Chinese painting can be
divided into two major modes; a meticulous and detailed one (kung-pi) and a free,
expressionistic one called "sketching ideas (hsieh-i)." A middle path, however,
is often adopted to avoid extremes and capture accurately the outer form as well as the
inner spirit. The traditional artist may paint with great detail, but would not just copy
exterior forms; or, the artist may paint with abandon and set aside the rules of
representation, but not go so far as to create abstract art. Whether a vast overview or an
intimate scene, the goal of the artist is to lead viewers into a painting and create a
realm unto itself. Furthermore, the Chinese (writing with the brush) naturally transfer
the techniques of calligraphy to painting. As sister arts, they often appear together.
When combined with poetry and the seal, the work is complete in form and spirit to create
one of the enduring features of Chinese painting.