вторник, 31 января 2012 г.

Wu Xing main elements: Water

Water in movement is incorporeal, just like the fire movement. Where the metal movement acts as a June antipode to wood, the water movement stands in opposition to the fire movement. Fire is fleeting and elusive, whereas water is infinitely swirling and twisting. It is the longest of all movements. The water movement resembles a vortex that draws one’s attention deep inside.
The water brushstroke is like a burning incense trail. It is best suited for painting twisted trunks of bonsai trees, rose and peony flowers, weeds and water-plants, limbs, shells and bodies of mollusks, and a wood in the background with all its details blurred together.

Water. The water element conveys the effect of ‘atmospheric perspective and diffusion perspective”. This technique is widely used in landscape painting. The foreground is rich in details and fine elements, while in the background the images are blurred and look like blotches and patches of color almost indistinguishable from each other. Paintings that employ this technique often evoke a sensation of diving into some hypnotic depth, which is the opposite of fire that causes outbursts of emotions. In some people “water” paintings stir up fear.
In the following paintings the compositional water technique is used to great effect. Paintings by a contemporary Chinese-Japanese artist Wang Noon are also a good example of the “water” style.

Wu Xing main elements: Metal

Metal in movement is the opposite of wood qualities. Wood is directness, sharpness, pressure, weight, a dash forward, whereas metal is flexibility, refinement, and gradual progress. Both wood and metal have their own rhythms, but that of metal is much smoother. It manifests in gradual lightening of pressure into finer brushstrokes. Metal brushstrokes resemble the movements of a snake.
The metal movement results in an elongated brushstroke. It starts with a dot and ends in a sharp point, like the point of a needle, or the tip of a swishing whip, or the blade of a long sword. This brushstroke is used for painting grass, wild orchid leaves, and various snakes. The metal brushstroke is also a great asset when it comes to depicting river rocks and smooth lake water.

Metal in the composition is connected with the tonal contrast. Metal is something that divides. A stronger and more pure tone breaks the weaker tone into parts. If we apply black color to a white sheet of paper, the blackest color will be extreme yang, while grey shades will direct us to the extreme “white yin” space. It’s as if we travel down the tonal steps from the darkest color to the lightest. Metal provides the painting with depth as well as foreground and background. Pure colors and extreme contrast feature only in the foreground where metal is strong yang. The further away, the less contrast there is – metal weakens in the background and becomes more yin. Metal is easier to render in a monochrome painting, same as wood.
Metal stands in opposition to wood and has the opposite effect. Wood excites, while metal brings calm. “Metal” paintings usually evoke a sense of peace. In some people they can evoke sadness.
A painting by Chinese artist Wang Zi Xiu is a good example of a “metal” painting.

Paintings by Andrey Scherbakov

Painting by Olga Kinyova

понедельник, 30 января 2012 г.

Wu Xing main elements: Earth

Earth provides structure. The earth movement is calm and measured. Earth in movement is the art of applying various kinds of pressure and the right kind of weight.
The earth brushstroke is a simple dot, a spot, a brush applied to paper one time only. This element is best suited for painting rocks, turtles, and various arthropods. Just as pressure is a basic attribute of movement, a dot is a basis of any brushstroke. Earth is the central Wu Xing element, with yin and yang expressed in equal measure.

Earth is related to structure. In fact, earth is the very structure of a painting. Structure is determined by a ratio of its constituent parts. For example, let’s analyze the structure of our day. If it’s a working day, the biggest part of it is taken up with work that overshadows all other activities. The structure of a painting can be assessed by the ratio of its images, or rather by the ratio of its color patches. Yang is the biggest patch of color, and yin is the smallest. All the phenomena of linear perspective that propels us into the distance, towards the horizon, can also be referred to the Earth element. Or it can be the other way round, like in Chinese landscape painting shan shui that often uses a reverse linear perspective.
These are just a few examples of this type of composition in the paintings by Chinese masters.

воскресенье, 29 января 2012 г.

Wu Xing main elements: Fire

The Fire element is the climax of yang. A powerful fire movement can look like an explosion, whereas a gentle fire movement can be like a light breath of wind or a flap of a butterfly’s wing. Fire is quick, fleeting, and elusive. Fire in movement is an ability to quickly shift from one emotional state to another.
A fire brushstroke often looks like a boat or a drop. It is well-suited for painting fishes, birds, leaves, and flower petals − all that is fleeting and transient.

Fire in a painting corresponds with its color scheme that often determines the power of emotional response in the viewer. Colors can be warm or cool. Yang color is extremely warm. It generates warm feelings and joy. Yin color is cool. It gives rise to yin emotions: sadness, melancholy, and fear. The strongest contrast is achieved by opposing the shades of red (the fire color) and blue (the water color). This technique was widely used in making Japanese woodblock prints ukiyo-e.
Painting 1 Painting 2 Painting 3

Andrey's paintings (click to enlarge, the preview shows only a part of the picture) 

Wu Xing main elements: Wood

The Wood element is yang. Wood in movement manifests through directness and swiftness. Outwardly it resembles a fast and powerful blow. The wood movement in its essence conveys the sensation of growing, sprouting, bursting. A successful growth needs rhythm. That’s why a clear and brisk rhythm is an integral feature of this type of movement. When using wood movement, the painter hammers in the nails, so to speak.
The form of a brushstroke created by the wood movement can vary, although most often it is a line that starts and ends with a dot, much like the basic lines of Chinese calligraphy − a horizontal line, a vertical line, and various obliques and curves. Traditionally, this type of brushstroke is used to paint bamboo. But it is just as good for painting various trees and mammals. Sometimes the wood movement can even render the energy of a mountain or a rock.

