交陪_2_2

文───廖慶章

習畫之路

小時候生在雲林,而後因家中經濟出問題就來到高雄定居,國中畢業後雖然有考上私立正修工專,但因為家中經濟無法提供我繼續上學,所以我就選擇就業。從小我對畫畫一直感興趣,有次經過高雄林園的一座古廟時,遇見一群匠師正在整修及彩繪廟宇,當時我不知道誰是丁清石,但我越看越有興趣就詢問他們有沒有收學徒。回到家我興奮地跟家人說,但我爸不贊成,他認為沒有前途,就對我說:「不讓你去廟裡畫!」他認為我去學修理摩托車還比較有前途,但當時我只對畫畫有興趣,就很堅持跟他說:「一枝草一點露,努力做就會有出路。」最後我說服了爸爸,進到丁清石師傅門下開始學起。不過師傅們大多為了保有自己手藝的高度,功夫不會盡傳,如果想學還是要靠自己偷學。
當學徒時,我花了很多時間描稿練習,其他學徒要去打撞球或是去玩時也常揶揄我,說我以後要自立門戶當畫師之類的,我不理他們還是繼續畫。我的選擇就是持續地練習,但是不管怎麼練習還是沒辦法學到師傅的功夫,因為很多畫稿都是師傅過世後整理遺物時才被發現。
在三年四個月的學徒日子期滿後,我決定繼續學習,之後遇到陳炳坤師傅。他看我很憨厚,認真學畫也不怎麼講話,就覺得我與其他學徒不同,開始主動找資料給我,讓我學習描繪。他是我學習過程中的一大貴人。
早期學習時,我會盡量地去描其他畫師的作品,不同的畫師有不一樣的特色,像潘麗水的門神都較為圖式化,人物排列具分配平均的特點。我會在描繪的過程中,試著吸取他人的創作概念。做學徒時沒有錢,畫冊取得也不容易,但我會去買漫畫、武俠小說。這些漫畫、小說中的人物動作很大,而且有些會脫上衣露出肌肉,這些圖畫能讓我更進一步地去瞭解人物的動態,雖然我師傅看到時就會罵說:「你在畫什麼死人骨頭!」但其實我是想藉由這些漫畫中的人物去了解人體比例及人物的動態。早期畫師示意身體的骨頭與比例都是靠衣服的轉折,但如果沒有真實地去理解人在動作時身體骨頭的連動就很難正確地描繪。我認為經由這些細微的人物動作就能更生動地安排廟門上人物的動態,也能藉著人物的動態表現出神與神、神與人之間彼此的互動。
某次我在喜樹萬皇宮遇到蔡草如正在畫殿壁石片,草如師不會擺出一般師傅的架勢,我坐在一旁看他畫,他也邊畫邊與我聊天。那時他跟我說:「即便是石片,久了也是會風化的!」他也問我有沒有將作品畫在紙上,那時我連畫廟都畫不好,所以沒細想過這種做法。但草如師就建議我多多少少要有些紙本作品,以及養成寫生的習慣,藉著寫生整理創作的素材。他當時給我這兩個概念,影響著我之後創作的轉變。
之後我去大陸旅遊,看到山西永樂宮內的人物壁畫讓我大受感動,壁畫中的礦物顏料調和了許多桐油,抹上後看起來很粗糙,但在過了一定的時間後,歲月所留下的拙樸色澤會變得非常漂亮。回到臺灣後我雖然沒有馬上嘗試其他的畫法,但一直對當時的印象非常深刻,直到三年後我才開始嘗試將廟畫畫在紙本上。因為沒人可問,我就必須要一步步地去嘗試種種色彩表現的材質、工法等等,試了將近一年的時間,才有了確切可循的方法。

