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East Asian Brush Painting Show Coming to Kaplan Orchid Conservatory

East Asian brush painting from Blue Heron Chapter Web site

The Arthur and Phyllis Kaplan Orchid Conservatory on the Old Dominion University campus will host a show Feb. 5-7 of the work of local artists who have used the conservatory's collection of flowers as inspiration for their East Asian brush painting.

"Orchid Conservatory Serves as Muse" is the title of the show. The artists participating are members of the Blue Heron Chapter of the Sumi-e Society of America.

Show hours are 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6; and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7. Admission and parking in the 43rd Street garage are free, and refreshments will be served. At the opening night event there will be drawings for door prizes, including a blooming orchid and a matted Sumi-e painting.

In addition, artists from the Blue Heron Chapter in Hampton Roads will give painting demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 6 and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 7.

"These artists have visited the conservatory to get inspiration over the past year and now want to give back," said Timothy Motley, ODU's J. Robert Stiffler Professor of Botany and associate professor of biological sciences. Motley has overall responsibility for the conservatory; its director is Steve Urick, who can be contacted at surick@odu.edu for more information about the art show or other conservatory events.

East Asian brush painting is the general name for many styles of painting that originated in China centuries ago and spread throughout Japan and Korea. Blue Heron Chapter artists paint in a variety of styles, some representational and others abstract.

The paintings are on what is called rice paper, although other plants such as hemp or bamboo are typically used to make it. The ink that is brushed on is made from soot and glue. Sources of color include powdered jade and other natural substances. An integral part of the composition is the "red chop," or seal, which is the artist's signature.

The Blue Heron Chapter was formed in 1988 to promote the Sumi-e techniques by means of workshops, lectures and exhibitions. More about the chapter can be found at www.blueheronsumie.org.

Dr. Arthur Kaplan, the late Norfolk physician, donated his collection of 1,000 orchids and he and his family and friends made monetary donations as well to enable ODU to build the conservatory, which opened in 2008. The facility includes greenhouses and a 30-foot-high display house with a rock wall, waterfall and pool. The public can visit between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays, or by making special arrangements with Urick.

This article was posted on: January 27, 2010

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