Belmont Vision – Leu Art Gallery showcases traditional Chinese art style with new exhibition

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Liu Shuling became a dedicated painter in elementary school, and he’s still creating art at 78.

“In China, there are many surnames, so my surname is Liu and my given name contains two characters. A character is Shu, and Shu means telling a story, and Ling means an artist with taste,” Shuling said through his translator.

“Even my first name means art.”

Shuling practices an ancient style of painting called Gongbi, which dates back over 2,000 years. Gongbi is a realistic style of painting that originated in China. The paintings emphasize accuracy and precision without independent expression.

Shuling’s works were exhibited at Leu Art Gallery last Thursday, February 7, and he gave a presentation to tell his audience about his education and share his passion with students.

“Expressive paintings capture the big idea and aren’t very precise,” Shuling said through his translator. “Gongbi’s paintings emphasize the precision and detail of a brushstroke. If you were to draw a bird, you should present every detail of the object.

Except for one painting, all of Shuling’s artworks on display vividly capture birds from around the world against subtle backgrounds. It contrasts the tall profile of a bald eagle with intricate scenes of butterflies or hummingbirds.

Even as a child, Shuling was mostly interested in birds. He attributes this to taking care of a baby magpie when he was little.

Now, he says, his house looks like a jungle full of birds.

“In China, we also have a proverb. Hundreds of flowers are blooming and my paintings are just one flower,” Shuling said after sharing some of her latest creations.

Shuling’s 12 paintings will be on display until March 4 at the Leu Art Gallery.

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Written by Henry Gregson.

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