Today is the start of #Inktober. Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge. I won’t be able to do one ink painting a day…haha not even one a week, but I will contribute on the first day, and with the Inktober prompt of “Poisonous”.
Pufferfish, Porcupinefish, Blowfish, 河豚, Fugu are the different names. Most species are poisonous having tetrodotoxin in some of their internal organs. This toxin is up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. There is enough toxin in one pufferfish to kill 30 adult humans, and there is no known antidote. The fish is considered to be a delicacy in various places in the world, especially Japan, but has to be prepared by licenced, trained chefs who know which part of the fish to be rid of without contaminating the meat (especially the liver, ovaries, intestines, skin, eyes). Nevertheless people still die from the adventure of eating Fugu.
Artist: Tai Oi Yee
Just carved another name seal …added a couple fishies to make it more playful, and this time I signed it too with my carving knife. Will stamp it on my new paintings.
This is the Yang style, with the design protruding…more difficult than the Yin style with the design carved in.
I carved a seal this past weekend, not using the usual seal script but with my own calligraphy. Actually this is the first name seal I have done…the ones I tried before were animal seals.
I will start stamping my paintings with this new seal.
This is the Yin style seal carving, with the characters carved in, and the stamped effect is white characters with red background. I will attempt the Yang style carving later, with the reverse effect.
Here are my carving tools:
This is how I secure the stone:
The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, and the start of the year is based on the cycles of the moon, and this year it falls on Friday, February 16, 2018. The Chinese zodiac assigns an animal to each year in a repeating twelve-year cycle, and this year is the Year of the Dog. People born in these years are born under the sign of the Dog: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
I have just received back from Tokyo my painting from the 7th International Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Society Exhibition. I sent the painting to Ryunosuke Ransui Yakata, the President of ICCPS in Japan who arranged to have it mounted, transported to China, and then back to me in Canada. Thanks Ransui ! Many thanks to Casey Shannon, the North American ICCPS director, who has worked tirelessly for the society.
“Just Sit and Watch the Rising Clouds” is a variation of a previous painting of mine. I did it this time with colour ink and according to the dimensions required by the exhibition in China. The rice paper was white and I used black and blue ink only. So whatever shows as white is the original paper colour.
My painting won the Head Office President Award 🙂
Artist: Oi Yee Tai
It is always so good to hear from buyers of my art. Robert from the Czech Republic ordered a print from my online shop and also bought from me a couple original enso paintings. He just sent me pics of my art now framed and displaying in his house. Thanks Robert!
Tai Oi Yee
Besides inkwash painting, I also love other forms of art such as pyrography. This is a piece of woodburning art I created for my garden.
I burnt my design with a woodburning pen (pyrography pen) on a piece of wood, stained it, and nailed it to my garden gate. The pen is just like a soldering iron that you heat up and then burn the art on different materials like wood or cork.
Tai Oi Yee
I have been asked what is that ink circle that you draw? What does it represent? It is called Enso and represents the way of Zen as a circle of emptiness and form, void and fullness.
The Enso 円相 is born from emptiness. However its center is full of potency and infinite possibility. One dip of ink, one fluid brush stroke, I experience the profound changes and limitless possibilities. As the brush trails off into nothingness, leaving an open circle, it is also the acceptance of imperfection as it is.
Oi Yee Tai
Artist: Tai Oi Yee
This is the latest painting in my ink “Flow” series. It is inspired by an ancient Chinese poem by Wang Wei (699-759). The two phrases I have written on the painting is from the poem: 行到水窮處，坐看雲起時 “Having reached the water’s edge and there is no more path, just sit and watch the rising clouds”. When faced with adversity and feeling that there is no way out, I often think of these two phrases, then just take a breath and see things in a different light. There is always light at the end of the tunnel and rising clouds at the water’s edge.
2017 is the Year of the Rooster. The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, and the start of the year is based on the cycles of the moon, and this year it falls on Saturday, January 28, 2017. The Chinese zodiac assigns an animal to each year in a repeating twelve-year cycle, and this year is the Year of the Rooster. People born in these years are born under the sign of the Rooster: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017.
While I am on the subject of Chinese calligraphy, here’s some info.
Chinese writing dates back to over 5000 years ago. Chinese characters evolved from pictographs to more abstract ideograms to the modern-day character, which bears a slight resemblance to its pictographic origins. The characters are divided into 3 main categories : pictographs , ideograms , phonograms.
Since 2017 is the Year of the Rooster/Chicken, I will show you the progression. “Chicken/rooster” 雞 is a pictograph. You can see the evolution of the character with my calligraphy on the left: from the pictorial seal script (the first one at the top) to the modern day character (the second one) and also in my grass style( the third one).
On the right is my interpretation of the origin of the word. From the pictorial seal script, I turned it back into a design of a chicken.
