I am a private art teacher, specialising in fine art and photography, in my art studio – Frank Zweegers Art. I would say my style of art has lots of influences from the western culture. However, I always suggest my students to understand more types of painting other than just the western tradition. When looking at the paintings from other cultural backgrounds, it is a good time to examine and compare the difference between the western art and the eastern art.
In my humble opinion, the biggest difference between paintings in both cultures is not the drawing styles but the philosophy behind the paintings. In most western paintings, just like the one featured in this blog post, artists are aiming to draw every little detail of the object in their paintings. Meanwhile, the majority of eastern arts, especially East Asian paintings, could be said to be more abstract, like the western impressionist artists. Capturing the shapes and details of an object is not the priority of the East Asian painters, but rather emphasising the spirit of an object. For instance, Chinese painters usually draw a tiger going downhill to show the power and strength of a tiger by its posture, instead of emphasising its sharp claws or ferocious face. I will show you more examples on my Frank Zweegers Vimeo channel later.
Another difference between eastern and western painting is the materials artists used. In western culture, a few materials are commonly used in traditional painting which are oil paint and watercolour. East Asian artists mostly use ink and water-based colour on paper or silk, which is the reason why ink wash painting is the mainstream in East Asian painting. To paint with just one colour, painters need to have an advanced skill of control the proportion between water and ink. The thicker the ink is, the deeper and glossier the brush stroke will be. On the other hand, the thinner the ink is, the more translucent the painting will be. By applying different thickness of ink, a painter can show the depth of view and the texture of an object in a painting. Assuredly, other than black ink, some colour paints are used sometimes. Red and green are some common colours being used in nature paintings like flowers and birds. Chinese painting or East Asian painting is a totally distinctive approach to art requiring a number of sessions to perfect. I offer a wide range of classes in art including sessions of Chinese painting techniques in in my Frank Zweegers Art studio for those who want to explore eastern art more.