you to embrace the spontaneity of Chinese Brush Painting!
The OAS Super Flow’s body is a bit longer, making it more nimble.
The Full Lotus Brush has a fuller body, which offers more stability.
Painting Cat & Tiger by Shih Po-yun
Artist Shih Po-yun gives the reader a technical breakdown of how to paint the cat and tiger from skeletal structure to gesture. He offers a multitude of beautifully rendered compositions for the growing artist to emulate, as well as creative ideas for background treatment. Subjects include tigers, cats and kittens.
126 pages, Chinese/English
Vintage Double Xuan (Shuen) AO
Back when we originally released this paper, it possessed this wonderful quality where it would "dither" around the edges, making it perfect for animal paintings where you want to allude to their furry nature.
Chinese Animal Painting: Tiger
For those of you who learn better from watching ten seconds of a demonstration than reading 10 paragraphs from a book, this is for you! Ning Yeh provides clear, step-by-step instructions so that you can confidently complete your own tiger painting!
This set includes two 60-minute DVDs.
NEW Limited Edition - Ning Yeh “The Four Gentlemen” Paperweights
Everyone loves Ning Yeh’s artwork and what better way to showcase his work than in these paperweights?
These elegant paperweights are perfect for keeping your paper flat, adorning your work station or decorating your bookshelf! We’ve been working hard on keeping these paperweights a secret and want our OAS Family to be the first to have these!
These are limited paperweights and will not be restocked once they sell out!
Paperweight Dimensions: 100mm (approximately 4”) diameter
Plum Blossom Ning Yeh Paperweight
Orchid Ning Yeh Paperweight
Bamboo Ning Yeh Paperweight
Chrysanthemum Ning Yeh Paperweight
A Time to Release Everything Unwantedby Evan Yeh
Many of the things that people hold onto have no actual benefit. Things like regret, remorse, guilt, and shame have no useful purpose in one's life. They are really mechanisms of control that people often use to influence other people to behave in certain ways.
Most of these feelings and habits evolve from one simple idea. Once upon a time, someone thought it was a good idea to associate some amount of trauma with an important lesson so that people would remember.
When my father was originally learning painting, his teacher would slap his hand with a ruler when he held his brush in an improper position. This minor trauma was really a tool to say, "Ning, remember to hold your brush properly."
This is a shortcut for a teacher who is unwilling to take the time to explain the logical cause and effect relationships around what they are wanting to teach and allowing their student to make their own decision.
Instead of saying, "when you hold your brush improperly, your strokes are inconsistent and lack energy," slapping someone's hand with a ruler is an immediate and easy way for the teacher to imprint in the student's mind, "remember this important lesson."
Now, this example is relatively harmless, but imagine if the student held on to the trauma of this little hand slap and replayed it in their minds over and over again. What if they remembered how embarrassed they felt when their schoolmates laughed at them. Or they decided to punish themselves over and over again for making this error and causing themselves this humiliation. The replaying of trauma can be so distracting that it can cause someone to forget the original lesson, thus defeating any benefit it may have had.
This is why people like the New Year when we can, in one fell swoop, wipe the slate clean and start over with renewed optimism and the lightness of being that comes with releasing all of our gathered emotional baggage.
What if we adopted this thinking year round? If we realize that life is giving us constant feedback on our efforts to create our own experience and we attentively learn and remember these life lessons, we can methodically become masters of creating the experiences we desire in life.
With this type of awareness, trauma is not needed as a tool for remembering and we can immediately let go of any baggage or avoid it in the first place. This joyful and effortless state of being is available to us all, anytime of the year.
A wonderful way to practice “letting go” is by painting freely on a practice roll. Allow your whole body to move as you feel the energy of the brush against the smooth paper. Don’t hold back.
OAS Large Flow Brush
One of our favorite brushes for this exercise is the Large Flow Brush. We recommend working larger to experience the spontaneity of Chinese Brush Painting!
Grinding your own ink can be therapeutic and meditative. The circular motion as you grind the ink stick against the ink stone helps clear the mind, allowing you to release distracting thoughts and embrace the joy of brush painting.
Ink Stone with Lid
Everything Red and Loud
According to folklore, Nian (which means year) was a beast that lived under the sea or in the mountains and would come out to pillage crops and eat villagers. But the villagers noticed that in spite of Nian’s voracious teeth and appetite, Nian was afraid of loud noises and the color red.
