Painting of Plum Blossom Expresses National Soul

—— Note of Mr. Faxiang Zheng, the plum blossom painting saint

The plum blossom is one of traditional hot subject matters of traditional Chinese painting: “three cold-winter friends – pine, bamboo and plum blossom”. Of all ages, those who have painted the plum blossom are very many, and it can be called that master-hands contest the excellence. However, that who is headed as “the plum blossom painting saint” is only Mr. Faxiang Zheng, native of Changle City, Fujiang Province.

Mr. Faxiang Zheng, styled himself Yunling, assumed name Meidaoren (the Plum Blossom doctrine fellow). He studied successively in China Calligraphy and Painting University Teaching by Correspondence, Central Academy of Fine Arts and Xu Beihong Studio and the Graduate Students Dept. of China Art Academy. He is now appointed director of the Artists Academic Committee under China Talents Academy of the Ministry of Personnel of the People's Republic of China and director-general of China International Artists Research Center.

Painting the plum blossom not only needs to achieve unification of reflecting the nature and representing one's self, but also to be valuable in innovation and be unique in one's style. In traditionally painting the plum blossom, in aspect of representing one's self, although there were those who use the plum blossom to imply the noble, faithful personality beauty, but the majority uses the plum blossom to represent the gentle and serene, impoverished and self-admired affection. Mr. Faxiang Zheng painting the plum blossom, in aspect of combining the plum blossom's natural beauty character to express one's emotion and imply meaning, bravely gets rid of the stale and brings forth the fresh, and develops a new style. He endows the plum blossom with a powerful life flavor, time spirit and Chinese national noble character, making the plum blossom works coming into an artistic role that reflects the main rhythm.

In order to allow the plum blossom works to bear a new aesthetic mission, Mr. Zheng repeatedly tallied and blended own ideal and affection with the shape and spirit of the plum blossom as an artistic carrier, through the arduous and careful observation and feeling of the practicality, and finally created a kind of new imago sculpting of unifying the substance and own self, brilliant moral and lively image.

Dragon is the symbol of Chinese nationality. In skill to paint the plum tree branches, there is a saying of “bending as dragon”. Grasping the artistic contact of dragon and plum tree, Mr. Faxiang Zheng expands and sublimes the skill of “blending as dragon”, visualizing the huge dragon that has style, features and expression of Chinese nationality in new age as a trunk sculpting of a whole plum tree, and created the unique artistic language of trunk branches that have invincible might and majestic appearance. He, taking the natural character of the plum blossom tree trunk branches as a keynote and exceeding the life, exaggerates and creates meaning, and endows the trunk branches with the pine-cypress-likely vigor of appearance and spirit. This makes the trunk branches especially thick and strong, tall and straight, of indomitable spirit, vigorous and energetic, tortuous and whirling, just liking the huge dragon being of blastoff and born, of buckjump and flying, and advancing irresistibly. Such trunk branches of powerful vigor and of strong moving sense in almost every piece of painting, all chart more and more majestic symphonies of buckjump of the huge dragon. When sculpting the plum tree trunk branches, Mr. Zheng used skills such as absence of bone, bone ink, false and true lines, romance etc., strengthening thus the vigorous and energetic temperament of the iron trunks and curly branches. Such artistic technique further gives prominence to the spirit and character for Chinese nationality to experience for a long time the annealing trails and tribulations by the blood and fire, to not fear hardship and dangerous, difficult road and to indomitably struggle.

The created by Mr. Faxiang Zheng plum's flowers are a artistic novel language that refracts the pretty, colorful brilliance of the age. The traditional skill to paint the plum's flowers mostly uses the brush's spot piling method and the encircling and hooking method. For the painted in this way plum's flowers' shape, there is although no lack of terse and vivid excellent works, the sculpting is largely identical but with minor differences. Mr. Faxiang Zheng painting the plum flowers use exactly the classical idioms, accepting concurrently Chinese and Western painting styles, combine the skill of line sculpting with the skill of watercolor painting and oil painting, and blend skills such as the azimuth perspective, light and shade texture as well as the faintly dyeing and setting-off etc. This is a rather rich sculpting artistic technique of more expressive force, which represents in full azimuth the plum blossom's appearance and expression. With painted by him in this way the plum's flowers, almost every flower has third dimension, and every petal bursts expression.

For the ancients to enjoy the plum blossom, there is a saying of that the flowers are valuable in being rare not in being numerous, and taking the scattering as a beauty. The painted by Mr. Faxiang Zheng plum's flowers sometimes bloom and throng on menu in multilayer and multiazinuth. The entire menu, being as though gorgeous and dazzling color brocades, shines the homeland's well-off era splendor, sets off the reform and opening's scenery for all kind of industries to prosper and for group of starts to be resplendent, and spurts flourishing youthful spirit and high-spirited energy of all national people.

Mr. Faxiang Zheng's plum blossom works mostly dispose in full azimuth sceneries on the menu. If there are field, hill and river in scenery, the plum blossom is always located in a showy close shot position of standing on the earth and connecting the sky, and with the sky, earth, hill and river all being establishing shot, producing thus a kind of effect of that the plum blossom is master of the universe. He uses both the stabling points scenography and the moving points scenography, and even breaks through space-time restriction for composition of a picture, developing thus greatly the artistic capability of the limited menu. In this way, His plum blossom works form a kind of vagary style of composition of a picture for the strong trunks and vigor branches to rush at the eyeground and for the excessively color numerous flowers to blot out the sky and cover up the earth. Such composition of a picture makes the whole menu's sceneries being broad and forceful, grand and spectacular, being of spirit penetrating and shape showing as well as of affection with easy and verve, thus bringing forth mostly the plum blossom's appearance and spirit beauty, rhythm beauty and temperament beauty. Such painting artistic beauty of composition of a picture is namely in compliance with demand of the broad mind and majestic verve of Chinese nationality, and is namely grave subject matter's right art representing form for re-energizing the great undertaking and vigorously developing.

Generally viewing Mr. Faxiang Zheng's plum blossom works, we can both comprehend new ideological and feeling height the great development of the plum blossom's function to imply the re-energizing achieves, and can enter into the corresponding the plum blossom soul's wonderful resort of exceeding the Creator and vivid artistic conception. Having such aesthetic experience, forMr. Faxiang Zheng's plum blossom entering into U.N. Mansion, China Embassy to Washington, China Embassy to U.K., China National Cultural Relic Administration, China Art Gallery, Beijing Tian'anmen Gate Tower, the Great Hall of the People, Zhongnanhai, Diao Yu Tai State Guesthouse, the Chinese People's Revolution Military Museum, China Nationalities Museum and numerous overseas and home museums and art salons etc. for collection, we can feel, it comes very naturally. And for that numerous home and abroad media reported in special topics Mr. Faxiang Zheng's painting outstanding achievements and called him as “The plum blossom saint”, we can also feel, it is worthy of the name.

The Literatures Research Chamber of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Literatures Publishing House
Chief editor Guo Yongwen

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丹青梅韵铸精神
(英文)

郭永文