Emerald / ink and color painting
I once often used large patches of color in my compositions in an effort to express certain ideas or differentiate myself from other artists. This is one of my works from that period.
A close look reveals a small patch of green surrounded by a large expanse of red. Somewhat surprisingly, the green appears as gleaming and bright as a piece of green jade, which gives it great appeal and magnetism. We can see that there’s nothing wrong with having a spot of green in a great thicket of red, and this even lends the painting greater charm.
According to Chien Sung-yen, “The simple use of color in traditional Chinese ink and wash painting is what gives the colors in Chinese paintings such a unique character. However, in order to harmonize evolutionary development with preserving the past, we might as well use some foreign pigments to enrich the colors of traditional Chinese painting.”
Chien’s words touched a chord in my heart. I remembered that when we were beginning to study ink and wash painting in high school, our teacher wanted us to use transparent Japanese watercolors instead of the traditional pigments used in Chinese painting. His reasoning was that traditional pigments fade easily, come in relatively few types, and sometimes cannot readily produce the tones one wishes to express. His view was that there was nothing wrong with alternative pigments. Since they are richly varied and highly durable, why must we stubbornly use outdated materials? ＠