Lesson 09 Painting Treasure Box

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Starting around 4000 B.C. traditional Chinese painting has developed continuously over a period of more than six thousand years.  It is one of the oldest continuous artistic traditions in the world.  Painting in the traditional style is known today in Chinese as guó huà (国画), meaning ‘national’ or “native painting”.  Unlike most Western painting traditions, Chinese painting did not place great importance on depicting an exact likeness or replica of that which exists in reality, but instead emphasized the need to capture the spiritual essence of the subject. Whether it be a portrait in which the eyes were thought to reveal the true character of the sitter or a landscape in which the fluttering of leaves were thought to capture the hidden truths of nature, it was the rendering of the life force of the painting that was the ultimate goal of the painter.

Chinese paintings are a vehicle to showcase mostly landscapes, bamboos, pine trees, and certain flowers. The Chinese artists use the paintings to express the feelings and aspirations of the moment. As a result, the objects in the painting are drawn based on memory with little emphasis on details and color. Each painting is usually accompanied with a poem or a narrative as to the purpose behind the work.

During this class we learned to paint yellow bird, lady bug, and Chinese orchids.  Using Chinese paint brushes, students created endearing pieces of art on small wooden treasure boxes.  More description about Chinese painting can be found at this webpage http://www.viz.tamu.edu/faculty/ergun/research/artisticdepiction/papers/pg02.pdf.

Children working hard painting and Chinese Calligraphy

Jachin painting landscape on his treasure box

Lucia writing Chinese characters

Annabelle writing Chinese characters

These work hard writing Chinese words for the inside of the treasure box

Alexia paints a lady bug on a piece of paper

Paula and Ananya painting

Bodhi and Simon painting

Kaya painting a Chinese orchid


Simon painting a blue bird

See the children’s finished pieces


Emmi paints bold and colorful flowers

Carlotta and Annabelle holds their yellow bird paintings

Jachin and his rolling landscape painting

A close up of Paula's lady bug

A beautiful and calming painting of an orchid and blue bird

Ali holds her beautiful creation

Katrina painted a very lively looking ladybug

Milo and Kaya proudly holding their pieces of art

Tessa and Penny with their lady bug paintings

Mila with her special treasure box

Ananya and Jude holding their treasure boxes

What’s inside these treasure boxes?  Take a look for yourself…

Ananya hides secret Chinese characters inside her treasure box

Chinese characters are inside Simone's treasure box


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