Friday, November 9, 2007
Chinese Leather Brush Painting
The woman who I did these for sent me a personality description for her kids and I used characters that met those traits. Catie is strong and very peace loving, so I used the pandas and bamboo for her. Anything can be done with names!
This is something I've been working on for about a month now. Leather Brush painting comes from Chinese calligraphy. In ancient times people thought it was good luck to have their name painted. They were given at special events and occasions such as birthdays. It evolved into using symbols to make up the letters, each standing for a trait. Bamboo trees signified strength. Phoenixes stood for birth, and swans show gentleness and kindness. Dolphins are a purely American innovation. They didn't appear until the art showed up in the states. I first saw it at Busch Gardens when we went there a couple of months ago. I have a friend who is teaching my oldest son Japanese in exchange for me teaching her daughter art. We were walking along and passed a shop where they had a group of artists doing these paintings. My friend said her daughter wanted to learn how to do them. I went in and took a look around and thought, how hard could it be? lol! That was an understatement! I came home and searched the net to no avail. This must be the best kept secret. I ran across employment listings for the amusement parks looking for artists, but I couldn't find anywhere to learn it or for supplies. Finally, after looking around on WC, I found someone else who had been looking for the same info and someone had posted a couple of links. I got a kit, complete with books showing the technique and let me tell you, it takes some time to get it down. I'm still working on it. There is an event every year in our town called the ArtStock Studio Tour. The artists put out red balloons and maps are given out to people so they can find the studios, and all weekend long the artists work and people come to see them and sometimes buy a piece of work. I was sitting at a friend's coffee shop just playing with my new art form and people kept asking me if I could do their names. I had just gotten the kit 2 days before and I sadly had to tell them I wasn't ready yet. So, I'm not completely there yet, I still have a long way to go in perfecting these skills, but tomorrow I'm going to my friend's coffee shop again (at her suggestion) and we'll see if anyone wants their name painted. It's actually kind of fun. Can be done pretty quickly and with the holidays coming up, I thought they might make fun gifts. lol! Let me know what y'all think about this. I've mostly been doing individual letters, but I've been practicing with my oldest son's name because it's short. I can finally get the letters uniform in height and they don't slant upwards to the right anymore.