Tootings before Autumn, Sept 2019

After receiving the offer from Camberwell College of Art in Feb, I should have entered a period of stable work-producing and self-learning. What I did not foresee was family issues stormed through the year just undid the excitement and every peaceful moment that provided a chance to take a break. I have to admit, my mental status has been horrible before improvements were gradually introduced started in late Sept. I used to believe memory suppressing would not work on individuals that are smart enough. I was totally wrong. A logic, well-supported self-diagnose can only clarify problems; you know what treatments are, making them work is totally different.

Chaotic living environment and pressure were surprisingly motivative. Every time I met a tricky situation, I would turn myself into a machine which I found incredibly useful as self-defence. This time made no exception. Despite the fact that the sudden occurrence often torn my thinkings apart, I tried my best to keep works being produced in acceptable structure. I was clearly aware of qualities that required improvements in order to ease some difficult for the up-coming MA study. I came up with detailed and targeting plans of self-learning, working under its discipline than being shredded by life; then I started over. So my apology if following works demonstrate a wide range of tasks; however, their connections to each other remain ambiguous.

The miserable life formed an ironic contrast with my previous experience in Brighton. I had missed it enough, 2019 just successfully restarted the series Senza Titolo. With technical aspects aside, it was when I started to think about the definition of “hometown” to regional painters. What is “hometown” to them? What “second hometown” to them? Can any place be a “hometown” to anyone once a nostalgic feeling was adopted? It was very interesting that I always call accommodations during my BA course in which treasured memories were experienced “home” while switching the property of my parents as “hometown”. (We do live with parents before marriage, that’s a culture thing, don’t judge.) I can unhesitatingly state the same nostalgia feeling was recalled when I talked about them on foreign soil. The question has been developing throughout the year and managed to squeeze in the first project of my MA course. Images can be found below.


They are scenes of Brighton Seafront, from the year I lived along, spent time on debating and knowing myself. These two pieces were a deep self-analysis of personal feeling as well as my identity.

Although the process and timetable suggested otherwise, I believe the project well-presented a transition where I moved my focus from technical improvement to theoretical developing.


Of course, when it came to the sceond hometown, spanish landscapes cannot be missed.

At the same moment, the planning stage of the project I proposed in the application cover letter initialled. The project was designed to visualise an experience-based combination that involves abstract theoretical debates, discussions and creative writing to demonstrate a walk from the historic town of Penzance to Marazion. Considering logically and practically, its critical writing and sketching should be begun as soon as possible; therefore, the production of a cover paper or a banner for the project is necessary.

I experimented some techniques of a classical oil painting. Before applying the first thin layer of paint with the medium I mixed, a sketch made by pencil strokes and watercolour was drawn. Shapes and structures were constructed first, then overlaying colour piled out an excellent selection of hue.

The painting was started in March, however, did not finish until the middle of September. Regrading the unsatisfying outcome of stages, it was covered and redid several times. It was the first time I formally experimented some tempera skills mixing with other mediums. Although there were techniques including configuring my own medium with egg white and carefully mixing chalk and dye into paint were performed when producing El Reino entre Olivares, I did not realise they were a subject called tempera. So I basically had invented these techniques through the attempt of perfect methods unnecessarily.


Some reading about tempera regarding its historical aspects and technical development throughout the year introduced me to a brand-new area of cognition. The history of tempera contains a vast amount of resources which allow us to avoid spending money on the useless pre-mixed medium through studying produce our own. I especially enjoyed the part where the subject demonstrates an inspiring method of building up a reflective surface on the paintings. I believe it has the potential to replace the smelling damar vanisher.

Practices in May, when I was sheltered in the grandparents’ house due to issues, I spent weeks painting plants and flowers in their backyard. Some playfulness was enjoyed via converting the quality of a canvas close to a wooden panel. A very unusually utilisation of gesso and chalk, I would judge.

When the canvas was dry, the interest in making tempera painting was suddenly disturbed by another raging issue. I found it impossible to concentrate. So I turned the first painting into a try-out of an early impressionism painting.

The second one, Midday Rose, was at the boundary of the focus on the floatation of light in the air and a realistic style. Still, I found it extremely helpful to paint oil on a watercolour layer. Sometimes the transparency of another medium simply did the job for oil paint.
After the upper layers were finished, another layer mixed with refined quartz powder and egg white was painted between oil and damar varnisher. A feature of glowing when viewing from different angles was ensured now, and it has been useful for attracting the interest of audience when viewing the work in person.


In Summer, I have done several sketches of flowers. Most of them are not shown here, I have only selected ones that I am satisfied with the most.


I have also struggled with the identity of myself; thus, a series of works of family members begun. The first quick self-portrait was made when trying to maintain the proficiency of charcoal.


Later a minor practice of watercolour of my uncle was made.

I grew up in the region where River South (Jiang Nan) culture dominates. I often recognise myself as a Southerner despite the fact that half the family members were from the North. The bias suggests I have a strong trend of denying a part of me, and what may have float within my blood while attempting to categorise myself as a higher hierarchy. Like the common tongue may recommend, “embrace who you are”; I would not like to do, or simply refuse to do so. I have acknowledged that this factor impact on my work negatively. However, overcome the confrontation may cost me an extensive period substantially.

One of the primary development before September was a painting showing my grandparents sitting in the living room. As a very symbolic culture, elderly citizens prefer not to turn the lights on when the environment is not dark enough. The picture shows a typical scene of my grandparents chatting in the afternoon, spending time waiting for it to past. The minimal light condition formed a sharp contrast between their major living area and other parts of the house. It should be an intense scene for Chinese people who share a similar culture and family background as me; such refection was evident on feedbacks within the border, and have gained regularly average opinion abroad.

The painting is a short, briefed description of the growing environment of me, as well as my relatives of my mother’s side who were from the Northern part of China. They have a strong self-implication of a substantial pride of coming from an orthodox region of the massive Chinese communism movement in the last century. Even though material conditions were relatively harder these days at their hometown, some of them still share a superiority complex of living close to the political centre in Mao’s era. The other part of the family, including me, otherwise consider the feature inconsequential. Even my grandfather, who used to serve in the republic’s military, didn’t develop such superiority just because of living location. There are arguments these days stating this newly-developed pride is a kind of redirect to the Chinese society of Mao’s time, where political movements were occupying a considerable amount of social resources.
The fact that my grandfather’s serving provided incomparable material conditions for my mother and uncle, as well as other members from my mother’s side. While my father and his family was still struggling to survive from starvation, my mother had imported fruit can and chocolate for snacks. Sadly war raged during my grandfather’s serving decided his wish for his children could live a life with nothing special specified but peacefulness; thus, lack of motivation wiped off the materials advantage on their educations.


Another quick sketch of my father’s relative. A considerable proportion of the villagers are still living in ignorance and poverty.


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