Chinese Art in Europe.

If you enjoy the Chinese Arts, Lingnan, Chao Shao-an or any angle of Traditional Chinese Art then I hope you like what you find here today!
Neil Armstrong. (fmip.fbip.)
Chinese Art in Europe.
by Armstrong


Tonights' Chao Shao-an & Calligraphy practice.

Verse - "Spring Night" by Du Fu.

Literal Translation:
Flowers hide palace wall dusk
Chirp chirp perch bird go
Star overlook 10,000 door move
Moon near nine heavens more
Not rest hear gold key
Because wind feel jade bridle pendant
Tomorrow morning have letter business
Count ask night like what

Embellished Translation:
Flowers in shadow, palace wall at dusk,
Singing bird flies away.
Stars move above ten thousand doors;
The moon's big nearing the nine heavens.
Not sleeping, I hear golden keys?
(Palace Doors being locked shut by the Guards?)
The wind chimes hanging jade pendants.
Tomorrow morning, I have to present a memorial,
Again and again, I ask about the night.

Sunday, February 17, 2019, 11:11 PM
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by Armstrong

Translation:- If you do not Observe you do not learn!


A lesson I learned by using Chao Shao-an as a Master by Example.

Some people look at a painting and think, "I could never do that!" and walk away.

Let me tell you that everybody who ever did a painting was human.

I was struggling years ago and could not find the way to get the work on paper that my minds eye wished to see.

The solution was to tear my paper in half and paint smaller. Work on making the subjects tinier.

For some reason this worked and suddenly my art became something I felt a little proud of.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 11:32 PM
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by Armstrong

Monk under Jasmine Blossom Tree.

Is there such a thing?

Here again I tried to find the real tree  and every time it comes out sidelopped. See two posts below this one for that explanation.

The happier side to these lessons were that I actually liked the way the tree side stepped its blossoms. It was as if the Monk had some kind of value or relevance to the nature of it.

The tree I wandered in and out of the Mustard Seed gardens teachings. I am not a professional I state at the outset just someone who is determined to learn and who enjoys the effort of learning such a diverse education. That education being the education of limb control. training my hand to make the movements that represent the same manner Chao Shao-an used to paint his works.

An understanding of the Lingnan spontaneous style has been the most difficult arena I have entered into.
I would recommend it to anyone eager to try the Chinese Arts. I made all the mistakes the naïve do when they start out. including buying ink stones made of pottery. Ink sticks made of car engine oil and highly highly poisonous. on and on..... lessons quickly learned.

Send me a comment if yo9u have a painting you would like included online somewhere outside f a c e b o o k s soul destroying arena.
Or if you'd like one of your own.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 11:27 PM
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by Armstrong

Mustard Seed garden Lesson.

So we try and try  again.

One thing always to remember is to continue to try.
If the initial work does not fit the eye try again. Compare the two. Watch the initial effort while you paint the next. See what you disliked about the initial effort and do not do it again.

here is another attempt and still before I realised that the right sidedness of the tree was a subconscious affair. See previous post for that explanation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 11:19 PM
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Chinese Paper, Paintings
Progress always... Chao Shao-An.
by Armstrong

Mustard Seed Garden Lesson. 

Sometimes the difficulty is stepping outside the standard lessons line and not overvaluing that precious and very expensive piece of Chinese Xuan paper and saying, OK, let's wander off into something different.

It can be very easy to stay on track and keep to the rules. Today I post a p[ainting which in the end took on four different hues because I tried to find out why the image didn't work. the painting.
the reason it didn't work was that the flowers were very off balance. the reason? That the flowers were always off sided???
My Wife has just has  a brain tumor removed. After wakening from the initial operation and having to go into a second emergency operation she awoke finally paralysed down her right side and initially could not speak.

My painting continually came out one sided. This is absolutely true.

So these next few posts are from that period where I tried to find a solution to the painting only to have it pointed out to me by a friend half way across the world.

Neil Armstrong.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018, 11:17 PM
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Ink Sticks, Chinese Brushes, Chinese Paper, China, Paintings, History
Midsummer 2017.
by Armstrong Raggedy Bird Chao Shao-an painting chinese arts

4th August 2017. It's a beautiful world.
Chinese Art Supliers we trust!

