Zhao Xiuhuan and Her New Fine Brushwork Drawings
By Yang Yuepu
Zhao Xiuhuan’s fine brushwork drawings constitute a portrayal of her life.
People have asked her many times to have herself “emancipated” from traditional realistic Chinese paintings characterized by fine brushwork and a close attention to detail, or even loosen up the hand that holds her brush tight, and turn towards a style  combining both fine brushwork and freehand brushwork, but she has never conceded. She continued working on her creations with meticulous eyes and presented her artistic creations, completed scrupulously and conscientiously, to those appreciative of her arts. Had she strayed from her artistic style, she would undoubtedly feel sorry for those little creatures that had kept her company throughout her life. Is this perseverance? Probably so. Although I believe this is more akin to a kind of mutual dependence between life and art that has become an inseparable part of her life.
Zhao Xiuhuan brushed her genuine feelings on to all of the images she created, giving them beauty, liberty and value. To put it another way, she adheres to the belief that artists should display “ultimate concern” for their artistic images. I find Zhao has dealt with this issue thoroughly and has gained a deep understanding of it.
Zhao Xiuhuan displayed her talent in China’s art circles in the 1980s. Not long after this, she emigrated abroad, but she never stopped painting her fine brushwork creations. Starting from Beijing, the lines in her works extended to the other side of the ocean and became intertwined with her life. Without these lines, her artistic life and the artistic splendor of her works would never have been possible. In my view, it is these traditional Chinese lines, full of life and vitality, which have helped reveal a deep cultural spirit and brought her artistic works to a splendid and ingenious artistic realm.
In the first half of the 20th century, some artists put forth the idea of “turning life into an art,” or “living a life of art.” In the 1980s, some senior artists again raised the idea of “living art”, which in essence means binding scholarship, career and life with the qualities and spirit of the beautiful, like the process of creating artistic works. For this serious topic, each artist will naturally have their own thoughts and practices. Zhao Xiuhuan’s works naturally hold in store an interpretation of her own self. While enjoying Zhao’s works, her audience will surely learn what life means to an artist.
Beginning of Spring, the year of Wuzi in the Chinese chronology
 (Feb. 4, 2008)

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