QIAN HAIYUAN, Honorary vice chairman of HU NAN Artist Association

Pro. YAN LING, daughter of Master YAN MING, and I were schoolmates during the 60s of the 20th century at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. It happened that there were same other students who were, like YAN LING and me, from JIANGXI Province. We, all other students from Province JIANGXI, admired YAN LING very much for her father was a famous artist who had rich experience and had succeeded greatly in art.

Since the 20th century I have wished to have the chance to appreciate Pro, YAN's works very much reading “Selected Works by YAN MING,”Published by the LINNAN Fine Art publishing house, I have once and again appreciated every piece of art works in the book. I have got a general comprehension about Mr.YAN's art and personal quality and believe that Mr. YAN's art of Chinese painting is characterized by the following three outstanding aspects, which the young artists today should learn from him.

(Ⅰ) Mr.YAN's art works reflect his honest, enthusiastic personal feeling and observation on the life of human beings and the times and his humanitarian love for the nature.Master LIN FONGMING said, “The root of art is emotion” Mr.YAN's practice of art creation has again proved that the life of times and the creature of nature can't be transferred into excellent art works without the artists' making use of them to convey their personal inner feeling.The first fresh and striking impression that Mr.YAN's works leave me is that he has really moved by the life of the times and the beautifulness of the nature.It is the life of the people and the beauty of the nature that become the inspiration of his art creation.So his art creation can fully convey his love for life and his pursuit of natural beauty. Take his painting “Chrysanthemum and Golden Fish”, “Talking about Spring”, “In the Shade” etc. for examples.They are filled with the atmosphere of the times. Mr.YAN is very bold and creative in applying brushwork incisively and vividly, which fully conveys the vigorous mountains and attractive waters of our motherland, such as “Sunrise in HUANGSHAN”, “The Three Gorges”, “Clauds and waterfall in LUSHAN”, “Sails on LI River”, “Sunset on LI River”, “The Vermilion River” ,“Morning Clauds in HUANGSHAN” and “SHANQING Mountains”. In Mr.YAN's paintings of mountains and waters, the viewers can easily feel the impact of the magnificence of the nature. What I would like to put emphasis on is that Mr.YAN has firmly followed the traditional portrayal norm,“Take life and natural creature as our teacher”.And insisted on artists' going deep into life and nature, “collecting subject matters from life and nature to make your draft”.Going into the dept of the nature to feel the pulse of the natural creature and realise the real essence of life, which is the only way for artists to get their inspiration and creative power. He has travelled nearly every part of the motherland watching the great mountains and waters. When he was over 60,he still always goes to paint from life in HUANGSHAN,LUSHAN,JINGGANGSHAN and GULIN mountain areas. For example, in 1980, many a time did he take his students himself to paint from life in HUANSHAN and GUILIN. Mr.YAN's idea of taking life and nature as our teachers is what the young artists today should learn from. In recent years Mr. YAN has once and again told the young generation of artists to make good use of our good time today of reform and opening up to the outside world. He said that we should not only make good research on the tradition of Chinese painting and absorb what is good from foreign art but insist on going into the dept of life to improve foundational techniques.

(Ⅱ)Great writer LU XUN said, “What comes out from the spring is water but what comes out from the human vessel is blood.” From Mr.YAN's painting of flowers and birds or mountains and waters, one can easily feel that his art works reflect his thinking and heart. They are the crystals of his sweat and blood. Mr.YAN's art is the embodiment of his personality,spirit and ideological features. His art is simple, pure, fresh ,elegant and of high artistic taste, as the saying goes, “The painting is like the artist himself.” Mr.YAN's creating art works is purely for the sake of expressing his love for life and his artistic pursuit of the beautifulness of the nature, unlike many painters today, who thinks only the money in the pocket of the art dealer. Whenever they paint, what they firstly put under consideration is, “How much I can get by selling this painting.” Those so-called “Marketing paintings” are emitting the fishy smell of coin. They are the by products under the great impact of the tide of market economy.So Mr.YAN has set an excellent example in our modern art field, an admirable model for the youth.

(Ⅲ) In the field of fine art education Mr.YAN insists on the principle,"to live is to study" and has never ceased studying hard himself. Mr.YAN,who had been under the guidance of masters LIN FONGMING, LIU HAISU and PAN TIANSHUO in his youth, has in- herated and improved his masters' spirit of exploiting and renovating in art creation.Appreciating Mr.YAN's paintings of flowers and birds or of mountains and waters, the viewers can strongly feel the artistic taste. It is because he has absorbed and developed PAN TIANSHOU's paiting style of applying rough lines, broad strokes and thick ink patches, vigorous, bold, unconstrained, rakish and free.From the same hometown of BADA SHANREN, great painter of QING Dynesty, Mr.YAN has not only absorbed nutrition from BADA's art but also followed SHI TAO and WU CHANGSHUO to make deep research on the art essence of all old masters of traditional Chinese painting. Mr.YAH's paintings of flowers and birds or mountains and waters are all new Chinese paintings of his own style that have combined the Chinese tradition of painting and calligraphy with western art forms, colours and compositions. What is more is that whenever he is creating an art work, he puts great emphasis on expressing his personal inner feeling of love for life and nature with very modern artistic means, which shows that in order to keep up with the steps of the times, he has never ceased his pursuit of renovation in art creation. Take “The Three gorges”, “The Seven Stars Cliff” and “Vermillion River” for examples.In these paintings, we can feel the powerful energy of brushwork and harmony of colour and ink, which result from the bold applying of thick ink strokes with bright colour dyeing. The vigorous feeling of the natural atmosphere brings the viewers to a fresh artistic campass, which fully conveys the artist's modern idea of taking the Chinese tradition as the base and making full use of western art elements. So, Mr.YAN's art works are the crystals of the harmonious combination of Chinese tradition with modern factors and the Chinese painting concepts with those of the western. “Morning Clouds in HUANGSHAN Mountains” and “Peaks in HUANGSHAN Mountains” are among those excellent works depicting HUANGSHAN Mountains. Mr.YAN has fully brought his imaginative power into play and has fully made use of the poetics in his paintings.Whoever has been to HUANGSHAN Mountains knows the mysterious scenes taking place in the mountains.Yet,in Mr.YAN's paintings the viewers find the scenes more mysterious, more attrative more charming and with more poetrics and human emotion. It is because Mr.YAN has taken the real scenes as a carrier of his personal feeling, making use of them to convey his inner emotion, his idea and the voice of his heart. We cannot but admire Mr.YAN's ability of feeling the life and nature with such honesty and poetics.

Now what I think should be especially mentioned is the painting “YUPING Pavilion”.As the fine art critic LIANG DINGYING wrote in the preface for the album. I think the painting, “YUPING Pavilion”, is the crystal of Mr.YAN's sweat and blood in his life constantly hardworking in art education and creation. From Mr.YAN's art works we can feel that his art style is inherited from SHI TAO, BADA, QI BAISHI, WU CHANGSHUO and PAN TIANSHOU and on the base of the tradition he establishes a new look of art style of his own, “simple in language but profound in meaning”, attractive in image and impressive in significance, reasonable physically and psychologically.

So all young people who are determined to revive and prosper the Chinese nation should learn from Mr.YAN, otherwise the dream to be artists might only become an illusion.Would old master YAN healthy forever and his art forever green!

Honorary vice chairman of HU NAN Artist Association