彩畫藝術的底蘊與精進

彩畫藝術屬宗教藝術的一部分,它是文化的根,反映著常民生活基本價值的重要媒介,除了作為民間常民美學的培養之外,廟畫無非為忠孝節義的倫理故事,而廟宇則經由民眾耳濡目染這些故事情節而達到對其生活行為的規範與學習。藉由這些為人所知的處世典範,民眾也進而能體認到週遭的文化底蘊。
早期彩繪是不被重視的技藝,僅僅是常民的謀生工作,也由於傳承時以不外傳的門派師徒制為主,難以被外界大部分的人所瞭解,再加上早期農業社會經濟普遍不富裕,信眾進到廟中也只求信仰上的慰藉,對宮廟的設施要求並不高,只求能遮風避雨。而後隨著工業社會經濟的富裕及人民知識水平的增長,廟的建築與繪製成為浮華風氣的競逐,宮廟建設有了更多的要求。雖然廟中各種設施均有提升,但人們對於信仰的忠貞、純樸,倒是一點一滴地流失,對神明也不如以往虔誠。到底是追求表象的極致好呢?還是應追求內心世界的和諧?這倒是需要不斷地討論與思索。在大環境的變遷下,廟宇的美學該何去何從,也讓我產生無可奈何的無力感。
在我決定要改變我創作的方法後,我選擇進入大學學習,那時蔡茂松老師認為我已經畫得很好了,但尚欠缺論述的層面,如果我接受學院的教導或許能得到一些啟蒙。雖然論述也不全然在學院之中產出,但我想可以去嘗試看看,所以2005年我考進了長榮大學,繼續求學之路。
但當我進入學院後,灰心反而比獲得更多,學院裡的人都質疑我的創作,也沒有人能轉變方向去重新思考創作、支持我革新之路,創作上的思考都需要我自行找尋。進入學院之初,我覺得很有挫折感,甚至想著乾脆休學算了,最大的原因來自學院對傳統廟繪的陌生,我需要不斷地向學院中的人解釋自己作品是否為藝術,要試著說服教授們理解我創作的價值。例如,有位老師就認為我的作品沒有依循傳統,但當時我反問他所謂的傳統是指哪個朝代的傳統?我認為當時代的創新者,亦能成為後人所追尋的「傳統」。例如在南宋大家認為梁楷是瘋子,但他的潑墨作品卻影響著多數南宋以降的中國畫家。到底什麼才是傳統?在時間持續地推進之中,我認為堅信自己的創作之路,比持續向他人解釋何謂藝術更為重要。
在學院時我同時間也接收了些新方法,進而加以改良。老師在課堂中會教些特殊的技法,我則將之挪用,或許改變構圖、改變材質,轉而成為我創作上使用的素材。記得有堂課,老師教導以水彩拓印塑膠袋,製造出特殊的紋理,之後我改使用壓克力顏料,在拓印後順著紋理增加山石的立體感,這也是我創作上反覆思考著如何進一步地完成畫面,不斷的精進與更新所致。
我認為學院與民間的差異在於,民間派系之間較少排斥,雖然所學甚多,但不會僅用同一種標準去規範他人的創作。在廟宇彩繪的藝師中,沿襲著清末民初的四王派別畫風,潘春源的畫風與明代周臣的畫風雖相差數百年卻有所呼應。在國民政府來臺後,如水墨山水畫家黃君璧、傅狷夫等從大陸過來之後,卻壓制其他派系的發展。直到後來1980年代臺灣論述逐漸本土化後,才又重新注重民間藝術。可惜的是,這些民間藝師沒進入過美術教育的系統中,對論述較沒興趣。與潘春源同時期,受日本教育的畫師,水墨各方面的基礎都很深厚,但國民政府來臺之後,這些畫師卻沒辦法進到美術圈之中被共同討論。

