Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Katrina Stephens - Chinese Brush Painting

Chinese Brush Painting is completely different from anything we've seen demonstrated before. Katrina began by telling us a little about its rich history, which dates back many thousands of years, and the two main traditional styles - the meticulous and free brush. The meticulous style uses outline and blended washes  to achieve a realism that tries to express the harmony of nature. The free brush style is simple and spontaneous. The diagramme gives a brief summary of the history and the principles that lie behind this rich tradition.


If the diagramme is too small to read then you can find more information about Chinese Brush Painting on the Chinese Brush Painters Society website and on Wikipedia.

You can see more of Katrina's work on show at Ross Market House. Take a look at the Made in Ross website and at her own website www.maistra.co.uk

One major difference from most western art is that the paintings lack perspective and shadows.

The ink used in the form of a solid stick which has to be ground in an ink stone. A little water is added to the well of the mixing stone before grinding. The intensity of the ink will depend on the amount of water. The intensity of the ink in the brush is tested on a white ceramic tile before making marks on the paper.

The nature of the marks will depend not only on the type of stroke made but also type of paper used. Note how the paper is held down by brass paper weights. The paper is also laid onto felt.




Grass paper is recommended for beginners as it is more forgiving and behaves like a moderately sized paper. Xuan paper is thin, highly absorbent and reacts much more noticeably to the brush and water. Katrina had brought samples of many different papers and demonstrated how some of the main types responded in use.

Bamboo on grass paper


Different control needed for Xuan paper


This demonstrates the use of gouache as a resist
and the way painting on the reverse pushes the image forward

The really scary thing we heard on Tuesday was how paintings are wet mounted. This YouTube video may give you some idea of the process.



An example of Katrina's work


Another example - Notice the Japanes paints to the side


Demonstration painting


Iris demonstration


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