The term ‘beginner’ means something different to each of my students; some are writing Tang dynasty poems in full and others are struggling with individual characters.
We are in the second half of the term and students are expected to have learnt the basic skills, if not the mastery that they may or may not acquire in the years to come. Some of the students will not return after the eight weeks course so I intend to take those through to a satisfactory conclusion: the completion of an art work. If less than six of the ten do not intend to return, I will retire in three weeks. It’s time.
In Session Five they must commit to a project that they will work on for the rest of the term. We will discuss the layout of each piece, including inscriptions, dedications and signatures. They may or may not wish to date their work but I will speak to them about the traditional Chinese dating system. We ran out of time for that a couple of weeks ago. We always run out of time; so much to cover in 90 minutes.
After that I will no longer address the class as a whole. The projects that they have chosen for their end-of-year presentation are varied. Some have bad habits that they need to watch and others need guidance with brush work. One student even asked to learn a different script for her project! She would need to be a quick learner.
If the students expect to add artistry to their work, they will have to open their eyes to the works of centuries past. No input; no output. I will bring several volumes of historically significant and well known pieces for them to peruse and be inspired.