傳承與創新之間的兩難

當下民間藝術在創作與傳承兩方面都正遭受著許多的困境。在我從業過程之中,從繪製到修復,從學習到教學,各方面都有著不同於以往的難處。
小時候我們無形中對神明會產生尊敬,當時信仰是為求平安,但現在信仰變成發大財的欲望。乩童雖然沒有藝術上的涵養,但他代表著神明的想法,形勢比人強,只要乩童說了就非做不可,這信仰上的事物,誰也沒辦法改變。如果觀看現代修建的宮廟,能見到廟中連金柱、石子的對位或是詩詞都不注重。每個城市都有文化中心,在村莊裡的廟也可說是當地的文化中心,但如今在廟中反而極不注重文化。舉個例子,在高雄某間媽祖廟內「安瀾」的「瀾」寫成「欄」,我跟廟內的主委說「瀾」是波瀾、海浪,媽祖是安穩海浪的「安瀾」。主委說他去請教一下乩童,乩童就說是媽祖要將鬼怪抓住所以叫「安欄」。諸如這些廟宇在文化上不注重的例子,均讓我對廟宇的創作上有著很深的失望。
現在還是有許多廟方希望我去彩繪,雖然將作品繪製在公共場所的廟亭中,有比較多的人能參觀、感受,但與廟方斡旋經費及保管事宜均非常費心。雖然我一直有著熱忱所以才不斷地做,但某部分的我對廟裡的人事心灰意冷,如果沒有對廟畫的堅持可能早就放棄了。也是因為如此,在我紙本作品累積到一定的量後,我就堅持希望能出版一本畫集。我與蕭瓊瑞老師前去拜訪出版商時,我將「十二花神」的其中六張帶去,當我攤開畫作之後,因為出版商也同樣學畫,他細看了三十分鐘後就決定協助我出版了。
我認為臺灣的官方都較少支持傳統技師,像大陸有設國家級或省級美術工藝師,官方會發給薪水。如同宋代的宮廷畫師,這些工藝師就像是給國家經紀般,能在穩定創作之下,同時維持一定的生活水平。現在臺灣對工藝師的支持除了由中華民國資深青商總會所提供的「全球中華文化藝術薪傳獎」之外,公部門僅有文化部的國家工藝獎提供給工藝師一筆獎金,但是這對工藝師而言,或許鼓勵性質較大,實質上對於傳統工藝的傳承卻沒有幫助。
其實很可惜,民間藝術中的人才甚多,但多被埋沒,包含現在的學徒,也沒什麼耐心學習。以前我們剛當學徒時,十幾個人晚上都會留下來買白報紙貼在牆上描繪,自發性地練習技巧。但我目前遇到的情況是,我因為帶二十幾位學徒,打了一份有老中青少不同人物姿態的畫稿,裝訂成冊,讓他們去描去學,一個禮拜過後,這份稿件有些被丟在工作室的垃圾桶,有些人則不知他的畫稿跑去哪了,各式各樣的理由都有。
政府曾經開設傳統工藝相關的課程,我也曾經受邀到學校教授傳統彩繪,但是學生大多是一些上了年紀的人,他們來上課主要是為了消遣,並非為了傳承這些技術來學習,政府花了一大筆錢開設這些課程,他們修完也沒辦法真的進入行業,僅僅是消遣罷了,對於傳承是沒有幫助的。如果政府想傳承這些傳統工藝,或許能開放臺南市的三級古蹟,讓傳統藝師帶著學生進去修復,這些學生若能一邊讀書,一邊在協助修復期間有薪水領,就能感受到這個行業的前景。增加讓年輕人學習的誘因是一種方法,畢業後有出路、有工作做,這些技藝就能傳承下去。
說到修復,以前我師父帶著我們學徒去修大天后宮,那時候去修宮裡的濕壁畫時,竟然有位大學剛畢業二十幾歲出頭的小伙子在廟裡監工,他對我說:「老師,那個不是這樣畫喔。」我轉頭過去跟他說「不然要怎麼畫?」他舉出這與他在書本上看到的資料不同。但為何他會認為對照書本的資訊,我長時間的學習反而是錯誤的?我認為在追求資料的正確性時,也必須經由田野的實作,但在這小伙子身上,能感受到整個資訊取得都被相反過來了。在修復古蹟時,官方的插手主導、廟方的便宜行事,反而使古蹟修復及整建廟宇常出現問題。
種種對藝師的不注重、不尊重讓我萌生退意,到了一定的年齡,就會不斷地思考。目前大部分做廟畫的畫師只想著賺錢,高雄甚至有身價好幾億的畫師,但他能留下什麼?我很懷疑。現在雖然還是有人努力保留古老的傳統文物,像學甲慈濟宮的葉王交趾陶等,但它們風化的程度也超乎我們的想像,我就自覺需要轉變做法,讓我所畫的作品能更有影響力。我懂事之後一路一直走也是在求一個藝術上的定位,但廟方對於彩繪的不注重與維護作品上的偷懶,讓我決定將這些技術不僅用在廟畫上,也轉而表現在紙本裡。
我想當下現代藝術與彩繪藝術間雖然沒有直接的連結,但現代藝術似乎一直影響著彩繪藝術。自古以來士大夫及官方對於常民藝術不怎麼認同,因而也不想參與、不想擷取,或許這也是常民藝術裹足不前的重要因素。當代則因為有了西方繪畫在觀念上的衝擊,讓彩繪藝術產生了質的變化。譬如在寫實、寫生、用色等觀念上,西方繪畫的思考在在改變著現今的彩繪藝術。門神繪臉從平面的東方表現漸漸轉向立體,人物動態的表現也從平淡趨向誇張,人體比例的掌握也因為西方繪畫技巧的學習愈加精準,以往花鳥、山水的畫法都是制式化的圖案樣本,看不出是哪座山景、何種花鳥,山水、花鳥的繪畫表現也逐步偏向寫生寫實,而現在因為顏料多樣化,用色不再受限於以往取得不便,色彩也有了比較繽紛的樣貌。
我想彩繪藝術要對現代藝術產生實質及長久的影響,需要靠畫師們自覺性地去擷取、運用,並且加以轉化。因為在傳統彩繪工法及顏料的應用上,並非專業教育裡所能取得的知識。而且畫師創作上大凡人物、花鳥、山水、博古、魚蝦、草蟲、書法,十三科都要去學去畫,所涵蓋的廣度也不是學院美術教育可以比擬的。從事寺廟繪畫的人,大多屬於全才型的畫者。
我第一次創作的長卷名為《二十四節氣造像》,藉由二十四位人物不同的色彩與形體傳達出四季節更迭的變化。之後也預計要再做一張《三十六官將》,包含更多的傳統民間神將,場景與尺幅會更加巨大。我嘗試不同的創作型態,找尋不同的呈現方式,即便有些學院老師帶著偏見認為我所做的不是藝術,但藝術史中有百分之八十都來自於常民文化。他們不知道我創作這些作品所投注的心血比駕輕就熟的山水更多,處理人物長卷時,從構圖、線條、墨色、設色等均須考慮,且如其中一筆畫壞了,就整張都要重畫。他們並不知道或理解我所思考的過程,只片面地認為不值得一看,但我認為他們的否定對我不具任何意義,反而讓我覺得他們是很固執地否定自身的根。我對任何創作的媒材都很有興趣,無形之中就會投入在其中。我認為人的生命與體力有限,每樣都必須要多去觸碰,才能互通。當代社會的宗教活動、傳統藝術等,政府與學院一方面應盡力推廣、多方地包容與吸收,將文化所承載的記憶流傳下去;另一方面需要有多元、創新的知識與論述,讓文化不是僅停留於古代,而是與時俱進的傳統。

