Best described as a "voiceless poem" or "soundless music," Chinese brush painting uses ink and color to paint direct studies of the natural world on paper or silk. It differs from western painting in having no particular concern about light and shade; instead, it uses special brush-and-ink techniques to combine the clear representation of the subject's structure with an attempt to express its internal spirit.
Chinese painting divides into three main subject areas: landscape, figure, and the painting of flowers and birds, which also includes all types of animal and plant life.
As well as being divided into three areas of subject matter, Chinese art can also be divided into two distinct styles - the Meticulous and the Freehand - which themselves developed from the historical "Academic" and "Literati" traditions.
Of all the plants, the plum blossom, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum have become the basis of Chines art because of their beauty and characters. Chinese art has adopted them as symbols of the great intellectual ideals, and the are known as "The Four Gentleman."
We were in awe at the paintings displayed in the book, The Simple Art of Chinese Brush Painting by Qu Lei Lei.