-by Rebecca Yue
Publisher: Batsford Books (UK), 176 pages
MY RATING: 5/5
beautifully illustrated comprehensive art course
Imagery of the tranquillity and poetry of nature has remained a compelling source of inspiration for artists throughout the millennia. In particular, Chinese landscape paintings, clearly depict nature as more than a mere facsimile of surroundings. Rather, they are abstract expressions of the heart and mind of the artist — they are images that tell stories, exemplifying the depth and beauty of their surrounding culture.
In Chinese Landscapes Made Easy, author and artist Rebecca Yue’s comprehensive and methodical instruction, not only brings a beautifully painted Chinese landscape easily within reach of a novice artist, but also affords a glimpse into the old world techniques and inspiration behind the art.
Along with clear instructions, requisite materials and equipment are outlined and listed, which include: six basic, yet essential, Chinese brushes; various types and weight of paper to facilitate differing painting methods; ink; and other indispensable accessories. These items coupled with a little time, effort and imagination will help the artist master the basics of creating a beautiful finished painting.
The artist is artfully guided through the steps by systematic instructions, and diagrams, in how to manoeuvre the brushes, angling the brush on the painting surface, along with crucial techniques such as the “press and lift” and “dots and long dots” methods, dry and wet loading, two-color loading, and various brush strokes. The effects achieved by each technique are clearly demonstrated with illustrations and descriptive text.
In the beautifully illustrated “Moods & Seasons” and “Landscape Features” chapters, Yue utilizes her own paintings as a guide to clearly demonstrate how to piece together the elements learned in previous chapters, to produce an inspiring and stunning final painting.
In short, Chinese Landscapes Made Easy encapsulates an entire comprehensive art course, which aids the budding artist through every step of creating beautiful Chinese landscapes, and even facilitates the needs of more intermediate/advanced-level artist, seeking to improve skills in achieving a more true-to-form Chinese technique — an art form, in its own right.
—Reviewed for Batsford Books