If you're determined enough you will slowly start to see the attitude of the brush resemble Chao's work, or whichever Master you work and learn from by Example. It is a slow road for most and I will never claim I am now or ever will be a Master.

That would be foolhardy.

For one thing I have never been brought up in China, nor have I had the life of a Chinese person.
Nor have I worked, eaten, breathed slept and survived in anywhere Chinese.

So, that massive side of Chinese spirituality will always be missing.
I am western conditioned, regardless of the fact that I hate that branding.

Lucky for us, in the 2000's we can purchase from China the art materials we so badly need from any number of outlets advertising across the world. 

Two that I particularly love and trust enough to spend copious fund swith are and because the quality, material range and speed of service as well as the perfect degree of one to one communicationmakes these suppliers the top of anyones list.... if you're serious about the Chinese Arts.

I, for one, cannot stand to use anything that is strictly not traditionally Chinese. Nor do I enjoy using liquid inks, I more prefer to make that black ink from an ink stick because I know that sticks history and I know the forests it came from and I can see it in my minds eye....... and its what the Chinese have done for so many ages past.  

As with the paper. As old as I can afford it. I prefer that off white look to it. Tatty edges and torn into shape.

It's something that starts to grow on you spiritually as you as you study the art more and more. It is as if the fibres of Chinese something slowly integrate and help you see what should be there, as opposed to what you thought ought to be there instead.

It is a gentle journey, and one I respect in that THIS is CHINESE not Western. I use Chinese stone for the seals, Chinese bamboo for the brushes. It is as if something has suddenly repelled me from the western side of Art.

I do not look too deeply as to why I enjoy it so much. I simply enjoy what feels to flourish as time crawls on. I am me. I am English. But not neccessarily by nature.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 10:00 PM
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by Armstrong

Tonight's Chao Shao-an Practice.

Translation:= The four great things are all void and empty:
sit for a while
and forget about being you or me.
Both sides are highways;
drink a cup
and each go east or west.

This evening I thought I'd post the practice I work upon in the Studio here in Scotland.  After yet another fruitful trip to China I managed to obtain some superb paper which is probably meant for calligraphy but, as the Owner said ion the Art Store, "You use it as you feel."

This painting is a little saddening for me as, because of the origin of the material, I remember the elements that cost me someone I deemed a friend. I think greed got in there somewhere.

I purchased from someone a pair of ink sticks. Nothing unusual there... I had purchased many things from this person and to the tune of over £1000ukp but these two ink sticks were destined to cost me £100 or so with shipping. Upon using them it was apparent that they were at least 80% glue. That being the case they were the sort of "tourist" objects sold to travelling holidaymakers and not Artists. This is common and in the 14 years I have studied this field I have seen it and been victim to it many times.

On this occasion there was no reasoning with the person supplying. These were definitely NOT Huishi Hu Kaiwen ink sticks from the revered Chinese oldest Ink Stick factory.

I videoed the results twice and on each occasion the excuses got wilder and wilder. The ink sticks were supposed to be identical in use to the one I already have; a genuine one that works and makes ink in about 2 minutes. The pair delivered didn't make anything more than very pale grey dishwater.

The person supplying them insisted they were genuine and became offensive and I had to walk the other way I'm afraid. Life's too short to suffer antagonistics.

The books I studied to get this painting were supplied by her hence the disappointment of their memory in use. But we have to move forwards when we are bitten so many times in life.

Chao Shao-an Practice - Walking in Chao Shao-ang's Footsteps.


Translation:= With ten thousand volumes of books,
in perfect quietude one converses
with sages and saints.

Sometimes in the evening I sit and look at a particular painting by Chao Shao-An.

Then I sit and look at the colours and wonder how thin the paint was in some parts of the painting.
Then  I look at the scratches where the bristles have split and scored lines with the main body of the brush head.
Then I look at the range of colours used.
Then I look at the space around the subject
and the complimentary incidental plants or branches included in the composition
and how much quieter they are than the main subject; the point of interest.

Then I choose some paper.
Then I try.

