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  • Writer's pictureLynne Kornecki

Artist Practices the Tradition of 2000-year-old Chinese Brush Painting & Its Respect for Nature


Artist, Alice Matthews, painted this exquisite bamboo folding fan on rice paper on both sides using pigment blended from natural herbs and minerals. Her work -- including fans on rice paper and silk -- are available for sale at the Naperville Art League & Gallery, 508 N, Center Street, Naperville, IL. Scroll down for more of Alice's art...


ARTIST NAME: Alice Matthews

Town: Ottawa, IL

Mediums: Traditional Asian painting, oil, digital art, & more


ARTIST STATEMENT: "I've loved art since I was a little girl. My father is good at traditional Chinese calligraphy and poetry. He taught me how to use handmade traditional Chinese brushes to write beautiful calligraphy. His father taught him too. He believes thousands of years of Chinese tradition should be passed along to succeeding generations. My father's friend, a professor teaching Chinese art in Beijing Chinese Art Academy, also taught me. I fell in love with this traditional Chinese art form, the handmade animal brushes and the pigments used from herbs and minerals. Everything used to create this art -- from painting on rice paper to silk -- all comes from nature. That's why most Chinese paintings are nature themed.


"Rice paper and silk are difficult to paint on and the artist can't make any changes. It's important to fully concentrate to avoid mistakes. It takes a lot of practice which helps me when I use other mediums to paint.


"When I create art, I follow my heart. I want people to fall in love with my art too. As one of my favorite artists, Vincen van Gogh once said, "I dream of painting, and then I paint my dream."


Alice added that the earliest artifacts of Chinese inks can be dated back to the 12th Century BC! Artists most commonly used charred materials, plant dyes and animal-based inks. Mineral inks based on materials such as graphite were ground with water and then applied with brushes.


Alice also embraces artistic versatility when she creates Western-style work in oils painting local scenes and employing textural effects. Find Alice's work online at Fine Art America's website: Alice Matthews Art - Fine Art America



"Magical Rock" 15" x 15"; Chinese brush painting on rice paper.


"Purple Orchid" 26" x 18"


"Peonies" 24" x 24" Chinese brush painting on rice paper


"East Dragon" 25" x 25"' Chinese inkstick


Alice's collection of traditional Chinese brushes. These types of brushes can be used for both calligraphy and painting. There are over 200 steps in the process of making a Xuan brush and all the steps have to be done by hand.


Bamboo silk fan using only ink.

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