Reflective Journal Week 13, 22 Dec – 28 Dec 2019

In Reflective Journal Week 2, I wrote about the Chinese people’s obsession with the ownership of a piece of land.

“I guess my nostalgia feeling regarding the “second hometown” may be related to the generic desire of Chinese people: the obsession of owning a piece of land that he/she truly belongs to. Chinese people usually travel upon their vast country for wars have been waging on its soil for nearly three thousand years. Houses can be burnt, corps devastated, the ground soaked by blood, families killed. However, Chinese people always believe in the magic of land and hard-working. With a tiny piece of land, everything lost can be rebuilt, life can be regained.”

I read about a work recently, Wheatfield: A Confrontation. I cannot help to notice that there is an idea explained the Wheatfield as a symbol of the basic element by which the revolve of the world is maintained. Combined with my previous perspective in which the world is viewed as a cycle of heat and human activity are nothing but collecting and redistribution of heat, a new component has been added to my review of land. The ownership of land may represent the fundamental element of Chinese culture. The hope of flourishing exactly depends on soil. It is perhaps the reason why Agnes’s Wheatfield often causes resonance among Chinese audiences. Land located in the very centre of an over-developed city and growing crops as the owner please, this match surprisingly matched the Chinese value’s common desire.


The artist herself has demonstrated an abundant amount of work connected with nature over the years. She is now a valuable and inspiring model for me to look into however, further exploration of her work will be carried on in the future.

Art Nouveau is an art movement that flourished in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. It came to my attention because I have mentioned William Morris in the English part of the novel. It is surprising that years of familiarity with William Morris’s design didn’t occur me to think about the stereotype of design of his contemporary fellow artists. I specifically looked into the movement of Art Nouveau. I always enjoy the work of the famous French illustrator Alphonse Mucha. The study about his method of creation could be used as a future reference.

A Catalan furniture designer Gaspar Homar, who apparently shared a great enthusiasm for producing not-commonly-as-graphically-based but three-dimensional works gained my attention as well. Most artists of the modernism movement tended to choose work on paper or other two dementia platform, Gaspar is a rare example of transforming aesthetic concepts into practical practice.

Many believe that Art Nouveau is a fashion trend in which the public fancied borrowing natural objects and patterns for decorative purpose. I sometimes would like to consider it from a new perspective. Every liberation of productivity due to a technical breakthrough/industrial revolution brings a fertile society for the developing of culture. The contradictory of the fast-pacing world often stimulated the way artists to reflect reality. Art Nouveau could be considered as anxiety about the trend that the artisan spirit of building up works manually being replaced by the massive production. This consideration may not apply to all movements locate between eras. It may be only suitable for conservatives. The hypothesis requires an enormous amount of researches to be tracked down. However, I believe it showed a promising potential of becoming a research direction in the future.

An essay First Impression: Thomas Cole’s Drawing of His 1825 Trip up Hudson River by Tracie Felker was read this week. It actually provided me with some references for studying the transition of landscape painting in the 19th Century. Especially from the idyllic continental style to the romantic-dramatic Hudson River School fashion. Cole was an English landscape painter who travelled to America in the 19th Century. The relatively limited historical environment of information exchanging significantly divided the style of landscape painting between the Europe Continent and the New World. While the golden age of English landscape painting goes on, Hudson River School inherited the flourishing romanticism of the early 19th Century while bringing strange and unfamiliar landscapes to the world of art. Hudson River School has always been one of my favourite art trend regarding landscape painting. Before Europe was dragged into the mire of the Great War and a lot of war artists sparked, Hudson River School has been the last peaceful light that shined on the villatic age of humankind.

The year 1825 and Cole’s trip to Hudson River symbolised a transit of his painting style. His style started to grow mature and begin to ditch away from the textbook style step-by-step painting education method(I believe it is adopted from the German education system?). The process, despite the fact that it is already near 200 years away from us, still extremely worthy of studying by Chinese academics. Chinese art education still relies on the assessment standard in which candidate’s drawing technique and preciseness are the only aspects that being considered for applying for colleges. It could be unfair and may lead the artist trend focuses on technical instead of bringing ideas and discussing problems critically; from the long-term, it also indirectly encouraged the criticised frequent copying of other’s work of the nation’s creative industry. However, the population of the country has always been an obstruct for a more advanced art education based on its shorted educational resources.

Aside from the format of the illustration book, I have been really focusing on the page design. I have been trying to find a method of optimising the graphic arrangement, make the book both easy to read and optimised for highlighting my advantages and characters in the painting. Some scenes and sketches were cut off, as well as several sentences, even paragraphs from the original writing. The printing and binding service I have chosen has a specific requirement regarding the page count. The original plan was to make a hardback binder book. However, in that case, the book needed more than 87 pages; this amount has been considered as “impossible” at this stage.

The sketchbook will be finished and posted in two weeks.

Some production of images based on descriptions from the novel has been initialled. Week 13 was aimed for trying to finish the Spanish part or to push it to a “ready to be finished” stage. Some examples of the weekly effort could be found below.

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