All posts by Angela Reich

Five Colours

Wuxing  – “five movements” – is a traditional Chinese view of the natural world that relates the five elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water to the cardinal directions, the symbolic colours – Green, Red Yellow, White and Black – and powerful mythical creatures such as the White Tiger.

A new documentary series Colours of China ,  is structured round these 5 colours. It is available through Amazon Prime.  The short trailer has some lovely images.  Thanks to CBPS Member Colleen for this.

There are some fantastic photos on the NationsOnline website, including China, plus more about the five colours – including their associated sounds!

Yellow is Forbidden is a documentary about luxury clothes designer Guo Pei and her aspirations to join the exclusive club of Paris haute couture.  The catwalk display at the end is definitely not everyday wear!

A glimpse of the rice terraces of Guizhou, and more.

Wu Guangzhong, Garden in Suzhou

A western oil painter paints Chinese mountains, with interesting use of colour.


Wu Guanzhong’s colours – up for auction!


Colour, Culture and Accounts – CBPS AGM 2020!

CBPS AGM and afternoon presentation will be held by Zoom on Saturday 7th November.    Attendance at the AGM is free to members.

On the Sunday morning, there is a Zoom demonstration of CBP live from China!

Saturday 7 November 11am – 12.30pm AGM:
– Welcome by Chair
– Apologies for absence
– Minutes of the 2019 Annual General Meeting and acceptance
– Chair’s Report
– Treasurer’s Report  & Acceptance of accounts
– Newsletter Report and Links to Members
– Acceptance of Officers and Committee – the present committee have all been nominated; no other nominations have been received
– Close of formal meeting
– a few words from our honorary Presidents
– Open Forum, to give Members the opportunity to express their views and ask questions

Saturday 7 November 2pm – 3.30pm:  an illustrated talk on the Art and Traditional Dress of China’s Ethnic Minorities by Madison Plantier.

Delve into a world of vibrant colours and lively performances as we take a close look at the art and traditional dress of some of the ethnic minorities that currently call the China home, to get a deeper and more rounded perspective of certain ethnic groups. We’ll also have the opportunity to watch videos of some traditional folk performances! From the Regong Arts of the Tibetan people right through to the elaborate silver jewellery of the Miao people, join us on this adventure into a lesser-known aspect of Chinese culture.

Sunday 8 November 11am – 12.30pm:
Oxfordshire Chinese Brush Painting Group (OCBPG) is pleased to invite members of CBPS to a Landscape Workshop taught live by Mr Yang Tongling from The China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou.
The China Academy of Fine Arts was founded in Hangzhou in 1928 by the educator Cai Yuanpei and Lin Fengmian.  Lin Fengmian, its first principal, was one of the pioneers of Chinese Modern Art.

Mr Yang is a senior tutor at the Academy, specialising in the teaching of traditional Chinese Landscape Painting.   He not only teaches students via the traditional method of copying the great masters, but also takes his students on expeditions into the Chinese countryside to paint “en plein air”.   He is currently delivering a course in Landscape painting to members of OCBPG as part of a 48 week programme by tutors from The China Academy and visiting artists in their studios across China.   They are all providing their services free in return for OCBPG raising money for NHS Charities Together (during this unprecedented time of Covid 19).  So far, we have raised over £1,000.

Mr Yang is providing this additional Workshop especially for members of CBPS. To recognise the contribution of Mr Yang, we would like to invite you to donate £10 for the Workshop which OCBPG will add to the donation they are making to NHS Charities Together in December 2020.


In Black and White

BBC 4 series The Secret History of Writing includes Chinese characters.
Episode 1 introduces the archaic script of oracle bones.  It also highlighted the similarities in the methods used by ancient Egyptian, Assyrian, Mayan and Chinese scripts to convey both sounds and meaning.  Shots of an oriental calligrapher illustrated the effortless flow of black ink on white paper.


Episode 2 includes oriental paper making, and its gradual transmission to the west.

Episode 3 features water calligraphy in China, and views from contemporary artist Xu Bing, including his Book from the Ground, composed solely of general symbols and signs.
Xu Bing is of course well known for his other explorations of writing : the Book from the Sky – a tour de force of  woodblock printing of unreal characters –  Landscript, and Square Word calligraphy.


“Twenty years ago I made Book from the Sky, a book of illegible Chinese characters that no one could read. Now I have created Book from the Ground, a book that anyone can read.”—Xu Bing

A CBP Weekend

A message from CBPS member teacher Claire.
What a happy weekend we have just had at Knuston Hall ! We were all so grateful to be able to paint together again. There was an understandable frisson of anxiety at the beginning as in any new
situation but that soon evaporated as we settled into a novel routine.
The work produced was outstanding! Unfortunately we couldn’t display it all on the walls but I have uploaded the paintings on to our website Double Happiness Studio.

Eamonn and all his wonderful staff at Knuston have worked so hard with so many agencies to be allowed to open.  Everything was done for our safety and comfort.

I am looking forward to my next course in October!

A Medal for Calligraphy!

William’s calligraphy on the left

CBPS Member Teacher William Cai won a medal for his calligraphy this summer.  He sent his calligraphy to the  37th International Calligraphy Exhibition in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.   A total of 8,000 people participated this time, and 2,000 people were selected, including William.

His calligraphy is the smaller work – a poem by Tang poet Wang Changlin, the 4th of his Seven Songs from the Army, extolling the bravery of patriotic soldiers.

William’s work in the gallery
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

William’s medal and certificate.

Two Chinese Artists

Zhang Daqian is famous for his expert knowledge of Chinese painting history and techniques, and his work is in many museums worldwide, sometimes unexpectedly.     Ten things you should know about him.  Rather oddly, his work includes a silk dress.

A short film of him painting, and a longer one.

Gao Qipei specialised in finger painting.  If you can’t get to the Laoning Museum, but the Ashmolean has this wonderful handscroll.

Handscroll by Gao Qipei, Ashmolean Museum

Art Links

Breathing by Raymond Fung
Contemporary Chinese paintings

Breathing      Pervasion    Song of Dawn    The Cycles

Blue Introspection    Silhouette

ARTificial intelligence!

Silhouette by Huang Guangyu
Insect art

A  modern take on traditional Chinese  snuff bottle painting

Living Jewels – a book of wonderful photos of inseccts

Astonishing close-up photos of insects

Water sculptures – flow made solid

Dripping      Flowing      Sea change


Scholar’s Study Painting

Korean Study Painting, Metropolitan Museum

Scholar’s study painting is a genre of Korean painting, clearly related to Chinese painting.  Met video about the painting above.

The tasteful displays of collector’s objects echoes the Chinese idea of The Hundred Treasures.  In this painting of a Scholar’s studio, we can glimpse the shelf of books – one of the Four Signs of a Scholar.

Zhenshang Studio by Wen Zhengming (1470-1559), Shanghai Museum


Summer Rain

Fu Baoshi (1904-1965) frequently painted rainy landscapes and waterfalls.   He lived through all the changes of the twentieth century, developing his own distinctive style.  The Met  exhibition Chinese Art in an Age of Revolution, featured Fu Baoshi. There is a video lecture of the exhibition and his life, though the images of the paintings are a bit fuzzy.  You can see them better if you scroll down the exhibition site.

He did not only paint water. The Ashmolean has a charming painting of a scholar in his studio.

Henry Li demonstrates Fu Baoshi’s style, and again.