Painting Essay


  I am most fascinated with painting. What I love and hate about it is the ever-present uncertainty in the creation process, where results are often unpredictable or unexpected. Isnt life in reality just like that too?


  Compared with the finished work, I am more fascinated with the process of creating it. Perhaps it is because the atmosphere in the painting draws me closer and closer as it materializes I always want my painting to be a reflection or a record of the track marks of my mental activities, throughout its birth, progress and completion. I want my painting to be a triune of my spiritual activities, the process of a painting and the experience of realistic life.


  Some paintings took me no time to complete; they were conceptualized in my heart, and I would put them down on the canvas at one sitting. But more often, I would paint and re-paint a picture again and again, each time starting from scratch both in terms of my mentality and approach, and every time it would be a deconstruction, modification or reconstruction of the previous version.


  Painting is a most interesting game. In the process of playing against myself, I achieve temporary respite from the confusions and frustrations in reality again and again. In the same manner, I enjoy momentary resolution again and again from the tangle of complex and conflicting thoughts about mind and matter, consciousness and subconsciousness, fantasy and hope, existence and nothingness, nature and life.


  Creation, is to create a bunch of questions first and then proceed to solve them one by one. During the creating process, there will be times when you are suddenly hit with seemingly insurmountable bottlenecks. Moreover, such situations are usually not overcome with sheer effort. The answers and clues may be contained within the details of life. One needs to wait, accumulate, and meditate allowing the doubt to work its mysterious wonders in the subconscious mind; once the mind reaches a state of saturation, any bits of the details of life could trigger flashes of inspiration, and bring about breakthroughs.


  There are no boundaries to the techniques and languages of art. New inspirations and subjects of expression need to be realized through new and suitable techniques and languages. Creation is more of a journey of my spiritual explorations, a struggle against the existing techniques and languages, a constant tug-of-war with myself.


  The artists journey of artistic evolution is actually a manifestation of his mental evolution. In his acts of artistic creation, the artists mental state will determine the form of his art and how he presents images artistically. The artists creation activity is one that is intentional (in his inner world). The artists intention determines what he draws and how he draws. The audience, then, needs to understand the artists intention (emotion, thought, hope, fear, etc.) before they can appreciate his works and read into the meaning that is embodied within these works.


  The creation of paintings is usually very private and personal, and is sustained by the self-contained world of the artists psyche. This is the fountain of life of creation. No matter if it merges with the mainstream, or is always flowing in solitude, or consolidates into a lake, or empties into the sea, this fountain is the wellspring of my life. When it meets with other streams of water, it can blend with them readily, or it can also greet them cordially before going separate ways. In short, it flows naturally and cannot be forced. It reminds me not to lose my inner self about painting and often prods me to ask myself, Am I still me?


  To see one world in a flower, we also need to realize that every person is like a flower. In this world, every person or living thing is a flower.I spend most of my life busy caring for self-nurturing, self-nourishing, and self-improving, hoping that the flower within us will eventually blossom. However, I will not stop myself from appreciating others flowers. To allow myself to blossom while being able to appreciate others is to live according to the saying, The person who desires is a lesser being than one who enjoys. There are as many flowers as people in this world, which make our world multi-hued. Some flowers are good for display, while others are used in medicine, tea leaves (like chrysanthemum tea and osmanthus tea), poison, food ... such profusion yet each having its own little mission.As for me, I prefer to nurse the fertile soil that is in my heart, and to be a happy, breeze-loving jasmine, quietly perfuming the air with my fragrance.


  Every day, my thoughts about painting are like a kite flittering about in the wind. My emotion and interest are my kite, and my reason and goal are the kite line. Sometimes, the kite will drop from the sky. In such moments, all I need to do is to think of ways to untangle the kite line, so that the kite will be up and flying again.


  For a practitioner of art, the most important thing is to be in the right state. This includes his state of mind and body, which means staying physically and emotionally healthy, having peace of mind, being mentally active, and be worry-free about his body. All these are conducive to the formation of a benign energy field.


  Some people say my style of painting changes too fast, that I am now at the stage of trying out different styles to find my own. I can accept this observation. However, I wish to respond with this question: What is this concept of stages? Having stages may not indicate having a pathway to a predefined target or result.According to the Yi Ching, Life is about making adjustments in stages. In my opinion, stages are like semicolons, and my life is filled with stages linked to other stages. Ones life is a series of interconnected stages; some of which may be complimentary with another, while others may perhaps be different.


  To me, creation is no longer about expressing myself or to show something, to achieve some goals, to make some contribution, or to receive something in return...It is simply about truthfully experiencing or realizing every moment of time that I have, in order to set free my true spirit and internal language. Do not try to hide or mask yourself, but rather, be a mass of sparks that, once ignited, will burn fiercely and thoroughly.


  Did Van Gogh or Picasso ever mull over whether ordinary people were able to easily appreciate their paintings! ? I do not think an artist needs to ask himself such ques-tions. If we try to pander to the general publics understanding of our art, all is lost!


