Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On May 17, 2014, Jenny and myself were invited by Brown County Public Library to do a Chinese Calligraphy presentation (James) and Taichi Chuan presentation (Jenny). We had a very enthusiastic audience, ready to respond to questions and challenges. For some two hours or so we had lots of fun. Brown County Public Library is a beautifully located library, surrounded by woods and interesting terrain. We thoroughly enjoy our first visit, wishing to go there sometime in the future....
On May 20, 2014 I was invited again to write Chinese calligraphy for an IU summer Institute for Curriculum and Campus Internationalization. This is the fourth time I am doing it. Lots of fun though! One 70-year-old participant made an interesting short speech to the audience: "I could have chosen 'Longevity' for my present, but since I am already 70, so I thought I had longevity already. So, instead I chose 'Daring' for my life from now on, to challenge the world in a nice way...."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

This is a wood cut artwork, done some time ago, now given to my granddaughter Rachel.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

This is the calligraphy done by my teacher Professor Liang Shih-Chiu more than forty-five years ago as a wedding gift when Jenny and myself were getting married. It is a beautiful poem written by a famous poet Chang Ke-Jiou in Yuan Dynasty....
This is Ella, a Labrador Retriever daughter Clare has kept for the past 14 or 15 years. For Ella I wrote an essay "I Love Ella" recently (2014-March) and this sketch was done some ten years ago.

Monday, August 5, 2013

On May 21, 2013 I was invited for the third time annually to write calligraphy for each member of IU summer training program. I listed about 50 Chinese characters for each to choose from and wrote that particular Chinese character for him and her to take home. These are the ones I did lined up on the table awaiting to get dry.

Monday, July 8, 2013

On July 6th, 2013 four calligraphers are graduating with their mounting works in hand right in front of my house. We have had five weekly sessions before completion of the mounting procedures. We are very proud of their efforts!
Now their calligraphy works are ready for picture frames for a show. They look great, aren't they?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Starting from June 8, 2013 I am teaching another small class of Chinese Traditional Mounting Procedures. I have four students, all members of IU Calligraphy Club, who are eager to learn this ancient method of mounting to make their calligraphy works presentable. We are planning to meet every Saturday morning for 5 times to complete the course. There are two more sessions to go, hoping we will have a smooth going.
On June 22, 2013 my friends Linda and Andy are getting married. They both love dancing so much. So I made this "Double Happiness" as a token of our blessing and congratulation to them.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Our granddaughter Rachel who visited us in March 2013 with her Mom. She took time out to continue learning Chinese calligraphy, which, accordingly to her, is her favorite activity. Of course, I was happy to teach her this ancient Chinese art form, hoping eventually she would be able to write beautiful calligraphy. She is almost finishing one full page of calligraphy. She looks happy and contented.
This is another of my commissioned work--"Longevity" for a friend in Indianapolis who was celebrating his 80th birthday. It is written in extremely cursive style. The regular style looks like this: 壽. See how much they are different from each other.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

{Fisherman's Song} 漁家樂 漁人一字一字 織成一張張電子網, 趁滿天繁星閃爍, 向汪洋大海撒去! 等上弦月將天狼射落, 太陽神由海平線衝起, 忽然!知心語 一尾, 一尾, 乘著 電光 與風, 飛傳 游回。 頓時, 海上彩霞飛舞, 一片金輝燦爛!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Calligraphy versions of 21 "Dragons".
A landscape painting got by "happy accident", with calligraphy caption saying "When you look at it, it is mountain; when you look at it, it is water." And then, "When you look at it, it is not mountain; when you look at it, it is not water."
A Beijing dog drawn and given to my granddaughter.
Rachel, my granddaughter, drawn when she was ten.
Rachel, my granddaughter, drawn when she was five years old.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

