I tried learning the Chinese Brush Painting & its Hard AF

Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

Ni Hao!

Last weekend was one of the best weekends of my life! Though I didn’t travel far away and have my passport stamped, I traveled from South to North via MRT to reach one of the best events of the year, and one that I have traditionally been visiting for the past 4 years.

It was a gloomy Sunday, but that didn’t stop me to grab my weekend blogging gear, and head to SM North The Block to attend this year’s Chan Lim exhibit.

If you aren’t familiar yet with this splendid exhibition then hopefully after you read my post, you will be dragging your feet together with your family and friends to see this!

For many years, I’ve been so passionate about learning and promoting East Asian cultures, and sharing many stories and experiences here in my blog. I find it so interesting and beautiful, full of colors and life that lasts for many generations.

And if you are been here in Asia (or even visited some Asian communities) one of the most celebrated annually is the Chinese Lunar New Year. Yes, we celebrate the annual New Year in many different ways, and even party until dawn to welcome another year. But for me (and I think some Asians do) celebrating the Lunar New Year marks the completeness of welcoming the true New Year.

One of the things I did every Chinese New Year is to visit the remarkable Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition that was traditionally held in SM Malls. This exhibition showcased many Chinese brush paintings created by the Chan Lim family and their students for the past many years. One of the best one I’ve seen is during their exhibit in SM Aura where they shared to the public their collection of hand-painted porcelain plates and wares, created by their family and students and am telling you it was a very breathtakingly sight. All those porcelain plates are enclosed in a tight glass case that is visible to the audience, and I was one of them who can’t stop staring at these precious artworks, that even my friend said, I was teary-eyed with joy just by watching the exhibit.

Yes, I did. The only sign that I like is deeply in my heart and my whole being. And I vowed that someday I will attend one of their offered workshops, or even at least get to see them doing their work.

And that day was granted last Sunday when I attended their exhibit at SM North The Block Atrium.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition


This exhibition is more fantastic than the previous exhibits that they had for the past 22 years because this year the founder Mr. Chan Lim celebrates his 80th birthday. Together with his whole family and friends, the Chan Lim Family of Artists is happily and proudly showcased and welcomed the Chinese New Year with their new exhibits of hand-painted porcelain plates and Chinese brush painting scrolls created by the family and their students for many years.

As the family’s way of saying “xie xie ni” or “Thank You”, Chan Lim Family of Artists has traditionally shared their skills and works with the public by conducting numerous art classes, workshops, seminars, and on-the-spot painting demonstrations.

And I was one of the lucky ones who had an opportunity to attend their workshop last Sunday. Headed by Mr. Alex Lim (the eldest son of Mr. Chan Lim) and the rest of the members of the family and their students, shared and taught us how to create our own Chinese brush paintings.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition and workshop


Like a good student listening to their Shifu, we listened and take notes on how to properly hold a Chinese brush, the materials that we are going to use which includes the watercolors, Chinese black ink (for the basic brush paintings), and some rice paper, learning the basic brush strokes, and most of all – how to have fun creating our first Chinese brush paintings.

We were also treated with a live on-the-spot painting demonstration by Dr. Alex Lim. By using his tools and his creative prowess, Dr. Lim amazed us with his talent of creating 2 paintings – one is a Chinese hanging orchid painting, using black Chinese ink and finished for the span of 3-minutes.



Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

The other one which actually made me breathless is his mountainscape artwork using the combination of Chinese black ink and watercolors. Dr. Lim magically stroking his brush and for the span of 8-minutes, we couldn’t help but awe his creation. My heart is truly leaped with joy, as I’ve witnessed how the Master shows us his power.

Seeing their scrolls of artwork, some of you might think that watercolor painting is so easy. Using white rice paper, some Chinese brushes, and watercolors and ink – you might think that those are just a few strokes of hand and make an abstract work – but it’s not.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

We were provided with materials for the workshop, and I felt inspired as usual started to wet my brush and dipped it into the ink. As I am about to start my first stroke, I stopped for few minutes and wondered “What should I paint?” My right hand was shaking with anxiety, and for the first time in my whole creative life, I felt worried. Worried about the “what if” thoughts.

Yes, I tried learning the Chinese brush paintings and it’s hard AF!

I put down my brush, and walk around for few minutes to catch my breath until I have managed to pulled-up myself again and told myself “Yes, you can do it!”


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition


Having more relaxed thoughts (despite many distractions around me) I dipped my brush, mixed the colors, and started stroking my brush on my paper, with a free mind and imagining this scene in my head, with flowers near the riverbank, waters are calm and free-flowing – one of my favorite place where I want to spend my time reading a book and enjoy the morning breeze.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

And here’s my painting – LOL, well I tried and it’s hard. I realized that I can’t paint with many distractions around me, and I think that I can do better and I need to practice more!


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

We were patiently guided by our teachers from the Chan Lim Family of Artists. They’ve taught us how to create our first leaf, flower petals, bamboo shoots, and even a crab! It was a fun experience for us that day!


