Brushstrokes: tradition with a contemporary flair

Andrea Allen, original Chinese brushwork: paintings, vases, bowls, sushi platters, scrolls, prints.

Gualala Arts Exhibit

Opening reception Friday, April 6, 2018, 5 to 7 pm. Exhibit thru April 29, 2018.

Elaine Jacob Foyer


As a Chinese Brush Artist, Andrea Allen has developed a unique style that combines the traditions of the Chinese Masters with a subtle, contemporary flair. She studied with a Chinese Master for six years, and has been painting and teaching in this style for over twenty years.

Andrea utilizes many ancient Chinese techniques such as grinding her own Sumi ink, often mixing it with watercolor, loading the calligraphy brush, and applying it to handmade rice paper, with a minimal number of strokes to complete each painting.  She carefully balances the unpainted and painted spaces in each composition, creating a tranquil flow throughout each painting.

“With each ceramic piece, I mix my own colored under glazes and  paint on the green ware, using a traditional Chinese calligraphy brush. The piece is then bisque fired to over 1900 degrees. I then paint on three coats of lustrous glaze and fire the piece again to 1900 degrees,” she says.

Ancient Chinese symbolism and philosophy influence her work, enhancing the feeling of  vital energy  and serenity.  The inherent effect is for the viewer to be effortlessly invited into  each painting, to experience a peaceful balance and harmony in a timeless continuum.

“When I am working on my ceramics, I place my emphasis on creating an original,  Chinese Brush Painting, with  all the  traditions,  Dynasty-old brush strokes, and symbolism incorporated into each ceramic piece,” Andrea says. “I consider the  shape of each ceramic piece, to ensure it is conducive to Chinese Brush style, resulting in a unique and functional work of art.”

The intent, she says, is for each ceramic painting to elicit a feeling of dynamic serenity  “…a balance between tranquility and excitement each time someone views or uses the ceramic painting.  My wish is that each ceramic painting brings the viewer  as  much joy as it  brought me as I was creating it.”

Andrea has exhibited extensively throughout the Bay Area, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. She teaches several classes in Chinese Brush painting for beginning and experienced students. Andrea also welcomes creating custom paintings, upon request.

More about the artist

As a child in Michigan, I was fortunate to begin my first drawing lessons at the early age of 4. At 10, I was introduced to ceramics and my life-long passions for creating art was born! Studying Art at Western Michigan University gave me the opportunity to further my artistic skills in ceramics, watercolor, oil, mixed-media, weaving, wood working and more.

My move to beautiful California challenged me artistically even more as I began studying Chinese Brush Painting. After six years of study in this ancient art form, I knew I had found my soul’s true artistic home.  I continue my love for the Dynasty-old Brush Strokes, and have been painting, teaching, and exhibiting in this style for over three decades.

The desire to be part of an artistic community led me to a wonderful studio on the Bay in Sausalito, where I was further inspired by the majesty of the water, incorporating my experiences into my paintings, as well as the ceramics I was now also creating. Living on my houseboat for ten years also added to the overall quest for dynamic serenity in my work and life.

My recent move to Gualala has totally fulfilled my passion for being part of a fantastic art community and continuing my painting while looking out of my studio window at the magnificent ocean. I am incredibly inspired to incorporate all these new visual and sensory experiences into my work, while continuing to utilize all the traditional Chinese techniques, balanced with a subtle contemporary flair.

I am very proud to have exhibited throughout the Bay Area, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. My work is in many art collections around the world, including famous singers and actors. As I continue to share this wonderful ancient media, my wish is that each painting brings the viewer as much joy as it did me as I was creating it.

Visit to view more of her work.