  I liken my creating process to managing a large garden, in which I cultivate different varieties of plants based on the condition of the soil, environment and air. Each plant is its own, yet it is interrelated with others, forming a benign cycle within an ecosystem. I am like a gardener who tends his garden everyday, industriously cultivating and irrigating the plants. This ongoing labor becomes a state. Once I am in the right state in all aspects, it is like the nerve cells in my body are all connected up and are ready to sprout fantastical inspirations at any time. Once this state is disturbed, it is like to stop watering the plants, or to find the air polluted. In time, the plants will wilt due to a lack of nutrition and eventually die a premature death.


  I consider myself a wealthy person in terms of my possession of time, because every day I have a full 24 hours and I have at my disposal 1,440 minutes. Yet, I wish to be a miser in spending this providential wealth, to be so miserly as not to waste any single minute.


  When a person spends a prolonged period of time alone, whether to draw, read or write, he puts himself in a situation where he needs to face his own inner self. To me, it is akin to walking side by side with death as a companion, for I can feel myself competing with time for my youth at every moment, yet I am powerless in this struggle. I feel small, even insignificant.However, is the fear of the insatiable emptiness the eventual driving force behind all seemingly firm ideals and deeds?I have passed the point of no return in my companionship with solitude, for this is the only prescription to treat the desolation of death. I do not seem to fear death anymore, because I have come to terms with how lowly and weak my life is. So why should I be afraid of a few paintings, or an exhibition? They are merely my spiritual medication.

  1.各种令人眼花缭乱的食物=the bewildering variety of foods,其中variety表示“种类,多样性”。

  My attitude towards criticism of my creations is that of indifference. My reason is: at my present stage, my art is like the various parts of an elephant and is yet to be pieced together into the complete elephant. So it is premature for others to criticize them now. Furthermore, for them to criticize or comment on my art while it is still maturing is akin to the blind men trying to describe what an elephant looks like by groping in the dark.The correct attitude is thus: any criticism or suggestion that enters my left ear will be filtered in my brain; the beneficial remarks will be absorbed, while the rest goes out from my right ear. The important thing is to think for yourself, as the ancient saying goes: You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.

  2.从认知的角度理解=in cognitive terms,其中in terms表示“从……角度理解”。

  In the creation stage of Flower in the Wind, I basically sought to convey realities by expressing my feelings as they really are.In the creative stage of Journey to Dreamland, I started to go beyond reality to portray something else, by weaving my thoughts into my works by manipulating forms, lines, colors, spaces and brush strokes.

  3.有限的起源=constrained beginnings

  What is a good painting? I feel that my current creations are still a great distance from works that convey the senses of carefreeness and wonderment.Be it rational knowledge or technical accomplishment, when they are fully absorbed into every cell of my body, they can independently manipulate my emotions. All I have to do is to exercise my vitality naturally. Works that I produce in these moments are then considered my best works!

  4.支配语法=dictate a grammar

  Whatever we read and the convictions, views and experiences of our forebears, the ancients or any others cannot substitute what we accomplish with our own hands as well as our independent thinking.That said, our forebears experiences and works can serve as a door or a springboard, through which I can enter into another garden.We must never allow our intuition and feelings be confined by dogmatic, second-hand experiences and the thoughts of others, for otherwise we will die at the doorstep before we can enter our own gardens.

  5.涵盖规模=entail the dimensions

  Painting is not easy, more so is to create a good painting. This is because the core of painting is our inner world; most of the time, our feelings or thoughts reflect our inner struggles. The emotions and thoughts in life are insubstantial and invisible, whereas art serves to transform the Subliminal into tangible, visible images and colors. In other words, painting is a portrayal of ones heart (or what the artist has distilled from it). Isnt this challenging? !

  6.科学事业=scientific enterprise

  The essence of art is to come out from thin air and yet able to create something out of nothing.To me, inheritance and innovation are like bees making honey. As a honey maker, I produce the honey from a hundred flowers, while the accomplishments of my forebears are the gardens with a hundred blossoms or like the twinkling stars in the sky. As industrious as the honeybees, I work hard to collect the pollens of inspiration according to my preference from among the multitude of dazzling blossoms, and ferment them in my own honey comb to produce my unique concoction of my honey from a hundred flowers.

  7.阻止和消除饥饿=stem and eradicate hunger

  At my current stage, I need to return to the issue of the purified nature of art. This purity refers to how the various elements of the painting can be portrayed in their pure form as well as the personality strength and spiritual direction implied by these elements.

  8.某事由某人做出=something is initiated by somebody

  Be it people, plants, animals or everyday life, they fall prey to my brush and become expressions of life. Whether dynamic or static, I strive to imbue them with the thoughts and feelings of life, the rhythm of music, the abstract language of dance and the excitement of games. I see them all as the spiritual strokes of art.

  9.成功的学术生涯的先决条件=a prerequisite for a successful academic career

  The weapon that can most successfully stifle an artist is perhaps the craving for fame and public recognition. This is because the allure of art is only in the art itself.Art conveys thoughts, but not to be burdened by it. They are totally different matters.

