How to Paint Trees in Chinese Brush Painting with Watercolor and Sumi Ink

This video in an new interpretation of the basic „four branches“ concept of traditional Chinese brush painting in painting trees. You may search Youtube to find many computer generated trees and landscapes based on a very simple fractal element. In my view traditional Chinese painting is the prototype of fractal design, which emphasized on training of some simple „fractal“ sets to achieve spontaneous artistic creation. Please see this Youtube video about our fractal universe:
Those fractal sets or elements of traditional Chinese landscape painting has been passed down from master to students and practiced generation after generation. You can find these painting rules and principles in the classic text Musdard Seed Garden Manual of Painting.

If you want to achieve the freedom of creation like ancient and modern Chinese artists you need to learn the basic rules first then vary them. Like for example in painting trees, you need to know how to draw the basic four branches first. Then try to express your own mood with seasonal asspect so to give your painting „breath resonance and life movement.“

I wish you not only could learn the Chinese way of painting trees through this lesson, but the importance of fractal design concepts. That is why I strongly recommend the Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting. As you can see this was how I learned Chinese painting from my teacher.

Thanks for watching!

Happy Holidays!


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carl turner says:

First I want to say hi henry,I have always liked to paint in many forms and I came across your videos.I have to say very inspiring stuff.the painting of the trees in this video is beautiful very warm and are a great artist you have really opened my eyes with your style.I will surely be trying it out myself…fantastic work 😊

Mohsen Moghadam says:

Awesome !

Vicki Wood says:

Thank you! I learned so great pointers, and really LOVE the trees! Gorgeous. 

Dana B says:

very nice.  the sumi ink…do you get darker tones with it than indian ink?  Very nice thankyou.

Reynaldo Martinez says:

Very interesting by watching this video in light to see the technique of water color with the bruch cut up to give it a rough look on the trees .

Terrapin243 says:

an asian bob ross. i dig it. 

dick head says:

I thought there was rats scrambling around in my walls!

jurc61098 says:

now i know why china inks are water based………

kagrochmal says:

I was able to see this in HD and the noise wasnt that bad, but I see what you mean. I dont think I would ever complain because you are giving us you art lessons for free. Amazing artwork as usual and have a happy holiday!

lindaag0 says:

Hi Henry,
Great teaching video, and I love the painting–the negative space & composition, the flow & energy, the abstract expressionistic style & brushwork. Thanks so much for sharing all the useful tips and other painting & design information with us all.

Sumi-e Holland says:

You have some wonderful treasures from your teacher. They have spirit !

Henry Li says:

I'd like to know if you can see this video in HD mode. And any feedbacks or comments are appreciated.
I was a little bothered by the noise caused by the poor tripod, sorry. I am getting a professional video tripod to Victoria as my Xmas gift. 🙂 Hope you will not hear that any more in the future.

Henry Li says:

@nattIXwattI Thank you! Happy painting!

Henry Li says:

@MrHroark Thank you for your request of showing various ways to make a split brush from old brushes or by trimming the new brush.
Merry Christmas early!


MrHroark says:

Thanks Henry….nicely done.
…and particularly for the demo on making the split brush for landscapes.

(you are my art teacher too)

May you and yours have a most blessed Christmas and New Year

135find says:

ur amazing thank u for these videos ur my online art teacher xD 

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