Inks .brushpainting overview

The Ancient Brush Chinese black ink brushwork dates back over 6,000 years and was developed by monks and scholars to illustrate the written word.

The Paper Medium —Tracie Griffith Tso uses ink on rice paper for her traditional Chinese brush paintings. The images are created from disciplined, practiced strokes with bamboo-handled natural-hair brushes. The black ink has a base of pine soot and the paper is composed of rice stalks or other organic materials. Special pigments are used for coloring.

The Process —All painted images have to be "wet mounted" to flatten the painted paper and set the image. A painting is wet completely with water and adhesive is applied to the back. A piece of mounting paper is adhered on back and the painting is set out to dry. Any slight blurring or bubbles is the result of this traditional mounting practice.

On Pottery —To work on pottery, Griffith Tso trades her ink and water for underglazes, pigments that are brushed on before adding a transparent glossy coat of glaze. Her unpainted forms are made by hand, either thrown on a potter's wheel or made from thin slabs of of clay draped over plaster molds. Decorative etching and edges are finished and the underglazes are painted on before these greenware pieces go through an initial bisque firing. Designs are then coated with clear glaze and the outside is covered with colorful, glassy high-fire glazes. The vessels are fired at over 2,000° in an electric kiln.

Chinese Seals The red stamps called chops are most often the artist's name (left), though they also can can have various auspicious meanings (below).


The seals are made of soapstone and are stamped in red, a lucky color.


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