Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chinese Traditional Brush Painting

...from ''

'This type of painting is sometimes referred to as Sumi-e. It  is a style of painting that is characteristically Asian, and has been practiced for well over a thousand years. Literally ink painting, it is an art form that strives to distill the essence of an object or scene in the fewest possible strokes. A few carefully placed broad strokes that fade off abruptly, a few thin lines and a dot, and a bird is clearly called into being on the paper.
Sumi-e is sometimes confused with calligraphy, because the tools used are the same. Calligraphy is the graceful, artistic representation of written characters, using ink and brush, while sumi-e is painting a scene or object. In the West, sumi-e is often called Chinese Brush Painting, although it has been a major art form in Japan and Korea as well.
To paint with ink requires the use of the Four Treasures. This refers to the must-haves of sumi-e: an ink stone, an ink stick, a brush, and the appropriate kind of paper. The ink stone is a stone with a shallow depression carved into it; it is used to prepare and hold the ink for the painter. The ink stick is a black stick composed of pine soot, bound into a hardened form with resin. It is typically molded in cylinders or rectangles with a lavishly decorated bas relief, such as dragons, on the surface. The reliefs are often painted in gold or other colors, making the utilitarian stick of ink a work of art in itself'.
A master of Sumi - E in Xiamen, SE China, gave us  a wonderful demonstration of his amazing skill. His name is Zhou Xing - he is from the NW province of Gansu and has offered to take us there one day - wow - what an experience that would be!!   


  1. I'm just amazed by this- what he does seems like magic to me- the beauty and economy of line and shade, of dark and light. I would love to see a video of him in the process. thank you for sharing this.

  2. Such exquisite mark-making. You probably had many magic moments like this.

  3. sooo wonderful...few marks???....I always go way to far and can't undo....

  4. N- I agree - though the subject matte is not my taste - the fact that it was created with what appear to be few and random strokes. Great experience for you and Christine. B

  5. Thanks Sharman, Karin, Jo and Barry for your comments. The skill is amazing, but then this man has had 30 years practice doing this sort of drawing. Don't think I could sustain the interest for all those years!!

  6. superbe démonstration.. quel bonheur de voir faire!