18\19 S1 Painting Analysis- Chinese Art 2


This painting is from Chinese artist Wu Guanzhong, a master of Chinese contemporary painting.

Starting with large, full-sized houses at the bottom of the painting, the cluster of the houses gradually become smaller, which creates a sense of space. And also, the location of the houses are formed beside the water, creating a semi-circle shape from the right bottom part to the right top part. This looping order creates a pathway to lead the audience into the painting, hence creates an immensing feeling. This is also the visual path and direction into the painting.


It is very clear to see that the sense of space is not created by the tonal design, but more by the layout and the pattern. The idea of using overlapping pattern to create space is also used in this painting, the roof are pointing to different directions to generate dynamics feeling for the painting, hence it will not look so boring.


In terms of colours, the tonal range is relatively small, and the saturation of the colour is high, the wide use of hue is to create energy for the painting, making the black and white based painting brighter. It is also worth to mention that those bright colours will not only appear once, if they ever exist in the painting at somewhere, there must be somewhere else with the same colour to resonate with each other. These bright hue colours work together to create a mood of light, soft and comfortable.


There is also a lot of white space in the painting, it is actually a concept in Chinese landscape painting called Liubai, which means “leave it blank”, this is also to create a soft and zen-like feeling of the painting, and also creates the purity as well.


Although there is black and white colours, but the contrast is not that high visually, this is because those bright colours soften the contrast, therefore slow down the speed of the painting.


Source: http://www.comuseum.com/product/wu-guanzhong-households-by-lake-tai/


18\19 S1 Painting Analysis- Chinese Art 1

Seeking the Tao in Autumn Mountains


156 x 77.5 cm, National Palace Museum Taiwan


The format of the painting is portrait, and it is very tall, which allows the audience’s view to flow from the bottom to the top, therefore creates a sequence and time as they move their views. This creates a feeling for the audience that they are climbing the mountains as well. The portrait layout is used in a lot of Chinese landscape paintings with mountains, as they follows the size of the mountain therefore the painting would look harmonious as well.


There is a pathway created by the empty area at the bottom of this painting, which is where the water is. The water flows into the mountains, guiding the way for the audience to go into the mountain and the painting as well, such a path way creates the depth of the painting. It continues after the small house, leading up to the left hand part of the painting, which continues the pathway for the audience.


The depth of the painting is also executed by the different sizes of the trees and mountains. It is clear to see that the trees at the bottom are larger than those higher up in size, which creates a one-point perspective feeling, therefore builds up a sense of space. In addition, as the trees and mountains are basically everywhere in the painting, it is easy for the audience to link them together, therefore their feeling would flow in a sequence(The idea of triangular and circular shapes that taught in class).


In addition, the idea of using overlapping shapes to show space is well used in this painting. As these circular mountain shapes are overlapping with each other, the audience gets to know which mountain is at the front and which is at the back. The one at the front it the nearest one to them whereas the overlapped one was far from them, the feeling of space is created by applying such an idea. However, this idea is based on the other concept, which is that diagonal lines tend to form a feeling of movement and dynamics, whereas the horizontal and vertical lines tend to create a still feeling. The diagonal curvy river and the mountain work together to show the space.


In addition, the tree that lying on the rock is also an important part of the painting, it creates an inviting feeling to the audience and also suggests the direction of the view.


Furthermore, the texture is created by the way the painter painted. The painter was not from the north part of China, the mountains on the northern China are mainly consisted of hard rock. However, the mountains on the southern part are mainly covered by soil and plants. Those dense fine lines on the mountains creates the soft texture very well.


The tonal range is not too large in this painting, which means that the gradient of the curve is relatively soft and smooth, therefore the speed of this painting is slow, allowing the audience to taste the artistic conception and leaves them with time to feel it, and also creates a very calm and graceful mood.




18\19 S1 Painting Analysis- Western Art

The Iron Rolling Mill

Adolf Menzel, 1872-1875


Oil on canvas, 158 x 254 cm

Period: Realism

Genre: History painting


This painting depicts an industrial life in Germany in the 1870s, under the influence of the industrial revolution. The first thing to take note is the format of the painting, which is landscape, this horizontal layout can create a sense of achievement, and also includes more people and movements. Just as Menzel himself expressed that he did not want to show one scene, but rather the process of the producing the iron:  from a white-hot “puddle ball” (left), through a series of rollers (center), and then on to the three figures at the right who wait to receive it, whereupon they will begin to shape it into a rail.Therefore, such way of layout allows the audience’s view to flow, creates a sequence and rhythm to show the process, people can even feel that they are in the painting. And also, in such a way, the idea of time is created, because if there is sequence, the concept of time must be included.

