Finger painting is the use of the tips of the fingers and the nail instead of a brush to paint on surfaces. Painting with fingers is not the monopoly of young toddlers and children. Adults especially competent artists also practice figure painting. It is fun and can be creative.

The painting created by finger painting can be highly spontaneous and unpretentious. The following works by Puru (溥儒) [also known as Pu Xinyu 溥心畬] and Chiu Soong-ngar (趙崇雅) are good examples of finger painting.

The Art of Puru 溥儒

秋林散牧圖 心畬指畫 Grazing in Autumn Wood Finger painting by Xinyu
Details showing the fingerprints of the artist forming the bodies of the oxen
Details of the trees with barren branches. The branches might not be drawn with the nail and most probably with a fine brush. The barren branches indicate the picture is an autumn scene.

 

Details of the rocks with vegetation on them. The dots and the grasses on top of the rocks are definitely drawn with a brush (with a blunt tip).

The inscription should be written with a fine brush not with the nail.

The inscription Grazing in Autumn Wood 秋林散牧圖 Finger painting by Xinyu 心畲指畫  Seal: Puru 溥儒 (white 白文)
Puru (Pu Xinyu)

Puru 溥儒 (1896 – 1963), also known as Pu Xinyu 溥心畬, was a traditional Chinese painter and calligrapher and a member of the Manchu Aisin Gioro (愛新覺) clan, the ruling house of the Qing Dynasty (清朝). He was a cousin to Puyi (溥儀), the last Emperor of China. Puru was reputed to be as talented as the famous southern artist Zhang Daqian. Together, they became known as “P’u of the North and Chang of the South.”

 

The Art of Chiu Soong-ngar (趙崇雅)

Pavilion and Dwellings in Autumn Mountains by Chiu Soong-ngar (circa 2006)
Details of the autumn trees showing blots of ink created by the tips of the fingers. The lines of the trees are so unpretentious indicating the lines are drawn by the nail.
Details of the mountains. Again all the lines are so sketchy and unpretentious showing that they are drawn with the nail and the fleshy part of the finger tips.

The inscription should be written with a fine brush not with the nail.

Inscription: Finger painting by Chiu Soong-ngar, an old man with poor vision, aged 88 眇叟年八十八趙崇雅指画

 

Dwellings with a waterfall in Summer Mountains by Chiu Soong-ngar (circa 2006)
Details of the trees showing leaves created with fingers and nail
Details of the mountains. All the lines are so sketchy and unpretentious showing that they are drawn with the nail and the fleshy part of the finger tips.
Inscription: Finger painting by Chiu Soong-ngar, an old man with poor vision, aged 88 眇叟年八十八趙崇雅指画
Chiu Soong-ngar

Chiu Soong-ngar (趙崇雅), also known as Chiu Sin-kee (趙善淇) (1919 – 2015) was a native of Xīn Hu, Guangdong (廣東, 新會). He loved writing Chinese poems and Chinese painting since his childhood. He learnt Chinese painting with Mr Li Fenggong (李鳳公). At the later years he called himself ‘an old man with poor vision of one eye 眇叟’.

 

Demonstration of simple finger painting

(1) Drawing simple figures of animals

Dip the fingers in paints of different colours and press the fingers on a piece of paper.

Use a pen or a brush to add some details such as eyes, ears, noses to the blots of paint.

Finished products showing the faces and the bodies of some animals

 

(2) Drawing the wattle flowers

Finger painting is very suitable for drawing wattle flowers.  Dip the fingers in yellow paint and press the fingers onto drawing paper to create clusters of yellow dots.

 

Clusters of yellow dots represent the wattle flowers

Add branches with a brush

Once the branches are added among the clusters of yellow dots, an inflorescence of wattle flowers is created.

 

 

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Mr Andrew Lo, President of the Australian Chinese Painting Society, for inspiring me to write this webpage. Andrew has contributed greatly to Chinese fine art by promoting Chinese painting to mainstream Australian people. His great expertise and generosity are greatly appreciated.

This webpage is dedicated to the late Ms Mirra Hainsworth (1936 – 2017), a founding member and the first Secretary of the Australian Chinese Painting Society. Mirra loved painting the unique Australian flora and fauna using her amazing Chinese brush painting expertise. She ran classes, workshops and published papers and DVD on brush painting.  Mirra shared generously her vast knowledge of the art of the brush with fellow Australians. She is sadly missed by all of us.

Bibliography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puru_(artist)

http://baike.hrhrs.com/index.php?doc-view-4145.html

http://activebabiessmartkids.com.au/articles/finger-painting-brilliant-activity-babies-toddlers/

https://www.tmall.com/mlist/de_JJQVV2KUNyhcpBGE0IsLpg.html儿童手指画教程及儿童手指画作品大全

http://www.kejidiy.com/ertonghua/shouzhihua/ 可吉网儿童画

http://www.jbhdq.com/tags/%E6%89%8B%E6%8C%87%E7%94%BB%E6%95%99%E7%A8%8B/ 手指画教程

 

 

 

 

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