These works in the oriental “xie yi” style (literally “to write a meaning”) feature a dragonfly: fragile yet agile; flighty yet purposeful. They hope to inspire quiet contemplation and an appreciation of simplicity.
Christine Brassington – Artist’s Profile
My art practice continues to follow a range of themes and mediums, and I still try to give myself permission to enjoy the whole process of creating – conceiving an idea, immersing in research, experimenting with techniques, and finally creating a work or series of works (which sometimes takes on a life of its own). The work of Qi Bai Shi (1863 – 1957), an artist I “met” while studying at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou in 2009, particularly the paintings he produced in his eighties and nineties, has become a validation of how I would like to paint: No longer self conscious, Bai Shi, in his later life, painted only to express - and please – himself; less constrained by conventions and expectations, the simplicity of his paintings shows that he had once again liberated the freedom of expression we all have as children, before we learn the rules…
The paintings exhibited in this year’s Downlands Exhibition belong to an ongoing series I refer to as “Silent Poetry”, a term often used to describe oriental brush painting. They are created in the deceptively simple “xie yi” style, which literally means “to write a meaning”, using traditional oriental materials, with what I hope is sensitivity to the nature of these materials.
Signatures & seals
The rectangular seal is my “signature” and a transliteration of my Christian name in Chinese. The small round seal means “good luck”; artists often use these extra seals to add another layer of meaning, philosophy, or special message to their paintings.
A story about a Chinese artist
One day, while walking through the forest, a man came upon an artist working in his simple studio. The man really liked the paintings he saw, and asked the artist to paint something for him. After agreeing on a price, the artist asked the man to come back in six months to collect his painting. The man went away; six months later he returned and asked for his painting. “Just a moment,” the artist replied; taking out a fresh sheet of paper, he picked up his brush and, with a few deft strokes, turned to the man and held out the completed painting. “But you can’t expect me to pay so much for that! Why, it took you no time at all!” Turning to a cupboard, the artist took out an enormous pile of paintings, and held them out to the man. “What are these?” the man asked. “These are the six months of practice I have done, in order to complete your painting for you just now.”
Overwhelmingly, I am still drawn to seeing the beauty in what's around me. To quote Tony Smibert, with whom I did several watercolour workshops some years ago: "Art is about the things that light you up and make you want to express yourself." And Jan McNeill, another Australian artist: "Pursuing beauty restores me. It quietens my soul. It returns to me a sense of gentleness and grace. Pursuing beauty lifts my spirit and takes me to a place where I can more easily see the good around me."
refer to CV
Most recent: "Lockyer Lives" Lockyer Valley Regional Gallery, 2021
Showing all 4 artworks