During my early visits to China, I was very much on the outside. Gradually during later years as an invited watercolour painter at festivals, exhibiting and painting alongside Chinese artists and lecturing in art academies, establishing cultural links, I have become a participant as well as an observer.
Painting excursion with watercolour artists exhibiting in 100 Years of Brilliance, Hangzhou 200?
My interest in and understanding of China now goes deeper. Through association with the Cam Rivers Project I am now involved in making images of KunQu opera, for publication, illustrating Tang Xian Zu’s story, The Peony Pavilion (Mudan Ting). For this I have needed to research the complexities of Chinese traditions underlying music, art, movement, costume, ideas, history and social behaviour.
Sunlit Table | Hangzhou | 1994 | Watercolour
Although Chinese attitudes differ from my British ones I often find commonality. Enjoying the positive fruits of amicable misunderstanding. Impressed by Chinese inventiveness and adaptability; the contrasting juxtapositions of old and new witnessed on the streets, on view for all to share.
Restoration | Zhaji | 2017 | Watercolour
I gained respect for the ingenuity of survival, evident in the daily Chinese life that I witnessed in both town and country. This respect I hope has spread into my paintings, inspiring a warm connection with the everyday things that to me were far from ordinary.
In a Monastery Skullery | Putuoshan | 1995 | Watercolour
On my return visits, I am still making fresh discoveries, especially as, amidst these vast changes, traditions are integrated with contemporary living, Chinese culture is increasingly rediscovered and celebrated.
I feel privileged to take part in this regeneration and help share it with the wider world.