This is why fireworks and red are so heavily integrated into celebrating the Chinese New Year!
Red Banner Paper
Traditionally used to make red lanterns to scare off the creature Nian, this red paper can be used for red envelopes, unique cards, or as a background for your calligraphy! This paper is smooth, making your painting effortless. Make sure you have this key ingredient for your new year paintings!
Red / Red Gold Fleck Xuan (Shuen)
Gold Fleck papers are single-ply shuen in white or dyed in batches of color. The flecks of gold are either hand glued throughout the paper or silk screened offering exciting variety. They are elegant.
Colored Xuan (Shuen) is hand dyed in batches, so color may vary.
An Album of Chinese Brush Painting: 80 Paintings and Ideas
If you’ve been eyeing this album, now is the time to grab a copy! Ning Yeh’s Red Album is packed with the best paintings, stories and inspiration. If you love Ning Yeh’s work and want a collection of 80 paintings in a concise format, this book is perfect!
Fortune and Longevity Lesson
This calligraphy lesson includes stroke-by-stroke instructions for writing these characters. Perfect for wishing everyone a happy and fortuitous new year! Add it to your red envelopes, new year’s cards,Chinese lanterns, or anything else that tickles your fancy!
Navy Colored Xuan (Shuen)
Nothing says loud better than fireworks on our Navy Colored Xuan (Shuen) Paper! Fireworks are an essential part of the Chinese New Year, symbolizing good fortune throughout the coming year.
Visit our YouTube Channel (Oriental Art Supply) to see a video Firework tutorial by Ling Chi Yeh!
Every year, while the cold of winter envelopes the earth, the perseverant plum tree puts forth its first blossom. Each blossom is a reminder that in the harshest conditions it is possible to bloom and thrive.
Fundamentals of Chinese Floral Painting: Plum Blossom V1
This book is designed to build a firm understanding of the fundamental methods for depicting the Plum Blossom. Artist Chow Su-sing teaches in a step-by-step, illustrative manner, detailing traditional painting techniques.
Approximately two-thirds of the book focuses on instruction in both fundamental elements and final compositions in ink only, spontaneous style. The final third of the book focuses on color studies in the spontaneous style.
80 pages, Chinese/English
Snow Scene Lesson
One of the first Gift Lessons we ever published, this “oldie but goodie” landscape lesson is a wonderful guide to landscape painting techniques. It will teach you how to use negative space to create the illusion of snow on the ground. This principal can be applied to your other landscape paintings!
Sakura Poster Color White
This white paint is the best of both worlds! If you mix this white with red it creates a soft pink. (Perfect for plum blossoms!) You can also use this white in its concentrated form, to create the center of your flowers.
Big Twig and Twig Brush
We recommend using the Twig Brush for the branches of your Plum tree and using the Big Twig Brush for the trunk. These brushes allow a consistent amount of pressure in a line stroke with the kind of uniform thickness that good strokes require.
Little Bud Brush
This brush is a bit smaller than our OAS Pre-Flow Brush, making it the perfect size for painting plum buds and blossoms!
A Story of Dismantling a False Beliefby Evan Yeh
In my 20s after graduating college, I was managing and performing in a rock band while at the same time working full time in various white collar office jobs. I've always been good at making first impressions so I was taken under the wing of many of my corporate bosses and given more access to their worlds than most 20-something kids just out of college.
What I saw were people living stressful lives where corporate politicking and backstabbing were as much a part of their jobs as working together to accomplish the company's stated goals. After having met three different older mentors all playing the same game, my arrogant 20 year old mind jumped to a critically inaccurate conclusion. Because I was not willing to do what these people did to have what they had, my mind formulated the broad conclusion "I am not built for wealth and if I have to choose between the life of a starving musician and a corporate pawn broker, I choose to starve."
I held this belief for the better part of a decade and slowly but surely like with all beliefs that are strongly held, my experience began to shape itself around my belief. It took me another 10 years to convince myself that the belief was false.
This is a variation of a false belief that I hear artists of various disciplines parrot. The ones I hear most often goes something like, "You have to starve to be a true artist," or you have to "sell out to make money as an artist."
Neither of these is true, no matter how many times they are parroted. I actually think that the original creator of this belief was an art patron who created it to convince the artist that he was supporting to assume the proper attitude of gratitude for the benevolent support.
The reason why I know it is not true is that I saw my father provide for a family in one of the most expensive places to live in the United States purely as an artist. If he could create that experience for himself then it must be available to anyone.
