The print is composed of three plates and three colors, white, blue and black, in a total of three runs. The base plate sets a warm white background, providing the white negative space that will later be outlined by black ink from the main plate. The etched lines of the copperplate shares the same principle as Liu Kuo-sung’s “Ripping the Tendons and Peeling the Skin” technique. In both cases, the lines are created by the principle of reduction, either through etching the surface of the copperplate or pealing the fibers of the rice paper; the goal is to reveal the whiteness of the base.
The blue of the middle plate serves as a transition between the other two plates. Its purpose is to add substance and to create a sense of depth to the black ink of the brushstrokes.The black of the main plate creates the main compositional brushstrokes. In order to represent the velocity of Liu’s wild-cursive script, great attention was paid to the details of the brushstrokes. Undergoing a series of biting (in which the acid corrodes the exposed copper) and revisions with the etching needle, the varying depth and thickness of the ink are slowly created; bit by bit and line by line.
Liu Kuo-sung’s Great Brushstrokes Series transmits the power of wild-cursive script by past masters, and the properties of etching printing specializes in the depiction of sharp and flowing lines. The copperplate’s etched lines and the exposed white lines of Liu’s “Ripping the Tendons and Peeling the Skin” technique share the same principle, both abiding by the creative philosophy of Yin and Yang ever-present in the art of Liu Kuo-sung. Liu Kuo-sung’s Great Brushstrokes series transmits the power and substance of wild-cursive script by past masters, and the properties of etching printmaking allows for the excellent depiction of sharp and flowing lines. The etched lines of the copperplate and the exposed white lines of Liu’s “Ripping the Tendons and Peeling the Skin” technique are the same in principle, both abiding by the creative philosophy of Yin and Yang ever-present in the art of Liu Kuo-sung.