1 Painting BrushA good painting brush has a long handle and a combination of soft and strong hair. I recommend a Chinese Flow ($16.00) or Large Flow ($21.00) brush from OAS (1-800-969-4471). The Chinese Bamboo or Orchid Brushes ($10.00 or more) are useful. A first class Japanese Sumi-e brush (Badger and sheep hair) might cost $40.00.
2 Rice PaperAny raw, unsized rice paper may be used. A most useful and inexpensive paper is the Japanese Gasen Black Wind, 20 sheets of 13" x 9", $2.00. Moon paper (sold in rolls, 12" x 60", $5.25) spreads maybe too fast. Chinese Single and Double Shuen (28" x 54", $2.00) is of professional quality. Newsprint may be used for practicing.
3 Ink StickProfessional Chinese ink is excellent, but lower grades can be useless, whereas even the lower grades of Japanese ink are quite good. Low cost about $6.00, better $10.00 to $20.00. We do not use liquid ink because it is hard to control and does not thin out easily for very subtle shading.
4 Ink StoneFor grinding the ink-stick; cast from composition-stone $9.00, black slate $12.00, hand-carved natural stones are more expensive.
5 FeltA sheet of felt -- white, or black -- under the painting is essential to prevent the wet paper from sticking to the table. Sold in fabric stores by the yard, cheap.
6 Hake BrushThis flat brush for shading is not necessary for the beginner. When you have become an expert you might want one about 2" wide. Price $5.00 (made in China), $50.00 (made in Japan).
7 SaucerEssential for mixing shades. Pier One Imports sells an 8" white saucer with an upturned lip for $3.00; but look around in your cupboards . . .
8 Water ContainerThis tri-part porcelain container costs $20.00 made in China, or $30.00 made in Japan. Empty tofu container will do, but you need two -- one to clean the brush, and one for clean water.
9 SpoonThis charming brass implement is harder to find than a four-leaf clover. Just use any favorite little spoon, or bend the a plastic spoon.
10 Paper TissuesYou'll need a whole box. If you can find the cheaper-than-cheap generic kind, you are a lucky person.
11 Brush Rest and
13 Paper WeightThese curious objets d'art can be found in better gift shops. Treat yourself! But then again, bits of driftwood or stones from the beach have been known to do the same job.
12 Brush WrapperA bamboo place mat ($1.25), a brush wrapper ($6.00), and a sushi roller ($12.00) look alike because they are the same thing. Don't store brushes in a closed container where they will mold.
*At the first class the instructor will provide, at cost, for those who need them:
excellent brushes, ink, ink-stones, paper, felt, saucers, and brush-wrappers.
The Four Treasures -- brush, paper, ink, and ink-stone -- are essential. For most of the other items cheaper substitutes can be found (see above).
Bring whatever oriental painting equipment you have to the first class.
Some sources of materials:
Artist & Craftsman Supplys
580 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139 9AM - 8PM(Central Square)
OAS Oriental Art Supply
Huntington Beach, CA