Chinese Painting and Calligraphy

July 5, 2017 | Guikang

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(Chinese painting and calligraphy exhibitions and live performances @ MAS)

Chinese painting and Chinese calligraphy are two different but related traditional visual art forms: in many Chinese paintings, calligraphy is an integrated part of the work, along with ownership stamp and verse. 

According to Britannica, Chinese calligraphy, the stylized, artistic writing of Chinese characters, is the written form of Chinese that unites the languages spoken in China. For thousands of years, until the 1970s, practicing Chinese calligraphy was mandatory in elementary schools in China, and every student was required to use a brush to practice on a daily basis. Chinese calligraphy also had great influence among its Asian neighbours, including Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Many old generations in these countries were able to read and even write Chinese characters.

According to its website, the Ontario Chinese Artists Association (OCAA) was established in 1979, in order to provide a platform for artists' communication and to promote local and international artistic events. At the present, OCAA has over 400 members.

Here are samples of printing from OCAA members. They use traditional watercolour to paint flowers, trees and landscapes, and some artists have adopted a western-style oil painting technique as well. 
Chinese painting on peony
Chinese painting
Chinese painting of Niagara Falls
traditional Chinese landscape painting

Here are samples of calligraphy, which is always connected to Chinese culture and poetry, and in many cases reflect artists' aspirations or temperament. 

Chinese calligraphy Chinese calligraphy Chinese calligraphy

Here are few books and DVDs you can borrow from the library to help you learn some basic concepts and techniques. 

Chinese Brush Painting, by Pauline Cherrett The Simple Art of Chinese Brush Painting, by Qu Lei Lei

Chinese Calligraphy Made Easy, by Rebecca Yue The Beginner's Gude to Chinese Calligraphy, by Yi Yuan

From early May to early June 2017, Maria A. Shchuka branch hosted an exhibit of 10 items loaned from OCAA; they included Chinese paintings and calligraphy and were displayed in the art gallery area, as well as inside the quiet study room. One item, a roll of calligraphy, was displayed inside the third floor staff lounge area, due to safety concerns.

On June 3, an eleven-artist delegate from OCAA, lead by its Director, Mr. Wu Chuanyu, arrived at Maria A. Shchuka and delivered a marvelous demonstration, with more than 40 customers participating; many of them were seniors, as well as kids accompanied by their parents. These live demos helped customers to better understand these unique art forms, which are deeply rooted in Chinese culture and history. 

  TPL staff Zoe practiced with the brush

TPL staff Zoe practiced with the brush.

Artists demonstrated their skills

Artists demonstrated their skills.

Talented and future artists start from a young age

Talented and future artists start from a young age. 

TPL staff Guikang with part of the artist delegate from OCAA

TPL staff Guikang (second from right) with part of the artist delegate from OCAA. 

Mom wanted to help with her kids

Mom wanted to help with her kids.