  10.诠释语言的基本结构=unfold the fundamental structure of a language

  Only when one can stand solitude before he can uphold the simplicity of art. Solitude conjures up the images of a deserted mountain, a flower blooming beside a stream, a crescent moon shining coldly from high in the sky. We should hold a conviction towards art, so that we can be simpler, less adulterated.


  The process of painting has a far greater effect on me than the final outcome of the work.Let me give you an analogy: parents give birth to their children, raise them, and grow with them. This process of interaction has a greater impact on the parents life than when the children leaving home when they are grown. When grown-up children enter the society, they will have their own destinies; what is left in the hearts of the parents are mostly a deep longing and concern for them.In the past, I was more concerned about the final outcome of my work than the process. Now, the process of painting truly grows along with me; it has become a record or symbol of my growth and a journey of my thoughts. This form of creating process has almost become the entirety of my personal meaning of painting, and the moment when my work is finally completed (just assume it so), it is to me the my child is an adult now, and he is starting his own life moment. At that moment, I have only one thing left to do for this child that I created myself, and that is to let go, remember and savor.


  We have many concerns in reality, and our emotions and thinking change unpredictably. If I were to continue creating using the Flower in the Wind approach, it would entail locking down my thoughts, feelings, perception and illusion in the corresponding state; this would become an emotional torment to current state. Only when I allow my emotions and thoughts to change and develop, I could blend them onto the tapestry of lines and colors; when I allow nature to unfurl, I can create with ease.Sudden emotions and crises of the soul are the reasons for painting.


  In this age of information explosion and mounting multi-cultural tension, we as individuals can either choose to change, adapt and experience, or we can also choose to retreat and fortify. Whichever attitude we choose is the result of reasoning. What is important is we must be happy with our decision. For now, I am firmly entrenched in the traditional hand-painting camp, observing the changes and developments around me, and allowing what I see to indirectly influence what I paint eventually. Perhaps all the phenomena, people and objects will become the prey of my brush. Think about it; how much fun and exciting this life of a painter can be!

  On the whole, I paint very slowly, and it boils down to the fact that I use my heart too much. Almost every one of my paintings have lived, changed and experienced ups and downs together with my heart. I could not allow my brushes to become detached from my inner feelings and move for other reasons. My brushes obey my heart, which is sometimes turbulent, sometimes quiet.

  Oil painting, color ink, Chinese painting, graffiti, and line drawing they are derived from the same strain and differ only on the techniques and presentation.In selecting their subjects, they are neither contrived nor intentional; they stress on allowing the process to be nature, including constraining what needs to be constrained, and leaving what is subtle and ordinary to remain as it is. In creating these paintings, the artists heart is guided by life, and his brush and ink are guided by his heart.

  What is the true meaning of painter? I believe it is to paint happily, live life truthfully and ,with unadulterated soul and a wise brain. Painting is one of my games. Confucius taught us to enjoy arts, which in plain language means to play or have fun. However, this form of playing is not a waste of time or emotions, and it needs to be done intelligently. Examples of intelligent play includes painting, IT engineering, pastry making, becoming a wildlife expert, designer, dancer, farmer, even housewife. So long as you take playing seriously, you will derive much pleasure. Art has made me realize that painting should be sincere and happy. It no longer matters if it is arduous or tiring, or that I am poor. Why? Because I am having so much fun! Our life shortens day by day, and I must enjoy my life while it lasts. How am I going to enjoy it? Painting, reading, thinking and living.

  I keep a little notebook that chronicles the process of my search: not only the sketches of my life, but also the recollections of my life experiences, dictations of my flights of imagination, and also drafts of my unformed abstractions that my deep-seated urge wishes to express. These records serve to consolidate my musings into a formal language and contextualize them into a variety of content and subjects.

  Live as brilliantly as a flower in summer, depart with the quiet beauty of autumn leaves. I respect and love those artists who do not care about glory and gains, nor universal fame and fortune, but to consume themselves for their dreamsburning their own lives in exchange for a value that is unappreciated in the real worldand who uphold their belief in dedication. They are not afraid of being looked down, and are only concerned about their free-spirited flight in their own idealized kingdom.

  Support your spirit with ideals and beliefs; look upon the people and occurrence around you with peace and tolerance; apply your knowledge and skills to improve your life; use reason and judgment to avert those crises in your life; win over the love and friendship of others by exercising initiative and caring; use passion and perseverance to accomplish your dreams; correct your shortcomings harshly and dispassionately.

  Cleanse yourselves, enrich your inner world, melt away techniques, let your works exude an unforgettable charisma, let every line, every color, speak of the hope in your heart.Focus all your passion and strength in your painting, for this patch of land is real, honest, fertile, promising, and worthy of your devotion to cultivate it.Purify yourself, be dedicated every step of the way, and pursue art in its purity to the extreme.

  Peking Opera and Kunqu Opera combine poetry, singing, dance, drama, and costume into one art form. My attempts at painting the operas and dances are not portraits on history or anecdotes, nor interpretations of the stage plays, but to revive some of the traditional elements from this art form in todays context, and to capture a fleeting impression, a certain charm, and a sense of nostalgia in my painting.

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