Jennifer's Short Story
Published by Pearl S. Buck Writing Center Literary Journals Vol. 2, No. 1: Spring 2017
I created several bamboo paintings recently. In traditional Chinese culture, Bamboo symbolizes virtue and gentlemanship. Its upright and evergreen shows strength and hardiness; its hollow inside and flexibility teaches us to be modest and adapt to the harshest circumstances. Su Dongpo, a famous writer of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), wrote in his poem, "I would rather eat no meat than live without bamboo."
Bamboo is also an important symbol in the feng shui system due to its symbolism, as it represents a living symbol of the elements of wood, earth and water. Under feng shui principles, bamboo is also a plant that can draw positive chi into the home.
Traditional Landscape (2020)
I taught several classes at West Windsor Arts Council in Winter 2020. Students learned to paint peony, bamboo, lotus flower, fish, and landscape. A collection of their creative artworks are shown here. I am thrilled to learn that Chinese painting is easy and fun : )
I did painting demo for Chinese New Year Celebration at Princeton Public Library in January 2020. Students from elementry school to high school came to learn Chinese painting during the event. Some of their creative artworks are shown here.
I did painting workshop for Chinese New Year Celebration at Arts Council of Princeton. Students wrote "Blessing" on red paper and created a flower painting to welcome spring and wish best of luck for the new year.
Chinese calligraphy masterpiece “Lantingji Xu” (“Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion”) was created by Mr. WANG, Xizhi, in 353 AD. It is of 324 words in total. I wrote together with a few enthusiasts at Tigerlabs Thursday afternoons from October to December 2019. Below is an example of students' writings.
I did calligraphy demo at La Convivencia holiday event at Dutch Neck Presbyterian Church (West Windsor, NJ) on December 7, 2019. Hundreds of children and adults decorated holiday cookies and assembled hygiene kits to benefit Children's Specialized Hospital Foundation and ArmInArm.
This year's Arts Council of Princeton Member Show requires each artwork to be less than a foot in all dimentions. It is an interesting assignment. I have worked meticulously to paint the autumn home tree on the 10 inch x 10 inch rice paper. Although small in square footage, the details are rich - the tree is full of tiny red fruits!
I am thrilled to have had the successful solo exhibition held at BoConcept Princeton in October. The exhibition presented my 2019 collection of thirty three nature themed paintings, including acquatic symphony, fish, peony, plum blossom, spring narcissa, tree, mountains and water, etc. It embodies the perfect fusion of traditional Chinese painting in Western modern home furnishings.
I have completed a few mountain-and-water paintings after Huang Binhong. A couple are shown here.
Mountain and Water 4 (2019)
West Windsor Arts Center
952 Alexander Road
Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
I am honored to attend the Cultural Heritage Exhibition opening reception to talk about my two paintings.
My two paintings "Butterfly Dream (2015) and Plum Blossom in the Morning (2018) were accepted to the juried exhibition.
I just finished this large 27 inch x 40 inch peony painting with wild cursive style calligraphy on the upper left side. The script "her attire are shades of red, varying from bright to rich"(红衣浅复深) is from famous poet Wang, Wei's (701-761, 王维) poem describing the beauty of peony.
With their lush, full, rounded bloom, peonies embody romance and prosperity.
The large scale peony painting makes the room exceptionally beautiful.
Many times, different people read the same image differently, and even differently the same person reads the same image at different times. A wildcard symbol is used here to mean that diversity. Viewers give meaning to an image.
I guess the longer you looked at it, the more you get from it.
This is the Chinese brush painting style I have not seen before. I am very excited about this painting.
The painting is composed of various sizes of fluid lines and waterdrop shapes to abstractly describe a river. The refraction and reflection are making it colorful. The waterdrops are twisting and turning, colliding and bubbling, making music.
I painted the majority of this painting in March 2019 and kept refining it. One day, I was driving and listening to John Lennon's songs. Suddenly, I heard "a river of sound". Aha, I felt it best described the series I am going to work on.
So long ago... Was it in a dream, was it just a dream?
I wrote Huaisu’s wild cursive style calligraphy “lasting wind” (藏真久在风) yesterday. In this calligraphy, the lines are round and fluid, expressive of dynamism and passion. I wrote some lines fast to connect and some slow to ponder, like playing a piece of music. The dots and lines go up and down ,left and right, thin and thick, as if they were touched by the wind, naturally and wildly.
I like wild cursive style calligraphy. It is the best way to freely express intense emotions through brush movement. They are full of energy and life. Sometimes, the meanings of the words help read the calligraphy. Other times, the calligraphy is beyond the words, becoming an abstract artwork.
Huaisu (737–799) was a calligrapher of the Tang Dynasty, famous for his cursive calligraphy.
People used natural phenomena to praise his calligraphy. Verses are:
as running snake gliding poised into the seat, as thunderstorm and whirlwind blasting loud into the room
first as if light smoke calming down old pine trees, yet as if gigantic mountain opening up ten thousands of peaks
like poor monkey drinking water and shaking withered vine, like strong man moving the mountain and showing heavy irons
only see passionate electric current flowing under brush, only fear wound dragon walking when words created
speedy brushstrokes and sudden inkdrops like stallion running all over, viewers speechless wowing not seeing enough
Dogwood flowers bloom in April here. Three things are most impressive to me - the petal (bract) is heart shaped with green and rounded flower cluster, the petals are elegantly extended as if they are dancing and flying, and the branches are slanted and delicate.
