Learning an Ancient Art
I first started studying and practicing Chinese brush painting during covid via zoom. It’s a seriously difficult form of art. I moved from being an observer of the practice to respecting and honoring art history. You start off by copying the work of earlier masters, then over time learning a culture new to you and learning its history and foundation. It pleased me. Chinese brush painting is one of the oldest artistic traditions in the world, noted to have been around since 770 BCE. Brush painting and calligraphy are highly valued art forms throughout Chinese history.
Our teacher, Gloria Gee, is an older woman, a Master in her field. She is very patient in order to accommodate the different skill levels and ages. Her hands are quick, strong and deft. When I first started it took me hours to duplicate her strokes and forms. She tries to mention a few phrases in English to accommodate English-only students, but once she starts drawing, she’s draws her figures and objects at a deliberate determined pace. She reviews your work, offers encouragement and reminds you to practice-practice-practice. The 3 images at the top of this article are hers and below is my first attempt and my most recent drawing.