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

While we are getting too busy with our workshop, Chan Lim Family of Artists has spoiled us with some Chinese dances performed by Sindaw Dance Troupe – a Philippine dance troupe that won the Best Folklore Performance Award at Busan International Travel Fair in 2013.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition



We’ve also enjoyed the energetic Chinese Dragon and Lion dance as the Chan Lim Family of Artists has officially opened the exhibit to the public. The family has joined several art exhibits locally and internationally. For 22-years of sharing their works, and nurtured the talents of the third generation, Chan Lim Family of Artists and Students are one of the few known Chinese brush painting artists here in the Philippines today and throughout Asia.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition
The family that paints together, stays together.




This year 2017 is a great milestone for the family and their students as they are celebrating the founder Mr. Chan Lim his 80th birthday, an auspicious celebration in the Chinese culture.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition


It was an honor to meet the founder, Mr. Chan Lim who celebrates his 80th birthday this year.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition


The family and students are also sharing all their works by having an art exhibit at 8 different venues nationwide. Here at SM North EDSA The Block Atrium, audiences can enjoy the beauty of more than 300 artworks created by 43 artists started from January 15 to February 12 for FREE!


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition


I recommend you to drop by at their exhibit venue and feed your mind and your art persona with these marvelous and magical creations. If you are also interested in their art classes and workshop, you may contact Chan Lim Family of Artists via email at chanlim@yahoo.com or view their other art pieces online at www.chanlim.com.


Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition

Chan Lim Family of Artists annual exhibition


Complete your Eastern traditions of celebrating the prosperous New Year by visiting this exhibit, and to nurtured and share this art with the next generations.




xoxo, Blair


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80 comments :

  1. We have a friend who is obsessed with all that is related to China. He talked to us about this type of painting but only now that we saw your instagram video we understand that it is very difficult!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Dear,

      Yeah and my right hand is shaking! The pressure is real!

      Delete
  2. Oh wow, I am impressed. Everything is so lovely. I don't think I could do it. Your paintings came out great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you dear! I need more practice and inspiration, plus be more relax to paint.

      Delete
  3. I tried to learn that a few times but cant seem to get it right. I have shaky hands hehehe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sunshine,

      Yeah it is plus the thought of your shifu is standing behind you and watching your every strokes made me soo shaky!

      Delete
  4. Love the CNY season, there are so many things happening. The painting looks incredibly difficult, well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Happy Go! I'll feature more Chinese New Year events here in Manila.

      Delete
  5. what a great experience... i haven't had a chance to do so yet.... huhuhu... i would love to give it a try too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Miera,

      It is never too late. Add this to your long list of hobby :)

      Delete
  6. Love your enthusiasm in East Asian culture. You did a great job in your brush painting! I think I wouldn't even be able to draw a stalk of flower nicely. Good job girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Olivia! My shifu is great, and I learned so many things and techniques.

      Delete
  7. The mountainscape artwork is so pretty!!! and it looks so simple the way he do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah and I guess he can do it even his eyes are closed, hahaha he is really talented.

      Delete
  8. Chinese brush painting is very difficult indeed. The ease and the swiftness with which the masters do it makes it look so simple, but as you say, its difficult AF!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So I decided to enjoy myself admiring their creations and hope that someday I could do better Chinese brunch painting.

      Delete
  9. What a unique and amazing experience! And the artwork is so gorgeous. I can't imagine. I wish I could visit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Shelby,

      They also have overseas exhibition. I will let you know once the I've confirmed the dates.

      Delete
  10. Thanks for sharing such in-depth information about the Chan Lim family. I have never heard of them before but I am in awe just looking at these art pieces that you photographed. I would most definitely head to the exhibition if I lived in the Philippines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Emily,

      They are so kind and generous family. And have patience teaching anyone who like to learn this craft.

      Delete
  11. Such beautiful art! The colors, the strokes - all of it is stunning. I could see myself having a painting in my own home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rashida,

      You can try creating flowers, leaves for starters.

      Delete
  12. Girl you did fantastic! It looks hard, but you nailed it from what I see! Dr. Lim is awesome, but he has the years behind him : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is 80 years old and still strong! I bet he will reach a century old and still a kind shifu.

      Delete
  13. You did a great job. I will try a new art technique with the best intention. It would be nice to have a paint night over here learning different styles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Rose,

      Or you can search online for some inspirations and study their strokes. Mr. Lim says it is okay to copy someone's artwork, until you find your own style.

      Delete
  14. I can never airbrush too. It takes a lot of gentle touch and patience. My hand will hurt halfway haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sebrinah,

      First its not airbrushing :D

      More exercise until your hands get used to holding and stroking brushes.

      Delete
  15. oh very interesting. I have not been painting a Chinese brush painting since high school

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Wai Kee, this is your chance to bring back your talents of Chinese brush painting.

