How To: Paint pine, plum and bamboo in the Chinese tradition

Paint pine, plum and bamboo in the Chinese tradition

With this two-part painting lesson, you'll learn how to paint "Three Friends of Winter," a traditional Chinese motif depicting pine, plum and bamboo — three plants admired for their beauty and, in Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, said to be representative of good virtue.

What are the "three friends"? They are bamboo, plum blossoms, and the pine tree. They represent three ideal aspects of the ideal person:

1. Bamboo - this friend represents flexibility. Bamboo grows tall, and can be strong. It's so strong to use as a tool or as a weapon, yet it is also flexible. Healthy bamboo grows straight towards the sky and yet, when even the strongest wind blows, it will not break. In the face of great force, you can yield as necessary and then spring back from a position of strength, without breaking.

2. Plum Blossoms - this friend represents beauty among even harsh circumstances. Plum flowers bloom in the depth of winter. Amid great cold and dreariness that might kill other flowers, the plum blossom opens and shows its beauty. To be like this friend, you should find opportunity even in the most bleak situations, and let your beauty shine forth.

3. Pine Tree - this friend symbolizes survival through difficulty. The pine is green all year round, and does not wither even in the coldest days of winter. It can grow in places with little water and nutrients.

If you keep these friends in mind in both good times and bad, you may find yourself inspired to be flexible in ways you thought you couldn't be -- and perhaps you can blossom and survive in situations where others falter.

Brushes used:
1. Wolf Hair Waterbrush - Branches of Plum with "flying white"
2. Goat and Wolf Combination Brush - Plum Folowers
3. Synthetic and Natural Blend waterbrush - Caylex and Pollens, pine needles

Paper used: Japanese Rice Paper

Pigments Used: Watercolor (White, Red, Green, Brown and Black)

(1) Part 1 of 2 - How to Paint pine, plum and bamboo in the Chinese tradition, (2) Part 2 of 2 - How to Paint pine, plum and bamboo in the Chinese tradition

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