Ox and boy…

As I am sure some of you are aware I have been reviewing past activity. However, not all of my introspection has been about the past.

This weekend I thought it important that we look to the future especially in this confused time. Next year will be the Year of the Metal Ox which will, no doubt, be a different year to this Metal Rat one…

I started thinking about this picture when I taught Oxen to a group a couple of years back. I started with something of an outline of an Ox which I completed and added a boy to as per a Chinese contemporary artist’s work. I decided to take a photo of the piece so that you can see the first stage of this painting in case you wanted to have a go with an outline of the same subject or one of the elements:

Ox and boy 1 - outline - Paul Maslowski 2018
Ox and boy 1 – outline – Paul Maslowski 2018

What you are looking for in the outline, ideally, is as many calligraphic strokes as possible and with a variety of thicknesses as well as variation in wet and dry.

Having placed the outline of the image, I added levels of grey until the shading was as I wanted it for the painting.

Once this was completed I added various colours without ‘colouring in’. It is important that Chinese brush paintings include spontaneous strokes even when the outline is well defined. It is also important that the outline be disregarded on occasion as the energy of the painting asserts itself. In other words, do not worry if the wash spreads beyond the line. Again, ideally, we are actually looking for this to occur in a skilful way:

Ox and boy 2 - coloured in - Paul Maslowski 2018
Ox and boy 2 – ‘coloured in’ – Paul Maslowski 2018

12th February 2021 Chinese New Year update:

I wanted to make the Ox and boy in to a complete composition so placed them in a suitable landscape where we can see the journey of them both as they labour toward market:

Ox and boy 3 - Paul Maslowski 2018 and 21
Ox and boy 3 – Paul Maslowski 2018 and 2021

Should you choose to take up the challenge please do let me know as I would love to see what you do next…

8th July 2020 update:

Janice of the East Midlands CBP group was inspired by this post and produced the painting below:

Ox and boy by Janice Biscoe 2020
Ox and boy by Janice Biscoe 2020

She then went further and produced this lovely work which has a real narrative to it. What do you think is being thought..?

Spring Ox and boy - Janice Biscoe 2020
Spring Ox and boy – Janice Biscoe 2020

You may wish to include the Calligraphy for Ox (niú) in your painting. This can be found on our Zodiac Animals Calligraphy page.

A further Year of the Ox post for 2021 has been added here.

Happy painting


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