The painting here was created in 2014. It depicted an imaginary scene where dogwood flowers are in the foreground and water and mountain in the background. It showed a vibrant and happy springtime.
My Spring Garden series was about conceptual landscape, a fantastic world, a vision of paradise.
During the winter of 2017, I lived in a noisy and somewhat rundown neighborhood. I could frequently hear loud motorcycle accelerating sound, abrupt car horn honking sound, and sharp car break’s squeaky sound. These noises got on my nerve. Life felt dreadful and depressive. I could not wait for the season to change, for the lively spring to come.
The first visible sign of spring came in March of 2018 when my neighbor’s Winter Jasmine was beginning to bloom, although winter cold was lingering and trees were bare. How joyful! I then set out to use my living environment as the layout to create an imaginary ideal homeland where mountains are pleasant, waters are merry, and birds are flying high. It would be a spring garden of dreamy retreat.
Sunset is a splendor! Rich and varied dyes, gold, yellow, pink, crimson, purple, and violet painted the sky and everything they desire to touch.
When experiencing such magnificent nature power, Chinese famous poet Li Shangyi (813-858, 李商隐) left a famous verse over a thousand years ago:
The sunset is infinitely magnificent, but sadly the dusk is coming.
In modern times, contrary to this sad tone, poet Wu Zhaojing (吴兆江) wrote a similar verse with optimism. This modern verse said:
As long as the sunset is infinitely magnificent, , no need to feel sad about the coming dusk.
The famous poet Zhu Ziqing (1898-1948, 朱自清) liked this verse so much that he put it on his desk as motto.
Sunset reflection is one of my favorite themes. In particular, I like to paint the snowy mountain dyed by varied sunset colors.
Shown here is one of the “sunset reflection” series I painted recently. The sunset and the majestic snowy mountains are reflected in water, integrating heaven and earth, mountain’s solidness and water’s fluidity, white and varied hues, real and virtual. It gives a feeling of eternal peace, pure, and splendor.
March 14th (3/14) is the Pi day celebrating mathematical constant Pi (π =3.1415926…).
As we have learned from school, Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Moreover, Pi has various equivalent definitions and appears in many formulas in all areas of mathematics and physics. Pi is also called Archimedes’ constant.
Pi is infinitely long without repetition or pattern. Pi is considered divine.
To celebrate the Pi Day 2019, I painted 200 circles as if they were randomly dropped on two lines to estimate π (per Buffon’s Needle probability).
In Art, the circle is a symbol with extensive meanings. It represents unity, infinite, timelessness, cycle of time, motion, etc.
Math and art are bonded here.
My son and I baked a blueberry pie to celebrate the Pi Day in 2015.
New Jersey’s winter is cold and long. Trees are bare and wind is bitter. The splendid fall is long gone when the blooming spring is nowhere. Everything seems deadly pale. Yet, a quiet and invisible force is growing. The force is carried out by tiny buds. They are the hope for spring, the creation of the new.
After the snowfall of March 2, 2019, I visited the Princeton University campus to photograph the snow scene. The Winter Jasmine bushes along the Washington Road caught my eyes. I walked down the path along the half-a-mile-long bushes to have a closer look at them before they turn magnificent yellow when spring comes. Yes, though buried in the dreary surroundings, the buds were astonishingly lively. The tiny red tips were irresistibly pointing forward.
My grandparents lived in Suzhou China for many years and my mother grew up in Suzhou. During those years, my grandfather painted many Chinese brush paintings and taught my mother calligraphy. Sadly, all of the artworks from my family were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
Over its 2,500 years of long history, Suzhou's historic canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and gardens have inspired many artists. The Astor Chinese Garden Court in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is based on a Ming-Dynasty Style (17th century) scholar's garden in the city of Suzhou.
I am fascinated by many masters' artworks and painted after them.
The "Enchanting Scent" (a portion shown here) is inspired by Zhao Ji (1082 - 1135, Emperor of Song Dynasty)'s beautiful calligraphy and poem:
dancing butterflies drunk and lost in the fragrant trail,
elegantly flying and chasing in the evening breeze
I started learning Chinese brush painting from Mr. Huangxin Wang. Over years, different styles of artworks have inspired me. These are the artists:
It was a Friday noon in a bright and warm autumn. Sky was Dodger blue with white clouds softly drifting away. TGIF - the day was so looked forward to. However, I was feeling wretched. No surprise. Years in constant flux took the toll. The condition had no sign of improvement, but of deterioration. “Where is home?” I had asked many times, but I did not get an answer. Many times, when I stopped at a stop sign, I did not know which direction to turn to. I merely kept driving. I needed a home to rest. I needed a rest in a bright and warm autumn.
Published by Pearl S. Buck Writing Center Literary Journals Vol. 2, No. 1: Spring 2017