Creating Your Own Brush Painting Class

By Evan Yeh

Ning Yeh offers a demonstration for OAS Workshop Attendees as part of a session focused on landscapes

A phenomenon that we’ve noticed over the years is that most people who study Asian brush painting and calligraphy paint more consistently when they are actively participating in a class. Of course, class participation is just a tool for learning and connecting with other like-minded people. It is best when class participation is also combined with a habit of painting on your own.

Unfortunately, living in a place where there are brush painting classes is not common in everyone’s experience. Those of you who live near good brush painting teachers, appreciate them and diligently support their efforts. For the rest of us, we have to find a way to create the benefits of being in class without having access to an actual class.

The first, and perhaps the most important thing a class provides, is a scheduled commitment to paint. This sounds simple but it so incredibly important. Without this, “life” and its daily challenges can cause you to neglect your painting for weeks, months or even years.

Painting class also provides structured learning content. This amounts to a combination of subject, composition, and technique to be the source material for study. The great news on this front, is that this is available abundantly through OAS in many different formats. We suggest that students start with Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide and its accompanying video series Chinese Brush Painting with Ning Yeh. For students looking for less to “chew on” initially, try DV601 Chinese Brush Painting Basics: Orchid and Bamboo.

Another critical component of being in class is feedback. It’s hard to simulate a skilled instructor looking at what a student is doing and giving them adjustments that continually guide them to their desired goal. However, modern technology is starting to bridge this gap with instructors being able to interact via video chats or calls with students and social media being an ever present source of all kinds of feedback both useful and not so useful.

Finally, the last benefit of being in class that is not often discussed is a sense of community. Let’s face it, human beings are social and often times the sense of belonging and connecting to a human community can be fulfilling and a source of stimulation and encouragement.

These are many of the multitude of benefits of being in class. So we would say that if you have access to a local class, treasure and support it. Traveling to learning opportunities like OAS Workshops are excellent options for an intensive class experience. Finally, for those of you where neither of these are an option, or for those of you who want to be in “class” in a different way, stay tuned as OAS will be holding a virtual Summer Class in just a couple months. If you are interested in participating in this online virtual Summer Class, call or email OAS to put yourself on a notification list!

Prepare For Summer School Or Study On Your Own

Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide by Ning Yeh BK01 $24.50

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189 pages/English

A must-have how-to book for beginners. Acclaimed artist Ning Yeh takes the reader through every aspect of traditional Chinese Brush Painting, from brush technique and color loading to composition. He provides a lively explanation of each subject’s profile and historical significance before moving on to adept instructions for rendering. His friendly conversational style makes learning the ancient art of spontaneous brush-painting truly “a piece of cake”. Subjects include: Orchid, Camellia, Amaryllis, Peony, Panda, Horse, Landscape, seal/signature and wet-mounting. (This book is the companion guide to Ning’s Emmy award winning instructional TV Series Chinese Brush Painting with Ning Yeh)

Chinese Brush Painting With Ning Yeh: 10 DVD Set DV21 $200

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Emmy award winning set includes step-by-step instructionals of every lesson from Ning Yeh’s Instructional Guide. The perfect set for a thorough independent study or resource for your own brush painting class.

Chinese Brush Painting Basics: Orchid & Bamboo DVD DV601 $16.99

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Ning keeps it simple with one versatile Orchid Bamboo brush throughout and ink, and gives the beginners the ability to produce several simple compositions (seven orchids and four bamboo) that usually takes some artists a lifetime to master in his entertaining and easy step-by-step manner.

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