Flower and Birds Paintings

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The Cockerel

The Cockerel

Chinese ink on rice paper

1346 x 90.2cm

1981

Private collection

 

In Chinese paintings, of all the subjects, it is comparatively easier to paint flowers and birds. The title can be 'little birds on the branch' and it can come in many variations. If you follow the technique taught in the LingNan School, it is not necessary to draw the outlines of your subjects. Colors of red, white, blue and yellow can be added as you wish. There can be countless ways to express the subject, whether the birds are still, fluttering about, alone or with chicks, they can all be interesting. The LingNan school  produced many successful and talented artists with this technique.

When I was six years old, my father taught me how to paint. I learnt to paint flowers and birds as part of my daily lesson. Usually I started by using the thin ink to paint the basic picture. Then I added some light colors and a little bright color for special effect. I felt flowers and birds were easier to paint than people or landscape. It is not surprising that many students started with painting of this subject. Because it is easy to paint flowers and birds, many of the students who later became artists neglected the more difficult foundation (such as the drawing of lines) necessary for good Chinese art. It was when they realized that they could not advance further beyond their skills that they regretted the direction they had taken. In Hong Kong, I once advised several friends, artists of the LingNan school to work on adding the thin fine outlines to the subjects they were painting. This is in order to build up the basics of gongbi, the fine and delicate type of painting. They became successful artists.

Huang Yao, Moyuan Suibi, 1982

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