May 17th demo – Chinese painting with Glynis Wilson

There’s something particularly unique about Chinese Brush Painting. it seems so different from Western art, so intricate, so specialised, so mysterious. And of course, that’s because it is.

So anyone who has (like me) looked at it and thought, mm, I wouldn’t mind having a go at that, just pick myself up one of those do it yourself Chinese brush painting kits and whip up a quick shenshui, maybe should attend a demonstration like this and get a reality check.

Glynis Wilson has spent the last thirty years learning the art of Chinese Brush Painting from traditional Chinese artists in China and that has involved totally immersing herself in the language and culture.

Since 1984 Glynis has spent time in Hongkong and China, learning to speak Mandarin, studying at a Chinese Academy of Art, with personal Chinese guides and artists. She learnt to read and write Mandarin at the University of Birmingham where she joined the Chinese Brush Painting Society and even now spends a month a year back in China to further her art.

It is clear that to become even remotely proficient in Chinese Art requires a dedication that goes over and beyond what most people would expect to experience in other forms of art. Every image, every colour, every mark has a specific meaning which has to be 100% accurate. Because the work is produced on silk or specific paper made from bark, such as mulberry or sandalwood, there is no rubbing out, a mistake means a failure and hours of painstaking work can be destroyed with a simple slip of the pen.

Every image has a symbolic meaning such as representing the seasons, winter/plum blossom, spring/orchid, summer /bamboo and autumn/ chrysanthemum but then it goes deeper as petals represent longevity, health, happiness, prosperity and natural death and so on. The paint, the ink, paper, the brushes and even the colours used are all significant and no part of the work is ever random.

Chinese painting is intrinsically linked to calligraphy and poetry, so the idea of “dabbling” would be anathema if not actually impossible. Even with all the years of study and dedication, Glynis feels she is still learning, referring to her books, the Mustard Seed Garden which depicts every line and mark required to achieve perfection, and her “dictionary” of the 3500 calligraphic marks needed to complete a piece of work with its poem and her various personal seals.

If you are not exhausted yet by the mere description of what goes into this amazing art form go and look at the actual pieces themselves. Glynis will be exhibiting at Bewdley Museum from June 8th – July 7th 2019