The Chinese Brush Painting Handbook – edited by Viv Foster



The Chinese Brush Painting Handbook – edited by Viv Foster



Chinese brush painting is an ideal subject to study. It gives the complete beginner a sense of achievement and the more experienced and serious student endless creative possibilities to explore.

Introduction to the book
The Chinese have had a great influence on the world of art, not least because they invented paper Their stunning creations, both on silk and paper; have fascinated generations of admirers in the West. But today, many of us are either unaware of Chinese painting techniques, or know the basics and want to learn more.

This book aims to enlighten students, whether beginner or more experienced, to the fascinating and stimulating world of Chinese brush painting. It contains all the information you will need in order to start painting in this style, as well as providing beautiful step-by-step projects for all experience levels.

As you begin to discover more about this ancient art form, you will find that the beauty of many Chinese paintings is down to their simplicity; but, in the majority of cases, this simplicity is deceptive, as many of these works contain hidden meanings and symbols.

The distinguished scholars in China’s ancient past made sure that poetry and philosophy, fine calligraphy, and harmony all played important roles in the pictures they handed down to future generations. We have inherited their wonderful gift and can begin to learn how to produce successful pictures of our own, while remaining true to the principles of the past.

Around 2,500 years ago, an artist named Xie He wrote down six general rules by which artists should judge their work. Xie He wrote each principle in just a few characters. The interpretations of these characters have varied widely over the years but here is a flavour of them:
  • First Principle - Rhythmic Vitality A picture should be inspired and have a life of its own. It should have a spiritual element.
  • Second Principle - Anatomical Structure This stresses the importance of the use of the brush in the drawing of the lines of a picture.
  • Third Principle - Depicting the Likeness of the Subject The drawing should be correct according to the nature of the subject.
  • Fourth Principle - Colour and its relevance The colour in a picture should be true to the nature of the subject.
  • Fifth Principle - Composition and the Correct Division of Space When planning a picture, the artist should observe the proper grouping of objects according to their importance within that picture.
  • Sixth Principle - Copying the Masters Paintings should be guided and informed by the work of acknowledged artists of the past.
This book is written with these six principles very much in mind. It teaches you the basics of this unique style of painting and, for more experienced students, provides advanced techniques and explanations. Above all, it aims to open your eyes to the special nature of Chinese brush painting.

It is interesting to note that the Chinese traditionally meditate before commencing a painting. They settle their minds and think of the picture about to be painted. We have no tradition of this in the West but, with many of us living such hectic lives, maybe we could benefit from this considered and harmonious approach to painting.

1st edition 2006, hardback – ring-bound, 224pp, full colour throughout and packed with illustrations, 17 x 23.4 cm

The Chinese Brush Painting Handbook – edited by Viv Foster
£16.99 EUR 20.95