Chinese Art Painting

In my cultural class last week, I experienced two things that I have known about but have never really gotten the chance to try.  Earlier in the week, I had the chance to try traditional Chinese painting.  During the Chinese painting class, I discovered that I am more of an abstract artist.  The first bamboo drawing that I made had too many leaves everywhere.  It also had bad placement.  By the end of the class, I realized that in order to improve my Chinese art painting, I have to stop and think about what I wanted to do before actually painting.  While I was painting my first piece, I just painted whatever came to mind.  I have been used to painting or drawing whatever comes to mind first, so having to think before drawing was very different to me.  Now I understand why Chinese painting was something not everyone could master.

The proper way a Chinese bamboo painting should look like.

The proper way a Chinese bamboo painting should look.

My Bamboo Jungle

My abstract bamboo jungle.

From my three hour Chinese painting lesson, I learned that patience is one of the most important things that is needed while trying to paint a proper piece of Chinese art.  Another important thing about knowing how to paint a good piece of Chinese art is to be graceful.  I found painting the leaves very difficult.  In theory, it sounds very simple to paint nice looking leaves: be light when you first put your brush on the paper, then apply a little pressure as you move your brush, then quickly release the pressure once you get the desired length of the leaf and you should have a perfect-looking bamboo leaf.  For me, my leaves looked more like flower petals.  I still have a lot of room to improve my leaf shapes.  From this experience, I learned that something that has simple beauty is more complicated that it may seem.  As our Chinese art instructor was showing us how to paint the picture, I first thought that my picture would look something similar to his with ease.  I later found out while painting that it is definitely not as easy as I originally thought it would be.

I had a second chance to attempt to get the mindset of a Chinese painter correct.  For our second painting, we were allowed to use color, and I found that my painting turned out a little better, although it was still abstract compared to Chinese standards.  I wanted to have fun with the painting, so I chose different colors that would normally not be seen in a typical Chinese bamboo painting.  I had a lot of fun painting it.  As a hobby in the future, I think I will consider taking up Chinese painting.  It is a very relaxing thing to do and challenges your creativity.

Colorful Bamboo

Pink bamboo leaves and blue-green stalks! The Chinese art teacher liked my choice of colors, but said that I still need to learn how to paint leaves properly. My leaves look too much like flower petals still.

Author: Lynn Tay

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