Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gilding the Orchid

I have been playing with gold ink!  Found a demo of bamboo online – I  don’t love her brush method (I am sure that is not the best way to paint the stems) but the gold ink looked interesting.  I found it on Ebay and here.  As it is imported from USA, watch out for delivery costs.  I used Ebay (Gettycrafts) and it arrived within 3 weeks.

The gold takes a few moments to emerge, as the ink sinks into the paper.  And with dilution, the gold is of course less intense – see the test below.  So I feel it lacks the subtlety for a full painting, but would be great for cards.


I finally got round to mounting this seal script calligraphy that I wrote in 2005.  The only snag was that I had completely forgotten what it says.   It took me quite a while to decode it.  Turns out it  is from Zhuangzi chapter 20.

“The friendship between gentlemen is as light as water and the friendship of a villain is as sweet as wine.”

Bingeing in Brighton

I had a lovely day out in Brighton.  First a visit to Louisa at Oriental Arts, had fun trying different papers.  Naturally I bought a couple more brushes, and also spotted, to my delight a ruyi sceptre – I have wanted one for ages!  Louisa says it is “village made”, so not quite Qing bling.

Amazing glaze by James Foley, Potters Bar Brighton
Also visited some of the Artists Open Houses, including Jing Wang‘s demonstration of CBP.    At Potters Bar I also indulged in some more ceramics, because they make perfect brush pots and water droppers!
Pots by Gill Harvey of Chalk and Flint Ceramics

Spring View

Another attempt at translating Chinese Poetry: Du Fu‘s melancholy “Spring Scene” written during the chaos and destruction  of the An Lushan rebellion.
There are many different translations, for example.
This is mine:
Mountains round the ruined city,
Spring-grown grass on walls and towers.
Weeping in the time of flowers,
Birdsong jars the parted heart.
Three long months the beacons burned,
No gold worth a loving letter.
White head thinned by fearful fretting,
Cannot hold a single pin.

Hills Like Heaped Gold

I have had fun recently trying to translate a ci-poem by Wen Tingyun, poet of the late Tang dynasty.   Ci-poems have a “tune” that guides their rhythm and rhyme.  There are many such tunes.  This poem is based on the tune called “Deva-like Barbarian” or “Bodhisattva Savage”.

Hills like heaped gold are quenched,
Her cloud of hair loves the scent of her powdered cheek.
Languidly she draws in her moth eyebrows,
Plays with her hairpins and comb, washing slowly

Blooms surround her in the mirror.
The faces of the flowers seem like the reflections of friends
Newlywed, she dutifully embroiders the gauze jacket
With a pair of golden partridges.

File:Zhou Fang. Court Ladies Wearing Flowered Headdresses.Detail1.jpg
Ladies wearing Flower in their Hair by Zhou Fang