четверг, 29 марта 2012 г.

Study tour in China - eagles

Elena writes in her lifejournal:
"Well, eagles are even more complicate than cranes :))) Their feathers are different you need to work with the brushstrokes and color texture (dry black, light humid, gradients etc.), the form of the eagles's head can vary so much! Each artist has its own vision and technique of painting for this bird.
We started the lesson painting the head from different views. I made pencil sketches. After three trys my varient started resembling the teacher's pattern:   


The interview with Andrey Scherbakov, last part

The Path-walker: Why do you adhere to the Chinese style if you’ve grasped the essence of Wu Xing painting? Why don’t you develop a style of your own? Can a Russian man ever adopt a Chinese perspective?

AS: It’s an interesting question. Actually, when I started painting, the Chinese style didn’t appeal to me that much. You can see it in my early paintings, there’s nothing Chinese about them.
Here are two examples:
Chinese painting, feng shui, Guo Hua painting, Japanese painting, sumi-e painting, wu-xing, Сhinese traditional painting
Chinese painting, feng shui, Guo Hua painting, Japanese painting, sumi-e painting, wu-xing, Сhinese traditional painting
But the more I learned, the more I felt attracted to traditional Chinese painting. It grew on me, and so began to study traditional Guohua painting and traditional calligraphy. It is the Chinese technique that I really wanted to explore in depth. This process is still active, that’s why a lot of my painting are made in the ‘Chinese style’. However, I feel that it is quite personal and there’s enough of ‘me’ in it. After all, traditional Chinese painting is full of conventions that serve to enslave consciousness rather than expand it. Besides, there’s no hiding the fact that I’m not Chinese. I was born in Russia and I’m not particularly ashamed of it. I can’t see the point of trying to be 100 per cent Chinese. I don’t see Wu Xing as an attribute of Chinese mentality. Rather it’s a certain level of viewing the reality.
The Path-walker: Recently there’s been a lot of online debate about the origin of Wu Xing painting that, some say, is not Chinese. What’s all that about?
AS: I can tell you straight away that this issue is of no fundamental importance. My teacher Maxim Parnah thought that if a painting style uses Xie Yi techniques and stems from Chinese philosophy, then it should be called Chinese if only out of reverence for the ancient Chinese culture.
One should also keep in mind that Wu Xing painting can serve as a great foundation for mastering the more authentic Guohua style. Wu Xing painting can easily be viewed as a method of teaching Chinese painting, which has been confirmed by my own experience and that of so many of my pupils.
The Wu Xing painting technique has become very popular for all sorts of reasons. At which point those who called themselves sinologists targeted us with various accusations because we got in their way. There’s been a lot of criticism from all directions. We also stopped to think about it and then approached our Chinese friends who were experts on Guohua style. And this is what they said: yes, of course the works of Wu Xing painting are part of Chinese painting. They make use of calligraphy and feature Chinese subject matter, which is quite sufficient.
Yet many of those who taught Guohua in Moscow behaved as true zealots and tackled this issue in an unbecoming way. Personally, it makes no difference to me whether it’s Chinese or not, that’s why I now don’t put these words together and talk about ‘Chinese painting” and “Wu Xing painting”. But all this is about form whereas what really matters is a point of view.
Other paintings by Andrey Scherbakov can be viewed on the website of School of Chinese Wu Xing Painting.

суббота, 24 марта 2012 г.

Study tour in China

One of our teachers - Elena Kasiyanenko - is in China now. She is taking lessons from one of the Chinese painters Li Ilian and covers her studying process at her russian blog. I decided to share with you some of her trip notes :) With her permission, of course.

