GUEST DOODLEWASH: The Four Treasures

Doodlewash by Susiliany

Hi all, I am Susiliany, a stay home mom from Singapore (follow my blog here – Brushes and Papers). For years, my sister had been bugging me to pick up something meaningful that could fill my days, as my little girl was growing up. So I was very glad that I heeded her advice and picked up Chinese painting years ago.

Doodlewash by SusilianyI grew up in poor family, studying art and becoming an artist was not a good prospect in my parents’ eyes. Hence, becoming an artist has only been a dream since I was young. Chinese painting has captivated me the first time I laid eyes on it. With a few brush strokes, Chinese painting artists are able to create beautiful paintings.

The art supplies used in Chinese painting – brush, paper, ink and ink stone – are known as:

“The Four Treasures”

  1. Brushes: usually made of animals hair such as sheep/goats, rabbits, weasels, horses or mixed of those hair etc.
  2. Paper: Xuan or Rice, which is not necessarily made from rice, it usually made from rice straws and the bark fibre of wing celtis trees or sandal wood, mulberry and bamboo pulp. The paper is not stretched as it would be in the case of Western painting.
  3. Ink stick: good ink is made out of fine pine soot and a small proportion of natural glue. It is compact and dried – there is no air between the soot and the glue; its texture is homogeneous and the surface feels smooth. The ink is made by grinding the stick against an ink stone with some water. You can vary the thickness of the ink by reducing or increasing the amount of water, and the intensity and duration of the grinding process.
  4. Ink stone: The ink stone is usually smooth flat surface stone with small well to catch the ink. Grind only the amount of ink you need. If you leave excess ink out to dry, you’ll have a problem removing it from the ink stone later on.

Doodlewash by SusilianyBlack is considered a colour, and it is up to the skill of the artist to bring out the subtle nuances in the tonality and shades, and create the impression of variances in colour. If colour is used, the intention is not to replicate the subject exactly, but to convey the emotions and mood of the subject. Each brush stroke the artist makes must be perfect as no corrections are allowed. In comparison, corrections and overpainting are normal aspects of Western watercolour painting techniques.

Doodlewash by SusilianyMany start learning Chinese painting with only black and white. As we progress, we use watercolour too. Traditional Chinese watercolours are mineral and vegetable pigments, premixed with some kind of binder, mostly animal glue. They are used in the same way as the Western watercolours by adding some water and after painting it fixes perfectly on the rice paper.

Beginners in Chinese ink painting usually use bamboo as a subject. Because of its simple structure, bamboo is deemed an easy subject to paint: however the fact of the matter is that executing it correctly is much more difficult! Bamboo is also popular as a subject matter because it is one of the “four gentlemen” (subjects that represent the four seasons) that form the basis of all Chinese brush painting styles. The “four gentlemen” are : plum (winter), orchid (spring), bamboo (summer) and chrysanthemum (autumn).

I have been practicing and recording my daily progress for years now. You are welcome to visit my blog and thank you!

Brushes and Papers

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Jessica 7 years ago

    Susiliany your paintings are delight to behold. I love your integration of color. I have an affinity for Chinese painting and try my very armature hand at it every so often. I have a big roll of practice shuen that I mostly use. The Autumn Trees painting on your blog is magical!

  2. Jodi 7 years ago

    Beautiful! Thanks for Sharing Susiliany! I’m a new fan! 🙂

  3. Snehal Kank 7 years ago

    Susiliany wonderful work! Charlie Thanks for shairing with us 🙂

  4. Susan Feniak 7 years ago


  5. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    And I have followed Brushes and Papers! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    Lovely paintings! My dad taught me how to do Chinese paintings but I’ve not kept up. So nice to see Susiliany’s wonderful works!

  7. memadtwo 7 years ago

    Great to learn more about you and your process, Susiliany; I have been admiring your work for a long time! (K)

  8. ann christina 7 years ago

    Thank you for this wonderful portrait, Charlie, and thanks for these beautiful paintings and interestings information about chinese painting, Susiliany! I just followed your blog and I can´t wait to try out the chinese watercolour technique some day! You´re paintings are wonderful!!! 🎨

    • Author

      That’s awesome! You should totally try this technique. You’d be wonderful, Ann! 😃💕

      • ann christina 7 years ago

        I´m afraid it´s quite difficult… I really appreciate your encouragement! Thanks so much, Charlie! 😊❤️

        • Author

          You could do it! If that’s what you wanted. While I love blogging, the best thing about art is just playing around while nobody is looking! And make as many mistakes as you like!! Hehe 😉

  9. Kari 7 years ago

    Beautiful paintings! Thank you for the background info.

  10. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Susiliany, the first thing that came to mind from your beautiful art was serenity. Thank you so much for sharing your paintings. I’m heading over now to your blog. Thank you Charlie.

  11. Delicate and beautiful work, Susiliany, and what a beautiful name as well! Thank you, and Charlie too!

  12. Cathe 7 years ago

    Wow these paintings are so delicate, balanced and beautiful! Very inspirational!

  13. rebecca 7 years ago

    How interesting to learn a bit about Chinese painting… they treat black as black and a western watercolorer would mix their black….beautiful work, glad she kept at it!

  14. Misti 7 years ago

    loved the delicacy of her art

  15. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    Your work is lovely. I’ve tried Chinese brush painting – it’s a lot of fun.

  16. Jennifer McLean 5 years ago

    you do such beautiful and delicate work!

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