Demonstration of Chinese Brush Painting

Jean Turton


Before starting her demonstration, Jean summarised the four key elements of Chinese brush painting; the paper, the ink stick, the ink stone, and the brushes. She passed round many samples of brushes and different paper types for the audience to examine.

Chinese paintings are based on use of the ink stick which is ground on the ink stone to provide a range of tones from dense black to the lightest of grey tones.

Where colour is required, Jean uses Japanese watercolours which come in their own ceramic dish. This makes it easier to fully load the brush with colour.

A view of Jean's painting equipment

Details of the wisteria flowers painted with a brush loaded with graduated colour from white to purple

The leaves were added followed by the stems. The same stem colour was used for the veins on the leaves

A few birds were added to complete the composition

Some peonies were quickly painted using the side of the brush with a graduated fill. Each petal was a single brush stroke

Space forms an important part of Chinese painting, and the position of any caligraphy and the artists personal 'seal' or 'chop' is a key part of the overall composition

This typical painting uses just the ink in varying dilutions

Jean finished her demonstration with this simple sketch of her friend waiting for her return.