Evidence to the Contrary Abounds
The younger millennial generation gets a lot of criticism. Much of it is unfair. Yes, they lack the ability that the older gen X and baby boomers possess, which is tolerating a job that you dislike in order to raise and support a family. This younger generation, more so than any previous generation, is providing examples that you can do almost anything that you love and still provide for yourself. We recently saw the first YouTube Billionaire! That is a person who has made $1,000,000,000.00 making videos on YouTube!
This one billionaire is not alone. There are seemingly thousands of examples of people earning six figure incomes making videos about whatever strange thing that they love to do. Some like to film practical jokes, others play the bass guitar. The most popular videos are often not built around talent but personality. Someone just making funny comments about the videos that other people make. Sort of like YouTube's version of the late night talk show host. Some even (gasp), do Chinese Brush Painting!
The Most Important Belief
The subject of this article promises delivery of "the most important belief;" A belief that trumps all other beliefs.
Here it is:
"Each of us has the ability inside us to live exactly the experience we wish to live."
We can create our lives like a beautiful painting and the mechanism by which we do this is quite simple. We focus on things that make us feel good. The better we feel the more we attract situations where we are inspired to act in a way that creates the results that we desire. Our emotions are a reliable guide to indicate if our current focus serves us or impedes us. No other person can create in our experience unless we allow them. We allow them by holding false beliefs that somehow we are not the creator's of our own experience.
A New Year and A New Understanding
There is no better way to start the new year than to release all the beliefs that are holding you back! Allow yourself to soar into an experience of your own creation, adorned with all the beautiful details of your choosing.
Fine Line “Gong-bi” Style of Painting
There are two main styles of Chinese painting that OAS chooses to focus on. The primary is the spontaneous or xie yi style. The other is the fine line or gong-bi style.
The two styles share a common technique in painting line strokes. In fact practicing fine line or gong-bi style of painting is a great way to create more discipline in the line work for Spontaneous style painting.
Gong-bi is also a great style for those with a background in Western style watercolor or who have an affinity for one of the most modernly relevant forms of art: Tattoo art. It shares much more common feelings with these types of art forms than the Spontaneous style of Chinese painting and therefore is often an easier transition for people with backgrounds in these Western styles of painting.
A Collection of Artworks by Zhou Ping-Guang
This beautiful album of collected works shows off the master artist's beautiful gong-bi/fine line style, soft color palette and lavish detail work. With a clear focus on flower and bird subjects, the collection shows paintings themed after the seasons with some of the most classic flower and bird subjects.
128 pages. Text written in Chinese/English
Plum Blossom in Gong-bi Style
A delightful and accessible lesson that even a beginner will be able to complete. The lesson depicts a multiple flower and bud lesson with a dynamic trunk. Simple enough for beginners and gratifyingly elegant for those with experience.
Ling Chi addresses how to achieve lovely color variations in all elements of the flower: bud, flower, pollen dots and so much more!
Fine Line “Gong-bi” Painting Set
You’ve been inspired by the gong-bi paintings and want to paint your own, where do you even start? It can be difficult when you’re first starting out to know where to even begin and overwhelming to sort through all the information. That’s why we’ve created this set that includes all the necessary tools to create your own fine line painting!
Our fine line lessons are detailed, step-by-step, and include an outline of the composition for you to trace. Perfect for beginners!
With such sparse information and instructional material available for gong-bi painting, this set has received many compliments by both beginners as well as masters in the field of brush painting.
Gong-bi Painting - Tips and Tricks
“Noble Companions” from A Collection of Artworks by Zhou Ping-Guang
Tips for Outlining/Line Work
- If you are just starting in the style, it is easy to take an outline draft from a lesson or some other sources, place a piece of fully-sized rice paper over the top and trace the outline for your painting.
- You should not be shy about tracing lessons at first. Do this often enough and your line work will become confident and then you can outline in a more freehand way.
- Vary the width of your line work subtly rather than having it be all the same width.
- Do multiple versions of your line work in the same session as it is a great way to use extra color and time that would otherwise be idle while you wait for each layer of shading to dry before adding the next layer.
Tricks for Shading
- Leave a hairline space in between your outline and your shading.
- Apply shading colors from darkest to light, starting with light ink first and then the next darkest color and so on.
- Apply color in a “U” shape, leave some space in the middle to create more dimension.
