Have you ever seen a traditional Chinese painting? I hadn't seen many before I came here, but I'd always admired the style. I really like the grace and simplicity of slender bamboo, majestic landscapes, or exuberant cherry blossoms.
Since my friend A-hsiang is a really talented artist, I've been bugging him for awhile to teach me how to paint this style. On Saturday I went to Hualian for my first impromptu lesson. We took all of the painting stuff like ink, his really expensive brushes, different types of paper, and a piece of felt cloth to place under the paper, to a nearby lake and found a little coffee shop with big tables. We asked them if it would be ok to have our little "class" there. They didn't mind (there weren't a lot of customers) and we bought some drinks.
It wasn't long until the boss marched her 10 year old daughter out to watch us and learn something. Throughout the time he was teaching me, the various friends and family members would come and comment on the technique, or my rate of progress etc. etc. At one point they suggested we should go there every week and i should teach their daughter English in the meantime. Sooo typical.
I learned how to paint bamboo and orchids in the traditional Chinese style. It was really interesting, but a little challenging. I definitely need more practice! By the end of the lesson there was also a small crowd of kids looking in the window beside our table (no glass, it was all open), and whispering to each other about the waiguoren with blue eyes.
Interesting fact I learned: there are four types of plants one should learn to paint if one wants to master the basic skills of Chinese painting: bamboo, plum blossoms, orchids and chrysanthemum **corrected**