Ke WenHui, Chinese Art Institute

Art master YAN MING, 88, began his art study in 1936, at the XIHU Art College under the guidance of great artist LIN FONGMING and entered the SHANGHAI Art College the next year to learn from masters, LIU HAISU, WANG YACHEN, PAN TIANSHOU,WANG SHENGYUAN, WU FUZHI and ZHU WEN YUN and established a solid pictorial foundation.At the sametime,under the influence of the old master WU CHANGSHUO, he became expert at the pictorial style of DAXIEYI (a Chinese pictorial style of expriessionism),which was founded and improved by the ancient great masters YANGZHOU BAGUAI, XIHUAZHEN and BAIYANG QINGTENG.Following this painting style,there was the great master QIBAISHI in recent times.Compared with QIBAISHI's ,in recent times. compared with QIBAISHI's, YAN MING's brushwork is not so powerful and he is not as expert as QIBAISHI at seal-carving and poetry.His artistic stage is mainly JIAHNXI province,where he has spent most of his life. He has always been far away from the pictorial market.Researching ancient works and creating his own works have engaged almost his time that he has nearly no time to associate himself with social vanity,devoting all his life to art education. He is a warm advocate of learning from nature, cultivating himself constantly and researching steadily. He has never blazoned his own achievments. He has established a simple and free artistic style of his own, which enables his paintings to be plane, rich, tender and vigorous,leaving the viewers an unforgetable impression. It is because he is fond of music and rather expert at playing the violin that his painting is like melody, implying not only what can be seen but the music felt.Professor YAN's main success, besides his paintings,is the students that have been under his guidance. More than two thousand of them are now working in nearly every part of the country.Most of them are art teachers carrying on fine art educating.To say more accurately,Mr. YAN is firstly an art educator and secondly a painter, or an amateur painter. But as an amatuer, his works have exceeded many of those professional artists. Nowadays in china, in fact, there are few artists who are as successful as Mr. YAN. He is worthy of one of the first-class artists.But, he is not so well known, especially in the northern part of China, where he is not so recomended as an excellent artist. He remains cool and collected and never has he bothered himself about such situation.

Mr. Yan is good at learning from celebrities, being their student first then getting rid of their restriction and establishing something new of his own. He has never ceased struggling against himself to renovate. Lot as he has learned from the old masters, nothing in his works that you find is copied from their works. No matter whether it is his painting of waters and mountains or of flowers, you feel the spiritual expression of the great masters, PAN TIANSHOU and LIU HAISU. Having a further taste of it, you will find it is a unigue expression of his own. As great master SHITAO said, "My works imply myself. IT is natural there is me in my works."Old man as he is, he has never ceased depicting the mountains and waters of his motherland.His love for it can be easily felt in his works.

He creates his works constantly abiding by the rules of the nature for 70 years like a son following the teaching of his loving mother. He regards himself a mere common cell of the universal that possesses its own energy like a mountain, a river or a flower. By painting directly from nature,memorizing and portraying in his heart and even in his dream what he has absorbed from the nature, he makes his works being tempered,never reproducing a scene on his canvas simply from what he sees. He introjects his objects by filling them with personal feeling and thinking, giving prominence to what should be emphasized and omitting what is superfluous. He has a well-thought-out composition in mind before he begins to paint. His brush is so fluently run and every stroke conveys the personality of the artist. No matter how big is the size of his painting, it is a colourful and meaningful piece, enriching the viewers' taste. Found in his paintings are the delighted implication, fluent brushwork and bright colour, which convey the love for life, exciting our pursuit of happiness from labour and creation.

The flowers in his painting are endued with vigorous vitality, in the bud, in blossom,appearing in varieties of postures.The birds depicted in his picture are full of childish puerility and optimism,couples conversing intimately on the branches in the sunny woods, bright colours perfectly tuned with breeze felt. The scene brings us to a warm and fresh environment, enabling us to see a bright and happy future and forget the sadness in the past,getting rid of all the old terrible dreams. The paintings convey the artist's moral quality and kind.

