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Ancient art inspires ink painter to create modern work

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-18 08:06

Ancient art inspires ink painter to create modern work

Ma Xiaotian works on his ink creation in his Beijing studio. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Ma Xiaotian has been painting lotus flowers at his studio in Beijing even in the July heat.

The ink painter says the dark green leaves and pink flowers on paper "have a magical power to cool his body and mind".

He has just completed a painting, more than 1 meter in height, which took him three days to finish, from early morning to late night.

"When painting lotus leaves, I use the technique of lishu (a style of Chinese calligraphy)," says the 55-year-old artist.

Lotus is one of his favorite topics. The painter has also painted figures, birds and flowers, and landscapes-all of which have been included in his new book released in spring.

A solo show is under plan and will be held by the end of the year, he says.

The book has more than 100 pieces of ink-and-wash paintings, almost half of which are figures, such as men fishing on a boat, children dragging a cow or an old man playing the guqin (a traditional zither) under a tall tree.

The earliest figure painting in the book is one depicting a beautiful woman in ancient clothing, which Ma painted at the age 17. The piece won him a national prize and encouraged him to explore the art form for a lifetime.

Unlike many other Chinese painters who went to art colleges to learn the skills, Ma didn't train at such an institute. He learned from different painters he admired.

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