Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chinese calligraphy, more or less

The brushes arrived, and the rice paper, and the book.  So I have no further excuses for not getting on with this.  

I did study some youtube videos to see how to use the inkstick better, and with much greater success than years ago, when I first tried it.

I had way too much water going then, and now I find it's one drop at a time..very calming, actually, and you get a tiny amount of precious ink in the well.  I did the ceremonial Opening of the Brushes, which is all about soaking the tips to remove the gummy stuff they're fixed with, so that the hairs are released to work.

And I tried, with very little success, early days, to use them with the wrist and or elbow movements prescribed.  I did get a decent black color in the ink, but my shapes leave a whole lot to be desired yet.  My hand movements are way too fast for this art form, so I need to watch that.

I think I have an ingrained inhibition against using the very tip of the brush, required in Chinese work, and pretty much banned in Western painting.  You never butt the tip of the brush into the surface in Western style, and it's only this morning I realized how I internalized that as a law of nature, when it's only a way of working.

So, great adventure continues...and you need to keep your spirits up by doing something you can actually do, after an hour of this, hence the little free strokes officially to help clean the brush, actually to play a bit.   Little grasses, often see this stroke in Western watercolor work.

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