Last evening at our local art club we were treated to a wonderful presentation on Chinese painting presented by Mina Huang and Manna Huang. Mina provided a power point presentation on the evolution of the characters showing different styles and varieties common during particular dynasties. The characters we see today have been around for 1700 years! Then Manna, who is classically trained, demonstrated the actual painting process. For me, two amazing things stood out: first of all, the economy of stroke-making (every stroke counts...and none will be covered over) and secondly, the ease and care taken to mix the ink/water solution properly and load the brush. It was simply superb! And each of these artists has carried over their talents to accommodate our Western way of painting.
Many years ago, I practiced using the brush this way to form our western alphabet. I can remember putting my young boys into the tub to play, while I sat nearby practicing the push and pull of the brush to and from the paper surface.