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Joy on the Tip of the Brush - Orchid

- Oriental Ink Painting / Sumie Course

An East Asian ink painting course of Orchid (“”), the essence of which is joy, exploring the deep meaning of this topic through meditative movement, brush techniques and philosophic and moral qualities.


Duration: 6 weeks (Wednesday mornings).

Date: 28th September; 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th October, 2nd November, 2022.

Time: 9.30am - 12.30pm (3 hours)

Online Course: meeting link will be sent out before the first class.

Sessions will be recorded for late-viewing/reviewing and available for 4 weeks after the end of the course until 30th November , 2022.


Thousands of years ago, the Chinese ink painting artists always followed a golden rule - paint only when they are in the mood. Our master’s epigram is something of a signpost which gives warning that painting and mood must be in accord:

“When there is joy, paint the orchid.”

A calm, relaxed, flexible hand requires a tranquil, relaxed and joyful mind. Orchid (the second topic of the “Four Gentlemen” training ) is the symbol for a joyful mood. By drawing the prolonged curves of the leaves, which start from the centre of the plant, evoke an everlasting source of life and inspiration.

In this course we will explore mindfulness, awareness and presence through mindful breathing, body posture and meditative brush practice as we learn to paint Orchid (“兰”) . We will learn to trust the flow of ch'i (life force) through our brush, and onto the paper, and likewise how we bring awareness and joy into our everyday activity.

Each session begins with simple movement and breathing exercises of Kum Nye (from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition) – suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels – to help us relax and be present in the body.

This course is based on a step-by-step approach so that we will deepen our understanding and strengthen our brush skills with joy and grace. We will learn how to paint orchid through various brush techniques and exercises supported with individual guidance, and each session ends with suggestions for home practice designed to help you cultivate your own brush practice.


What Include in this Course:

  • 6 * LIVE SESSIONS with Yingge Xu & Matt Padwick

  • CLASS RECORDINGS for late-viewing/reviewing and available for 4 weeks after the end of the course.

  • CLASS NOTES that you can keep for future reference, and supportive READINGS to deepen your understanding.

  • Breathing exercises and simple movement to develop BODY AWARENESS;

  • Learn HOW TO set up a brush practice work space, how to hold a brush and set the body posture;

  • A step - by - step GUIDED PROCESS with stroke analysis and designed brush exercise;

  • LIVE Q & A time when your questions will be answered;

  • ONLINE PLATFORM where you can share your practice, ask questions and get supported from other practitioners.

Course Schedule

Each session last for 3 hours with a tea break

  • Kum Nye/Meditation 20 mins

  • Brush Practice 60 mins

  • Break 20 mins

  • Kum Nye /Meditation 20 mins

  • Brush Practice 50 mins

  • Q & A 10 mins


Tools & Materials

There are some tools & materials that will be required for you to get the best of this retreat:

  • Chinese/Japanese ink brush

  • Black ink

  • Ink container

  • Normal A4 computer paper (rice paper/xuan paper if have)

  • Water jar

  • Magic Writing Mat (optional)


Meet the Presenters

Yingge Xu

From an early age Yingge Xu learned Tai Chi, meditation and calligraphy alongside her father while receiving a traditional education in China. Later she trained at the Chinese Flower and Bird Painting Institute and continued her learning with ink brush artists from both China and Japan.

Moving to Ireland in 2015, and seeing how meditation is taught and applied in the West, inspired a new perspective of her own art and practice, when she founded Art of the Brush. Yinnge shares her passion for both meditation and ink-brush art, not as separate activities but as a ‘holistic experience’.

Matt Padwick

Matt has been practising meditation and Kum Nye as a member of the Dzogchen Beara community since 1998. He has completed two years of closed retreat and

worked in a variety of roles including Centre Director 2003-2013.

Matt offers Kum Nye workshops and retreats at Dzogchen Beara and elsewhere in Ireland - currently, in response to Covid-19, the programmes have successfully adapted to an online format.

We look forward to seeing you on-line!


Background of Oriental Brushwork

Oriental brush practice, which has been well known as East Asian calligraphy and ink painting or sumi-e in Zen tradition, have always been closely related to mindful art practice and meditation. This three-thousand-year-old art form, which originated in China has commonly been appreciated and practiced in most parts of East Asia and been introduced to the world.

Holding a brush and practicing calligraphy is a relaxing and joyful experience. Each moment of practice is a moment of learning. As an old master said “brush practice is not a goal-oriented task but, rather, a path for deepening your way of life’’.



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