The Cricket.

If you do not Observe you do not learn! | 12/5/2019

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


"The Cricket."

A lesson I learned by using Chao Shao-an as my 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 created a painting was human.

I struggled years ago to get on paper what my minds eye saw. It wouldn't happen.

The odd solution that accelerated my progress was to tear the paper in half and paint smaller. Work on making the subjects tinier. For some reason this worked almost immediately. 

But trials, many many trials and failures precede success. 

I would advise anyone wishing to take up the Chinese Spontaneous Arts to look first, look again and look again. Find as many examples as you can until you almost expect to see what you haven't yet found and at that point you have familiarity... and from there... you can start to paint knowing what you should see on paper versus what actually appears. 


The Chinese in paintings deem the Cricket and Grasshopper, in fact "insects" to be natures' signature. 


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Intelligence is Priceless.

Mustard Seed Garden Practice. | 12/5/2019

Paintings, research, translations & History by Neil Armstrong (fmip.rcda.)

Intelligence is Priceless. 

This evenings human form Practice - by example.
This evenings cursive Calligraphy practice.


"When you see stupidity all around
You realise intelligence is priceless!"



(Info & History)
Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden (芥子園畫傳, Jieziyuan Huazhuan), sometimes known as Jieziyuan Huapu (芥子園畫譜), is a printed manual of Chinese painting compiled during the early-Qing Dynasty.Many renowned later Chinese painters, like Qi Baishi, began their drawing lessons with the manual.It is an important early example of colour printing.





Beetle Fruit.

Chao Shao-an. | 12/3/2019

Beetle Fruit.

Studying Chao Shao-an I am always fascinated that he painted in such detail beetles of all sorts. Cicadas especially he is perfect at. 

The antenae for one thing are always so stickly in his style but the legs also. Watching the way he almost absentmindedly creates the bracken and scrub undergrowth leaves you in no doubt that he really was the master of spontaneity and if you ever look at his paintings you'll see how you automatically study the point of interest and the rest is incidental mayhem youre aware of, but dont see directly. 

This method of creating an unseen but seen environment is not as easy as it seems. The careful balance between the subject matters' weight on your impression of it and its relevance but unobtrusiveness of its surrounds is a well balanced recipe for make or break. 

I painted this longhorn beetle because he did when he was alive.  He died about a decade ago.   But I always wish I could have had a one to one with him just to listen to how his mind worked. What he thought about. What inspired him to paint a snail in the rain. 

All I can hope is that, perhaps, one day, a long way from today, someone may be inspired to ask me. 

The Monk and The Orange Tree. 

Version 2 of about 5. | 12/3/2019

Paintings, research, translations & History by Neil Armstrong (fmip.rcda.)

The Monk and The Orange Tree. 

Another Monk and Orange Tree that I painted in 2018. Scroll down this Blog to see the origins and confusions of this Painting. 

This follows the lessons to learn in "The Mustard Seed garden." book collection of Chinese methods in learning to paint. And by learning to paint we're referring to Houses, People, plants, Flowers, Trees, People, Rivers, Rocks, Lakes, Mountains and on and on and on. 

Not easy when you also have to concentrate on the consistency of Chinese ink on the ink stone.  But the satisfying issue is that finally you get to create something that is so alien to the western world and so ancient that it gives you goosebumps (do Geese have bumps???) that the sense of satisfaction has no words to explain it. 

Neil Armstrong.

The Tramp and The Toad. 

The Jin Shan. Golden Toad. | 12/3/2019
Paintings, research, translations & History by Neil Armstrong (fmip.rcda.)

The Tramp and The Toad. 


The Jin Chan (Chinese: 金蟾; pinyinjīn chán; literally: 'Golden Toad'), also called Chan Chu (Chinese: 蟾蜍; pinyinchánchú; literally: 'Toad') or "Zhaocai Chan Chu" (Chinese: 招财蟾蜍; pinyinzhāocái chánchú; literally: 'wealth-beckoning toad'), is most commonly translated as "Money Toad" or "Money Frog". It represents a popular Feng Shui charm for prosperity.

This mythical creature is said to appear during the full moon, near houses or businesses that will soon receive good news (most of the time, the nature of this good news is understood to be wealth-related).

The money toad is associated with Liu Haichan, as the sennin's animal companion.

The Jin Chan is usually depicted as a bullfrog with red eyes, flared nostrils and only one hind leg (for a total of three legs), sitting on a pile of traditional Chinese cash, with a coin in its mouth. On its back, it often displays seven diamond spots . According to Feng Shui beliefs, Jin Chan helps attract and protect wealth, and guards against bad luck. Because it symbolizes the flow of money, Feng Shui lore insists that a Jin Chan statue should not be positioned facing the main door ("outward"). It also "should never be kept in the bathroom, bedroom, dining room or kitchen".

Thanks Wikipedia. You save me eons of research. 

The Monk and The Orange tree.

Chinese Spontaneous Painting. | 12/3/2019

The Monk and The Orange tree. 


This is a series of about four paintings all slightly different and all slightly "incorrect" in that they were none of them what I wanted as a finished painting though I could not work out why. 

So I painted another. Slightly different tree, slightly different character.  I couldn't quite get the effect I was after. Again and again. My focus was on the growing side of the tree. Which I covered in oversized flowers.

It was only until, about  a month later that a friend of mine in Texas pointed out that perhaps my subconscious was painting influences of Maxine into the tree's branches and that this had been a subconscious after effect of having studied the structure of the Brains archaeology for so long so intensely.   Maxine, having suffered a brain tumor had a second operation after the first one went wrong and ended up paralysed and numb on her complete right hand side. One sided.   

Each tree ended up dead on one side. But all the paintings all have a hopeful Monk staring at the living flowers and Trees' growth. 


Paintings, research, translations & History by Neil Armstrong (fmip.rcda.)

Du Fu.

江畔独步寻花 Enjoying Flowers Walking Alone on a Riverbank | 12/3/2019
Paintings, research, translations & History by Neil Armstrong (fmip.rcda.)

Jueju   江畔独步寻花 

(Enjoying Flowers Walking Alone on a Riverbank) 
by Du Fu.


Simplified Characters:-


Traditional Characters:-


jiāng pàn dú bù xún huā

huáng shī tǎ qián jiāng shuǐ dōng
chūn guāng lǎn kùn yǐ wéi fēng
táo huā yī cù kāi wú zhǔ
kě ài shēn hóng ài qiǎn hóng

Literal translation:-
Huang abbot pagoda before river water east
Spring bright lazy sleepy rely on light wind
Peach blossom one clump open without owner
Lovely deep red love light red

Embellished translation:-
Before Abbot Huang's pagoda, east of the river water,
Spring is bright and delicate in the gentle breeze.
One clump of peach blossom's opened, no-one to own it,
Is dark or light red more to be loved?

Fan Zeng Hua Ji.

Chinese Art Practice & Calligraphy. | 11/6/2019

Paintings, research, translations & History by Neil Armstrong (fmip.rcda.)
Tonights Chinese Calligraphy Practice. Painting style "Fan Zeng Hua Ji"



Dayun Temple  - Du Fu.


Traditional Characters


Simplified Characters

míng xiá làn fù gé
jì wù qiān gāo yǒu
zhāi sāi bèi jìng huā
piāo yáo wěi chí liǔ

Literal Translation
Bright rosy clouds shining again pavilion
Clear mist lift high window
Lean fill cover path flower
Dance end steps willow

Embellished translation
The rosy dawn again lights the pagoda,
The clearing mist lifts from the higher windows.
Leaning blossoms cover over the path,
Dancing willow leaves reach down to the steps.