Oriental (Chinese) Brush Painting is an art form that has a close relationship to writing. Chinese calligraphy, the art for writing ideographs with a brush, imitates nature’s rhythms and movements. It is regarded by many as the purer, even higher, form of artistic expression than painting.
The common tool for both Oriental writing and painting is a brush made of animal hairs such as goat, rabbit, weasel, wolf, horse or, believe it or not, mouse whiskers, in ascending order of stiffness. The brush, tapering to a point, has been described as “the most sensitive and richly potential instrument for painting ever devised.”
With the brush and the calligraphic strokes, painting evolved into a system where the subject came first and foremost, the artist’s inner feelings second and finally, of least importance, the actual result set down by the artist. For example, a lonely recluse living in the mountains sees and paints not the real mountain, but the mountain of his mind and his experience. This allows a broad basis for painting style, seemingly realistic or completely abstract. It is the quality of the strokes that indicates mastery in the painting.
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