 


 

The Way to Painting

───Qing-zhang Liao

I was born in Yunlin later moved to Kaohsiung due to my family’s financial problem. I got a chance to study at private Cheng-Shiu Junior College of Technology but my family could not afford the tuition, so instead of going to college I went to work. I have always been interested in painting, I met a group of craftsmen, who were renovating and painting the temple in Linyuan, Kaohsiung, I did not know who Ching-shi Ding was but I was more and more interested in their job when I watched them working, so I asked them if they took apprentice. I was happy to tell my family that I could learn painting, but my father was not happy about my decision. He found painting not promising and told me “I don’t allow you to learn painting!” He thought learning how to fix a motorbike was more promising than painting, but I was very firm and told my father “There’s always a way out, if I work hard on it I will always have my chance.” In the end he was convinced and I started to learn with Ching-shi Ding. But for their own benefits, most of the masters would not teach you everything about their specialties, you had to secretly learn it by yourself if you were keen to know more.
When I was an apprentice I spent a lot of time on practicing depicting while other apprentices were playing billiards. They liked to tease me by saying I wanted to start my own painting business, I did not pay attention to them I just kept on practicing. But no matter how hard I tried I just could not be as good as the master, it was not until when he passed away that we grasped his techniques from the drafts he left behind.
My apprenticeship was three years and four months long but I decided to keep on learning when I met Master Bing-kun Chen. He thought I was different from others in that I was honest and hard working with little words. He found me some materials that I could learn depicting from, and he was indeed a very important person during my learning process.
At first, I tried to depict other artists’ pieces as much as possible. Different artists have different characteristics, for example, the door gods created by Li-shui Pan are all scheme and the characters are all evenly arranged in his work. I tried to tap into others’ creating concepts while painting, but I could not afford picture albums when I was an apprentice. I bought comic books and swordsman fictions instead as the movements of those characters in the comics and fictions were big. Some characters were even topless to show their torso muscles. These pictures helped me to understand more about body movement, but my master did not like them and said “what the hell are you painting about!” All I wanted was to learn human body proportion and movement via characters in the comic books. In early times, bones and body proportion were expressed through the wrinkles on clothes, but it is very hard to paint the movement right if you do not understand the dynamics between human body and bones. I believed through those detailed movements of the characters I could paint the figures on temple gates more authentically, also I could show the interaction between gods and that between gods and people.
I met Tsao-ju Tsai when he was painting stone flakes on the wall of Wanhuang Temple at Sishu. I sat there watching him painting as we talked to each other. Unlike other masters who tended to be haughty, he told me “even stones weather over time!” and asked if I ever painted on paper. At that time I could not even paint the temple right so that thought never crossed my mind. Master Tsai suggested me to create on paper and to sketch so that I could organize materials for creation via my sketches. The two suggestions have influenced on the transformation of my creation later.
Then I went to mainland China, I was so moved when I saw the figure mural in Yongle Temple, Shanxi. The mineral pigments of the mural were mixed with lots of china wood oil so they were pretty rough when being put on the wall, but the colors became very natural and beautiful after years. Although I did not try to use other ways to paint right after I came back to Taiwan, I still remembered the painting in Shanxi very well. It was until three years later that I started to try temple painting on paper. I had to try different colors and techniques just to create different textures, and since I had no one to ask, it took me nearly a year to find the right combination.

