Chapter 234: Ten realms of painting!
Li Muyang looked at Chu Ning smilingly, saying: “It will be difficult for you. If I have a princess as my servant, should I get her to wash my clothes or massage my shoulders? Maybe I’ll tell her to striptease for me——but I’ve heard that princesses never move their four limbs and can’t distinguish the five grains apart, they probably can’t do anything, right? Well then, this is too disadvantageous for me.”
“Li Muyang——” Chu Ning leaned her head close to Li Muyang’s face, kept a genial and charming smile, but her words were filled with a frightening, murderous intent. “I will certainly kill you.”
“There are many people that wants to kill me.” Li Muyang smiled back, but vicious currents were rapidly rising inside.
For some reason, he now extremely disliked arrogant bullies talking to him, and especially disliked when people who use words such as ‘kill’ and ‘death’ all the time.
He simply felt that he was the most prideful and honourable existence, the mighty invincible Dragon King, and for these small human beings to dare talk to him in that tone——
Li Muyang hurriedly composed his emotions.
What a terrible experience; now he frequently began to think of himself as the Dragon King and was easily affected by his most arrogant and full-of-himself personality that thinks he is the best in the world. Even when facing the Princess of West Wind he could not hold back this kind of strong, domineering personality that seemed idiotic to others and blurted out inappropriate words that would provoke others to anger.
It was all the Dragon King’s fault!
“You’ll know later——” Chu Ning patted Li Muyang on the shoulder and said with a smile, “Who do you think I am?”
Chu Ning decided to stop quarrelling with Li Muyang, walked over to the painting table, picked up a Xuanzhou brush, dipped it in ink, and began to paint the image in her mind.
During her argument with Li Muyang, she had already made mental notes and worked out a draft in her mind.
Having been learning painting for so many years, she had lost count of the number of times she had drew peach blossom. Each year during the spring season when peach trees were in blossom, she would organise trips to the peach orchards in the outskirts with the daughters and sons of high-ranking officers where they would enjoy wine and paint. She was very experienced in both landscape art and freestyle painting.
All she had to do was reproduce the best picture she had drawn before for these people to admire, then she would surely overwhelm Li Muyang this unsophisticated country boy who had not seen much in life.
This time the painting Chu Ning was recreating was ‘The boy racing in spring’, a prize-winning work from her last garden tour, which had received many compliments from masters and teachers of Tiandu. According to the court painters, the original piece needed only some minor changes to be perfect.
With Chu Ning’s arm movement, and a few strokes of her brush, large shades of pink peach blossom emerged on the white Xuan paper. The peach blossoms, lively and blazing, spread to the corners of the Xuan paper, giving the feeling that the peach orchard was grand, vast and endless.
Under the peach blossom trees, were youngsters in groups of three of four laughing and playing. What caught the most attention was a snowy-white skin boy holding a freshly-picked peach blossom skipping toward the crowd, and another two boys behind waving a sprig chasing after him——
Because of her confidence and preparation, Chu Ning pain
ted briskly, her brush strokes frequent and close. In just a moment’s time, the Xuan paper in front of her has been filled with scenery and characters.
Of course, Chu Ning did it intentionally.
Not only did she want to be better than Li Muyang, but she wanted to paint faster than Li Muyang.
She planned to defeat Li Muyang with a crushing gesture, giving him no room to fight back.
While Chu Ning’s brush strokes were falling like rain, Li Muyang was still planning a mental sketch.
He walked up and down in front of the painting table. The spread out Xuan paper was still completely white, without a drop of ink on it whatsoever.
“Sister Wang, Li Muyang knows how to paint, right?” Seeing Li Muyang deep in thought, Lin Canghai could not help but worry.
Qiandu shook her head, explaining: “Although Muyang classmate words are sharp and too exaggerated, but he handles matters methodically. Since he accepted the challenge, it means he has already foreseen the possibilities of how this would turn out in his mind. Maybe he’s thinking about the theme and concept of his work.”
Lin Canghai’s mouth widened into a smile. “You do trust him.”
“He is indeed trustworthy.” Qiandu answered.
“I had always felt like there’s some story between you two. It’s like you two knew each other before.” Lin Canghai said in his lowest voice.
Qiandu smiled, yet did not answer.
Chu Ning’s work was about to be finished, when Li Muyang’s brush still has not touched his paper. Therefore, almost half of the students of the Institute of Art had gathered around Chu Ning’s painting.