This is a copy of a painting he has done.
Walking in his footsteps.
Then  I will paint this again & again & again.

And when I feel a degree of fluency come through I'll change the bird and change the flora. Such as it is.

For me it's something beautiful to leave the computer behind with Animation and Dragons, Elves and Ogres and sit outside electronica and paint in this ancient fashion which is where the initial drive to paint Chinese came from.

Thursday, April 13, 2017, 10:55 PM
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Ink Stones, Ink Sticks, Chinese Brushes, Chinese Paper, Water Bowls, China, Paintings, History
Chao Shao-an Practice. But what of others?
by Armstrong
"In Situ". Studying hard the practice of Chao Shao-an style Chinese Painting!
But Phones are definitely
not worthy of displaying our Works?

It's been a while since I've felt the need to write something inside this Blog.  Actually, its not a blog, it's more of a standard website from the days of the 1990's in so far as it allows full width formatting and shows the Paintings I work on and from in large detail. Big enough to see without pussyfooting about with fade in galleries and giant arrows on the images. I hate that.

Artists need  S P A C E . Not between the ears either.
The ability for other artists to display their work seems to have been crushed with social media sites. I host with HeartInternet utilising the fastest servers on the planet without limits on space or bandwidth because you need something of a vehicle to display what you're doing in the Arts with impact.

Phones are not browsers.
Too many people are sadly dependant on squinched up little images shown on what basically amounts to a Phone site. How on earth we're supposed to impress a client or potential customer with an image three inches across baffles me and the design of sites that are "phone shaped" and only utilise the middle third of a screen...... and that's acceptable?

Size matters.
The only way to seriously browse the web is through a proper desktop device or large laptop. If you're on a "just passing" crusade with your life and its progress and your study levels mimics this.... then so will your life achievements.
I'm afraid a postage stamp sized representation of your achievements...... kind of self declares by its size, the level of achievement to onlookers.

One Taker brave enough.
I'm happy to say that Darlene Kaplan, an American Chinese Art Enthusiast of some note who is quite achieved in this field in the states has taken up the offer I put out on a social site of having a full scale blog to post her work on.
I get the impression that it is a challenge for her as web technologies are not her hot spot but... she is ready for the challenge and already has several online prescences though sadly... some adhere to the failings stated above. 
One of her sites kind of hung off left on 27% of the screen.   Who the hell designs these things? SEE HERE Darlene's newa nd upcoming Blog....... and bookmark it because it will be worth your attention And, as you'll see, it uses the whole of that brand new monitor your new computer came with. Not just the middle third bit.
Her works are seen across the planet andif, like me, you've been in the field a while and enjoy seeing the work of others because you can now appreciate it, her posts will be worth the time it takes to read them.

Old coding still works, it's just called something ridiculous now.
In 1994 we used "variable parameters" on the pages so that it didn't matter what you viewed the site on it organised itself to fit.  Now they call this "Adaptive" as if its some kind of magic programming that's come about but in truth, its been missing for years because programmers and coders and internet designers have been lame, lazy and basically..... crap.  Spewing out nonsense sites and convincing their clientele that "This is the way forwards!"

Let us pray!
I hope that by the next decade's end we have a system where people are once again looking at high definition internet sites on large viewers because if you went to the movies and were handed a three inch handheld pocket device to watch the movie on while you walked around the refreshment booth, you'd want your money back.

Increasing Numbers to the Chinese Arts in the West.
Pleasingly, there are more and more people taking up the Chinese Arts. Sadly, too many are mixing it with Westernisms and this is a contamination not tolerated by the traditionalists in China.  That's a bit like going out for a Chinese meal and then being asked if you want some Bisto poured all over your rice.
You wouldn't.
So why play this game with something that's historically beautiful. No, I have zero toleration for Western Infiltration of pollutants in this most ancient art to the degree there is nothing western on my Art Table at all. I have never indulged in Western Style Painting. only Chinese. I am lucky in this respect as I have no habitual traits to spoil the progressive walk I demand from it.

Are you an Artist looking for a way to display your works? Bigger than the patronising social sites allow you? You can write to me and we can see what can be done.   

Neil Armstrong. 

Friday, September 9, 2016, 10:39 PM
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