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Life Drawing - term-time classes Introduction to Short Courses Summer 2019 Art and Anatomy Anatomy, Form, Personality: Sculpting the Head: The Archaeology of the Self The Art of Wax: Flesh and Mortality Botanical Drawing Chinese Calligraphy and Landscape Painting Deconstructing the Cubist Still Life Drawing Book: experiments on paper Exploring the Exotic Still Life Introduction to Life Drawing Introduction to Screen Printing

Chinese Calligraphy and Landscape Painting

Following its success in 2017 and 2018, the Ruskin is expanding this subject into a two-part series of consecutive courses, and customers can attend either or both courses. Participants are introduced to the two highest forms of Chinese art by Ruskin tutor and artist Weimin He, and will explore not only the techniques, but also the concepts and history which inform the composition and style of these traditions of Chinese art.

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 these courses 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.



Course dates - customers can book onto either or both courses in the series

  • Course 1. Chinese Calligraphy: Tuesday 23 to Thursday 25 July (3 days)
  • Course 2. Chinese Landscape Painting: Friday 26 and Saturday 27 July (2 days)

Part 1. Chinese Calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy has a history of more than three thousand years, during which it has been regarded as both high art and the most popular applied art in China and other Eastern Asian countries.

This three-day Chinese calligraphy course is designed for beginners and those with basic Chinese calligraphy training. Knowledge of Chinese language is an advantage but not essential for this course. 

Participants will gain a general understanding to five primary styles of Chinese calligraphy and learn fundamental principles and basic skills of kai (standard) style to write Chinese with a brush. The course will mainly focus on the study of the standard style of the Tang dynasty master Liu Gongquan. Participants will also have opportunity to explore other styles such as seal script, official li script, running style and cursive style. 

  • Day 1
  • - Introduction: s brief history of Chinese calligraphy, and the five primary styles of Chinese calligraphy
  • - Introduction to the ‘Four Treasures of the Study’ and how to use them
  •  - Introduction to basic strokes: horizontal strokes, two types of vertical strokes. Writing numbers in characters and three other simple characters
  •  - Practice pie (left-falling strokes), na (right-falling strokes) and dots
  •  - Introduction to the eight principles of yong (forever) with demonstration
  •  - Practice vertical stroke with hook, ti (rising) and zhe (turning) strokes 
  • Day 2
  •  - Develop the yong character
  •  - Study of 10 different types of dots 
  •  - Study of radicals
  •  - The structures of kai style
  • Day 3
  •  - Composition study; writing a poem or idiom in kai style.
  •  - Signing your name in Chinese, writing the date in Chinese and the use of a seal 
  •  - Writing “fu” (good fortune) in five different styles
  •  - Producing a complete piece of calligraphy with signature/seal


Part 2. Chinese Landscape Painting

Over the centuries, Chinese landscape painting (shan shui hua) has been regarded as the highest achievement of Chinese ink painting, as it demonstrates the concept of the harmonious oneness of the universe and humanity.

This course, suitable for both beginners and improvers, will give participants an overview of Chinese landscape painting, to understand its concepts and basic techniques. It would be an advantage to have learnt basic Chinese calligraphy, although it is not essential.

Weimin will guide participants through the study of masterpieces, the fundamental elements of Chinese landscape painting, such as painting trees, rocks, waterfalls, so that participants will complete a landscape painting on paper or silk. 

This course also includes the techniques of backing a Chinese ink painting, include traditional ways of making paste, stretching and backing another sheet of paper on finished work.

  • Day 1
  • Introduction: a brief history of Chinese landscape painting, its forms and key concepts (empty space and qi)
  • Introduction to The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting and techniques to paint tree trunks, leaves, and different type of trees
  • Painting rocks
  • Painting mountains
  • Day 2
  • Combining trees, rocks, mountains and waterfalls to make a complete landscape painting on xuan paper or silk
  • Adding colours to monochrome paintings
  • Laminating/stretching Chinese papers on board 

The materials and equipment required for both parts of 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.

You will be working in the Ruskin's studios at 74 High Street. Each teaching day begins at 10am and finishes at 5pm (though the studios are open for personal practice from 9am until 6pm).

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


Booking a Place

Booking is done through the University of Oxford's Online Store.   We regret that the Ruskin cannot reserve places or take payment for bookings. 

Customers can book on to either or both parts of the course.

There are three payment rates available for these courses :


  • Part 1. Chinese Calligraphy - £480.00
  • Part 2. Landscape Painting - £320.00

Students and over-65s (5% discount):

  • Part 1. Chinese Calligraphy - £455.00
  • Part 2. Landscape Painting - £305.00

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

  • Part 1. Chinese Calligraphy - £430.00
  • Part 2. Landscape Painting - £290.00

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.

These courses are non-residential – participants must arrange their own travel and accommodation. To enjoy the full University of Oxford 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

Please note the Ruskin's cancellation policy for the summer short courses.  These policies are in contrast to the terms and conditions listed on the online store and take precedence over that policy.

Deposit, calculated as 15% of the course fee, applies to all courses.

Any booking that is cancelled more than one month before the start date of a course will receive a refund of any fees paid minus the Deposit.

Cancellations received within one month of the start of a course will not be eligible for any refund. The Ruskin strongly recommends that customers take out travel insurance against loss of the course fee in case they need to cancel at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances.

Where a customer wishes to cancel a place on one course and transfer to another, this refund policy will normally apply.

The Ruskin reserves the right to cancel a course up to one month before the start date of a course, beyond that point, a course will be guaranteed. If a course is cancelled by the school, participants will be refunded in full.