The Value and Improvement of Tempera Art

Color painting has been a part of religious art and it is also the root of a culture and an important medium to show basic values of people’s daily life. In addition to cultivating people’s aesthetics, temple painting presents people with moral stories in order for them to learn the norms of behavior. With those moral stories people can understand the core cultural value of religious art.
Painting was a technique having been neglected in early times and was only considered a job to make ends meet. This is because a master usually passed down the techniques to his own apprentices not to people from other factions, therefore, it was hard for people to know what painters did, plus in early agricultural society people were not rich, worshipers went to a temple to seek comfort from religion and did not have high demand on its amenity, they only asked it to be a shelter for them. Later in the industrial society, people’s knowledge and wealth have increased, but to establish a temple with luxury building and glamour painting became a competition, and people started to demand on the facilities. Although the facilities have been improved, people have lost their piety and sincerity in religion, so should we seek for the ultimate beauty of appearance or the peaceful harmony within? This is a question requiring constant rumination and discussion. Where should the aesthetics of temples lie in this changing environment? I never think about this issue without feeling frustrated.
I chose to go to college when I decided to change the way I create. Professor Mao-sung Tsai thought my painting skills were good enough, but what I lacked was discourse, so I thought maybe I could be inspired in the academy. Even if I knew that discourse did not necessarily come from the institutional system I still wanted to try. That was why I went to Chang Jung Christian University in 2005 for further study.
However, the frustration I got in the institute was greater than the inspiration, people questioned my creation and no one was able to rethink about creation and to support my innovation, I had to find the answers to questions of creation all by my own. At the beginning of my study, I was so frustrated that I thought about dropping out, mainly because the institute was not familiar with traditional temple painting, and I had to keep explaining to others whether my creation is considered art while trying to convince professors of the value of my creation. For example, there was one professor who thought my creation did not follow the tradition. I asked him exactly which of the traditions in which dynasty he was referring to. I think an innovator in a certain period of time can also be the “paradigmatic model” for later generations to follow. For instance, people in the Southern Song dynasty thought Kai Liang was a madman, but his ink-splash pieces have great influences on later Chinese artists. So what is tradition? When time moves on, I think it is more important to believe in my creation than to explain to others what art is.
But when I was in university, I also learned some new techniques and tried to enhance them. When professors taught us some techniques in class, I then adopted them in my creation with some changes in arrangement or in texture. I still remember one professor taught us how to rub plastic bags with water color to create special texture, later I used acrylic paint to create a texture which is more three-dimensional with the application of rubbing. If I have accomplished anything, it is because I have been thinking about how to better my creation and how to improve and innovate.
I think the reason that there is a gap between the academy and the folk is because, unlike the academy, different factions tend to have less rejection to one another in the real world, and one can learn many techniques without judging others’ creation with one fixed standard. The temple painting artists nowadays still carry the Four Wangs painting style thriving in the late Qing dynasty and early years of the republic. The style of Chun-yuan Pan and that of Chen Chou in the Ming dynasty are hundreds of years apart, but they share similarities with each other. When the Nationalist government came to Taiwan, the ink landscape artists from the mainland, such as Jun-bi Huang and Chuan-fu Fu, suppressed the development of other factions. It was not until in the 1980s when Taiwan gradually developed the discourse on localization that people started to focus on folk art. Unfortunately, these folk artists did not receive any formal education from the academy and they were less interested in discourse. Like Chun-yuan Pan, they were the artists who were about his age and had received Japanese education. They mastered in ink painting techniques but could not enter or be discussed in the art community after the Nationalist government came to Taiwan.

