Burning of Fields, Colour of Rocks, Nov 2018.

In some rural areas of China, it is very common for farmers to burn plantation waste like rice straws after harvesting crops. They use ash afterwards to fertilize the field back in the days when fertilizer were in shortage but this activity sometimes gets to be kept as a tradition. Burning fields also clean up weeds and insect eggs, saving a lot of time for the next sowing.


Although bruning fields is restricted nowadays due to air pollution and potential of causing wild fire, such minor agricultual activity could still be found as a legacy of history.

My hometown locates in the mountains. Farmers there fight the mountain for land to feed their families, but they also foraging from the mountain, living relying on the mountain. They have mixed feelings to the hard terrain conditions brought by the mountain. A series of photographs show the beauty of the mountain that often receives praises from mountain villagers.

Lack of healthy aesthetic standard due to the shortage of educational resources is commonly found within mountain villages. Villages from my hometown often have no interest in any kind of natural view expect the variety of colours of rocks. I documented several scenes of such beauty. It is a demonstration of a rare understanding of natural beauty when impressions of the forms of natural view are fixed in contemporary time. Conceptional abstract work contains massive explanations of beauty, and growing numbers of traditional-style-focusing painters have produced just a sufficient amount of images for the public. The series of the photograph opened up another perspective – to look underneath your feet, in an old-school fashion, to urge its viewers to observe and being respectful to all kinds of spectacular things could be found in nature.

Formal Description

The Burning of Fields is a technical-focused watercolour practice. It specifically looked into using the dry-on-dry technique to reproduce textures of plants as well as a distant background. A balance between selecting transparent watercolour, tube watercolour and ink was found. It also focused on another classic topic of watercolour: processing highlight areas with white space. The reference of traditional Chinese aesthetic and the technique they used for arranging white space was researched as well.

This piece of painting was a life-drawing of a daily scenario of a rural village. It was designed for documenting the agriculture legacy: fertilising the soil and eliminating insects through burning fields. This kind of activity is actually banned due to air pollution and the threats of causing wild fires. Therefore, targeting this policy, the effort has been put to display the beauty of a traditional method of living; the concern of the vanish of a culture has been expressed, as well as the insecurity of the loss of true identity under the pressure of fast-paced modern behavior.


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