Chinese Bamboo Paintings

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To accompany a unit on China that my students did in social studies, we completed a series of bamboo ink paintings in the style of Chinese brush paintings. We watched a video of a Chinese brush painter at work, and had picture references to help us also. Students learned distinct brush strokes for the stalks, side branches and leaves of the bamboo plant. (Using a flat brush allowed us to create both thin and thick strokes. Each student created several practice paintings and had to demonstrate stalk, leaf, and side branch strokes successfully before combining them into a whole plant.) We used black ink diluted to different tones to create light and dark bamboo plants to suggest background and foreground. We discussed composition and how many Chinese ink paintings have large areas of negative space and how the students could make their paintings more authentic by leaving an “airy” feel to their bamboo arrangement. As a final touch, each student also made his/her  own “chop”, or signature stamp, using a Chinese character and their first names.


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