Every weekend, enthusiasts of Chinese fine art gather at the Sinology Learning Center on Guangwai street in Beijing.
Wang Yongzhi is the teacher and senior artist at the center. He has been painting since he was 16 years old and is now an enthusiastic volunteer.
"First of all, we're here simply because its fun learning together." Wang said. "We help each other out and improve our skills together. Second, we believe by learning and teaching here, we are actually serving a larger purpose of passing on our heritage."
"I'm proud of my students, they say they are here to have fun but when they actually start learning and painting, you know they've got passion, you know that they mean business," he said.
Yin Baoxiang, an art student at the center, said taking the class has enriched his life.
"This class has been going on for 5 years," he said. I've actually been wanting to paint since I was a boy. Chinese fine art is my passion."
But Wang is not a pure traditionalist. He's also very open to adopting Western techniques in his paintings to create one of a kind works.
"Sometimes we use techniques alien to traditional methods to bring more sense of dimensions to our paintings. A few dabs of ink does have some depth, but very often it's not enough. For example, I did some sketching on this work to give the building more depth."
The learning center is also well-known for its expertise in calligraphy; in fact it just held a calligraphy contest. Some students even had the audacity to imitate the works of Wang Xizhi, a calligrapher from more than 1500 years ago, who is hailed as perhaps the greatest calligrapher of all time.
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