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Chen Yi  

painting / watercolours, Peoples Republic of China

Chen Yi in 2000.

Chen Yi in 2000.

Chen Yi was born in Peng Lai County, Shandong Province, in 1949, and is considered as a representative figure in watercolour painting in China.

1, watercolour, .

He is a director of the Dalian Artist´s Association as well as a member of the China Democratic League and the China Artist´s Association.
He has exhibited widely in China and abroad.
As a painter living in China, I have used Western watercolour technique for more than 30 years. I have a great passion for painting ancient Chinese architecture.

Living here in the soil of China under variable conditions I try to understand the history, the environment, the style, and the cultural background of this ancient architecture. I express this in the form of painting which shows this beauty.

2, watercolour, .

3, watercolour, .

Some features of northern Chinese architecture are the use of special bricks, a large roof, red pillars, stone stairs and railings, which are to be seen in the forbidden city in Beijing... the symmetrical layout of the architecture here is a particular feature. The summer palace situated in a suburb of Beijing is the best preserved royal garden in China.
The Beihai gardens is part of the Imperial palace...

Seaport of Dalian, watercolour, from a series for the Dalian Machinery and Export Corporation.

View in Beihai Gardens, watercolour, 1993.

Dalian, a few hundred kilometres north of Beijing, is situated on the southern end of the Liaodong Peninsula, facing the sea on all three sides and the port and industrial city has a population of more than 1.6 million.

I try to combine realism and traditional Chinese brushwork in my paintings. In China the tradition of ink and wash painting is in many aspects similiar to Western watercolour painting. However a Western approach tends to emphasize the realism while the traditional Chinese approach is to follow an artistic perception... I organize the composition of the picture by making a sketch and using colour, while adapting many Western drawing techniques such as the use of two point perspective and detailed realism...

6, watercolour.

Choosing the subject matter is very important and this involves knowing about the history because these buildings exist in a particular context...In the forbidden city the architecture is severe, and I aim to compose a view from an angle rather than a frontal view, so that the feeling in the painting is more active...
I also use more diverse colours a little in the manner of the French Impressionists...

Excerpts from Arts Dialogue, March 1994, translation by Shulin Gu.

Contact Chen Yi at

  • Painting, Watercolour painting, Arts Dialogue, June 2002
  • Painting, Watercolour painting, Arts Dialogue, February 2000
  • Painting, Golden Stone Beach, Arts Dialogue, September 1997
  • Painting, watercolour, Arts Dialogue, December 1996
  • Painting, watercolour, Arts Dialogue, December 1995
  • Painting: Golden Stone Beach, Arts Dialogue, December 1994
  • Painting: watercolour in the BAFA newsletter, June 1994
  • Artist Profile, BAFA newsletter, March 1994
  • Paintings: View in Beihai Gardens, View in Southern China, BAFA newsletter, March 1994
  • Paintings & Profile: BAFA newsletter, June 1993

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