This paper proposes a technique to animate a “Chinese style” painting given its image. We first extract descriptions of the brush strokes that hypothetically produced it. The key to the extraction process is the use of a brush stroke library, which is obtained by digitizing single brush strokes drawn by an experienced artist. The steps in our extraction technique are: segment the input image, find the best set of brush strokes that fit the regions, and finally refine these strokes to account for local appearance. We model a single brush stroke using its skeleton and contour, and we characterize texture variation within each stroke by sampling perpendicularly along its skeleton. Once these brush descriptions have been obtained, the painting can be animated at the brush stroke level. In this paper, we focus on Chinese paintings with relatively sparse strokes. The animation is produced using a graphical application we developed. We present several animations of real paintings using our technique.