Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bamboo Painting: The Way of the Lingnan School

At today's arts class, Mrs. Fan, our Arts teacher, imparted a new chinese brush painting technique, one that she has learned recently on her trip to Kentucky, to the class (Mrs. Kim was again unable to attend as she had ferrying duty for her son's participation on an inter-school rowing contest). Just to show that nothing is beyond learning, not even age. After all, humility is a character trait that is seen to be incompatible with advancing age these days. However, a true artist is one who has humility as a core value, in the same breath as the passion to learn.

According to Mrs. Fan, the Lingnan school emphasizes the use of bright colors to better bring out the contrast.

The philosophy of free flow inherent in the School is perhaps better expressed in the following excerpt from here:

The Lingnan School is characterized by being freer than traditional Chinese painting. It allows the artist to infuse his own feelings, interpretation of subject-matter and emotions into the painting. It does not demand a dogmatic approach in terms of technique or style.

Hopefully you would be able to appreciate that subtleness through my maiden efforts at learning the new style.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Foraging, Scanning, Pirouetting, Resting: Motion in Nature

On the eve of the Arts class scheduled for tomorrow, I continued to practice painting of the various life forms in nature, getting inspiration from the following two publications:

1) Chinese Brush: Learn to paint step by step, Lucy Wang (Walter Foster, 2003 ed.)[I bought it using the 50% discount coupon from Michaels some time ago].

2) Chinese painting techniques, Alison Stilwell Cameron (Dover Publications, 1999) [This was on loan from the local public library].

As I have done before, I have added some touches of my own here and there, sometimes combining two drawings from there into one, and sometimes adding a tree for perching.

Humming bird on a beak-centric foraging.

Another hummingbird pondering on the abundance of food to be picked.

A lovers' rendezvous. And there it is, one of my two name stamps, this one featuring my given name. Thanks to Sophia.

Eyes scanning the horizon, winds spreading, ready to soar and pounce on a moment's notice, or visual provocation.

A cicada in a restful state, casually clinging to the breeze-swayed branch.

A pirouetting pair of bees, selecting their targets to partake of the nectar.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stocking up my Arts Supply

Hubby has been busy since early in the week, hence a longer than usual hiatus in between getting my drawings up. I too have taken some time off from the activity, this week being another off week for the Arts class.

I received a call from Mrs. Fan, my arts teacher, informing that she is back in town. So the next class has been planned for the coming Sunday. Meanwhile, my friend, Sophia, has also returned from Taiwan with a load of rice papers (two large packages), chinese brushes, calligraphy book, ink stone/stick, and my own name stamps (yes two, one in my given name, the other, my Dharma name) carved in stone (I think) that I can now proudly display on my drawings. But perhaps next time.

My brother-in-law from Singapore is also in the process of mailing to me a set of Chinese brush painting learning series published in China that cover the Four Gentlemen (Plum blossoms, Orchid, Chrysanthemum, and bamboo) and more (Peony, lotus). He bought them in a Popular Book sale. Here's a cover for one of them.

My friend from China, Viky, told us that the price is the same as the published price in China, which means it is a bargain. Viky is flying back to Guangzhou, China tomorrow and will return three weeks later with another load of my Chinese arts supply.

So enjoy the flower offerings.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Chirping and swimming birds

More birdies are coming your way, drawings that I have pieced together from several bird drawings found in Chinese Painting Techniques by Alison Stillwell Cameron (Dover Publications, Inc, 1999), but suitably altered to add in a slight touch of my own.

Let's start with a simple one: a lone bird perching forlornly on a bare tree branch, the black and white rendering suggestive of morose brooding.

Then there is color.

Then companionship ...

And be merry.

And a lover's gaze.

Nothing seems more fitting than to end the bird show with a pair of duckies, from the air to the water.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Let's hum along, the birdie way

Welcome to the hovercraft of the animal world: the hummingbirds. However, these birds not only hover, they can engage the reverse gear too. Talk about multi-directional travel at the snap of the finger, or whatever that is in bird lingo, these birds are simply amazing. If only my drawings, inspired by my calendar collection, can capture a fraction of their grace in mid-flight ...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Plant species rule!

Since last week, there has been no Arts lessons. Mrs. Fan and her husband have gone to Kentucky to visit her sister. Until her return, I would be honing my drawing skills on my own.

We found another public library further away, at Bearss. It has a nice used book store too and we visited it a second time yesterday. I bought a Baby Panda book full of cute pictures of the baby animal with fun facts. For example, do you know that when a baby panda is born, it is the size of a stick of butter? But in two years, it can grow to the adult size and weighs in at 250 lbs, by eating as much as 80lbs of bamboo in one day. Amazing! And it's an endangered species, meaning its world-wide population numbers at about a thousand. So pandas need all our help in order not to be wiped off the face of this earth.

In time to come, I will translate some of these pcitures into drawings. But for today, the plant species rule.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Revisiting Pandas, Drawing -wise

Today I would like to reprise some of the panda drawings I have done earlier (see here, here, and here), but with some variations. For one thing, this time they appear on blank cards, getting rid of the "wrinkled" appearance. For another, the background is more than just plain white. But I do hope the at once playful and pensive moods portrayed by the pandas remain. Judge for yourself.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The L and the M

The L is for Lotus while the M is for Mudan, alternating and combining purity and exquisiteness.