vendredi, décembre 19, 2014

A New Hobby

My 3rd Hu Yongkai Painting (and my 14th painting)

A couple of fellow bloggers disappeared and returned months or years later with a cookbook, a new baby, why not a younger spouse, designer kitchen and/or house, new body, re-designed face, eventually a more exciting job! 

Unfortunately, none of the above have I accomplished. I'm still fat, still stuck in Shanghai (though I've travelled quite a bit in the past year), still live in the same house (though we moved out for a couple of weeks in November because of a termite infestation) and still have the same hub (though he's now a few kgs lighter after he returned from a month at INSEAD and started embracing a healthier lifestyle that includes jogging 12km every other day)...

I searched far and wide in the neuron network in the past few months and finally woke up this morning with the perfect alibi: I've taken up oil painting a little more than a year ago! With age the circuit is a little retarded, sometimes clogged and bulbs just do not light up as often and as quickly as they used to. But, I did start to paint and have been religiously doing so every Tuesday morning since autumn in 2013.

My younger sister is the artistic one in the family, and I couldn't usually draw an egg to save my life. However, I was told by a number of people that with minimum guidance even an idiot could paint with oil and when offered the opportunity to try, I felt I had nothing to lose and jumped at it.

I think my teacher Yao ZW is originally from Ningbo, but must have spent most of his life in Shanghai. He rents a ground floor flat near Century Park in Pudong and sets up 6 easels so that he could have 6 students in the morning and another 6 in the afternoon. In the week most of his students would be Chinese housewives (usually pretty wealthy), and during the weekend and public holidays he would have lots of children (often children of the same rich tai tais).

My very 1st painting, took me 9 hours to finish

2nd painting, kind of scary having that
mountain range and body of water to paint

Impressionist 3rd painting
Teacher Yao is pretty cool and teaches so that he could feed his only passion which is to paint. His plan is to make a final exhibition of his paintings before he retires so that he could sell them and retire comfortably. At the moment he has bought a house with some land in the countryside about an hour and a half from Shanghai and starting next year will live there during the weekend and remain in Shanghai during the week just to continue teaching. He is actually a pretty well-known painter from some old school, but because his only child is a girl, he had no need in the past to buy a flat in anticipation of her future marriage and as such missed out riding on the property wave that made most Shanghainese rich, see very rich, in the past two decades.

All new students would start out with a series of 6 paintings chosen by Teacher Yao. Once we have completed these paintings and decide to continue with him, we can begin to more or less paint whatever catches our fancy as long as it's within our ability to do so. After the first few paintings, one would somehow start to have "the feeling" and would more or less know what to do, only occasionally asking Teacher Yao to come rescue us.  

4th painting: one of my favourites and now with Anna
 I really look forward to joining this class every  Tuesday morning, I think I've almost never missed a session since I started. I find it calming to spend 3 hours concentrating on trying to get as much painted as I could (and I'm very slow at it) and often spend days leading up to the class planning what I would do when I get my fingers on the brushes.

 We were the same group of 6 ladies painting together, except for my dear friend and neighbour F who gave birth last June and then moved back to the USA a few days ago. My classmates are all wealthy Chinese ladies with only one child each. The children attend the best Shanghai schools, have expensive tutors, go on exclusive school trips to Europe, and these mothers spend quite a bit of their time during class exchanging notes about their progeny. I usually have nothing much to say about mine because when your kids spend most of their time playing, have no exam pressure and no particular talent to display, you have nothing to share with the others.

And I am very slow, Teacher Yao complains about it from time to time (though he should be happy as it means each one of my paintings costs me more than usual), and the others would turn up in front of my easel once in a while to tell me that I pay too much attention to detail blah blah...

5th painting, I can't really do grass

They are all more advanced than me (at least by a year if not more) and are really amazing with their trees, mountains, sea etc. They are also really fast when they paint, often skipping the pencil sketching part, making me look even slower than I already am. So to set myself apart, I try nowadays to paint stuff that require a lot of patience e.g. buildings, figures, furniture...and they would mumble all the time I spend too much time on the details.  

6th painting and the license
to choose future paintings more or less freely

What did I do with my paintings? The first 2 paintings are currently hiding in my pantry, hanging over my shelves of dried goods and bottles of water; the next 5-6 paintings found their way to my several bathrooms (I have 6). One of the more edible ones went to Anna, and my favourite is at this moment making its way (via Hub) to MIL; yet another is currently hanging in the guest room. 

I also like to paint water villages (8th painting)

My 2nd Hu Yongkai painting
that MIL chose to have for Xmas (12th)

A European water village? (7th)

The 1st painting I dared to frame up (9th)

My favourites are the Hu Yongkai paintings (the ones with the Chinese ladies) and I have decided I may paint one between two to three landscapes (which are good for training our painting skills though they are boring) as I gain a lot of satisfaction from doing them. I've already painted all the 3 paintings that Teacher Yao has on photo though, and will have to source for my own samples if I want to paint more of Painter Hu's work. 

My very 1st Hu Yongkai painting (10th)

I like this one but the rocks were tough to paint
and saw a copy on Taobao selling for 12000 rmb! (13th)

Another Chinese water village (11th)

Well, so you know what I've been up to in the past year. 

5 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

Welcome back! I miss your blog entries for the past few years. Those are very beautiful paintings. You sure you have no talent? I can tell you that you should sell it on Etsy. Start an account & it will sell. Guaranteed.
Give it a shot.
Let me know your Etsy site once its set up cos I will like to choose some to buy.

From a fellow Singaporean in boring Spore.

Anonyme a dit…

Me again from above, have you been to any of the Suzhou gardens yet? You can seek inspiration to paint there, will look great.
Wishing you all the best for 2015.

Pris a dit…

Welcome back! You're still on my blogger list, so I'm here to read what you post!!!! Good thing that you're on my FB if not I would have no idea what you've been up to! Any chance of u moving back to Europe? Or are you happily rooted in SH?

Beau Lotus 涟 a dit…

@Anonyme: Nope, don't think my paintings are sellable, I'm not that thick-skinned.

@Pris: We've signed on till July 2016. Probably will move to Germany or Italy after China if he remains in the company. But then, one never knows...

sohcool a dit…

It is good to see you posting again. You paint well as Anon mentioned. I can't paint at all. But you give me hope that with the right teacher, it is possible. Anyway, you have talent in painting.
Have a great festive season.