Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chinese Painting

What is a Chinese painting?

A Chinese painting is mainly line art painted with a Chinese brush, ink and colors on rice paper of silk. Often, the painting is in linear perspective. On the painting, there is Chinese calligraphy that inscribes the name of the painting, a poem and the artist's signature, along with a red chop. A chop is similar to a rubber stamp that contains the artist's name or a phrase.

Traditionally, Chinese artists define objects with lines rather than surfaces. They mainly use ink to paint. The idea of simplicity from both Taoism and Buddhism deeply influences artist who consider other pigments a secondary media that serve the purpose of perfecting the ink.

There are three categories of Chinese paintings; figures, landscapes, and floral/bird.

During the Eastern Tsin dynasty (A.D. 317-420), Hsich Ho, an artist and the first art critic in Chinese history, established the Six Laws of Painting. 1)Vitality resonates from a painting that carry lively forces that touch viewers 2)Use bone manner brushstrokes, or brushstrokes that are confident, strong and elastic 3)Capture the forms of nature's objects with the intent to capture its forms and spirits 4) Apply colors according to each object's category 5) Properly place the objects to produce a well-organized composition 6) Transfer masters' techniques

The first law is most significant. It seeks to blend the artist's spirit with the rhythmic vitality of nature. A great painting should not only demonstrate outstanding technique, but should also express harmony and vitality.

In the book Chinese Painting Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors, Lian Quan Zhen borrows the best artistic elements from two different worlds - the traditional painting techniques of the East and the watercolor techniques and perspective theory of the West. He then weds them to create a unique style all his own.

Lian Quan Zhen

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