Sessions 13 & 14 Chinese Calligraphy for Beginners

I was absent from class in Session 13 due to a bad back and the student proved me right in believing that it’s time to retire.  They did brilliantly without me :)  T, the most senior student was a capable deputy and lead them well with an exemplary esprit de corp.  When I arrived in class last Tuesday most of the class had completed their work for the exhibition and even the ‘blurb’ that I asked for.

Some students are still keen to improve further so we spent some time studying the constructions of various strokes that they find difficult to achieve.  I hope I was able to help them ‘read’ each stroke so that they can discern the correct approach to execute appropriate variations.  Once students are confident in handling the brush, it’s a matter of using their eyes to inform their hands when copying from the masters.

Copying is a humbling experience that not everyone can condescend to readily, especially for adult learners.  It requires a humility that accepts ones limitations and acknowledges that there is much to learn.  It trains one to see with a beginner’s eye, and the discovery of the richness of the old masters is the reward.

The final submission for the exhibition is due tomorrow.  I am sure that no one will let the team down.


Students’ work Tuesday 30 August 16


About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
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4 Responses to Sessions 13 & 14 Chinese Calligraphy for Beginners

  1. Dalo 2013 says:

    You do have the great and rare gift of humility, “student proved me right in believing that it’s time to retire. They did brilliantly without me :) “


    • Mary Tang says:

      Thank you, Randy. Sometimes a teacher can become something of a crutch and it is important for students to realise at some point that they can actually stand on their own feet. I have seen too many calligraphy students who, after 10 or even 2o years are still copying their own teacher (but never studying the masters). Basically the teacher writes one character or one piece and the student copy that piece ad infinitum. That system has been the tradition but since I am neither a calligrapher or a teacher, my students will only receive basic techniques and critique from me. The rest is up to them. In essence I am trying to teach them to learn and not hand feeding them crumbs – crumbs that I have gathered for myself.


  2. Perhaps you have passed on the baton, Mary. I guess your back must be a bit better at the moment

    Liked by 1 person

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