Starting the new year with some peace and tranquility. Even though I am not Buddhist, I find writing the Heart Sutra very calming.
The Heart Sutra (The Heart of the Perfection of Understanding) 心經 , is one of the most important Buddhist scriptures. One of the more well known verses is: “form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form…”
The Toronto Zoo is now selling my framed Limited Edition Prints at their gift shop. These special prints are custom designed with the names of the Toronto pandas Da Mao, Er Shun, Jia Panpan and Jia Yueyue. Do visit the zoo if you have time
Artist: Tai Oi Yee
Here is the other panda painting of mine which is now hanging outside the boardroom of the Toronto Zoo.
It is titled ” Happiness Is Getting Along “, inspired by the Chinese saying 樂也融融. I created 5 pandas representing the 5 continents, symbolizing the ethnic mix in Toronto. Each panda is in a different pose but all having fun. The message behind the painting is that this world would be a much happier place if we can all accept our differences and get along in harmony.
Title: Happiness Is Getting Along
Artist: Tai Oi Yee
A pair of baby pandas were born in Toronto, and there was a public vote being held for their names. The Toronto Zoo commissioned me to produce three hundred custom signed limited edition prints as gifts for the guests at the VIP Event on March 7, 2016 (today) introducing the panda cubs and revealing their names.
I signed a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement with the zoo not to release any info until the event which was held earlier today. The VIP guests included the Canadian Prime Minister, Chinese Ambassador, Ontario Premier, Toronto Mayor and more…
Artwork by : Tai Oi Yee 戴愛兒
Title: Good Things Come In Pairs 好事成双
Here is my print with the names of the panda cubs, Jia Panpan 加盼盼 and Jia Yueyue 加悦悦 , and the note that the zoo asked me to write about the inspiration behind the artwork. The original painting is sitting behind the desk of the zoo’s CEO.
Received the letter of appreciation from John Tracogna, CEO of the Toronto Zoo.
I am based in Toronto, Canada where Chinese calligraphy and painting supplies are available but not the best nor the cheapest. I have been asked by my art followers where I get my supplies and if I can recommend some place where they can buy them too.
Here’s a small corner of my art studio. The antique chest has been with my family for a long time, and we brought it with us when we moved from Hong Kong decades ago. I bought a lot of supplies when I was travelling in China and Taiwan. I did buy some brushes here in Toronto, but they are almost double the price. I love seals, and I had them custom carved in China as well as here in Toronto.
When I have time, I design my own seals and carve them myself. This little fish seal is the first one I tried my hands at:
The one in the following photo is also carved by me, and instead of the usual seal script, I used my own calligraphy for the name seal.
I find that a good seal paste is very important in stamping a perfect seal onto the painting. When I visited China last year, I made a special trip to Xiling Seal Art Society 西泠印社 on Lonely Hill Island in the middle of West Lake in Hangzhou to buy the original 西泠印泥 (Xiling Vermillion Seal Mud in a Ceramic Pot ). Got some brushes there too. They also displayed the seals of famous painters like Qi Baishi, Pan Tianshou etc.
Then while visiting Taiwan, I bought calligraphy brushes and painting supplies at the 100 year old Lam Sam Yik shop. They made the largest brush in Taiwan seen in the photo below, but to my surprise, they also sell makeup brushes now…I guess fewer people buy calligraphy and painting brushes nowadays so they have to branch into a new business…people not only are not interested in calligraphy now, with the widespread use of smart phones and computers, they can’t even spell or write : (
Shown in the above photo is the brush and the wood water container I bought from that shop in Taiwan. The ink stone was from China, and I ordered it online.
Since my art followers cannot travel to Hong Kong, Taiwan, China or Japan to get them, I have now compiled a list here of some reasonably priced supplies you can get at Amazon. They are good enough for beginners to give it a try and not waste a lot of money if you end up not pursuing it. Actually the quality is not bad, just not ultra-professional, so even intermediate users will find them satisfactory.
I will update this list as I see more suitable supplies. I have bought suminigashi inks on this list from Amazon. If you can read Chinese, you can also try buying direct from China via Taobao where I bought my seal carving supplies. The supplies are cheaper but the shipping is more expensive. But if you can’t read Chinese, it gets confusing.
If you are not sure what the painting supplies are comprised of, you can read my article about The Four Treasures of Chinese Ink Wash Painting (文房四寶)
I got the scrolls back from the ICCPS international exhibition in China, together with the exhibition book, the award I got and a set of brushes.
My paintings were exhibited at the Anshan City Pulic Cultural Centre in Liaoning, China.
The Fifth ICCPS International Exhibition in China is held by the International Chinese Calligraphy and Ink Painters’ Society. Oi Yee is one of the invited artists and her paintings were exhibited along with art from master sumi-e painters from China, Japan, United States, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Croatia and Argentina.