13 March 2018

Chinese ink paintings

Exploring Chinese traditional ink painting (国画)

Chinese ink experiments

About the project

In 2017 I began experimenting with traditional Chinese brushes and ink. Initially the goal was to create textures I could integrate into my digital work (see this post for more on my attraction to textures and style development throughout the years).

I found I enjoyed the whole process of making the ink and the feeling of the materials so much that I wanted to learn more about the techniques used in the classic Chinese ink paintings. Around the same time I developed an interest in Taoism, so a study of the scholar painters and their techniques followed naturally.

As a practice I'm currently focused on three classic subjects: landscapes, plants, and animals.

Chinese ink tea mountains

Tea mountains

Painted while talking with a friend, just letting the conversation flow while building up the landscape intuitively. Made with chinese ink diluted in the tea we were having.

Chinese ink bird and flowers

Small bird hiding in flowers

Painted early morning on a visit to my parents. The materials for these types of paintings are surprisingly portable. I tend to use only one size brush per painting.

Chinese ink cat

Cats

Several cat studies, trying to understand which shapes correspond to which brush techniques. The first one is a study of a painting by the painter Liu Jiyou.

Chinese ink cat
Chinese ink cat