Artist Robert Blackburn Biography Plus History of Chinese Hand Scroll Paintings

Robert Blackburn started his printing workshop in 1948. Back then, it was known as the Creative Graphic Workshop. His desire was to see young artists flourish in an environment that supported their vision and encouraged the development of their talent.

Robert Blackburn was one of the talented artists who grew up during the Harlem Renaissance. He was born to Jamaican parents and moved to Harlem from New Jersey in 1920. He was influenced by great writers, scientists and philosophers. The artist studied alongside the talented artists at the Harlem Community Art center. His fellow learners included painter Jacob Lawrence and printmaker Romare Bearden.

From the Harlem Community Art center, he went to the Art Students League located in Manhattan. He also studied with master lithographers at the Ateliers Desjobert in Paris. The foremost artists of the time, such as Pablo Picasso, had their work printed at the Ateliers Desjobert.

Lasting Impressions: Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop


During his lifetime, Robert Blackburn taught at several universities. He printed for renowned artists such as Robert Rauschenberg. He was also Universal Limited Art Edition’s (ULAE) first master printer. However the work he is most widely recognized for is his Printmaking Workshop, sometimes referred to as the Blackburn atelier.

The artist funded the workshop with his own money. It allowed both experienced artists and young printmakers to meet and work together. At any time, they could collaborate in the environment he provided.

The Blackburn Printmaking Workshop was stocked with the best equipment in the industry. The legendary printmaker was always willing to provide a helping hand for young artists who wanted to perfect their craft.


History of Chinese Hand Scroll Paintings- Ancient Chinese Hand Scroll Artists

Hand scroll paintings are small paintings that were done in China. Like other scrolls, these works could be rolled out to allow the artwork on the inside to be viewed easily. They could also be rolled up and transported from one area to another.


Artwork section of a handscroll, Early Autumn by Song loyalist painter Qian Xuan

Artist Robert Blackburn Biography Plus History of Chinese Hand Scroll Paintings

Artist Robert Blackburn Biography Plus History of Chinese Hand Scroll Paintings


Examples of Hand Scroll Paintings

Chinese hand scroll paintings were popular during the Song dynasty. One of the most well known examples of work done in this style is The Night Revels of Han Xizai. Another well known painting from China that is done on a hand scroll is Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains.

Structure of Hand Scroll Paintings

Ancient Chinese hand scroll artists told their story using a format that can be thought of as a stretched landscape view. Their paintings were enjoyed piece by piece. As the scroll was unrolled slowly, each new segment would be displayed for the enjoyment of the individuals who held the object.

Viewers would look at every detail in the work. The story that was told in this type of painting was told in stages, although each element helped to form a complete picture when the scroll was unrolled completely.


The Tradition of Chinese Scroll Paintings – The 100 Geese


Advantages of Hand Scroll Painting

Completing a painting on a hand scroll allowed Ancient Chinese artists to slow down the pace at which viewers moved through the painting. They could draw the viewer’s attention to what they wanted to first.

Since they were small in comparison to other types of artwork, the paintings provided a one on one experience with art. Someone could sit with a few friends around them and look at a painting.

The site of these paintings also made it easier to share a favorite with someone else. They were not bulky like installations or some of the larger pieces that are favored in other types of art.

Chinese hand scroll art is as famous as the following artists and media:

  • Eric Fischl watercolors
  • Romare Bearden collages
  • Printmaker Robert Blackburn

Yuan and Song Dynasty Hand Scroll Themes

Hand scroll artists favored different topics. Some looked at the politics of the day while others examined nature and their physical surroundings. Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, as the name suggests, is a nature piece. The artwork contains brush and ink renderings of tees, houses and hills.

The Night Revels of Han Xizai is a commentary on corrupt politicians of the time. It highlights some of the failings of the leaders, including their sexual indiscretions.

Popular Chinese Hand Scroll Artists

The National Museum at Taipei and the Palace Museum in Beijing house the work of well known hand scroll artists. You can see work by Huang Gongwang and Gu Hongzhong.


Animation Design Art College: Choosing the Right One for You

If you have been interested in being an artist for a while, whether it’s a lifelong dream or something that struck your fancy only recently, a natural step is to learn more about your area of interest through study.

A lot of options are available nowadays. A vast number of highly qualified schools not only offer classes in a particular geographical area, but online as well.

Some schools offer a mix of both distance and on-site training.

How do you know what to choose?

The first thing you have to do when establishing which school is best for you is your area of study.

What interests you most about art?

Is it the practical, outdoor hands on aspect?

Is it passing on learning to others, for example, to children?

Is it the vivid graphics that can be found in computer games or computer animated movies?

All these factors will affect your choice of school, because although all schools may be good, not every school might be an expert in your chosen area of specialization in art.

The second thing to consider is finances. Online courses are usually less costly than courses that require you to be on-site.

Many reputable Colleges offer accredited online Degrees and Diplomas.

After you have narrowed down your list to about five schools, go through it again, checking what past and current students have to say about the quality of the experience and whether what will be provided will help you reach your goals.

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