The first lesson in Japanese Ink Wash Technique is painting the series of ‘The Four Gentlemen’ plants, where the bamboo represents the second of these (First of The Four Gentlemen: Orchid). The bamboo is a noble plant because of its strength and flexibility. The leaves are painted in a series of short strokes, the number of which depends on the species of bamboo being painted and with no new loading of ink between leaf strokes to give a graded effect from light to darker leaves. As you become more familiar with the technique it is easy notice that the lighter leaves are perceived to be at the back, whereas the darker ones create the foreground. The stems by loading a flat brush with darker in on the one side, or alternatively, a round brush is loaded with a gradient of ink and held sideways against the paper while painting to get a similar effect.
Here are a few of my first attempts in painting the Bamboo:
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