Another noticeable point was the space. First of all, the painting is not totally parallel to the horizon, therefore a sense of movement is created. Additionally, the most eye-catching part was the sparkling part, people will first focus on this area. However, the location of this part is slightly shifted to the right side instead of being in the centre, therefore it divides the painting into two uneven parts, makes it more interesting and visually appealing to the audience.

The tone is also well designed to help create the space. The tonal range is mainly consisted of 2,7 and 9, (initially I think the 2 should be 1 but then I found it is yellowish bright, but due to the contrast with the dark tone it seems super bright, that is the reason that I think of it as 1.)and the proportion is about 10%,70% and 20%, see the diagram below. The large proportion of dark colours creates the depth of the painting, helps the audience build an idea of the size of the massive working space. In addition, the tonal design also helps to evoke emotion and mood, an intensive feeling is created due to the dark tone, makes the audience to feel the working-hard environment, the chaos, the sweat and the heat. The curvature of the diagram is relatively very and sharp, therefore the gradient is rather steep, which means that the transition is strong, the contrast is high, therefore increase the speed of the painting to create a sense of chaotic working environment.


Colours work closely with the tone, the colours in this painting were all analogous colours under the warm colours category. One way of doing so is to show the heat when producing the iron, another purpose is to evoke emotion with the use of the tone, which creates an intensive feeling. It also shows the enthusiasm and passion in the working space, which can be seen as a self-image and also implies the ambitions of Germany during that time.


Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gandalfsgallery/5847541801


18\19 S1 UNTITLED-3-If We Could Go Back in Time

I was inspired of my family’s experience, the earthquake in 1978 was an unforgettable memory for both my grandparents and my parents. When I first got this assignment about time, I felt like that I don’t have a lot to talk about, but then one day my mom was talking about some childhood story of her with me, I got inspired and surprised how everything totally changed in that 23 seconds. It suddenly happened when everyone was sleeping, and my parents were buried under the building, and their mouths were full of clays and soil. Just as shown in the video, they were at the edge of dying, but luckily they survived. By editing this clip, I wanted to show that how unexpected things can happen and I want to pass a message that we should value the time and appreciate the people around you, but don’t be stressed I just hope that you can have a new perspective of seeing things or have some thoughts after watching this.


This clip tells a story that a young mother lost her daughter in the earthquake, and it also depicts what if this never happen, what her life would be like: she might have another son and playing with her two children, she might also take her to the park for picnic or something, and as her daughter grows up, of course they will send her to school together. But unfortunately, her future and family are all destroyed in such a catastrophic earthquake.

change of colours

First two scenes-black and white, inspired the idea from Nolan’s Momento, the use of black and white scenes and coloured scenes shows the whether he is telling the story backwards or just following the timeline.

Here, I used black and white for the mother crying scene and the backwards scene of the earthquake, showing that it was different from what the audience sees, giving them a hint that I am playing backwards, hence emphasise the idea of “if we could go back in time”, go back to when the earthquake has not happened yet, and that’s why the destroyed buildings go back to their positions. In addition, the black and white colour also imply that these are the horrible results of the earthquake, hence creating a sad feeling.

Also, for the memory part, the contrast and brightness and saturation of the three scenes change from high to low, therefore acting like a foreshadow to tell the audience that something unhappy is going to happen. It also differs from the black and white scenes, hence creates a contrast, showing that it is different from those scenes, which is, the normal sequence.

These scenes also follows the time line as the girl grows up.


these are not actual flash back, this is what could have been happen to the mother if there is no earthquake. That’s why I used grain textures on these.

Slow motion

At the ending part, I used the slow motion to emphasise the sad feeling of the mother.

Idea of looping:

I used 3 photos at the beginning to show a very clear and direct result of the earthquake, bring my audience to the end of the clip immediately.

The sequence of the clip was:

-from the result(photos) after the earthquake

-mother crying for her daughter immediately after the earthquake

-the actual earthquake(played backwards)-this also implies the audience that now they are going back in time to see what would happen to the mother if the earthquake never happened.


what could life be to her without the earthquake (chronological manner)

-she might have two children

-she might take her daughter to the park

-she might send her to school

————————–WHAT REALLY HAPPENED——————————

-the earthquake (normal order, in colour and with sound, showing that it really happened)

-the mother crying-looping back to the initial scene, which is also black and white, here the purpose is not limited to emphasise the sad feeling but also responses to the initial scene, creating a looping feeling.