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Introduction to Short Courses Summer 2018 Introduction to Life Drawing Art and Anatomy Botanical Drawing The New Sylva: Drawing Trees with Sarah Simblet The Drawing Book Chinese Calligraphy and Landscape Painting Deconstructing the Cubist Still Life Exploring the Exotic Still Life Life Drawing - term-time classes

Chinese Calligraphy and Landscape Painting

Following its success in 2017, the Ruskin offering this unique new course again this year. Participants are introduced to the two highest forms of Chinese art by Ruskin tutor and artist Weimin He. This three-day intensive non-residential course will explore not only the techniques, but also the concepts and history which inform the composition and style of these traditions of Chinese art.
Weimin He, Landscape Painting Photograph: Weimin He

Course dates: Monday 16 – Wednesday 18 July 2018

Location: Ruskin School of Art, 128 Bullingdon Road, Oxford OX4 1QP

Chinese calligraphy and Chinese ink painting share the same origin; calligraphy is regarded as ‘high art’ and is the foundation for Chinese ink painting. Landscape painting (shan shui hua), which demonstrates the concept of harmonious oneness of the universe and humanity, is traditionally considered the pinnacle of achievement in Chinese art.

Weimin He brings his lifelong study of these traditional forms (including a research fellowship on Chinese painting at the Ashmolean Museum), his own innovative art practice, and his long experience of teaching at the Ruskin, to create a unique course for those wanting to discover the history, philosophy and techniques of Chinese ink painting.  He has been a Visiting Tutor at the Ruskin for several years teaching life drawing, and travels regularly to China to explore his own practice further.  

In this course you will be introduced to the tools and materials used in Chinese calligraphy and ink painting, and learn the use of ink and how to control the brushes. Weimin will also guide you to practice traditional ways of making paste, stretching and backing another sheet of paper on your finished work.

You will be introduced to the kai style calligraphy, writing your own name in Chinese, and progressing to writing a poem with kai style calligraphy.

Moreover, you will discover the concepts of Chinese calligraphy and landscape paintings, such as empty space and qi, and learn about the eight principles of yong (forever). Each day you will explore an aspect of the history of calligraphy and landscape painting, including an introduction to the Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden, and analysis of the work of masters such as Gong Xian and Fan Kuan

Over the three days, you will learn fundamental elements of Chinese landscape such as painting trees, rocks, waterfalls through study of masterpieces, so that you will be able to assemble the elements into your own final landscape painting by the end of the course.

"Simply loving my course with Weimin; the highlight of the term if not the year!" Course participant on Weimin's term time drawing course. 


Each day will begin at 10am and continue until 5pm.

  • Day 1
  • - Introduction to tools and materials and how to use them;
  • - The history and concepts of calligraphy and landscape painting, including an introduction to the Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden;
  • - Compositional elements - how paint tree trunks and leaves, and then to paint individual and various trees.
  • Day 2
  • - Introduction to kai style calligraphy
  • - Learning to paint rocks (with study of Gong Xian’s ink painting manual)
  • - Learning to paint mountains (with analysis of Fan Kuan’s work)
  • Day 3
  • - Composition of trees, rocks, mountains and waterfalls to make a complete landscape painting
  • - Laminating and stretching Chinese papers on board

The materials and equipment required for this course will be provided, including paper, brushes, inks, watercolours and palettes and boards.  Students can bring additional brushes and a sketchbook and pencils if they wish.

Light refreshments will be available each day; lunch will not be provided but there are plenty of cafes and shops nearby.


Booking a Place

There are no entrance requirements or criteria, but participants must be over the age of 16.Tuition is in English.

There are three payment rates available :

i) Standard Adult : £460.00

ii) Oxford University students, staff and alumni (10% discount) : £415.00

iii) Students (with a current NUS card) and OAPs (5% discount) : £440.00

If you select a discounted booking rate, you will need to present your University alumni/staff card, NUS card, or some form of identification indicating your OAP status at the start of the course.

Booking can be made at the University of Oxford's online store.

Tuition is in English. There are no entrance requirements or criteria, but participants must be over the age of 16.

These courses are non-residential – participants must arrange their own travel and accommodation.   To enjoy the full Oxford University experience, we recommend booking accommodation in nearby colleges through University Rooms (guests must be 21 or over, or accompanied by someone over 21).


Cancellation Policy

For information on the Ruskin's cancellation policy in relation to the summer courses, please refer to the Short Courses introductory page