Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ink Scroll Drawings

As an artist, I concentrate mostly with two-dimensional work which includes drawing and painting.  There was one work of art at the St. Louis Art Museum, which put me in awe and amazement.  It was a large ink drawing on a scroll by Wan Shanglin from China in 1797.  His brushwork is a combination of washes and dry strokes that reflect a personal style as well as a tradition of monochrome ink painting in China.  For this scroll with long narrow proportions, the painting interweaves masterful brushstrokes to gradually build layers of ink wash and texture into a silvery landscape.

The contrast of lights and darks in this ink drawing is minimal.  The white of the paper is shown through in some spots but there are dark ink ares throughout the whole piece which overall gives it a sense of having contrast.  These large ink drawings consist of mountains on the upper half, trees and small houses in the middle portion and rocks and usually a river in the lower portion.  The brushstrokes seem so minimal but it is highly detailed.  The control it takes to make single brushstrokes and to individualize the types of strokes for the mountain side, for trees and shrubbery, for water, for little huts each takes precision.  One can also tell the atmosphere of the drawing.  The mountains seem to be lighter while the trees and rocks on the bottom which are closer to the viewer are darker.  Along with a very detailed landscape ink drawing, the boarder surrounding the drawing is made up of a silvery lace which acts as a frame and has a large wooden rod at the bottom of the paper to keep it steady.

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