This summer, I am adding to my practice by starting 行書 (running script). A while back I had attempted to learn the 楷書 (standard script) style of 智永, but found the style to be strongly influenced by 草書 (grass script). I had a very difficult time with it. After some thought, the missing link was the fact I had not studied 行書. The most famous style of 行書 is that of 王羲之, so that is what I am starting with.
Starting a new script means going back to the basics and learning new ways of writing the basic strokes. Even after studying different scripts and styles, this can be quite challenging. I feel like finally getting to start 行書 is already quite a feat, but it is another issue if I can master it.
I also decided it was time to start using my 蘭竹 (made from weasel hair), rather than my trusty 長流 (weasel hair center, surrounded by goat hair). It probably was not the best idea to change two variables at once, but 蘭竹 is more pliable than 長流. Running script is written faster than any other script I have written, so I thought a more flexible brush was appropriate.
A few practice pages later, I was pretty comfortable with the basic horizontal stroke.
I managed to accomplish what I wanted to in this first practice session. I think I did a pretty good job understanding the specifics of the horizontal stroke, especially this particular one. It’s very specific to 行書, with the start and end parts exposed. I am also now more familiar with the 蘭竹 and look forward to continue using it in my 行書 practice.