Monday, March 10, 2008

About Brushes

That's a great question. Thank you.

A Soft brush is made out of Rabbit or Goat hair, holds a lot of water and can come in many sizes. The disadvantage is that once you complete a stroke with it, the brush has to be re-loaded as it will not keep it's shape.

The primary uses for a Soft brush are:Painting Birds breasts with one stroke.Swirling the brush and allowing it to split to form a Horse's main and tail.Doing the same to create a Goldfish tail.Painting the 'Culm' or stalk of the Bamboo.

A Hard brush such as the Large Orchid Bamboo has great resilence and you can do more than one stroke with a single loading of the brush. For example, you could do four or five Bamboo leaf strokes with one loading. Hard brushes also come in many sizes from a Fine Detail on up and they are made of Wolf or Deer hair.

1 comment:

Ink Dancer said...

I have purchased several brushes from Nan and none have disappointed. I also try to thank the animals that have given so generously to help us develope our art. Perhaps this is why in so many Chinese Brush and Sumi-e paintings, the animals are shown as beautiful, powerful, and so worthy of our love and admiration. I have tried using various watercolor brushes and I do not get the same results. Are there any special tips to consider if one chooses to use synthetic brushes?


There is no avoiding the pull of the internet, the blogs, the YouTube imaginings. It's as if we're all 'On the Road' with Jack Kerouac each in our own world of meanderings. When we tell someone to 'get a life' it might be a bit difficult when you're dragged into other people's 24/7.

I've come to realize two foundational principals, there are no accidents and everyone has a purpose. More and more I'm desiring everyone to come into a full realization of their purpose as we all find our way on this little jewel of a planet.

For me, as a professional 'Western style artist', I stumbled into Chinese Brush Painting after a trip in 1980 to Monet's home/garden. Seeing all of his collection of Japanese woodblock prints was an ahh haa moment for me and when I returned to the States I started painting in the Chinese manner and never looked back. The first year was extremely painful for me as I felt that I should be able to master the technique since I was a 'trained' artist. Not a chance ... that just gets in your way.

Now, after teaching close to 3,000 students and having my book 'The Ch'i of the Brush' published by Watson Guptill, I can say that every one of my students does better their first day than I did my first year! Why? Because I insist that they leave their critical parent outside and just enjoy the journey, respecting the work that they do. I never let anyone throw anything away because that just ingrains frustration and defeat.

We really only begin to learn when we stop and figure out how to 'save' a painting. It works every time.I am so proud of my students, their receptivity and eagerness to express themselves is a continuing blessing for me.So, back to finding your purpose. Perhaps it starts with realizing 'it's not about me'. It so easy to want our needs met and to filter everything thru this attitude. When we realize that we're here to be of benefit to every life that we touch the universe really provides the ways and means.

The best part is that it's really exciting to not have yourself on your mind all the time!I'm re-reading a wonderful book about authenticity and in my next meandering I'll tell you about it. In the meantime I'd love to hear about your journey and am here to answer any and all questions about Chinese Brush Painting.