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Traditional Chinese paintings, with a modern twist

By Zhang Kun in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-19 09:02
Ahai, painter [Photo provided to China Daily]

"The professor used to tell us to apply white pigments dozens of times to the rice paper in order to achieve the right shade of color," he recalls.

"Every time we had to wait until the color dried before applying a new layer. I was lazy and decided to find another way of doing things."

His method involved applying a deeper shade of color before using water to brush off the residual pigment after it dried up. So effective and efficient was his method that it was soon adopted by everyone on campus.

He also explored the ways in which chemical reactions between pigments and ink paper would result in different looks and textures. He would repeatedly apply colors before washing them off in order to get his desired look.

"I like to struggle with my paintings. I often don't know when a piece of work is complete," he says.

"Sometimes a painting hangs in my studio for years, and when I decide to give it one more try before tossing it to the dustbin, the right texture and imagery finally emerges."

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

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