The Reclusive World (2020)

The Reclusive World

May 15, 2020

Sometimes, one retreated to nature physically and/or spiriturally to fend off the mundane or unpleasant real world. Ni Zan (1301–1374), one of the greatest Chinese painters in the 14th century, used his monochrome ink and sketch brush strokes, and large white space, to paint sparse landscape. He used his art as a medium of self-expression. Ni Zan once said, “I use bamboo painting to write out the exhilaration in my breast, that is all. Why should I worry whether it shows likeness or not?”

I painted several paintings after Ni Zan. They felt peaceful.

Six Trees

Quiet Pavilion

Covid-19 Pandemic (2020)


April, 30, 2020

Covid-19 hit us hard. Many people got the virus and became sick. Businesses had to shutdown. We had to be confined at home. The impact is huge. This painting is after Picasso's Guernica.

I wrote some calligraphy to express our confidence and resolute that people help each other to overcome the pandemic.

Though mountain and water in different places, our wind and moon are in one sky.


WWen walking to the end of water, it is time to sit down and watch the clouds rising.


When favorable wind and tide come, let cloud be our sail, sailing to the sea.


Bamboo (2020)


March 15, 2020

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)

Bamboo (2014)

Mountain and Water 3 (2019)

Recent Mountain-and-Water paintings

September 23, 2019

I have completed a few mountain-and-water paintings after Huang Binhong. A couple are shown here.

Mountain and Water 4 (2019)

Peony (2019)


June 1, 2019

This 27 inch x 40 inch peony painting was signed 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.

A Note of * (2019)

A Note of *

May 25, 2019

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.

The longer you looked, the more you get.

A River of Sound (#1) (2019)

A River of Sound

May 10, 2019

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?

Lasting Wind (2019)

Lasting Wind

May 2, 2019

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 怀素

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 Flower (#1) (2014)

Spring's Dogwood Flower

April 26, 2019

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.

Spring Garden (#2) (2018)

Spring Garden

April 12, 2019

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 Reflection (#5) (2019)

Sunset Reflection

March 22, 2019

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:

夕阳无限好, 只是近黄昏

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:

但得夕阳无限好, 何须惆怅近黄昏

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.

Circles (2019)

Pi Day Celebration

March 14, 2019

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.

Time Capsule

My son and I baked a blueberry pie to celebrate the Pi Day in 2015.

New Buds (Winter Jasmine) (2019)

New Buds

March 6, 2019

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.

Suzhou Garden in the Met

Enchanting Scent (2015)

Enchanting Scent

March 5, 2019

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 used shades of blue and Slender Gold style of calligraphy to present aesthetic appreciation of elegance.


I started learning Chinese brush painting from Mr. Huangxin Wang. Over years, different styles of artworks have inspired me. These are the artists:

Candles of Love (2015)

Candles of Love

February 28, 2019

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.


My Short Story "Plum Flower"

Plum Flower (2017)

Plum blossom is a traditional theme in Chinese painting. I used "plum flower" as the title of the short story I wrote in 2017.

The short story was published by Pearl S. Buck Writing Center Literary Journals Vol. 2, No. 1: Spring 2017.



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Princeton, NJ