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Video #2 - 1min49sec <Li Wei's Palace Willows >

This is a series of works titled " Palace Willows " The title is derived from a poem "Phoenix Hairpin" written by the poet Lu You

"the willows outside the imperial palace bring forth Spring to the city."

These are all 2-D works with immersive sounds. The 600yr old palace walls plus the 100yr old willow trees plus the moat surrounding the walls, are not simply a symbol of history but have also endured the elements of time. They've seen countless joys and sorrows, partings and reunions....carrying the changes and shifts in history. Facing events in the past and in the present, these walls/trees/moat remain only as silent witnesses.

If you know a little bit about Beijing, you all know the walls of the Forbidden City are red. Running along the outside of the walls, is the palace moat. And next to the walls are the willow trees. And so if you were standing by the walls, you could hear the sounds of running water, the winds and rain and thunder, and chirping of birds and cicadas in the summer.

" Palace Willows " - these works express all that was aforementioned through the impression of willow shadows on the walls. This last slide shows an actual section of the imperial walls.


Video #3 - 1min55sec<李威的千重绿.Li Wei's Thousand-Layer Green>

These works just so happen to form a complementary dialogue to the previous pieces in "Willows outside the imperial palace." Bamboos are a central theme to these works.

It has forests of bamboo. The slide/picture depicts bamboo and green moss. Because of the rich colors of nature, I decided to title them "Thousand Green."

There are also blurred bamboo shadows projected on the mottled walls. These kinds of walls have historical significance. In China in the 80s, the interior walls of many buildings were painted green. Nowadays though, this is rarely seen. This series of works I call "Whistling Bamboo (Xiao xiao)"

This is to describe the rustling sounds of wind blowing through the bamboo leaves. The image depicts only bamboo shadows, and the title evokes the rustling sounds, however the real bamboo exists outside of the painting. Though we cannot see it directly, we can imagine that it is close to us.

This last piece I call "The Gathering Duckweeds." The duckweed plant, floating in water often evokes a sense of (having no roots) wandering and drifting. But isn't that how we all are? Brief encounters, or serendipitous/destined meetings.....As long as we're gathering together, I think that's what matters.

Video #4<Li Wei's  Sunlight and Shade>

The ocean in this picture is dyed with pigments, however the sky is formed using a palette knife. I will introduce the process of creating this painting later in the lecture, in particular, the sky.


Video #5  (Creating the two exhibitions)

The first exhibition was held this August in Beijing, the majority of pieces in this exhibition were scenes of nature (trees and grass). With the rising of Autumn winds, and the swaying of branches and leaves, I decided to title this exhibition "The Rise of the Autumn Breeze, The Swaying of the Leaves" to emphasize that dynamic feeling.

This next exhibition was held in a gallery in Shanghai. The gallery owners were Spanish and French, and the curator Canadian. The curator and I discussed and decided to use our native languages to title the exhibition. There were no translations. The two of us created separate titles and statements based on our own interpretation of the exhibition. Thus this exhibition has a Chinese title, as well as an English one, independent of one another.



Video #7 Li Wei 's Studio 

This was a little while back, when I was preparing for an exhibition. This is my husband who traveled to Beijing to visit. Here he's helping me with the underlayer.  I primarily used Chinese watercolour ink on these pieces. The ink pigments are made from minerals and propylene glycol (solvent). I applied traditional Chinese brushwork techniques and color theory. This is the palette knife I use for scraping.

Video #8 (The Procedure for painting "The Crowing of Birds #3")

First, the underlayer. Next add black tea. In traditional Chinese brush paintings, black tea can also be used as ink/colorant. It can reduce the saturation in a painting, and also produce a weathered/aged appearance. Here I'm using tea to add color to the underlayer.

First prepare the tea+colorant mixture, then begin painting the underlayer. You have to brush on a layers of the tea mixture repeatedly for 11 times. Sand it after every layer.

Only after layers, layers and layers of built up pigments can you achieve a believable/satisfactory wall effect. This surface is the ideal surface I look for when I'm painting. After the underlayer is finished, I will transfer a sketch onto the underlayer using carbon paper. However the sketch is not of a drawing but rather a series of connect the dots/points.

Begin connecting the dots. Begin coloring the dots with layers ink. Every layer is with a different color. This is a technique I found most suitable to the way I work. A process of layers and colors accumulating to form the final product. The effects and outcome of this painting style leaves even me pleasantly surprised.

Continue painting. In Chinese brush painting, this is called "accumulated brushwork/multi-layered brushwork." Painting layers upon layers of color produces a stronger visual effect, compared to premixing all the colors and painting it in a singular layer. This is simple and common knowledge, but it takes patience, well-preparedness, and effort to achieve.

I used malachite green here, it is a mineral-based color and is somewhat powdery. It is very water-soluble, and therefore a gel-based fixative/glue must be brushed over the color.

This type of fixative is derived from animals, and is also called animal glue/bone glue/hide glue. Animal glue has been used in Chinese painting for thousands of years. Here, a bit of tea is added to the glue for extra color when the glue is applied. This will form a protective coating on the painting. After the glue layer has dried, another layer of paint is applied.

This is another green dye, it also requires a protective coating of glue. Sanding and then brush on another layer of glue. Use water to wet this portion of the painting. The surface will be relatively delicate, and easy to scrape. It's not necessary to scrape the entire surface, so you're left with a textured surface.

The painting of the ocean from before, the sky in that painting was largely created using this technique. Continue sanding the surface. Then adding the glue and tea mixture. Next, a final draft is created on the computer, where the size of the image is either enlarged or reduced. A sample of the image is printed at a print store, so that I may have another copy. This process is rather time consuming. Drawing the final draft. Dyeing/Painting final draft. Signing the painting.

Video#17 <Li Wei's Reinfored Concrete>

Video#18<Li Wei's  Listening to the Snow>

Winter has come. I welcome you all to enjoy and examine another one of works titled "Sound of Snow." This is Chinese watercolour ink on silk. My entire body of work to date has primarily been centered on nature, mountains and water, trees and grass, and so on. These subject matters are close to my heart, because I feel Mother Nature is full of richness and beauty. I can continuously be nourished and inspired by elements of nature. To capture nature in art is a very interesting thing for me. The rendition/interpretation may be deep or it may be shallow, and it may have connections to everything in the world. Nature is alive. Through nature I can experience birth and life, illnesses and death, the ebbs and flow of history, the compassion and indifference of humankind.