Springs to the front 眼前一亮



24cms (W) x 30cms (H)

Oil on Panel 油画

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The subject of this painting has 3 passions, reading, cooking and flowers. I didn't manage to include cooking in this painting, unless you accept that the book she is reading is a recipe book....

Anyway, the thing I find interesting about this person is that she behaves often as an introvert (quiet, modest, unassuming), yet on numerous occasions I've seen her performing as a master of ceremonies, or dancing in front of huge crowds. I find this contrast fascinating. I remember doing a recruitment event with her at a university. She was nervous about being on stage, so I reassured her "It'll be fine, just remember that you know what you're doing... blah blah blah"; then on stage she became this showman, who was so much more commanding than I was. It was amazing. Then afterwards she reverted to modesty again, worrying about how she came across.

I find this contrast in a lot of people in China. My theory is that it is a juxtaposition between traditional Confucian societal values of humility and deference, and the confidence that comes with a good education and an increasingly successful country. I still feel that many people I have met seem to lack the confidence that their talent merits (until you give them a microphone).

The books (the more introvert aspect of her character) I put in the background, and I placed her off to the side in the composition - reflecting her unassuming nature. I put the flowers front and centre as a representation of her visible public persona that stands front and centre.

As an aside, this was the first painting I ever tried to do using 'Flemish layering effect' - which is traditional oil painting when you layer up browns, then blacks and whites, then colours. However, i've got a very tight time schedule to complete these pictures and that technique takes weeks of layers to complete. Probably need to experiment with it later or run multiple paintings at once.