Wednesday, November 14

Summer 2012: Chinese Brush Painting

My mother is talented.

 Yes.  This talented.

My father Greg bragging to us about my mother Wyona's painting skills.

This summer it was decided that we were all going to sit down and try our hands at Chinese Brush Painting.  Now you may wonder where in the world a caucasian Canadian family would learn the skills of an ancient art form from a country on the other side of the world.  This is a good question.  My mother.  When my father obtained his job as Canadian Trade Commissioner with the Foreign Service we began traveling.  First to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, then on to Manila, Philippines.  While we were abroad we had hired house help which left my stay-at-home mother with some time to pursue other pursuits.  One she chose was Chinese Brush Painting whose art influence obviously extended beyond the borders of China, and at which my mother excelled.  While she was a teacher, and while I taught, she would show her and my students the basics.

Wyona demonstrating the fine art of bamboo painting

One always starts with bamboo and after several months the new learner is allowed to progress to roses.  Since time was limited (the summer was coming to a close), we had a 15 minute bamboo lesson, followed by a 15 minute rose lesson.  We practiced for several hours and some of us faired pretty well, creating almost realistic foliage.

Zach doing very well with bamboo stalks
One of the main pieces of information that Wyona always tells the learner is that this type of painting is single stroke with diluted paint.  You make one stroke, them move on.  You do not go over your work again and again, bad, naughty.  The depth of the painting comes from the variations in hues of the paint through the single strokes, from dark to medium to light colour contrasts.  Two essential art details.

Needed: water, paint, a place to dilute colours

Sabrina showing us the seriousness of art and bamboo

Alicia focusing on her roses
Then there were those of us who may need a few more summers to get to the Chinese painting part, yet enjoyable images were still created.

Chinese-Canadian-American rainbow?

The serious faces of each mini-artist is so perfect

The group is deep concentration with their roses
We did have a great time and learned that you throw away the first 3-45 sketches, even though they may look anywhere from pretty crappy to not too bad.  It is tough to let go of ones art when it has just been completed and a part of ones heart is in it.  Another summer, after more practice, we shall save and frame several pieces.  Only 41 more practices to go.  Until then, we have a semi-professional in our midst guiding our learning and visuals of her work to motivate us.

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