You cannot get much better than slopping around your inks or watercolour paints with truly traditional, large Chinese paintbrushes. Designed to hold a large belly of water, ink, or other medium type, these paintbrushes are perfect for traditional Sumi-e painting or Modern-day paintings. Traditional large Chinese paintbrushes are not just for Oriental artwork; they are also ideal for abstracts and mark making techniques in large landscapes and seascapes.
Each traditional paintbrush is individual. Made from course hair and semi-precious stones; The handles are weighty and fit comfortably in your hand. It is this harmony of comfort and weight that gives you perfect balance while you work. These paintbrushes are an art piece within themselves. Each paintbrush is handcrafted, every stone and hair has been carefully selected to create a quality paintbrush that needs to live up to all the characteristics and expectations of a grand and noble tradition.
These large traditional Chinese paintbrushes are handmade with hairs of varying lengths. They are bound together in a very special way, not with modern day glues. The unique way they have been made allows them to perform the way they do when loaded with wet media. They really are a thing of beauty and fine craftsmanship when you look at them or hold them in your hand.
Traditional Chinese paintbrush hairs are designed to always go to a point when wet with ink, water, medium or paint. The point of the paintbrush can be dabbed or spotted onto the painting surface to create organic shapes. If you are holding the paintbrush lightly, the tip of the paintbrush can be dragged along the working surface to create thin linear strokes. If broader, larger, stronger brushstrokes need to be achieved, simply adjust your hand pressure while you paint. Chinese paintbrushes are very versatile and will create fine lines all the way up to broad areas of awash with an ease of fluidity. Chinese paintbrushes have been developed over millennia to hold a good amount of wet media in the belly while maintaining a fine point. These paintbrushes are guaranteed to distribute mediums evenly and smoothly whatever your painting technique or style.
When working on a large abstract-style artwork, one traditional large Chinese paintbrush can produce a complete painting. Interesting effects can be made even with a simple monochromatic piece. Sumi ink is a great economical rich black ink to use. You can create varying shades of grey washes and add dynamic intense black strokes into the piece with the use of only one bottle of ink.
If you are working in colour acrylic inks, such as the FW Artists’ inks by Daler Rowney or the Amsterdam acrylic inks, these scintillating lightfast, opaque inks will give you a matte finish. Fluorescent and pearlescent colours are available in these ranges to add a bit of pop to your artwork. Heavy weight 300gsm paper in either a Hot Press (smooth), Cold Press (textured) or Rough (extra textured) is recommended, as it will allow for heavy washes.
A Chinese paintbrush will create stunning translucent effects on Yupo (Japanese synthetic watercolour paper) with alcohol inks such as the brand Pinata by Jacquard or Copic.
Traditional large Chinese paintbrushes are perfect for large scale work. Working on a big canvas with acrylic paints and flow medium? Or working on a large roll of Arches Italian watercolour paper or an Art Materials Australia watercolour canvas? Traditional large Chinese paintbrushes are ideal to work with, you will achieve many great results.
Traditional large Chinese paintbrushes can give you great blooms, expressive gestural marks, fluid strokes, or exquisite washes. For something more experimental, try splitting the head of the brush hairs into groups and painting. This will allow the brush to create multiple mark making points or strokes happening simultaneously with the same movement.
The marks a Chinese paintbrush makes will be completely organic in nature. When using the one paintbrush for a piece of artwork, especially an abstract one, you can create a piece where the brush brings a unifying element to the overall work. Exploring the marks this paintbrush can create is an invigorating adventure because the possibilities are endless.
There is a significant cultural history associated with the Chinese paintbrush. They were used for both writing pictographs and creating beautiful artworks. There are three main beliefs attached to Chinese painting:
- The past is the founding stone of what will happen now and in the future.
- We are only a speck in space and time.
- A good painting will reveal something about your character.
There is a strong emphasis that beginner painters should learn from the past masters.
These three tenets have been the driving force behind Chinese painting since 200 BCE. They used their finely crafted brushes to paint on scrolls of silk and paper. This is called guohua.
Guohua is divided into two techniques:
- Working pen style (Gongbi): A florid and meticulous style with rich colours and minutely detailed brushstrokes.
- Freehand style (Xieyi): looser, freer, bigger and exaggerated forms, often associated with the artist expressing feelings.
As with anything, selecting your paintbrushes really does come down to personal preference. The techniques you use, how the brush feels in your hands and how much you value your art supplies as an asset all determine what type of paintbrush is best for you. The performance and resilience of a traditional large Chinese paintbrush is outstanding. They will naturally spring back to a nice point when cleaned after use. A simple brush cleaner and cold water is recommended. Once washed, you can bring the paintbrush hairs to a point, and allow the brush to dry on a piece of paper towel. If you follow this process it will ensure your Chinese paintbrush’s longevity.
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