The Dilemma between Tradition and Innovation

Now folk art is facing many difficulties in both innovating and inheriting tradition. From my working experience, I see many challenges, from painting to restoration and from learning folk art to teaching it. These challenges are different from those in the past.
When we were young we respected gods naturally, we sought for safety from religion at that time, but now people seek for making a fortune from it. Being seen as the representative of gods, a spirit medium in a temple is the decision maker even though s/he does not have the sense for art. This is about religion and is difficult to change. If we observe modern temples, we see people do not pay attention to the position of the golden pillar and terrazzo, neither do they care about the quality of poems. Every city has a cultural center, and the temple in a village is like the local cultural center; however, people administrating the temple care least about culture. Take a Matsu temple in Kaohsiung as an example, I told the people administrating the temple that one of the Chinese characters of “An-lan” (which means calm and peaceful water) was wrong. Since Matsu is a goddess who can calm the billow and the sea, so the character “lan” should have the radical of water instead of wood. The head of the temple then asked the spirit medium for consult, and he said Matsu wanted to seize ghosts so “lan” with a wood radical is correct. This illustrates how indifferent people are about culture and I am deeply disappointed at temple creation by examples like this.
There are still many temples asking me to paint for them. Temple painting attracts more people to visit a temple and to enjoy temple art in a public space, but it requires a lot of efforts to negotiate for the fees and to maintain the pieces. I have always been passionate about my profession, but there is part of me disheartened by temple administration. If it was not for my insistence on the temple painting, I could have quitted already. It is also because of the passion that when I had enough pieces I insisted on publishing an album. Professor Chung-ray Hsiao and I went to visit a publisher to show him six of the twelve “Flower Goddesses.” After looking at them in detail for thirty minutes, the publisher who ever learned painting decided to publish for me.
Unlike that in the mainland where national or provincial craftsmen are paid by the government, traditional craftsmen in Taiwan do not get enough support from the government. The palace artists in the Song dynasty worked for the country, so they could create in a stable environment while maintaining certain quality of living standard. Now apart from “The Global Chinese Culture & Arts Award” offered by The Republic of China Senior Jaycees Club, the only official support is the National Crafts Awards and rewards granted by the Ministry of Culture. It encourages craftsmen to some extent but does not help much in passing down traditional crafts.
There are actually many talented people working in folk art, unfortunately, their talent is not recognized. The apprentices nowadays, on the other hand, do not have much patience to learn. When I was still an apprentice, I and a dozen of people stayed late at night to draw on the white paper we purchased in order to practice our techniques autonomously. Now I have about twenty apprentices. I gathered some drawings of people in different ages (young, middle-aged and old) and bound them into a collection for them to depict. A week later, I found some of the drawings tossed into a trash can in the studio and some were lost. The students always have various excuses to justify their mistakes.
The government had traditional crafts courses and I was invited to teach traditional painting, but students were mostly elderly people, who were there for recreation not for the purpose of carrying on the traditional techniques. The government paid a large sum of money, but when these elderly students finished the courses, they could not work in the folk art profession. After all, the courses are just for fun to them, so they do not help to pass down the tradition at all. If the government really wants to preserve traditional crafts, it may be a good idea to open the Third Class Historic Heritages in Tainan city to apprentices and let the craftsmen lead them to repair the heritages. If they are paid to repair the heritages and can manage their schoolwork at the same time, they will see the future of this profession. This is an incentive for the young generation to learn the techniques, because they can have a job after graduation, and the tradition can be carried on in this way.
Speaking of restoration, my master used to take us to repair the Grand Matsu Temple, and while I was repairing the frescoes, a young lad in his twenties who just graduated from college was overseeing the whole repairing project. He told me “Master, this is not how you paint this.” I turned to him and asked “How do you paint this then?”, he then showed me the book he read and pointed out how it was different from what I was doing. But why did he think the information on the book was right and what I learned from years of experience was wrong? I believe when we look for information, we also have to support it with practices. The lad’s way of getting information was to put the cart before the horse. When government wants to lead a restoration projects and when temple administrative people just want things to be done in an easy way, there are always problems in the reconstruction and restoration of temples.