- “Pull” the color with a clean dry brush to fade the edges of each shading step so that it transitions seamlessly into the lighter colors.
- Wait sufficient time for each color shading layer to dry before applying the next color.
- Don’t be afraid to shade multiple versions of the same painting at once to use up all your colors and to take advantage of time you are waiting for layers to dry (rather than just waiting idly you can shade another version of the painting while waiting for the first version to dry).
- Target the right moisture level with shading, leaving enough color to effectively pull and fade but not too much so as you create a puddle.
- Use a high quality fully sized paper. OAS recommends Cicada for final compositions and Glass paper for practice.
- Brushes for fine line style painting are relatively inexpensive. Make sure you have enough brushes for shading. It is much easier to have separate brushes for applying darker colors and lighter colors and even separate brushes for pulling darker and light colors. Having as many as four separate Small Fine Soft Brushes will make your shading much less tedious and much more successful.
- OAS recommends Red Feather Brushes for doing the outline work in the gong-bi style. Beginners should start with the Red Feather Small. Once you have more control you could choose a larger Red Feather Brush to be able to show more variation in your line work or to do more line work without reloading the brush.
Cicada “Sized” Xuan (Shuen)
Glass “Sized” Xuan (Shuen)
Red Feather Small Brush
Fine Soft Small Brush
Moisture Control Tricks
Moisture control is one of the skills necessary for successful Chinese Brush Painting. It is one of the most common issues for beginners. Although, in the long term, it is best to build skill and confidence with loading the brush and painting decisively to avoid unwanted bleeding, there can be some tricks that can help reduce frustration for those starting out.
Use a Better or Different Paper
- For those of you who have not tried OAS Paper, our Single Xuan (Shuen) is thicker and more moisture friendly than much of the Single Xuan (Shuen) that is sold elsewhere. The same goes with our Practice Roll. Compared to other machine made rice papers, the OAS Practice Roll is more friendly for beginners in the way that it handles moisture. This is a great paper to start with if you are new to OAS. It’s inexpensive, consistent from batch to batch, and will give both you and OAS a common reference point when talking about papers. Once you’ve tried the Practice Roll we can have a discussion about paper that is more apples to apples rather than apples to oranges.
- If you’ve tried the OAS Practice Roll and feel like you want even more help with moisture control you can try our Premium Jade Plate Double Xuan (Shuen). For the more budget minded try our Vintage Double Xuan (Shuen) AO. Both these papers have good moisture control qualities especially for raw paper. The Premium Jade Plate Double Xuan (Shuen) has both better moisture control and better color display while the Vintage Double Xuan (Shuen) AO is excellent for the price.
- Semi-sized or mulberry paper are even more moisture resistant than thicker raw papers. Try our Pi Paper or Vintage Mulberry Paper and experience how these and papers like them can help control excess moisture.
Other Techniques Tricks and Tips
- After softening or resetting your brush by submerging it in water, stroke it against a folded paper towel until it is dry. Then reload water only one-third of the way up the tip. Thinking of water as the lightest color on your brush. Then load the rest of the colors from lightest to darkest even shallower (closer to the tip).
- Paint more decisive strokes and give yourself more time in-between each stroke. Most painters that I see struggling with moisture would do better to paint each stroke faster and more decisively while pausing longer in between strokes. You can use a very wet brush and still have no moisture issues if the stroke is done decisively enough. Secondly, once you paint the stroke, you should pause and see how the stroke will expand before you do another. Painting strokes too close together can cause excess moisture in each stroke to invade the other compounding your bleeding problems.
- Use glue water to add more moisture control to critical strokes without affecting the rest of the painting. Take a water soluble glue like Liberty Glue and dilute a drop of glue in some water. Then load the glue water on your brush first and then your ink and color.
- If you paint a stroke and suspect it is too wet, you can quickly press a clean paper towel on top of the stroke to soak up the extra moisture.
Vintage Double Xuan AO
Handmade thick single-ply shuen paper that is pulled with an amount of paper pulp just slightly thinner than a double shuen (xuan). It's smooth to work with and provides an easier time with moisture sensitivity than our other single shuen.
Premium Jade Plate Double Xuan
For beginners who have trouble controlling their moisture, we recommend our Premium Double Xuan (Shuen) paper.
Pi Paper Thin
Pi paper's makeup of longer fibers enables artists to use heavier moisture with their brushstrokes almost reacting as if it is slightly sized.