(all brushstroke patterns come from www.chinart.ru)
Wood denotes a way of directing the viewer’s eye through a painting using a sequence of interacting images. In such a painting, the gaze travels from one image to another in the same way that a brush moves from dot to dot when you paint a bamboo tree. Such movement always leads to a specific subject. So we are free to say that a tree in a painting generates its subject. This subject has to excite the viewer and to grab his attention. If one wants to make the painting quite dynamic or to set it up as an adventure, then the wood composition is a perfect choice. In some people such paintings instigate excitement or even aggression.
In this type of composition yang acts as a starting point in a sequence of images that direct the viewer’s eye, whereas yin completes this sequence of interconnected images. For example, in a painting “Magpies and Hare” by a famous Chinese artist Cui Bai of Song dynasty (see a link below) the hare is yang, and the last in a row of magpies in the right upper corner is yin.
The wood element is fully expressed in monochrome paintings or in monochrome works with one extra color. The abundance of colors can distract one’s attention from the main subject of the painting.
These are paintings with a dominant wood element – To see paintings by Cui Bai of Song dynasty, go to Wikipedia:
Painting 1

Other examples of wood element(click to enlarge, the preview shows only a part of the whole picture):

The application of Wu Xing philosophy to Wu Xing painting

By Andrey Scherbakov, one of the style founders

In an article “A word about Wu Xing Painting” we have already talked about how the five Wu Xing elements relate to the five movements of Wu Xing painting. I’ve tried to give a detailed explanation about the principles of Wu Xing system and their application in this style of painting so that we are quite clear on this point.
When classifying brushstrokes, movements, and composition according to Wu Xing, we should follow our inner guidance and avoid hard judgments shaped by our “thinking heads”. We should always bear in mind that Wu Xing is a five-dimensional integrity where any object invariably has five characteristics. We can try and draw an analogy between these objects and those of our three-dimensional space. In our three-dimensional world each object has three basic parameters (along the three axes of x, y and z): width, depth, and height. No object in nature is devoid of height, it’s just that some objects are higher than others. The five-dimensional Wu Xing is much the same. No movement can be clearly defined as “wood” or “fire” movement. All five components are initially present in any one movement, it’s just that some of them are more pronounced, while others are less obvious.
How the Wu Xing concept manifests in this style of painting is a frequently asked question. In this article we’ll try to answer it as thoroughly as possible.
First of all, we should differentiate between the three important concepts:
1) The form of an image
2) The form of a brushstroke
3) The type of movement
The key to Wu Xing painting method is the movement. If we look up the hieroglyph 五行 (Wu Xing) in a dictionary, we’ll see that its first meaning is ‘movement’. What’s really important for the Wu Xing painter is to capture the unique quality of energy and state of being of any given image or phenomenon using a certain type of brushstroke. For example, a bird is a fast-moving creature and so in most cases it’s better to paint it in fleeting brushstrokes. But first the artist has to match the form of a brushstroke and the form of an image. This is a moment that brings new discoveries as there is a certain connection between the form and energy of a natural object and the energy of the artist who paints it.
As we begin to explore the Wu Xing movements, the first thing to note is that they can be yin or yang. In Wu Xing painting yin movements correspond with softness, gentleness, refinement, gradual change and unhurried action, while yang manifests through speed, swiftness, sharpness, directness and pushiness. As we know from an article about the Wu Xing system, its five elements are borne from yin-yang interaction. The implementation of this principle is most obvious in Wu Xing painting and its movements. In this popular video I demonstrate the five brushstrokes of Wu Xing painting in a compelling visual way.

суббота, 28 января 2012 г.

My recent work

The phrase translates: "You shoud be able to be happy".
First I wanted to paint two cranes, but my son took the pencil and made several lines on the glass, it made me think about a pinetree which finally appeared on the other side of the lamp :)

среда, 25 января 2012 г.

A word about Wu Xing painting

Author of the picture: Olga Kineva

Wu Xing painting is a synthesis of a painting tradition and a philosophical tradition, namely the Chinese Xie-yi painting and the Wu Xing metaphysics of the five elements. Wu Xing painting also reflects the influence of several Wushu and Qigong Schools. It bears a close resemblance to Xing Yi Quan where the five basic movements are also correlated with the five Wu Xing elements. The techniques of Wu Xing painting are primarily used to develop awareness of the bodily tensions that can then be released. That’s why this method is frequently associated with art-therapy, and as such it has a pronounced beneficial effect.
The philosophy and the techniques of this style of painting are derived from Chinese culture, and thus an expression “Chinese Wu Xing painting” has come into regular use.
There are only five types of brushstrokes, five types of movements, and five types of composition in Wu Xing painting, all of which correspond to some specific element: wood, fire, earth, metal, or water.
Wu Xing painting is of metaphysical nature. It allows to create a painting that looks identical to traditional Chinese paintings. In this respect, the difference between Wu Xing painting and Chinese painting is non-existent. And yet, if one compares Wu Xing painting and the Guohua styles as a specific technique, there will be some differences:
• Traditional Guohua painting has several subject themes: mountains and water, birds and branches, grasses and insects, etc. The artist usually stays within these subject matter boundaries. Not so in Wu Xing painting that is not linked to any subject matter. Using five Wu Xing movements, the painter can depict whatever he likes.
• Chinese Guohua painting is traditionally done on rice paper and silk with certain kinds of paint whereas in Wu Xing painting there are no such requirements.
The only really important requirement is a beautiful and harmoniously balanced image that employs the principles of Wu Xing system. All else is secondary, including the materials, the subject matter, etc.