East Asia Library hosts online exhibition of Chinese landscape painting

May 24, 2021
Joshua Capitanio
Chinese landscape painting

The East Asia Library is currently hosting an online exhibition of student work from the Stanford Continuing Studies course ART228: The Art of Chinese Landscape Painting, taught by Felix Chan Lim, Ph.D. and Bobbi Makani, Ph.D.

We are pleased to feature the work of ART228 students.  In this course, students focus on learning techniques and methods of Chinese Landscape Brush Painting, one of the most conventional and prominent genres.

Among all the subjects of Chinese brush painting, perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring is the landscape. Chinese landscape artwork captures the artist’s expressions of the heart, mind and soul through their renditions of Chinese scenery. The Chinese term for landscape 山水 (pronounced shān shuǐ), is made up of two characters that mean “mountains and water”. These two characters are closely linked to the philosophy of Daoism, which emphasizes harmony in nature. As an art, it is rife with symbolisms and meanings delivered through the subjects and their composition. In Chinese painting, no sketches are prepared and no models are used. The artists paint with rapid brush strokes, aiming to transfer what they see in their mind directly onto the paper. Each stroke is a defining part of the art. From the first to the last stroke, the artist must “get it right the first time”. Hence, practice is required to master the discipline.

A typical Chinese landscape painting is usually a compendium of different elements. Before the artwork can be completed, the artist has to be able to portray the individual elements with which the painting could be built with. The most comment elements of Chinese landscape painting include: rocks, mountains, trees, houses, bridges, boats and people. Throughout the course, students have learned different techniques and developed skills in using the Chinese brush to paint the landscapes. This student art exhibit is a showcase of the painting techniques students learned in the course.

The exhibition may be viewed on the East Asia Library website.

Featured exhibit artists:

Betty Chow
Flora Babicz
Jim Lawson
Leslie Strong
Lisa Miller-Phillips
Millie Kwong
So Park
Sue Poletti
Xiaoyang Bai
Yvonne Newhouse