      Delete
  16. This is really cool! I wasn't familiar with Chinese brush paintings. It's great that you attended the exhibit. Wow, 22 years of exhibits. That's awesome. And becoming 80 years is a great reason to celebrate. The workshop looks great. The results are awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Carola, and yes we are very blessed to witness this kind exhibit and also meeting him :)

      Delete
  17. That looks like an awesome experience!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The experience is priceless. My artist for a daughter would live this. I think the finished pieces came out great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank for visiting! Let your kids enjoy painting :)

      Delete
  19. there was once where I had to do the chinese brush painting for a class assignment...it was so much fun....hurmmm..should i pick back up the skills?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Yana, yes you must bring it back! Maybe this is your calling :)

      Delete
  20. I thought your paintings turned out well, considering that masters take years to perfect the art of calligraphy brush. Mine would have looked like a mess. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Eris you are so kind :) I tried my best :)

      Delete
  21. That looks like an incredible experience! All of those works of art are stunning. And I thought your paintings were really good! Certainly better than anything I could do!

    ReplyDelete
  22. you know what?? i love your painting! very well!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow I think you did an awesome job on your paintings! They truly are very talented artists and you're so lucky to attend such fun event

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Mayra, yes I feel so happy and blessed too.

      Delete
  24. happy chinese new year! this type of art is beautiful, at a fair we had our family name printed in this type of chinese brush painting and loved it

    ReplyDelete
  25. Your blog is really interesting, every time I read a post it's about a cool adventure, and I love the way you write your posts, had to tell you that now haha :) I love Chinese culture! I think you painted quite well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Miriam, hahaha my writing is like am just talking to someone face-to-face, and I prefer that way. More natural, sometimes no filter, LOL

      Delete
  26. wow i'm impressed with your art piece! would love to try it one day too :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you dear! Your comments here are making me more inspired to continue my interest on Chinese brush paintings :)

      Delete
  27. I never try this before!! But I know it wasn't that easy >.< Hey and your drawing is not that bad yeay <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sharon! I need to practice more just like their students. I think I will sign-up for a workshop this summer :)

      Delete
  28. Looks like you had quite a day. I love all of the paintings and photos you shared.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Vanessa! Preserving the culture and family tradition is important.

      Delete
  29. Must be an amazing experience!Your painting turned out lovely! I'd love to try it but my drawing is awful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ana, you are so kind :) I need to practice more! I want to make my shifu proud :)

      Delete
  30. Ni Hao, Blair!
    I always wanted to learn that style of painting! It looks very tender! A few days ago I attended a Chinese New Year party and there was an opportunity to try some arts but the kids were all over lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Veronica!

      Glad you've enjoy the CNY party :)

      Delete
  31. would like to try on the colours :) learnt how to draw these during secondary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is nice! In the Philippines these are not being teach in school, unless you are studying in a Chinese school. I am so glad that I had a chance to experience it and take part of this occasion. A very memorable one.

      Delete
  32. How awesome that you got to try it, though. What an amazing experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was a bit intimidating because the Masters are there to watch what you do, but also very inspiring :D

      Delete
  33. wow this is so cool! I love that you got to make some stuff. This is why I love tech shools they are so hands on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, and the teacher have more patience to guide you on your learnings. I guess its their passion to teach. And its their satisfaction and happiness seeing their students happy and learning the crafts.

      Delete
  34. What an amazing experience and good time this exhibit looks like. Chinese artwork is so beautiful, I love all the colors and images!


    http://prettyfitfoodie.com/2017/03/20/gringo-bandito-burger-at-the-burger-parlor/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sondra! I've enjoyed the activity and I wish that I could learn and mastered this craft. I need to practice more.

      Delete
  35. Gosh that looks really tricky.. but the artwork that is and can be produced it outstanding!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Hannah,

      Yeah quite tricky, especially the usage of the brush! I am used to using a make-up brush than a paint brush, LOL

      Delete
  36. WOW! Some of these paintings are absolutely gorgeous! I wonder how long they spent drawing them with the chinese brush! This is a good skill to master though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The one-the-spot painting of the Master took 8-minutes to finished. However those other paintings might last for hours, or even days depends on the mood and inspiration :)

      Delete
  37. What a fun activity! I went to a paint night the other day and realized I am far from being an artist haha.

    ReplyDelete
  38. That mountain painting is seriously amazing. I am jealous of people who are that creative and can put paint to paper in such a beautiful and meaningful way. That being said, I would definitely try this given the chance! It looks like a fun experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting Krysten!

      The Master said, in order for you to learn, you must keep on practicing, so that your hands will get used to the brush and painting strokes. I've even bought a new watercolor set and brushes for my home training :)

      Delete
  39. That brush painting was an artistic traditions in the world. You needed to have a lot of skills in order to produce a painting as good as Mr.Lim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Sarah. Some students gives a lot of time and full dedication to learn this craft. I want too!

      Delete
  40. An 80th birthday is a big deal! I think a workshop or class would be awesome.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, and am truly thankful that they invited me to celebrate his milestone. It was an honor.

      Delete

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