May 14, 2012

Sue' View's

Asian Moon
By Sue Hulen

Chinese brush painting is an interesting art form. I've enjoyed this genre of art for close to a decade. I'd always loved the look of the moon behind the bamboo in so many of the bamboo paintings. For those of you who are interested I will explain to you how to make the moon behind the bamboo.

It's so simple you will probably be quite surprised. Rice paper is used in much of the Chinese brush paintings. It's very, very thin and can be difficult to work with. It absorbs water much differently than does watercolor paper. You will need to be very careful not to tear the paper.
First you will need to grind the inks and get them ready to do your background wash. Once the inks are ready and you have the rice paper cut to the desired size you can then turn your rice paper over to the opposite side that you will be painting your bamboo.

Let's say you're working on an 11"x14" piece of rice paper. Place a quarter(or something round that is the same size as a quarter) on the top left corner section of the paper where you would want your moon to be. Apply the color you chose for you background leaving a small section around the quarter so that your inks do not bleed over onto the moon.

Most often different hues of gray are used with touches of light blue for added highlights. Be mindful not to overload your Chinese brushes with too much water. The reason for doing the wash on the back of the painting is so that it will fade the ink a bit and it will give a softer appearance.
It's fun to do. Some artists like to paint their bamboo or whatever their subject is before they apply their wash. I prefer to paint the background first. Once your wash is completed and dried, you can remove the quarter. Now, you can paint your bamboo or whatever it might be that you want to paint with the moon shining in the background.
Get some inexpensive rice paper and try it. I think you'll have fun doing it and you'll like the effects of the inks.

I have many different colors of ink sticks that I use. The stronger the ink color you want the less water you use in your ink. The softer the color you want the more water you will use in that ink color. The different shades of gray are so lovely and easy to make.
Good luck and enjoy doing a project using this technique. Should you try this let me know how it turned out and how you liked doing it. Should you have any questions just let me know. I'd be very happy to help you out.
Sue Hulen

Bamboo and Moon painting by Jane Dwight

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