Lychee Fruits on Tree, Pt 1

Lychees (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Lychees (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Farewell Chinese Summer Landscape… today we moved on to flowers in class and began painting a composition of lychees hanging on the tree. This is the first stage, the leaves and branches.

I think the group I paint with have all been taken by surprise a bit today… there are four of us in the Advanced group and we’ve been doing this for a while, but today was a real challenge for all of us!

We’re using the largest of our brushes for the coloured part of the leaves, which is made from very soft goat hair. This means they hold a lot of water/paint which is hard to manage on tissue paper, which is effectively what we’re painting on… they also don’t spring back into shape after a stroke, so you’re forever trying to understand the physical abilities of the brush. In order that the colour in the leaves didn’t just soak in cauliflower shapes across the paper they had to be applied very fast and confidently, one stroke, right first time.

I have three of these already just from today’s class, this is the best… and I suspect I’ll be doing quite a few more before next Monday 😉 .

Summer Landscape, Pt. 2

Summer Landscape (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Summer Landscape (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

As you can see, we had a very productive session this afternoon at Chinese Painting Class. After adding some shading to the rocks we painted last week, and going over all the leaves again to make them bolder, we had the nerve racking task of painting the rocks that are poking through the waterfall… probably the most important and most difficult few strokes of the painting. Too light and they’d be lost, too heavy and they’d seem to be closer than the tree.

I think I got it about right and also showed some nice dry brush marks, however the same can’t be said for the rocks on the right – I didn’t get the shading light enough and now they seem to be the closest thing in the scene. Hopefully they’ll recede a bit when everything else is added and the left hand side is touched up a bit too.

Day 285: Sultan Tit, Pt. 3

Sultan Tit (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Sultan Tit (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Normal life is quickly reasserting itself here, with no time for maudlin, or not very much anyway. I know I should probably be glad of the distraction, but I’ve just spent most of today pouring over database entries and I’m going cross eyed!

Mum and Dad are safely home (we’ve just had a chat on Skype) and so it’s back to work with a new job and Chinese Painting Class today.

I’d like to have more to show you but progress is slow on this one… our teacher is being very cautious and making us sketch and trace each aspect before we begin to paint. So today our two hours involved watching him complete the bamboo and leaves in ink before getting us to draw them on a separate sheet, then ink them, then trace them onto the finished piece with ink. Next week we’ll be adding colour… and we may get to start something new as well, a landscape I believe.

Day 278: Chinese Painting Returns, Hooray!

Techniques for Feathers (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Techniques for Feathers (Chinese Spontaneous Style)

Today was the first day of the new term of Chinese Painting Class, and I’m very excited to be joining the Advanced group for the first time. From now on we’ll be working from a selection of books which are great tutorials – they have explanation in both English and Chinese, though the English can be quite interesting to try and interpret :-). Our teacher will still demonstrate each piece, but the books have tips and exercises to help us too.

Our first piece is going to be a Sultan Tit, but before we dive in Maurice asked us to take note of the first Chapter of the Chinese Songbirds book which gives an overview of the physiology of birds, how best to plan compositions and methods of painting birds. This sheet of practice exercises I painted today demonstrates a dozen different techniques for creating feathers using various amounts of water on the brush, different brush angles and grips, and variations in speed, etc.