This is master Jing's painting of Mt. Lu. How magnificent it is!
This is my emulation of Mt. Lu done by Jing Hao of late Tang Dynasty, a great master of landscape. I finished only three-fourths of it, leaving some space for my calligraphy narrative about the painter and his time.... If you want to know how I did it, you can roll down a little bit in this blog and there I showed several stages of my painting process for your reference and comment.
This is my imaginary view of Mt Lu, also called Nan-Shan by the famous poet Tao Yuan-Min of Jing Dyansty....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My first commissioned Chinese calligraphy work for Chris at the request of his Mom. In the well-framed work held in Chris' arms, it reads, "A son who cares is the treasure to the world, from Mom."
An ancient Chinese character for "rain prayer" From the beginning of May until the end of June 2012, not a drop of rain was witnessed in and around Bloomington, Indiana. We were desperate for rain. Just at this moment I happened to have found this ancient Chinese character on June 31 and miraculously right in the wee hours of July 1, we had a big thunder storm, which, of course, brought along lots of rain to our great happiness. From there on, though temperature has been still high, we have had some rain in July....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This is Love in the traditional form. The simplified LOVE drops "Heart" in the middle part of the construction. Can one think of loving without HEART?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Surpass! Not only others, but yourself most important of all.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dragon written in Clerical Script, surrounded by plum branches and red and white blossoms.
Dragon written in Stardard Script.
Three Dragons: one is the combination of Kingship plus a Dragon tail; another, in standard script; the third, an ancient pictorial representation of a kute little dragon. Hope you like them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dragon Lantern 1

2012 happens to be the Year of Dragon. So I drew 16 different versions of dragon, 2 on each of the 8 sides. I had to take four different photos from different angles, trying to cover all the versions of the dragon--some ancient, some cursive, some clerical, and some.... Hope you enjoy them.

Dragon Lantern 2

The two versions of dragon shown on the very frontal side happen to be: Dragon in standard script (top) and Dragon in cursive script (bottom), giving a sharp contrast between the two.

Dragon Lantern 3

Again, I am trying to show the sharp contrast between two very different styles: this time, wild cursive script (top) and ancient form (bottom).

Dragon Lantern 4

Now, perhaps you can see the relationship between the top and the bottom versions of dragon in terms of the speed of the brush that moves patiently from fifteen to one (or two) strokes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'd like to play some erhu music while you are viewing my blog.

On January 28th 2011 I was giving an erhu concert at IU International Center--"Friday Noon Concert" series.
But the piece you hear is played on Chung-Hu (中胡), similar instrument as Er-Hu (二胡), slightly bigger in size, and five tones lower. By the way, the audio part used to work well until not long ago I totally lost the sound track of my erhu playing. Sorry, if you failed to hear it. My son knows how to fix it. When he comes in July 2012, I will ask him to put it back, if possible. Hopefully we will once again have an audio-visual appreciation of calligraphy, painting as well as music.

Dramatic cloud formation

Then I pitched in some dramatic clouds sweeping across the sky over the landscape. This adds some new emotional dimension to the painting. Now the sky is connected to the land while the fisherman in the boat seems to pay no attention to the ever-changing environment....

Rembrandt and me in landscape

In mid-September 2011 I checked out a book on Rembrandt and as I was reading it I came upon a landscape painting in black and white, which looks so much like Chinese ink-and-wash landscape painting. So I started to emulate this Western great master's painting. I was amazed by Rembrandt's use of light in sharp contrast to darkness.

A technical term to talk about the contrast between light and darkness in Rembrandt's painting is:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I found this horizontal long scroll landscape painting in a book and was fascinated by it. I started to entertain the idea to emulate it. But after several false starts I realized it was something I could not do at this level of my skill. However, on September 1st I took up my brush and tried once again. In about 8 hours or so I finished half of it, and then next day I worked through the rest and put in the calligraphy and autograph. My version looks very rough and raw to say the least. But it proves true the adage: Where there is a will, there is a way. Only after I completed it did I find out who the original painter (龔賢 Xian Gung)is.

