Brush in hand, Lampo Leong carefully dips the pointed tip into a small pool of jet black ink. He quickly moves the ink-laden brush towards the dry rice-paper on the table, a thin, tan sheet held down at the edges by paperweights. A brief pause, and then Leong dashes the brush to the paper, the tip and side jumping and dancing across the sheet with intense, determined movements. As the brush reaches the end of the paper, Leong steps back, sets it down, and clasps his hands together. “This is cursive Chinese calligraphy,” he explains.
As the brush glides across the rice-paper, it seems to “actually dance on paper,” according to Leong. The artist is allowed greater manipulation with the Chinese brush because of its pointed and soft bristles, as opposed to the flat, stiff bristles of the Western brush. Energetic black strokes and the strong contrast provided by the black ink are some of the characteristics that distinguish Chinese calligraphy.