Lynn Li and the delicacy of Chinese art

Every artist has a story to tell. It could be a place or even a person they are inspired by. Hence, inspiration is truly everywhere.

Tall teal vase with cherry blossoms and foliage and a small basket with fruits and leaves.

Lynn Li learned the style of Classical Chinese painting from her father and ever since childhood, her journey of painting continues. She now sells her work worldwide and leads demonstrations on television and at art societies.


The subjects that evoke her artistic imagination are birds, plants, animals and any forms related to nature. Lynn says, “I am inspired by many artists from Sung and Yun Dynasties. All my art pieces are like my children. Each of them is special.”


“Chinese brush painting in the literati or free-form style is the most exciting, rewarding and satisfying of any medium. The literati style began in the Sung period,” she says.


She believes Chinese brush painting is all about the journey and not the destination. Each painting will take a journey of its own and the beauty lies in letting the brush flow without interference.


“We never correct the original brushstroke,” she says in regards to the delicacy of Chinese art as it would betray crudity and clumsiness to do so and would diminish the straightforward honesty of the artistic effort. She stresses, Chinese brush painting is the perfect blend of complexity and simplicity.


A golden circle with a botanical arrangement at the bottom left side. A branch extends with two birds above a small cat on the right side.

Lynn talks about her artistic process and mediums as having a historical connection. “The Chinese brush dates back to the Neolithic period. The brush is extremely sensitive and pliable.”

A branch with small red leaves and long green leaves extends from the right-hand side of the page. A small blue and white bird is perched on top of the branch.

It can be pushed back against itself in the course of a stroke without the hairs splitting or being damaged. She ensures that the material to paint on, either silk or paper, is absorbent so that the ink diffuses easily.


One must also be aware of the paints used. “Chinese colours are made from mineral and vegetable pigments mixed with glue. The only pure Chinese colours that are a must to have are Chinese rattan yellow and vermilion. These are difficult to replicate with Western pigments,” she says.


The nature of Chinese art has enabled Lynn to master the underlying philosophy and techniques needed to produce an intricate piece.


“This most mystical, delicate and disciplined of arts is one that has developed over thousands of years, and symbolized the magic of the East for the Westerner."



By Zarin Tazreen



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