Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Calligraphy

The faults of the calligrapher

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As regards the common faults, there is not so much a great variety of these as a wide prevalence of two or three. Some writers indulge in a running hand because they do not know how to linger; others favor a lingering one because they cannot trust themselves to move at the right speed if they try one of the flowing styles. Ideally, speed is the flash of inspiration, slowness the prolonging of pleasure. To hurry only over intervals is the secret of perfection; but to be slow on every occasion is to renounce all possibility of achieving the extraordinary.

—Sun Ta-Yü, quoted by Chiang Yee in Chinese Calligraphy

Written by nevalalee

May 13, 2018 at 7:30 am

“Have the idea in your mind before you take up the brush…”

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Copy of text by Ouyang Xun

Have the idea in your mind before you take up the brush. Design the composition only after you have thoroughly considered it. Be very careful with the general shape and spacing, and do not let the character tilt sideways…Let all four sides be evenly proportioned and all parts coordinated. Short and long strokes must be calculated in relation to one another, and a compromise effected between the coarse and the fine. Mind and eye together should determine density or looseness of texture, and also inclination—whether upright or aslant. The animation and spirit of a character depend largely upon its proportioning. It is fatal to place a light head on a heavy base, or to shorten one side too much in relation to the other. The stance of a character should be like that of a well-built man. Achieve these qualities, and the atmosphere of your writing will be delightful. Only follow these instructions, and there will be no reason for failure.

Ouyang Xun, quoted by Chiang Yee in Chinese Calligraphy

Written by nevalalee

May 25, 2014 at 9:00 am

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