Chinese Painting Techniques
Owing to calligraphy, Chinese painting became a true language. The Chinese wrote with a flexible brush, which comes in many sizes but all have a swelling body and a sharp point. An essential characteristic of handwriting with a flexible brush is the ability of the brush to convey the subtle movements of a writer's hand and to preserve his sense of individuality in the final work. The dextrous use of this brush, along with the writing medium, was employed in painting. This is why it is sometimes difficult to discern a line of demarcation between the art of handwriting and that of painting, for within what appears to be realistic painting there often lies a visual experience of calligraphy. Like its Western counterpart, painting in China underwent a great change when it moved through one era after another, but the intimate relationship, no matter how faintly it was etched during certain period, has never disappeared.
The training starts from copybooks. Over the centuries, copybooks in China have charted practically every stroke that it is possible to make, with every position of the brush. The painters worked either on rice paper or silk; both the surface are generally more absorbent than Western papers. The brush mark on these supports is a direct - once a stroke had been made it is fixed and permanent. This once-and-for-all technique reflects, perhaps more than any other medium, a painter's character and decision.