The theme for this year’s Lunar New Year banners is time. Each of the sayings is related to the passing of time. My original intention was to write the banners in seal script, since that is the script I am currently practicing. However, it seemed that the banners might look better in standard script. I ended up writing banners in both scripts. The banner on the left is in seal script, and the banner on the right is in standard script.
日日進財 Receive wealth day after day
月月平安 Be safe and sound month after month
年年有餘 Have abundance year after year
I also made some individual single character banners.
福 Good fortune and prosperity. The banner on the top is in seal script, and the banner on the bottom is in standard script.
春 Spring. I only wrote this in standard script.
I had some trouble last year with this paper. It is nothing like the usual paper for calligraphy. This paper is almost like wrapping paper, with a very slippery surface. I had to adjust and write really slowly. I also found that not all brands of ink is appropriate for this paper. 吳竹墨 is better than 一得閣. I thought 一得閣 was too wet and was difficult to control.
I also tried to use the red envelopes from last year, but found even regular black ink would only adhere with some gum sandarac. I really do not like the look of it on the red paper because it turns the paper pinkish and leaves dust all over. Dried ink also has a tendency to fall off.
I ended up making red envelopes out of the same paper for the banners.
I tried some gold inks this year, but none seemed to work with the paper. I probably need to experiment with some more gold inks before I find one that works. Another possibility is to find better banner paper. I have seen descriptions of paper that has a consistency closer to mulberry paper (the type of paper typically for calligraphy). Ink should soak into that type of paper better. I would expect to have the same (at least closer) results compared to writing on regular calligraphy paper.
One of my goals this year was to learn running script. I studied it for a while, but then realized that it is a bit beyond me at this point. I was getting bits and pieces of it, but not grasping it entirely. I decided to take a break from running script and return to seal script.
My goal this time is to be able to write all of 說文部首, the radicals of 說文解字 (Suo Wen Jie Zi). I am systematically going through each radical and order and learning them. I’m practicing the radicals in layers: repeating one at a time, then two together (after practicing two), then four together (after practicing two sets of two).
I want to be able to write all the radicals at once. The aim is to practice to the point that I can recreate the style through muscle and visual memory. Then I should not need to look at the copy book and be able to write it out. That is when I know I have fully internalized the script.
This is the first time I am trying this type of in depth study with any script. Previously, I was mostly trying out different scripts, but not necessarily internalizing the script. I am excited to see where this experiment leads me.
Seal script is not square shaped, so using this grid paper is not appropriate. There’s a noticeable difference between the standard script at the last line compared to the stone drum inscription. This is the first time I have written the song on the first drum in its entirety. It’s not bad, but there are definitely places that need practice. Hopefully the next time I write this, it will be much improved!