Today I’ve been trying to combine various elements just for a change, though I really feel like I could focus on any one piece for a few weeks (years?) to good advantage. My studio is covered with practice pages. What to do with all of these? Wallpaper? Wrapping paper? Kindling?
I watch my teacher do these so effortlessly, and think I have a better idea of how to do them, but when I get home, I just can’t remember – How did she hold the brush? Was it wet of dry? Was it this way or that? Once I practice a little, then I’m ready to go back and say “show me again,” and it will start to sink in.
An important aspect of Chinese brush painting is becoming thoroughly familiar with the subject matter so that you can produce it without looking at another image. You can’t get the free flowing ease necessary if you’re trying to copy anything.
Once in a while I get a leaf that feels right – but most of the time I can see the stiffness and awkwardness that is common as we begin new things.