My landlord’s art show

A few days ago my landlord texted me a message that I didn’t quite understand (because it was all in Chinese and I was unfamiliar with some of the words). After a little deciphering, I realized that it was an invitation to attend an art exhibition of his work at the Kunming library. I remembered him saying that he was a middle school art teacher, but I had no idea that he was also a professional artist. I texted him on Friday morning and said that I could come, and he enthusiastically replied that he was waiting for me!

With Mr. Yan

His wife held my arm as she guided me around the gallery and asked me which paintings I liked best. I thought they were all beautiful and just kept repeating that to her, partly because they were, and partly because my Chinese vocabulary doesn’t allow for a much deeper critique.

His speciality is peacocks

This was one of my favorites, because it is of plum blossoms (梅花)which is part of my Chinese name (司开梅)

He also had a few paintings of women from different ethnic minorities that live in Yunnan

The texture in the paintings was amazing. I'm not sure exactly how he achieved that look with a paintbrush

I liked the bees buzzing in this picture. Kind of added some fun an whimsy to an otherwise "normal" picture of flowers (or grapes?)

After walking around the 30+ paintings, I sat down and was chatting with some of his other artist friends and former students. I asked him where he painted, and he said at home, and all of the pictures of the peacocks etc were just created from his imagination. Amaaaazing. He explained to me that at this exhibition he was selling his pictures to raise money for charity. I saw one that was priced at 35,000 yuan (aka out of my price range). I jokingly said that when he has free time, he should give me a lesson! Maybe that way I can snag an original piece of his work without paying big bucks.

I’m feeling rather cultured this week, because last night I also went to an art exhibition opening at a local bar. Kunming has a pretty hopping art and music scene, which I can’t wait to explore more.


5 thoughts on “My landlord’s art show

  1. How nice it would be to be able to get one of his paintings. Wishing you good luck with that. Very nice art work.

  2. They are beautiful! I love the plum blossoms too. I like the young woman also, maybe he’ll paint you.

  3. Maybe those Chinese painting lessons in 1st grade have been worthwhile after all. I recall you painted a pretty cute panda. OX

  4. Just did some catching up with your posts. Loved your descriptions of everything as always, but I did want to say that your landlord does beautiful work–esp the girl in the red dress. I wonder what he does with middle schoolers as compared with his counterparts here in the US. It would be great if he really did give you a lesson or two…
    Hugs to you.

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