In May, the Wednesday Class decided to look at the way in which Lingnan artists like James Tan use background colour to underpin their flower paintings. We painted the backgrounds on first and then used a suitably sized brush triple loaded with very dilute white, 30% thicker white and finally tipped in colour. You then need to positon and move the brush correctly to achieve the shapes of the petals required. The results were quite interesting but you need to think carefully about how you paint your background – to get it dark enough – and how to position your colours correctly to under pin your flowers.
James Tan – perfect
Karen Gowlett – from a photograph
Marion Dearlove – inspired by James Tan – background washes could be darker
Cheong Soopieng (1917 – 1983) painted water scenes with lots of buildings and boats and figures. His landscape work is quite abstract and his figure work is very free style but also very detailed. Cheong was born the youngest of seven children in Amoy, China. His parents were neutral to his choice of education, when Cheong took to studying art at the Xiamen Academy of Fine Art in 1933. In 1936 Cheong graduated and attended Xinhua Academy of Fine Art in Shanghai for further studies where he became interested in the Lingnan style of painting only to have his education cut short with the breakout of the Sino-Japanese War in 1938. In 1945 Cheong left China for Hong Kong and then relocated to Singapore in late 1946 where he became a lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (that had been founded by his Hong Kong tutor Lim Hak Tai) where he worked for the next 20 years. He is still regarded as a pioneer artist.
Most interesting things about his work are his line work and texture work and his use of colour. He appears to have used an upright dry brush for texture rather than side brush which gives you a different effect. He also uses a limit range of colours and quite unusual ones. Mid yellow highlighted with gamboge; Bright red and bright red mixed with mid yellow and diluted down to give a very pleasant clear orange; ultramarine and cobalt blue rather than indigo as highlights; indigo mixed with ink to give colour to his dark areas. The conclusion was this was fun but more time was needed to get a finished result.
Cheong Soopieng Village Scene
Marion Dearlove – underpainting showing ink work and texture only
Sarah Turner – Sarah pointed out that this one was a bit pale and needed deeper colour in the washes
Malcolm Gowlett – Malcolm said “needs more washes”
Ayako Kassouf – Ayako said “needs more work”.
Jacki Brown – Jacki wanted you to know it isn’t finished