Chinese Brush Painting: Studying Wang Xuetao
Tutor: William CaiCourse Code: 1120-03


Through face to face instruction and with traditional demonstrations, this course will introduce the work of the artist Wang Xuetao (1903 to 1982), a famous modern Chinese painter, and accomplished master who made outstanding contributions to small freehand flower and bird painting. He was the President of Beijing Art Academy, Director of China Artists Association, and Vice-Chairman of the Beijing branch of the Art Association. In this workshop, through the study and research of Wang Xuetao's works, we will understand and master the essence of this master of Chinese painting.


The tutor will demonstrate the painting process of the chosen works and guide you through one or two similar styles with face-to-face and step by step traditional demonstrations.
Wang Xuetao was part of the twentieth century revival of 'guohua', traditional national painting, working in Beijing through the Japanese occupation and the establishment of the People’s Republic. He inherited the excellent traditions from the Song and Yuan dynasties, and was committed to learning from ancient masters and unceasing creativity. He studied Xu Qingteng, a Ming dynasty painter, and Ren Bonian, a Qing dynasty painter, and learned directly from Qi Baishi, a famous modern painter, in the 1920s. His wife, Xu Peiyu, was also an artist, part of the same 'Nine Friends Painting Society.'
He painted a wide range of subjects in a style that was sophisticated, fresh and beautiful. He was good at using flexible and changeable brush strokes. His work is rich in ink delight, combining color with ink, using color to help ink and ink to show color. He integrated the Western use of colour into the traditional approach.
He attached importance to sketching from nature, so that he understood and knew by heart the structure of plants and creatures. He combined this with his brush skills, so his works are accurate and vivid. He believed that all the grass, flowers, birds, fish, insects had spirit, and was good at depicting small animals and insects in nature, such as butterflies, mantis, katydids, frogs, dragonflies and so on.
In the 1950s and 1960s, his flower-and-bird painting reached a high artistic peak, and no one can surpass his small freehand brushwork.

Please bring with you

  • Large, medium and small Chinese brushes (at least one of each)

  • A Bottle of Chinese Ink

  • A box of Chinese colour (or, Gamboge, Indigo, Burnt Sienna, Vermillion Carmine, Rouge tint and White colours, each one PCS)

  • Some rice paper (raw Xuan paper)

  • Felt or old blanket (about 1m2)

  • 2 or 3 white dishes to be used as palettes

The following items can be purchased from your tutor

The tutor will have some materials available for purchase if required:
Ink: a bottle for £4;
Chinese colour: each tube of 12ml for £1; a set of 12 colours for £8.00;
Chinese brushes, in different sizes from £2 - £10;
Suitable papers for the course (E.G. Rice paper (70cm x 135cm) for £1.50).


Suitable for all levels although some experience of chinese brush painting will be helpful.

Course Location

Missenden Abbey
Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire HP16 0BD


William Cai

William CaiWilliam (Wei Min) is a veteran Chinese painting and calligraphy teacher. He has taught Chinese calligraphy and painting in the UK for more than 30 years.
William has taught and worked at the British Museum, the Westminster Library, the National Gallery, the Princes Foundation Art School, and many other art associations.
He is very experienced at Chinese landscape paintings, flower and bird paintings, meticulous paintings, and freehand paintings, especially in traditional styles.
He believes that doing Chinese painting and calligraphy can make people happy. In the process of painting, you can cultivate your body and mind.
14th to 15th Mar 2020
Saturday to Sunday


9.30amCoffee on arrival
9.45amWelcome and tutor introductions for all
10am-1pmTeaching session
1pmLunch for all - residents may check in
2-5.30pmTeaching session
6.45 for 7pmDinner for residents
From 7-9.15amBreakfast for residents
9.30am-1pmTeaching session
1pmLunch for all
2-5pmLast teaching session

"Another great workshop with William.  There is a lot to learn and it's fun!  William is very skilful and knowledgeable." (Summer School 2019)

"The course was wonderful." (Summer School 2019)