CHINESE painter Liping Zheng took a contemporary approach to traditional Chinese calligraphy to pay tribute to the beauty of nature in his third solo exhibit in the country, A Passionate World, in which 35 paintings were mounted at the UST Museum from January 7 to 31.

With the use of classical brush lines and tranquil colors, Zheng displayed fresh and vibrant images of flowers and birds, which, according to him, were drawn from the Philippines’ own tropical landscapes. Also featured were typical Filipino countryside sceneries showing native nipa huts shadowed by tall coconut trees.

“It’s Mother Nature and the beauty of the scenery and the flowers which inspired me to create my art here [in the Philippines],” he said.

According to Zheng, flower-and-bird painting is one of the three main categories of Chinese painting, along with figures and landscapes.

His paintings made use of xuan paper, a soft and fine paper suitable for Chinese calligraphy, which brought out a subtle blending of vital colors of special Chinese inks.

While many artists are said to be troubled by the softness of the paper, which absorbs the water-based ink quickly, Zheng said creating a beautiful masterpiece entails a good command on the control of the water, ink, and brush.

Zheng combines classical Chinese painting and the modern style.

“Top art critics say [that] my methodology is unprecedented, which I didn’t believe at the beginning because I didn’t intentionally try to create new methodologies,” Zheng said.

Zheng is a member of the Council for the Chinese Painting Institute and China National Artists Association and an advisor of the South Asian Department in Asian Development Bank.

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