Chinese Brush Painting (水墨画: shuǐmòhuà)

Homestay Tutors enjoying a painting class in Shanghai!

Chinese brush painting, a style of watercolour or ink painting, was traditionally one of the “four arts” required to be mastered in order to be considered a true scholar in Tang dynasty China.

Painting was typically done onto rice paper or occasionally silk, and generally depicted landscapes, flowers, animals or trees. 

Homestay tutors in Hangzhou enjoying a fun Chinese painting cultural class!

Compared to western painting styles, Chinese brush painting is typically more free and dynamic. Backgrounds are usually omitted, with the balance between the object and white space being a particular artistic feature. Finally, a bright red stamp from the artist’s seal serves the role of a signature. 


We are going to learn how to paint a simple cherry blossom painting, which demonstrates many of the key skills and features of traditional Chinese brush painting.

You will need:

  • Watercolour paper
  • Black and red watercolour paints
  • Paintbrush (ideally a calligraphy brush)

As you can see in the video, the first step is to paint the branches across your page, before adding some bright spots of colour for the blossoms. Feel free to experiment with different approaches, for example splattering red paint from a brush or using cotton buds to dab on small petals in order to create different effects!


Congratulations on your awesome works of art! Please do share your creations with us – tag @abridgeacademy on instagram for a feature!

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