It seems everyone is extremely busy in today´s society, often forgetting to relax and enjoy life. In these circumstances, it is interesting to note that the Chinese character for "busy" means "losing one´s mind". In fact many people are beginning to realize that calming activities, which center the mind and counteract the stress of daily life, are necessary for our well being. In this regard, the study of literature, music, dance, painting, etc., can bring joy as well as relaxation and enrichment.
Qing Cheng mountain in the Sichuan province inspired this beautiful landscape by the author.
The appreciation of Chinese Painting provides such rewards. One may begin, perhaps, by attending an exhibition, collecting a few paintings or even by beginning to experience painting itself. There are many intriguing aspects to examine in Chinese Painting--the painting technique, the poetry, the calligraphy, the seal, the painter´s central image and theme as well as his or her mounting skills.
By simply distinguishing between paintings you like and those you dislike, you are recognizing the first step of painting appreciation. The next level involves understanding why a painting is good and which aspects are most pleasing to the eye. In order to analyze each painting, it is helpful to be aware of the following areas: composition, use of ink, use of the brush, coloring, mood, poetry, inscription, seal, and mounting.
Composition: The viewer first of all notices the composition or layout of a painting. A successful painter often spends a great deal of time and thought composing an attractive layout. The artists needs to decide what to use and what to leave out and how to make the arrangement, based on what he or she sees everyday. Thus the saying, "there are ten angles from which to look at a tree, but only a corner in the painting; there are hundreds of lofty and precipitous mountain peaks, but only one view in the painting; there are thousands of bamboo, but only one gets into the painting. A painter must present his or her own particular perspective and vision.