It’s time for revision and consolidation. The students have all demonstrated their ability to execute varying thickness of brush strokes yet most of them have trouble applying that skill to writing the characters.
Three new students joined the class last week, the fifth session of an eight weeks course; don’t ask me why. MOSAIC tells me they have previous experience yet I discovered that although all of them can read and write Chinese, at least one of them had to be coached from scratch in calligraphy, starting from the priming of a new brush. I am philosophical but I believe some of the other students greeted this new influx with consternation.
The lesson plan for Session Five thus went haywire but hopefully we’ll be back on track on Tuesday: the revision of all strokes in the project Peace 和平.
- Learn the sequence of strokes
- Learn the shape of each stroke i.e. the horizontal, vertical, sweeps, dots and bend.
- Recognise the progress of each stroke in three stages: beginning, middle and end.
- Increase and decrease pressure on the brush
- Planning the direction of each stroke.
- Spacing the intervals between strokes.
- Structuring of each character
- Placement of each character within its space and in relation to each other
At the same time students must bear in mind the ‘rules’ of writing the regular script, such as repeated strokes should be parallel and their intervals being even etc.
The most important thing is to be able to autocorrect. I told my students that, like when the pilot puts his plane on autopilot, the plane does not automatically flies from A to B directly. Most of the time the plane is off course but the autopilot continually adjusts its course. We all have to learn to correct mistakes.
Finally, students must be aware that Chinese calligraphy differs from English calligraphy in that the latter requires uniformity whereas the former values variety. If a character appears more than once in a piece, then a calligrapher would write it each time in a different way. East is East and West is West…