Author Archives: Reluctant Rat

One stroke challenge from The Old Man Crazy To Paint

Towards the end of his life, acclaimed Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) went by the name Gakyo Rojin Manji, meaning Old Man Crazy to Paint.   With challenging health issues (not the least of which was partial paralysis from being … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Brush Painting, continuous line, painting crane, painting figures, painting turtle, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

What is old is new; lessons (circa 1812) of Katsushika Hokusai

I like to keep a watchful eye on numerous online booksellers, paying special attention to their oriental art instruction and collective works. Every so often I am rewarded with books on my favorite topics or containing work of acclaimed artists. … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Brush Painting, Lessons, painting horses | Leave a comment

Building bridges right: consider both ends

For my first year at university I lived on the fifth floor of an all women’s residence overlooking a bend in the Red River.  Every morning I awoke to sunrises over the muddy waters, occasional glimpses of wildlife, and often … Continue reading

Posted in bridges, Chinese Brush Painting, water compositions | Leave a comment

The ripple effect—painting net water

I’ve spent hundreds of hours in the bow of a canoe staring at water. I’ve seen the wind whipping small wavelets flat as it gusts, the afternoon sun glint off gently rippling diamond-shapes, and many ugly greys and greens of … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Brush Painting, water compositions | 1 Comment

Water village necessity—painting sampans

“It is more skillful to paint half a boat than a whole one. A common load on a sampan is the wine that will encourage the composing of poems. This boat would never be shown in rough waters; place it … Continue reading

Posted in boats, Chinese Brush Painting, sampan, water compositions | Leave a comment

The gift (horse) that keeps on giving: a Japanese Ema board

Sometimes when I trip over a legend, myth, or traditional belief from another culture I am totally amazed at the complexity and the “rightness” of the various nuances to the concept. Thus my appreciation of the Ema or Japanese Shinto … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Brush Painting, Ema board, painting horses | 2 Comments

Capture the breeze—painting kapok trees

While studying the body of art by contemporary artist Zhang Shipei I spied a distinctive tree appearing in his village scenes. In most instances the tree was large, spreading limbs almost horizontally near the tops, and frequently sporting red dots. … Continue reading

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Part 2: Under my scope–Zhang’s Treatment of figures and animals

Instinctively I knew there were many aspects to Zhang Shipei’s painting style that I loved. For the sake of greater understanding I set out to assess individual elements and then try to emulate them. I also recognized that his style … Continue reading

Posted in children, Chinese Brush Painting, painting figures, painting water buffalo, people, stylized style | Leave a comment

When you fall in love, deconstruct.

Every so often in my exploration of this ancient art form known as Chinese brush painting or CBP (so called because the brush you use is handmade in China according to traditional ways) I trip over an artist whose work … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Brush Painting, landscape | 2 Comments

Sponge-dabbing for effect

My recent experiments with bubble and mono printing reminded me of the fun effects you can achieve with sponge-printing. I hadn’t done this since childhood and never using my CBP tools.  Sea sponges are best for this as they have … Continue reading

Posted in background painting, Chinese Brush Painting | Leave a comment