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Chinese Painting Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors Hardcover – October, 2000


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: North Light Books; 1st edition (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581800002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581800005
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lian Quan Zhen teaches his special watercolor techniques at U.C. Berkeley and at workshops around the world. Also the author of this season's Chinese Watercolor Techniques: Painting Animals (page xx), Lian lives in Pinole, California. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I would recommend this book to anyone who is serious about Chinese painting and watercolor techniques.
Stephen R. Lucas
He covers the difference between Chinese paints and watercolor paints, painting in ink, and even shows the *correct* way to hold a paint brush!
Andrea Acailawen
The book is clear in its presentation though to do what he does, for me, will I think be like trying to paint the perfect bamboo leaf.
Richard A. Roberts

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 83 people found the following review helpful By hamsterdance on November 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Born and raised in China, the author, Lian Quan Zhen was trained as a physician who later emigrated to the U.S. Now living in California he holds workshops demonstrating his breathtaking approach to Chinese painting. The author's mastery ranges from strict traditional Chinese painting to combining these methods and style with some Western watercolor techniques.
In the process of "oohing" and "ahhing" over this book I learned many fascinating facts about Chinese paintings. For example, the inks/watercolors are made of plants and minerals and use glues as the binder. I also learned that the papers used for Chinese painting require a different stretching and preparation method than I'm used to for Western-style watercolors. The author also covers the differences between Western brushes and Chinese/Japanese brushes.
Mr. Zhen lists and explains the 6 Laws of Painting that were first formulated by Hsieh Ho of the Eastern Tin dynasty (317 - 420 A. D.) Along the way I learned some interesting historical facts on the evolution of painting in China during the different dynasties. The 3 styles of painting are introduced and later discussed. These are: Detail, which is what a beginner first learns. Spontaneous, also known as the Scholar Style, which is learned much later. And finally a mix of the preceding two which the author simply labels Half-Detail/Half-Spontaneous. Composition explained some of the traditional designs used. S-curve, C-curve, balance and weight, etc. Calligraphy and chops (a type of sigil-mark) are as important as the artwork to the final design.
The rest of the book explores in detail both mini-demonstrations and full step-by-step demonstrations of full paintings in Mr. Zhen's style.
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By saint eyebeat on May 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the clearest and easiest to follow beginning art books that I have ever read. The author manages to weave together traditional, modern and improvisational oriental brush art and watercolor in a practical useful guide. Early in the book, the author gives a detailed guide to mounting sumi-e style paintings made on shuan or rice paper. I haven't found a better mounting guide in any other book. The step by step pictures for mounting rice paper paintings is priceless. In the latter half of the book, the author describes his watercolor techniques and tools. I found this section useful. He emphasizes that you don't need hundreds of colors and dozens of brushes. Beautiful results can be realized on a very modest budget. Too often, beginning watercolor artists spend hundreds of dollars before they even paint a single picture. You don't have to and this book vividly demonstrates that. It is a superb teaching tool and I highly recommend it to student and teacher.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Acailawen on September 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The title "Chinese Painting Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors" is, by all accounts, an understatement! Of the countless dozens of art technique books I've read over the years, this one is by far the most captivating, beautiful and unique.
Rarely have I ever been this impressed by a book on any topic, let alone one on art techniques, of which I'm generally rather critical. I'm so used to art books that leave too much information lacking, are unoriginal, show sloppy technique, or simply cannot keep my interest, that this book left me salivating for more! It is truly an exception!
The author, Lian Quan Zhen brings to life an interesting blending of Chinese painting techniques and Western watercolor methods to create a style of painting that is simply, well... exquisite!
The author begins by covering the basic tools and techniques of Chinese painting, from materials and supplies, to mounting of completed paintings. He covers the difference between Chinese paints and watercolor paints, painting in ink, and even shows the *correct* way to hold a paint brush!
Zhen goes on to give one of the best explanations of effective painting composition that I've seen yet. He covers everything from linear perspective and establishing the focal point of your painting (which he refers to as 'establishing priority'), to geometric organization of objects in arcs, circles, triangles, rectangles and s-shapes, and provides clear examples of each.
Next, the author beautifully conveys the three basic styles of Chinese painting, which he identifies as "detail-style" (gongbi), "spontaneous" style, and a blending of the two which he simply calls "half-detail, half-spontaneous," and throughout the book he gives many beautiful examples, and techniques for creating each of them.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery L. Smith on December 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There is currently a lack of quality Chinese painting books in the U.S. book market. This book helps fill that void. The illustrations and step by step instructions are better than some other (more simplified) books available. If you are looking for a single book as an introduction to Chinese painting, I would suggest that you try this one first.
The photographs of the paintings are first rate.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By song sparrow on March 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
It wasn't much help beyond some technicalities of brush work and some reproductions of the artist's work. Okay for a pretty intro. and some history. If your goal is to reproduce someone else's paintings, this book does that; but I want to create my own so Chinese Brush Painting: A Beginner's Guide by Pauline Cherrett, actually gives directions: on how to care for your tools, how to compose your own paintings, how to make your paintings vibrant with energy and spirit, with enough "what not to do's" to be truly a useful beginners guide. I don't understand the 5 star ratings on this book. As to technical brush work; Chinese Calligraphy Made Easy: A Structured Course In Creating Beautiful Brush Lettering by Rebecca Yue; gives wonderful step by step directions for brush work that transfers to painting everything else.
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