One of the days the topic of the lesson was sceneries.
At the beginning of the lesson they trained to picture different types of water. It was a very detailed work: 


Then piece by piece they were painting the main picture. Southern mountains of China. Warm and humid place.
Teacher's work


What impressions does Elena share? First of all, Chinese bursh with its sharp end can even be flat if you know how to turn it. And the width of its flat strokes can differ as well! 
And second, if you want to succeed in Chinese painting, and if you didn't paint from your childhood or didn't undergo special education in this field, you should make scatches with a pencil. You can paint looking at photos or at pictures of ancient Chinese artists and develop a good eye. It will help you a lot when painting detailed complicated objects. 
And when you paint a big picture made of small pieces, you broaden your mind and approach towards life. You learn to gather different pieces of information into the whole. Or otherwise, like Elena's Chinese teacher is painting, see parts in the whole and then go from smaller details to the broader picture. 

среда, 14 марта 2012 г.

The interview with Andrey Scherbakov,cont.

The Path-walker: Do you prefer monochrome painting or a full colour palette?

AS: To be honest, I like variety. As I have already mentioned, the Wu Xing artist doesn’t try to create a unique style of his own. The style, just as any other form, somehow transpires from the outside, in conjunction with other tasks that the artist has to face at any given time. Some of my paintings are monochrome and some are full colour. Recently I’ve been favouring the monochrome palette, but I guess this too will pass.

The Path-walker: What style of Chinese painting appeals to you most? For example, I like mountains and water but have no interest in birds. Are there any conclusions I should be able to draw from this? Especially as, all in all, there are five painting styles.
AS: Well, I’m not sure that one should be jumping to any conclusions. As we know, only amateur psychologists are keen to diagnose everyone. Yes, there are indeed five styles but they are based on a different classification system. Once again, it’s not the form that matters but the way your eye moves throughout the painting. What is really important, is the way it travels from one detail to another, from on subject to another. By the way, I also like landscapes with mountains and fog. My favourite Chinese painters are Ma Yuan and Xia Gui who lived in the Song Dynasty period.

The Path-walker: Is it true that anyone can learn to paint?

AS: Yes, it’s true. Wu Xing painting is a special technique that takes only two months to reach a very good level even if you start from complete scratch. The thing is that contemporary academic techniques, both Chinese and European, are often overburdened with details that at the initial stage are quite unnecessary. If we look at the modern psyche, we’ll see without any doubt that they tend to generate mental complexes instead of setting people free. Wu Xing painting provides the very essence of the painting skills, without any frills. That’s why it’s so easy to learn to paint from scratch using this method.
People often think that you can’t learn to paint without having some very special talent. This is absolute nonsense. Over the last few years I’ve taught Wu Xing painting to more than one thousand people. The statistics show that the only thing you really need if you want to succeed is a clear intention to learn and to spare no effort when it comes to self-improvement. The main obstacles here are laziness and intellectual impotence. They supplement each other and create the vicious circle that ninety per cent of us can’t break: I cannot, I will not, I don’t want to… Men should beware of intellectual impotence more than women as physical impotence is the next step.


The words are not needed, I think! Summer is coming!
Works of Nataly Kotova

четверг, 8 марта 2012 г.

Pictures for inspiration

You may think that main themes in Chinese painting are invented. A piece of paper is mainly empty, only a bird on a branch of a tree is in the corner... Who has ever seen such a picture in the real life?
But Chinese men are very observing and attentive to the nature around. They paint what they really see. Do you need a proof? Here you are:)

воскресенье, 4 марта 2012 г.

Chinese Venice

There is a famous picture «请明上河图» painted during the dynasty Sung, it is called "the celebration of Qing Ming holiday over the city". You can see the enormous number of people on it walking along the old streets, look into the windows of palaces and village houses. You can see the picture scroll here:
When Andrey Scherbakov who loves this picture very much went to China for the first time, he had an impression there were no more places like that in modern China, modern life had killed the features of the country. But it turned out to be untrue. During the trip to China in 2011 the Wu Xing group visited two places which were traditional chinese cities on the water. In one of the cities it was possible to feel oneself a member of the picture mentioned above! As they came there at celebration of the Qing Ming holiday and saw the same number of people as on the picture.
The second place - Wu zhen city - can be named Chinese Venice, it is very romantic. It is excellent for painting traditional chinese architecture, though the city was build in 1998, it looks very ancient.