In the past year of my art practice exploration, the first half was dedicated to exploring that how the composition and light and shadow can contribute to empress the emotion of the contents in the painting. The latter half delved into the colour and rhythm of the image.
The murals of Dunhuang, China, possess a strong religious essence, with numerous symbolic elements such as lotus flowers and Buddha figures, contributing to the decorative nature of the visuals. The colour selection in these murals carries a mysterious quality, often portraying celestial maidens, imbuing the composition with rhythm.
Similar artworks exist in the Western sphere, like the relief art of Greece. In depicting scenes of mythological battles, these artworks maintain a rhythmic essence conveyed through dynamic postures and the items held by the figures. In my art, to emphasize this rhythmic quality, I may sacrifice the realism of the content.
This year's journey to Italy made me realise the significance of decorative patterns in paintings. Hence, I began studying and collecting patterns with emotional connections for me, such as the patterns from mainland China in the 1990s, the styles from Buddhist thangkas, and the abstract interpretations of plants from the Art Nouveau period. I attempted to merge these patterns abstractly within my compositions, creating fragmented, abstract, and multi-layered blocks of colour.
In composition, apart from learning from Art Nouveau, I experimented with geometric compositions and integrated the forms of Chinese characters into the visual arrangement, imparting a sense of rhythm to the composition.
I attempted to blend the colours and rhythmic essence of Dunhuang murals with the concreteness of Western art and daily life elements to express human intimacy and emotions.
My perspective in painting this year mostly involved observing from a third-person viewpoint or having the figures within the painting make direct eye contact, gazing at the audience. In my drawings, I started experimenting with different perspectives to infuse dynamism into the visuals.
Regarding colour, I began exploring colours I seldom used previously, aiming to express the rhythm and emotions within light and shadow through colours. However, the canvas still hosts various other colours. I started controlling the areas of colour in the painting, reducing the use of single colours and instead merging similar colours with a drawing mindset, creating rich blocks of colour while leaving traces within the layers. I began using more of a trichromatic palette of black, white, and gray.
In terms of abstraction and concreteness, I grew discontent with solely expressing in concrete forms and sought ways to express concreteness through abstraction. I began focusing on the rhythm of the edges and how it aids in abstracting representational paintings while seeking a sense of rhythm.
I also attempted to explore the relationship between artistic language and my own mental disposition.
The process of an artist exploring their style is also a journey of self-discovery. Understanding oneself is crucial. Sometimes, I'm drawn to highly detailed paintings, but I realise my lack of patience. Engaging in tedious tasks doesn't suit me, so that approach isn't my language. I need to find a painting style and art language that brings me joy and a sense of fulfillment. I find it difficult to start from details and work continuously; instead, I begin by destroying and leaving traces during this destruction process to find texture. Afterward, I piece together and modify slowly. Thus, my paintings feature patterns reminiscent of bamboo knots. To explore other forms and incorporate them subconsciously, I need more practice to counteract my established habits.
Material-wise, this year I transitioned from small wooden panel paintings to larger canvas paintings and experimented with mineral pigments, egg tempera, cold wax, and more.
Regarding the way of my painting, I now pay more attention to the quality of each brushstroke. I've also realised the impact of the speed of painting on the emotion conveyed by the brushstrokes; different speeds produce different qualities in strokes, lending tension to the canvas. The way I lay my strokes and the marks draw inspiration from Chinese calligraphy. I aim for the viewer to visually sense the dynamism of the artist's painting process from the canvas, to give the audience a sense of 'presence'.
In my paintings, I sacrifice realism and logic to achieve balance in light and shadow, rhythm, colour, composition, expression of character emotions, decorative completion, and expression of my personal style.
Thanks for reading.