According Mr. Mei(梅墨生), editor/artist, this long scroll of landscape painting best exemplifies a special constructional technique: moving points of perspective. That is, instead of one perspective as most art work does, this one shows multiple perspectives, as if one is viewing the endless landscape by sitting in an airplane flying along.

溪山無盡之三 Mountain-River No. 3

Who is Mr. Gung after all?

梅墨生, editor of 山水畫述要 (A Concise Book on Chinese Landscape Painting) introduces him as an artist of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). But not quite so if you look at his dates (1599?-1689?). The two question marks signify that people are not so sure about his exact dates of birth and death. Anyway he thought himself a citizen loyal to Ming Dynasty. When Ming dynasty was overthrown, Mr. Gung, who then was 45 years old and lived in Nanjing, was very upset. He tried to turn back the historical tide with no avail. Later he remained in Nanjing as a recluse, doing nothing but painting. He was highly regarded as the leader of a group called "Nanjing Eight Painters".

溪山無盡之二 Mountain-River No. 2

Gung's painting skill was outstanding. His specialty comes from a 皴法 (ways to put shadow in through different techniques) he discovered himself: 積墨法, that is, he would paint the shadows by pitching in several layers of tones to achieve it. In his darkest area, he could leave some white spots to show the special effect of contrast.

I happily noticed that while doing the emulation. I told myself that is something I could not do. Indeed, I was not able to do however hard I tried.

溪山無盡之一 Mountain-River No. 1

I don't know the size of the original long scroll painting, but mine is roughly double the dimension of the picture found in the book. Mine goes: 75in x 4in, pretty narrow but long, which, I thought, will give me some trouble when I try to mount and put it in a picture frame.

早春圖原版 Original Version

The size of this painting: 158.3cm X 108.1cm, done on silk cloth dyed to orange color.

If you examine the painting carefully, you will find a faint seam that goes midway vertically from top to bottom. That is: someone once cut the painting into two halves and later someone put the two halves back into one again. Things like this, according the editor, did happen, and happened often. But, of course, it is gratifying to know that the painting now remains whole and complete in National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.
During my current visit to Taiwan (Oct. 2011-Feb. 2012), I was surprisingly happy to see a copy of this painting among others on the daily paper in Nov. 2011....

早春之七 (Early Spring No. 7)

My final version after the dyeing job and calligraphy, date and autograph. Of course I still have a lot to do before putting it into a picture frame to be presentable.

Monday, August 22, 2011

早春圖之六 Mountain in Early Spring 6

More dark tone is added to the left front rocks, and some more details are pitched in on the left side to bring the painting towards a sense of completion. As I sat back and looked at what I had done so far, I realized I needed to work more details into the painting as found in the original. Lots of things are beyond my grasp... So, I said to myself I might as well put the project aside for a while and come back to it as I recuperate a little later.
I still have to work on the clouds and water. Finally I have to dye the whole paper to light orange color as close as possible to the color of original painting on silk cloth.

早春圖之五 Mountain in Early Spring 5

More dark tone is added to the rocks on the front right. Then, as I looked more carefully to the middle right section of the original painting, I found houses constructed along the cliff, in the shape of small village... There are two fishing boats anchoring on either side of the rocky landscape, to give the impression that fishermen are dwelling here....

早春圖之四 Mountain in Early Spring 4

One unique feature of Guo's landscape painting, as I quickly found out, is his drawings of so many pine trees--some near, some halfway up the cliff, some on the very top of the mountain, to the right and to the left, here and there. It has become such a challenge to draw them and give them life. Sometime along the way I felt so frustrated and almost to the point of giving up the whole project. Alas, I chose to go on a little bit to see if I could repair a little of my sense of hopelessness.

早春圖之三 Mountain in Early Spring 3

Then work more to the right middle portion, thus trying to give a sense of connection of the whole landscape from top to bottom.