About a year ago, my mom and I took our first Oriental Painting class through Ayala Museum’s The Art Room: Art Workshops with Eileen Escueta as our teacher. It was a 4-week long workshop, 4 sessions, 3 hours each with an art exhibit that closed and wrapped up what great summer my mom and I had.
The first day focused on introducing Oriental Painting history and the deep culture it was rooted on. We received the art materials included in the package – ink stick, ink stone, brush, paper and a set of watercolor tubes. Ink can be bought in liquid form but Eileen said she prefers grinding her own ink so she can control the level of thickness by herself. It was actually therapeutic grinding my own ink. It had that musty, woody smell upon grinding the stick!
When I traveled to Hong Kong last July 2014, I bought a huge ink stick and 3 more brushes for me and my mom that hopefully has better quality. Apparently, art material sources are scarce in the Philippines. Most suppliers and art services can be found in Manila if I remember correctly.
Like any other basic class, strokes must start from beginner’s level. Making the strokes below looks easy but it was actually challenging at first. I didn’t realize how hard it was to control everything from the ink, brush and angle until I tried it myself. Eileen made her strokes with much grace that blew me away when I tried.
My bamboo leaves look more like flowers below. They’re too far from the center point according to Eileen. I actually chose the most decent photo below already as I failed so many times. It was a painful start.
See the pile of practice sheets I used up just practicing strokes. Thinking about it now, starting over again may be a painful exercise all over but it’s better late than never!
We had our classes in the lobby of Ayala Museum where we had some spectators. Since I was too focused, I didn’t really notice many of them. I was so intense. I needed to get the bamboo shoots and leaves right. See my practice sheet with much progress below.
I love how technical Oriental Painting is. It’s supposed to be an art form of much simplicity where images are supposed to be made with the least number of strokes. Mistakes cannot be erased. they can only be painted over. Achieving gradients in every stoke means knowing how to load the hair of the brush with the right level of ink thickness. My OC self is satisfied.
I’ll be honest. The bamboo shoots and leaves were supposed to look like the photo below, my teacher’s work.
That wraps up Day 1 where my mom was disappointed about her bamboo leaves that looked like banana leaves.