Chien Chung Wei Watercolor

 


The Imprint of Still Life Paintings
靜物畫的印記

葡萄  Grapes  74×52 cm 2001

I remember years ago when my painting Grapes exhibited in the National Museum of History, a lady said to me excitedly, “I really like your work!” Smiling, I said, “Oh, thank you!” Then she said even more excitedly, “Because you paint so realistically!”

I really wanted to tell her, “Actually, my painting is not realistic at all….”
The genre still life has always had an irreplaceable place in my painting career. I think it is so because, like most art students, when I first started learning to paint formally, I started with still lifes. This is a lot like ducklings who imprint on any moving animal that first meets their eyes.

Except for the seven portraits in my graduation solo show, the majority of my watercolor works in university were still lifes. In retrospect, I understand now the reason I did not like to paint landscapes is that my drawing ability was only at the “basic” level of getting the structure and modeling correct. I did not yet have a good understanding of composition, rhythm, interest and taste, and each medium’s characteristics. I did not know the higher level of drawing expressions that truly make a painting great. Still life as a genre was perfect for my level and understanding of drawing at that time. In this way, my still lifes have manifested different styles in different phases of my painting career.

From my first watercolor still life Bunny and Radio, painted at eighteen, to Grapes in my thirties, I have created more than thirty watercolor still lifes larger than 31”x21”. If you look closely at them, you will find that without exception, they are all horizontal desktop compositions. This fascination with horizontal compositions, my innate visual sense of balance, and my childhood insistence on making origami with one square sheet of paper, revealed the Classicism blood that runs deep in my veins.

Although my drawing was often very “correct” at that time, I wasn’t all that interested in complete objective realism. In other words, despite my pursuit in expressing the textures, light and shadow, and advancing my painting techniques, I have never wanted to pursue simple realism. However, it is through these realistic subjects that my understanding of the nature of beauty and classic structure is inspired.

The goal I have been toiling after is simply to “make every stroke interesting and beautiful.”

(Translated by Arianne Guan Toleno)

幾年前,這幅「葡萄」在歷史博物館展出的時候,有位女士很激動的跟我說:「簡老師,我好喜歡你的作品喔!」,我笑著說:「喔,謝謝妳…」,接著她更激動的說:「因為你畫的好寫實喔!」

我很想跟她說:其實我的畫一點也不寫實!

靜物畫,在我的繪畫創作生涯中,一直有著無可取代的重要地位。我想,可能是每個人在剛接觸繪畫的時候,都是從靜物開始進入正式學畫的階段吧(好像是才睜開眼睛的小鴨,對於第一眼看到會動的動物就認定是媽媽…)!

大學四年的水彩創作,除了畢業時展出的七張水彩肖像畫以外,全部都是靜物畫。現在回想起來,當時為何不喜歡畫風景?我想,應該是我當時的素描實力,還是僅止於造型紮實、結構正確的初階實力,對於主次佈局、強弱虛實、形趣品味以及材料繪畫性特質等等,一幅畫之所以成為一幅「畫」的素描高階表現,還是一知半解。靜物題材,正好可以充分展現我當時的素描表現與理解。因此,靜物畫成了我每個時期創作風格的印記。

從十八歲大一開始的第一幅水彩靜物創作「兔寶寶與收音機」,一直到三十幾歲的這張「葡萄」,大約創作了三十多件對開以上的水彩靜物畫。稍為注意一下,會發現全部都是水平桌面構圖,沒有一件例外。這種對水平、垂直的構圖迷戀,加上天生的視覺平衡感,以及從小就堅持摺紙一定要一張完整的正方形的紙來摺才叫摺紙的想法,明顯透露出我的骨子裡,流著鮮明的古典主義精神的血液。

雖然我當時的素描可以做到很「正確」,但對於百分百客觀要求的「寫實」,我似乎也不感興趣。換句話說,無論我追求多少質感表現,光影效果,精進多少描繪技巧,這二、三十年來,從來沒有只是單純的想追求「寫實表現」而已。但我的確是透過寫實的題材,來啟發我對「古典結構」與「美」的本性。

「每一筆都是有趣味的,每一筆都是美的!」—這應該就是我苦苦追求的境界吧!

(翻譯:管惠玲)

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