Saturday, January 31, 2009

Li Bai's Poem, in Chinese Calligraphy

Poem composition ranks as one of the four absolutes of Chinese artistic achievements in ancient China, and poets, the architects of these legendary literary works, have long enjoyed a special niche in Chinese society. This is true even outside China, for example, Malaysia, where Chinese makes up about one quarter of the population today. While in Middle school, we were exposed to the famous poems of the Tang Dynasty, notably those of Li Bai and Du Fu. The former is known as Poem God, and the latter, Poem Saint.

The more prolific of the two, Li Bai, has more than a thousand poems to his credit. According to Wikipedia, "Li Bai is best known for the extravagant imagination and striking Taoist imagery in his poetry, as well as for his great love for liquor." And here is one such masterpieces of his, which includes several verses that have become popular quotations in their own right, presented in my own Chinese calligraphy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Going Gong Pi Style

In today's buddy painting session, Mrs. Kim ventured into the Gong Pi style of brush painting. And here are the fruits of our labor.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Preface to Prince Teng's Pavilion: Calligraphic Style, Part 5

Part 5 of my practice of Chinese calligraphy using the Kaishu style writing out the text of the Preface to the Pavilion of Prince Teng, an ancient structure overlooking the Ganjiang River, continues apace from where I let off here.

Here is another gorgeous panaromic view of the stately Pavilion rising from the bank of Ganjiang River, under the tapestry of reddish hue from above as if painted by a master artist, taken from here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Art of Drawing Mudan (Peony)'s Leaves

It has said that the leaves complement and enhance the elegance of the flowers while remaining in a subsidiary but necessary role. Therefore, second only to the flowers, drawing the leaves is an art unto itself, requiring exquisite strokes that follow certain patterns to bring out the sinuosity of the veins and the wavy outlines of the edges. Here I have concentrated on practicing drawing the leaves of the Mudan as part of my exercise in learning the Gong Pi style.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Preface to Prince Teng's Pavilion: Calligraphic Style, Part 4

This is the fourth instalment of my continuing effort in writing the Preface to the Prince Teng's Pavillion continuing from here. There is a wealth of information on the Pavilion of Prince Teng, which has been reconstructed as many as 29 times, the most recent being in 1989. During this long and illustrious saga, the Pavillion has witnessed and endured many war ravages through several Chinese dynasties, hence, the recurrent reconstructions. The image to the right is taken from here.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Preface to Prince Teng's Pavilion: Calligraphic Style

This is Part 3 of the calligraphic text, continuing from Part 2. It was first constructed in 653 AD and since then has been through numerous reconstructions. And the Preface, a masterpiece in prose and poetry, has been credited with making the Pavilion of Prince Teng a household name in China down to the present day. A different image than before is shown to the right, taken from here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Invasion of the Red, The Mudan (Peony) Style

Red is bright, red is magnificent, red is alluring. The infusion of red flowers brightens one's day, but the birds, while puny, add to the splendor.

This name stamp of mine, which perhaps departs from the regular shape, is made in Taiwan through Harriet Lin during her last trip home. Apparently, this particular crafter asks for one's character traits to pattern the shape of and characters, the Chinese ones of course, on the stamp.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of wonderment, awe, and serenity

Whether perched on a rising rock outcrop, flanked by extending branches, or roosting on meadow, with drooping flower filaments overhanging, or merely sauntering nonchalantly in the shadow of crimson flourish, the natural partnership between the cheery birds and the debonair plant world, particularly, the splendor of the flower blooms, never fail to elicit a feeling of wonderment, of awe, of serenity from beholders. Hope these hold true for you too.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One-Stroke Flower Painting

After laboring over the Gong Pi style of flower painting, I reverted to the one-stroke style, which consumes less time, is less demanding on my eyes, and affords greater freedom for creativity to flourish, at least from my personal perspective.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Flower Painting, Gong Pi Style, Part 2

It may seem that I have finished the flower painting ahead of the next painting class by coloring in the lines drawn in the last class. But it is not. I drew another one today, a larger one, and proceeded to color in to complete the task. Because of the nature of this particular type of rice paper, the coloring has smeared beyond the lines, even though I had tried my best to keep within the lines.

So there will be a part 3 yet, after the next painting class scheduled for March 1.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Flower Painting, Gong Pi Style, Part 1

We had the monthly painting class today, at our teacher's home. The topic: flower painting, Gong Pi style, i.e., meticulous stroke-by-stroke brush painting. It consists of two parts, the first part being the arduous chore of line tracing of the original, to be followed by filling out with color. In our case, the original is a flower pattern taken from the guide book the cover of which is shown on the right (again I have Vicky to thank for the guidebook). The right panel of images on the cover sums up pictorially the steps to complete a Gong Pi style brush painting.

In my case, I had to sketch out the lines on my own as my failing eyesight (I'm reminded to reschedule my cataract operation asap this year) makes it tough for me to be able to locate the lines of the original placed under the rice paper and trace them out successfully. In a sense, mine is a larger replica of the original, my natural sense of proportionality bailing me out in this instance. The ensuing part, adding color to complete the painting, will be done in the next class.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

And the saga of the painting buddies continues

And the painting buddies live on, completing another merry painting session replete with enthusiastic sharing of a common pursuit in a conducive environment, home.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chinese Calligraphy: The King Teng's Pavilion, Part 2

This is the second part of the Chinese calligraphy first appeared here. This time it is accompanied by another photo of the same Pavilion taken from here, which adds, "The Tengwang Pavilion, located on the bank of the Ganjiang River, west of Nanchang City, is one of the three famous pavilions south of the Yangtze River (the other two are Yueyang Tower in Yueyang and Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan)".

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bamboo basics

As I said previously, we continued with the painting session after the morning session on Chinese calligraphy last Sunday at Brother Yang's house. And the subject: bamboo, churning out bamboo segments by segments.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I look up, and I look down ...

and it's beauty everywhere, the crismon foliage meeting my stare.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thoughtfulness and Diligence Made the Day

Just like our painting class, the Chinese calligraphy class has also grown in size as word of the mind relaxing activity spreads. Seven of us, minus three regulars who were absent for a variety of reasons, were at Brother Yang's house. Earlier he has sourced Chinese calligraphy materials from far and wide for us comprising calligraphy copybooks and writing sheets from his wife back in Taiwan, his children in New Jersey, and also through his own efforts while visiting his childern up north when he went to New York for the procurement mission. And these thoughtful gestures were returned by the diligence of his students as seen from the images below.

We had so much fun that we continued with a take-out lunch from a nearby chinese restaurant and continued with another class after lunch, this time Mrs. Fan switching role with Brother Yang who became the newest student of our painting class. But that would be the subject of another blog.

Brother Yang, our teacher, discussing with another teacher of ours, Mrs. Fan, the painting one, on the finer points of Chinese calligraphy.

And the other students listening attentively.

A shot from the top of me practicing on inkless writing sheets, guided by the copybook placed to the left.

The writing arm perched on the back palm of the other to provide more headroom for the brush stroke to flourish.

Another overhead shot of me now writing on the regular writing sheet.

And this is the finished product.