Brushing up on culture
Chinese painting courses provide an opportunity to develop artistic talent, learn more about Chinese culture and unwind after a busy week at work
'Life these days is very hectic. To learn Chinese painting is not only a good way to know about the country's culture but also a good reason to slow down and enjoy a moment of quietness,' explains Bonnie Yeung, programme co-ordinator (fine arts) at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
'As the process involves recreating the beauty of nature on paper, it's like the painter is travelling on a spiritual journey in nature.'
With a history dating back thousands of years, Chinese painting was traditionally learned by students as they copied the techniques of masters until their hand movements became instinctive. The process is similar today.
'The learning process takes a lot of time, so students must have a high level of patience, calm and concentration. They also have to recognise that imitation is an essential part of the learning process before they have the skills needed for being creative and developing a personal or innovative style,' Yeung explains.
The School of Continuing and Professional Studies (www.scs.cuhk.edu.hk) offers 11 short courses in Chinese painting at beginner and intermediate levels with instruction in Cantonese.
A good general introductory course, called Chinese ink painting for beginners, costs HK$1,100 and involves eight two-hour classes.
Students are then able to choose from a range of courses that focus on the three main genres of Chinese painting - landscape, bird-and-flower and figure painting.
Beginners courses that focus on the fundamentals of Chinese landscape and bird-and-flower painting cost HK$960 and one on the fundamentals of figure painting is HK$1,120. Each comprises 10 two-hour classes.
Intermediate level courses in landscape and bird-and-flower painting consist of 14 two-hour classes and cost HK$1,420 to HK$1,600.
There are additional courses focusing on specific styles and other subject matter such as animal painting that cost between HK$960 and HK$1,120 for 10 two-hour classes.
All beginners courses introduce materials such as different kinds of rice or mulberry paper, ink, colour pigments and brushes.
Basic techniques, such as drawing different types of line, shapes and forms, and texture rendering and pictorial composition will be taught.
In intermediate courses, students will learn procedures in greater detail and be expected to imitate techniques of the old masters.
Individual presentations are expected and instructors will provide feedback and correction through demonstrations. Students will be able to create large-scale works with more complicated compositions.
The Hong Kong Art School (www.hkas.edu.hk) offers a beginners course that focuses on flower and landscape painting.