Painting Lesson

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**


  1. i am wondering where was this little coffe shop that you went to in hualien?
    i will be in haulien this summer.

  2. Hi Jack,
    Why will you be in Hualian? To study?
    The coffee shop was at a place called Liyu Lake, about 20 minutes out of Hualian City.
    There's another great one overlooking the ocean just past Hualian Ocean Park. I'd say Hualian is a great place to go for beautiful, scenic and quiet spots. :)

  3. Hi Char,

    Well, I will actually be there b/c my parents live there. I grew up in the States...

    Do you have an email where I can contact you? I was interested in knowing how you get around in Hong Kong (thinking about doing the day trip in HK; it seems you are very efficient at it).

    Also, do you know of any church/English summer camps of sorts? I will be in TW for about 2 months and interested in some of Christian summer camps where I can help out.

  4. Hi! You can write to me at
    Will you be in Hualian most of that time?
    I definitely have lots of tips I could give you, and possibly some camp opportunities too!
    Look forward to hearing from you!


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