Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy

  1. Bodhisattva
  2. Huizong's bird
  3. Horse
  4. Farewell at Yellow Crane Tower
  5. Waterfall
  6. Mountain
  7. Blossom
  8. The Heart Sutra

Chinese brush, ink and paper

As a child, I was surrounded by Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy, especially those in my grandparents' collection and their own work.   Very few were in colour, but the different thickness, wetness, texture of ink brought life through various shades of black and grey, on white or yellow paper.  Scroll after scroll, these pictures filled my mind with fantastical landscape and people, transporting me to a distant land of myth and legends...

Later, having moved to rural Oxfordshire, I kind of forgot those shades of ink and started my own exploration of the arts, starting with sketching following the Western classical tradition.  However, now that I have gone a few years past thirty, I am looking back at my own heritage and have started to bring such roots to the fore, adding a thing or two along the way.

My grandparents are somewhat well-known in China for their calligraphy.  However, my own handwriting was appreciated by a narrow audience, of mostly just me, myself and I.

Three years ago, I started practising Chinese calligraphy.  Made some progress but I am a humble student of the masters.  Among my most admired calligraphers are Emperor Huizong (Zhao Ji) of the Song Dynasty, a hopeless statesman but one of the finest artist the world has ever produced, and Zhao Mengfu, a fallen aristocract of the Song Dynasty who did not achieve much in the Mongol Yuan Dynasty.  Not sure if I am related to any of these two Zhaos - unlikely, given the Song emperors bestowed loyal subjects with the imperial surname of Zhao, along with the many converts to the Zhao surname during other dynasties.

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