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Making Art

Chinese Brush Painting in Action: Part II

The approach and the theory of Chinese brush painting is both ancient and meticulous, yet it is accessible enough that even a novice can produce a beautiful work of art.

Bird Chinese brush painting far away

Photos by Heather Linder

Ok, I'll be honest. This isn't my painting. But it is the first effort of my incredibly talented aunt to try her hand at Chinese brush painting. I was so impressed at how she could take the instructions and learn from their mechanics while putting her own spin on the finished work.

Lynn started by grinding the ink stick and stone to produce the black pigment for outlining and enhancing. She then mixed the watercolors for her palette and began to work from her pencil sketches. The brushes allowed for great detail and texture in the bird feathers. The result is this beauty that I plan to hang up and proudly display in my house. And art isn't even her day job! We all can aspire to this greatness.

Bird Chinese brush painting

Even though my painting turned out to be more of an abstract work that did not make it to the framing stages, it still scratched my creative itches. It's also a skill I'm excited to work on and see my skills improve. Here's another activity from the book I'm hoping to tackle next.

chinese brush painting project

Image excerpted from the Chinese Brush Painting Kit

Have you thought about trying your hand at Chinese brush painting?

Heather Linder

Heather is a journalist and writer living in Chicago with her composer husband and art-loving puppy, Lancelot. She's on an endless quest for the city's best coffee and is endlessly inspired by Chicago's magnificent skyline. Heather is a bookworm, aspiring chef, and NPR fanatic. She's in the process of teaching her beagle to use a French press and overcoming her fear of DIY.

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