The disrespect and lack of attention to craftsmen make me wonder maybe I should retire, I cannot stop thinking about retirement after passing a certain age. Most of the painting artisans only think about how to make a fortune, a craftsman in Kaohsiung can make hundreds of millions of dollars, but I doubt if he can leave anything to this society. There are people trying very hard to preserve ancient cultural relics like Wong Yeh’s koji pottery in Ci Ji temple, Syue Jia, but still the weathering condition of the pieces is beyond our imagination. As soon as I learned about this, I knew I had to change and make my creation more influential. I have been trying to secure a position in art, but temple people’s negligence of painting and the recklessness in maintenance have driven me to apply my techniques not only in temples but also on paper.
Currently modern art and painting art have no direct connection, but it seems the former has always influenced the latter. Scholars and government officials have not recognized folk art as art since ancient times and thus they never want to get involved in or adopt it, this might be a key reason why folk art always has problems to move forward. In the present, painting art has been impacted by the concepts of western painting and has changed accordingly. In particular, western concepts of sketching, coloring and painting have changed the nature of current painting art. For instance, the face of door gods has changed from the oriental plane style to be more three-dimensional; the figures’ movement has also changed from simple to drastic; likewise, artisans’ expression of the human proportion has improved by practicing on western techniques. In the past, all the flowers, birds and landscapes had standardized patterns, and one could not tell which mountains or which kind of flowers or birds they were. Now they have been presented in a realistic manner. In addition to the diversity of pigments, artists no longer have to be restrained by the pigment sources; therefore, the paintings are brighter and richer in colors than before.
I think artisans must use their intuition to selectively adopt and transform western techniques in order for painting art to have long-term and actual influences on modern art, it is because the use of pigments and traditional painting techniques cannot be learned in formal and professional education. Moreover, an artisan has to learn all the thirteen common subjects, including figures, flowers, birds, landscapes, antiquities, fish, shrimps, grass, insects and calligraphy, etc. Such a wide range of subjects cannot be learned in the academy, either. Therefore, people mastering in the profession of temple painting are probably the most versatile.
My first long scroll is Personifications of Twenty-Four Solar Terms in which I used twenty four different characters with various colors and figures to present the change of four seasons. I am planning to create The Thirty-Six Deity Guardians and other more traditional folk deities, so the scene and scale will be much bigger. I try to create different kinds of forms and seek for different ways to present my work, even though some professors do not consider what I am doing art, but in fact eighty percent of art comes from folk culture. What they do not know is I put much more efforts in folk culture painting than in the landscape painting which I have already been familiar with. When dealing with long scrolls of characters, I have to consider the arrangement of characters, the lines, the ink color and the hue thoroughly. If there is one bad stroke, I will have to do it all over again. The professors did not know or understand my process of thinking, they just made the judgment that my pieces were not worth viewing, but I do not think their rejection means anything to me. On the contrary, I wonder if they are denying their own root stubbornly. I am highly interested in all kinds of materials for creation and tend to get into them. I think people have limited life and energy, so we have to try different things as many as possible in order to make agile application of them. The religious events and traditional art in the modern society ought to be promoted, preserved, understood and absorbed with the government’s and the academies’ efforts so as to pass them down. On the other hand, we need to have diverse and innovative knowledge and discourse so that our culture and tradition is not something frozen in the past but can live with time.

分享文章 Share this post


Notice: Undefined variable: post in /home/actaina5/public_html/wp-content/themes/sento/admin/main/options/05.blog.php on line 622

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/actaina5/public_html/wp-content/themes/sento/admin/main/options/05.blog.php on line 622

Notice: Undefined variable: post in /home/actaina5/public_html/wp-content/themes/sento/admin/main/options/05.blog.php on line 622

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/actaina5/public_html/wp-content/themes/sento/admin/main/options/05.blog.php on line 622
[related_post themes="flat" id="311"]