Mr. YAN's paintings of mountains and waters bring the viewers to a faery with grand peaks and transparant waters, a land of vigor and vitality,where the locomotion of natural energy and atmosphic movement can be felt. Compared with his paintings of birds and flowers, those of mountains and waters can more convey the artist's magnanimous personality and uncommon courage and insight, which establish his position in the field of the fine arts, standing out after many masters have faded, new and gualified. If we were to chose ten contemporary masters of mountains and waters painting, alive,Mr. YAN would certainly be one of them.It seems that the omnipotent modia are able to produce celebrities in scale but they can never produce a real master work. flashy fame will never last and disappear with the passing of time but treasure of art will exist forever in the world. This conclusion is out of my long contemplation and artistic conscience. whenever there are a lot of great painters, there in no real painter at all. my "foolish opinion" will certainly be excluded in fine art history, which I regard a great happiness.

Powerful strokes are used in his painting of HUANGSHAN Mountains.This way of applying brushwork is common seen in ancient master works but here the technigue looks new and fresh, conveying fully the soul of the nature. A few fluenent strokes running in the painting model the heroic sentiment of the mountains, obscured in the rolling clouds. Here is a peom I wrote for the painting:"A decade has passed, still fresh the scene seen in the painting with a smell of the aroma of the nature, like countless goddess waving their ribbons dancing in the sky. The vigorous mountains are drunk with their songs convulsing the earth. The tall pine trees stand like huge umbrellas against the sky. Never can one find such vegorous mountainscape anywhere else on earth. Standing in front of the painting, the emotional tide is surging higher and higher in my mind." Attrative as the scenery looks in the painting, it is full of chidish taste. The sadness and happiness of our nation in the past are implied in the melody of ink. It is the poetry blissed-out, it is the energy exploding. It is a blessing for all the members of the family. It is the voice for peace over the world. It is a carol to revive the childish heart!

It is rare for the mettle of the young to be seen to come out of the elder's brush but it is this mettle emitting from the painting, "Sunrise at HANBO" that attracts the viewers the splash of ink in large patches, fresh, vivid,elegant, vital and flourishing and the strong contrast of black and red suggesting a modern taste, which is raw,hot, refreshing and bold to break the established norms. At first glance, the composition is in confusing and intricacy but after making a scrutiny of it, it is found that everything is in order and quite reasonably composed. The small patches of blank provide the viewers rich space of imagination, emerging from the ocean of clouds and waters. The concomitance, parallal,commensuration and conflict of voidness and solidness playing in the eyes of the viewers lead to a successful artistic consequence.

In the end of the 20 century, the artistic language about architecture was found in the field of traditional culture. Buildings in western style has become the character in Chinese traditional painting but it is still a long time to go to make it regonized. Mr. YAN has been trying his best to create a harmonic scenery with objects painted in straight lines against a background painted in tranditional expressionist style. He pays great attention to the harmony of those objects in the frontground and those in the background so as to recieve a new look in his painting. The conflict has not been completely solved yet but a great advance has been made.

In the painting "Sunset", the water is felt flowing and the mountains dancing, advising us to treasure our life and wishing the old to give out their last flame in their late years. The colours are applied as a printing making is done, transparant while suggesting a feeling of solidity, from which we can see the all-round cultivation.

In May, 2004, master YAN's personal show was successfully held in the Chinese Art Gallery in Beijing and was warmly praised by experts in the art field. Many visitors were so attracted that they lingered and forgot the time to leave, some hovered in front of a certain painting for a long time in deep contemplation, some even made notes in their sketch books trying to learn something from his paintings and many came over and bowed in front of the old artist in his wheel chair to show their respect for him. My wish is that the old artist will go on renovating and make a further advace in his old age, setting an example for the new generation so that the fine art education will be further developed in our country.

Chinese Art Institute