I missed one last set of Woodstock pictures which bear posting. My mum had a few friends over to visit with the Q before we left, and one of those friends was a fellow Woodstock artist and one of my mother's teachers, Zhang HongNian.HongNian is a Chinese American artist, born in Nanjing, China (the city, as it happens, where we met and adopted Q).
I am just going to post his entire bio here, because it's fascinating, and because he is one of the artists I most respect in today's art world:
HongNian Zhang is an internationally known Chinese American artist who works in the Western academic tradition. His paintings are in private, corporate and museum collections in America, Europe and Asia. His work was included in Sotheby's first American auction of Chinese contemporary art, held in New York City in March 2006.
Born in Nanjing, China, Zhang's artistic training began at age nine. At fourteen he was the top student accepted to the Central Art Academy Affiliated High School in Beijing, China. After graduation, the Cultural Revolution shut down the schools and Zhang was sent with his class to the remote countryside for four years of forced labor. Upon returning to Beijing in 1973, he became the youngest artist employed by the Beijing Art Academy, and in 1979 the youngest member ever elected to the All China Artists Association. As leader of the "Scar" art period, an important artistic movement in China exposing the painful memories of the Cultural Revolution, three of Zhang's paintings were acquired for the Chinese National Art Gallery's permanent collection. In 1984, he was accepted to the highly selective MFA program at the Central Art Academy.
In 1985, Zhang came to the United States to continue his study in art. Represented by New York'sGrand Central Gallery, Zhang was in their acclaimed 1986 show, Realism from China, the first exhibit to introduce Chinese oil painting to the Western world.After moving to Woodstock, New York in 1991, Zhang continued working in the realism tradition, yet expanding his subjects from Tibetan to a wide range that include Chinese and American historical paintings, and contemporary American subjects. He taught for several years in the graduate program of the New York Academy, and at the Woodstock School of Art. His works have appeared in many publications, including National Geographic, Fine Art Connoisseur, and Artist magazines. National Geographic Society acquired four of his Chinese historical paintings for their permanent collection. Zhang and his wife, Lois Woolley, co-wrote The Yin Yang of Painting, which presents his unique artistic approach and style for oil painting.
HongNian's paintings are breathtaking, intricately historical, lyrical, and he paints with a technique in which (I simplify greatly) he uses only two complimentary colors, mixed in varying proportions, in order to evoke a full range of eloquent and lifelike color combinations.
Can you imagine painting any of these works using only two colors?
Bio and images from the website of Zhang HongNian.
I find it fascinating also because, while studying architectural and interior rendering at the NYSID, I was trained in a similar technique although with a significantly different sort of application. I remember drills where we had to mix two complimentary colors time and time again in minutely different proportions in order to come up with a broad spectrum of shades and effects. I actually came to really love the exercise, even though our teacher was relentless and unforgiving, and the work rigorous.
So...that's HongNian, and I am so very glad that Q has had the opportunity to get to know such a superb artist and lovely human being, from her very own region of China, no less.
On the same evening, Q made friends with the son of a friend of my mother's who also works at the Woodstock School of Art.
Though they were a bit shy at first, it turned out that he and Q had something in common: a love of snakes. Those of you who have been with the blog for a while may remember that on our previous visit to NY, Q was allowed to pick one thing from the massive FAO Schwarz toystore in Manhattan, and she chose....a bag of plastic snakes. We left that bag at my mum's house in Woodstock so that she could rediscover it on our next visit. As it turned out, that was an excellent decision, because the snakes turned out to be the perfect icebreaker between Q and her new friend.
He was thrilled with Q's snake collection, and went on to recite all their names to us as she revealed them.
In return, Q gifted him with one of her precious (VERY precious) balloons.
It was a lovely evening all around, rife with new friends and fresh camaraderie.
I hope we'll all be able to visit again next time we're on the East Coast!