Human Figure

Makeup

Oil on Canvas

100x80cm

2009

Having worked in art design for a stage troupe for a long time meant that I am quite familiar with the acting life. No matter how large or small their roles were, the girls always looked particularly sensual when they were applying their make-up backstage. The way they applied their eye shadow and pursed their lips after putting on the lipstick all conveyed a very different kind of poetic beauty that is impossible to describe with words.

Orchid River

Oil on Canvas

150x150cm

2008

Taiwan has such an enormous variety of exquisite orchid flowers. In this painting I brought together Taiwan’s orchid flowers, mountain streams, maple trees, and the Blue Magpie, an endemic species. I visited the mountain stream in person but the scenery was pure imagination. The nude was painted from life.

Autumn Charm

Oil on Canvas

100x70.5cm

2008

Two decades passed between the painting of the Nude with Blue Floral Head Scarf in Hong Kong and the painting of Charm of Autumn! For this painting, I deliberately left out the actual background and used a single floral cloth covered with autumn leaves to accentuate the young girl’s simple and vital form. With a sculptor’s eye, I gave shape to every line and curve of life. By leaving the actual background, I emphasized the simplicity of the human form and made life feel all the more real until every inch of the contours seemed almost touchable.

Nude with Blue Floral Head Scarf

Oil on Canvas

91x60cm

1986

This painting was completed in Hong Kong in the 1980s when I had a teaching studio. The greatest advantage of opening a teaching studio in Hong Kong was having the time and space for self-training. My priority in professional development during this time was human figure drawing and human figure oil painting, which was missing from my earlier training in Mainland China. Apart from practicing alongside my students, I also spent a great deal of time hiring models for personal research and practice. In addition to increasing my anatomical knowledge of the human body, I also studied the development of human sight. Were the observation and sensory capabilities of the human eye truly no match for the camera lens?

This was the thought that motivated this painting. It provided a vivid expression of the human figure filled with life and warmth as seen through my eyes and captured the colors and contours in every inch of this girl’s skin. All of this exploration and narrative was completed in just two sessions over six hours!

Yet there was so much life in just a stretch of white wall, a head scarf and a girl just leaning there. I had once more risen to the challenge and created a testimony to the boundless potential of the human eye. The six hours would prove such a nerve-wracking experience yet such a delightful exploration of life!

Tranquil Night

Oil on Canvas

120x100cm

1995

This painting was the start of a series of human figure paintings at my Taipei studio in the 1990s. The new studio I set up in Taipei gave me more room to work with so the compositions were richer and more varied than my Hong Kong period.

In this painting, I wanted to create a consistent color palette and atmosphere. I came up with the concept first and then purchased the props – the desk lamp, vase of flowers, and fabric. What was left was how to present this atmosphere and how to bring the nude next to the lamp into the light.

Untitled

Oil on Canvas

136x84 cm

1987

This plein-air painting of the human figure is unusual in that it was completed completely from life yet contained creative elements in its composition.

When painting human figures, one approach is the plein-air study where the model as well as surrounding props and environment are all incorporated into the image; the other is borrowing the model’s form and pose for a work of imagination.

The pose and concept for this painting came to me by chance: The model just couldn’t get the pose right and so gave up, squat in a cross-legged position, and put her hands on her knees. Perfect! I immediately purchased a large stretch of white cloth for the background and completed the character en plein-air. The result had a Zen feel to it so I named it ‘Untitled’ because it sounded like Bodhi (in Chinese).

Vase, Flower Cloth and Nude

Oil on Canvas

80x116.8cm

2008

This oil painting was a plein-air painting created in collaboration with a production company in Taiwan for the Oil Painting with Mau-Kun Yim TV series. The model was an excellent subject and was very dedicated as well. While I was arranging the model’s pose and the surrounding environment, I decided to add some patchwork cloth, a water jar, and oranges to make the scene feel more lively.

Narrative

Portrait

Human Figure

Landscape

Still Life

Drawing