Sumi-e Artists of Canada











Year of the Sheep with Baoxing Zhang - January 10th, 2015

A 12 year cycle of animals compose the Chinese zodiac. Baoxing Zhang began his workshop on the Year of the Sheep by explaining that sheep, goats and rams are all mixed into this year. The ram is the male sheep. The ram is the one with the horns. The ewe is the female sheep. Goats are another similar species.

Baoxing Zhang began with the name of the sheep and how that name sounds. The character looks like a ram with horns. He also drew the structure of the sheep.

Drawing the outline of the sheep in charcoal first is a good way of beginning the painting.

Baoxing Zhang then focused on the head using black ink to highlight the features. The pupil of the eye is horizontal.

Then, with a dry brush, he added the fur to this ram. The horns are created with a series of straight lines that together form the curling horn.

Using a water-laden brush with clear water, the body is created. The sheep has hooves with two toes.

The fur about the sheep's eyes is dark.

Completing the composition, Baoxing Zhang added a young sheep. A dry brush creates the curly fur found on sheep.

Painting a ram with the sumi-e brush in the boneless style was the next example he demonstrated to the workshop participants. The boneless style means a style without an outline. The head and horns are painted in a few brush strokes.

The body can be built in blocks using the structure shown at the beginning of the workshop.

Fighting rams make a dynamic painting. A goat has a goatee, or beard, under its chin.

Another interesting perspective is looking at the sheep with its head facing you.

The body is created with a large brush filled with clear water.

The small legs and hooves are added last.

The same approach can be used painting sheep from the rear.

Workshop participants had many sheep, goats and rams to think about when they would try painting these animals.

There are other zodiac animals such as the rat or mouse. The mouse is painted with a triangular head, big, round ears and a long tail.

The ox has a similar structure to the sheep, but larger and with different horns.

Baoxing Zhang brought many of his zodiac animal paintings.

We tried to apply what Baoxing Zhang had taught us with his help.

Having examples of Baoxing Zhang's paintings helped us paint the same animals.

Painting the sheep and other zodiac animals engaged all the workshop participants.

Baoxing Zhang suggested we complement the ox with grass, as is found on the plains.

We brought out paintings to a table for a group review.

There were lots of creative zodiac animals!

Baoxing Zhang has painted all the animals of the zodiac. See Chinese Zodiac with Baoxing Zhang. You can learn more about Baoxing Zhang in the links section.