CBP Challenge 3: Lotus & Dragonfly

We recently completed our third Chinese Brush Painting challenge. The main subject of the challenge was Lotus. However, for most of our number that was not enough and (as is definitely becoming a habit) Dragonflies/ Damselflies were added. Of course, as usual, the idea of the challenge was to interpret that title in any way people saw fit.

There were some absolutely wonderful paintings of Lotus leaves and flowers produced and most people had completed more than one painting for the challenge.

I have been thinking about the artist Qi Baishi (1863 – 1957) a lot recently and especially because of this challenge. Qi Baishi is one of Claire’s favourite artists and we have been studying his work for many years now.

For some of Claire’s challenge inspirations please see our Double Happiness Studio MH Facebook page.

I was drawn to using something of his as the basis for my challenge piece. Qi Baishi’s detailed Dragonflies, and other insects, have fascinated me ever since I saw them and I believe I have wanted to paint one for over 20 years. Part of me thought it was not possible to paint them freehand and they must have been made with some kind of camera obscura but I will leave you to judge what you think from my piece which is freehand on single xuan paper…

I made a rough sketch to plan out the composition and then, very carefully started on the Dragonfly. The secret is to make sure that the brush is wetted to make a fine point and then dried out as much as possible. Most especially the heel of the brush. Once the detail was completed the Lotus seed pod, and especially its stem, had to be completed in dark wet ink in order to provide the contrast required:

If you would like to see the above painting in more detail, please visit my Portfolio.

There are 3 parts to the Calligraphy, one is the date, another my signature and the one at the top is literally saying ‘in the style of Baishi’ with an attempt at his later Calligraphic style. The seal is of our studio, Double Happiness.

We would love to include some of the other challenge work so if you have produced a painting for this one and would be happy to share do please let us know and we will post it up here…

I hope this inspires you to paint some wonderful pictures. If you feel so drawn, again, please let me know and I will post up images here. You can always comment in your own words below. Just click on Leave a comment.

Claire will be posting up a challenge painting very soon so please watch this space…

Happy painting,


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