|Scooped by Debbi Chan|
a day in wordless art
i need to choose a subject and it must be thought out carefully. several reasons for this. for one thing the folding albums are difficult to acquire. handmade in China they command a higher price tag than I am used to for my traditional Chinese painting and take several months to arrive. after I have a few subjects worthy of a 70 foot painting I must narrow them down. I like the genre subjects and the subjects requiring research because for the viewers who might even be children this art can teach without words and so much can be learned from a painting of this kind. in the genre paintings there can be culture, architecture, agriculture, life styles, etc. that make up the inner painting. okay. I pick a subject. now what, research and models. if possible I take my own photographs to use but the historical events or times actually require ten hours a day BEFORE I can put brush to paper. after I have an idea where I am going I begin. I do not sketch out plans for the 70 ft. . I take two or more leaves that I will work on that day and open them in front of me. I do a quick idea for positioning my subjects. you need to know that in this medium of traditional Chinese free style (sumi in Japanese) there can me no mistakes because Chinese ink which I make myself grinding an inkstick on an inkstone, can not be erased or covered up with heavier ink. after two decades of working in this medium I do not fear mistakes but rather to learn from them even if a 70 ft. book is at stake. now I have the subject, the research, the day's idea for those few leaves. what next? I begin. there are no lines put down with a pencil or charcoal as I want spontaneity. but before inking my brush I must look at the previous leaves, if there are any...this album will be, for the viewer, a book without words that tells a story. they will each create their own story. but I must put it together and have it flow connected from one page to the other. now I am ready. I grind my ink. I gather my thoughts. I meditate in quiet for a few moments. then I ink my brush and it touches the rice paper leaf. the painting has begun.. after ten to fifteen hours my day's work is done and before me lay several pages of the album. complete on their own as a work of art but only a small part of the whole painting. join me again for more about wordless art.