Li Muyang’s side was completely deserted, occasionally someone would glance over but once they saw that Li Muyang was still walking up and down, like he was lacking inspiration, they quickly shifted their gaze back, concentrating on appreciating the masterpiece of West Wind Princess Chu Ning.
After all, beautiful girls are always more popular. Everywhere.
“Brush strokes are complicated and detailed, the lines are tight and continuous, it is Gu Sanjue’s Iron Line drawing method——”
“Gu Sanjue is the ancestor of our Teacher Gu. He was named the three perfections: perfect in painting, perfect in writing and perfect in crazy——Chu Ning captured the charm of the Iron Line drawing method of the Gu clan, Teacher Gu would most likely increase points as a result of this——”
“The Princess of West wind deserves her reputation, the winner of this contest is obvious——”
Gu Huangwu was also standing at the side enjoying Chu Ning’s painting, every time he saw something wonderful he would lift his gourd to pour a mouthful of wine into his mouth.
Before the painting was finished, his gourd of wine was emptied.
“What do you think of Chu Ning’s work?” Song Tinyun asked. He has been following Gu Huangwu all along, seeing Gu Huangwu drinking non-stop, he knew that he liked Chu Ning’s painting. In order to help Chu Ning become famous and let the public know of Chu Ning’s position in Teacher Gu’s heart, he took the initiative to ask him.
If Teacher Gu praised Chu Ning in front of everybody, Chu Ning’s reputation would immediately spread far and wide and she would immediately become well known among the younger generation.
“Not bad.” Gu Huangwu replied.
Song Tinyun was somewhat anxious, just a ‘not bad’ was too half-hearted. He needed exact words of praise from Gu Huangwu, which would make it easy for him to compile a story to spread out.
“Student is stupid, I can’t see the pros and cons. May I ask Teacher Gu to guide us to the right path.” Song Tinyun asked aloud again.
Gu Huangwu poured another mouthful of alcohol into his mouth and was generous in praise: “The brush is used delicately and smoothly like silkworm spitting silk, quick and skilful like clouds floating across the spring sky, natural and unobstructed like water flowing across the ground, with ease and grace.”
Gu Huangwu then pointed to the several children chasing each other. “Such scenery is easy to draw, meaning is difficult to seek. The essence of this picture is on the few children chasing each other, the branches of peach blossom in their hands are more vivid and lively than the garden of peach blossom, but also represent the scene of flowers in full bloom in spring——The crucial point that brings the painting to life is the falling leaf, which is indicative of the coming of autumn. The painting is wonderful.”
“I understand.” Song Tinyun’s eyes followed wherever Gu Huangwu’s fingers pointed at, as he nodded repeatedly. “Before I didn’t understand, but after I listened to Teacher Gu and looked at the children again I feel like they will come to life. Cute and lively, they appear vividly on paper.”
Song Tinyun knew that his purpose was achieved.
‘Brush used delicately and smoothly like silkworm spitting silk, quick and skilful like clouds floating across the spring sky, natural and unobstructed like water flowing across the ground, with ease and grace.’ Based on these comments alone, Chu Ning had already entered the ranks of the divine continent’s first-class painters. ‘
What he was thinking, was to tell the Song Family spread such words of praise around. The Song family has the title Library of the Kingdom and their mansion has a great number of talented people. If they put today’s contest into a wonderful exciting story, Chu Ning would immediately become well known throughout the entire Kingdom. In that case, wouldn’t Chu Ning be very grateful to him? The Royal family of West Wind would also be happy to see their princess becoming a famous and admired painter.
“To judge a painting you must look at with your eyes, experience with your heart. But when you see too much, look back at the first impression. Look at the atmosphere of the first look, the concept and the style. The ten realms of paintings, the first realm is the illusion realm. The person or peach blossom in front, are half empty and half real. It’s hard to tell if its real or not and the actual situation. How to deal with a virtual scene, and how to present a real place. Only when you can achieve this, your work can actually enter the grade. There are countless of such people in this realm in the divine continent.”
“The second realm is the outside reality realm. A good piece of work not only reflects the actual scene of the painting, but also makes people want to dance and has a far-reaching impact. The scene of a painting can be copied but the spirit of the outside reality is difficult to seek. Those in this realm, there are more than thousands in the divine continent.”
“The third realm is the ugly and clumsy realm. Beauty and ugliness, skilful and clumsy, how do we define? Laozi said ‘A man of great skill behaves like an idiot’. Some beauties are ugly; some who are ugly are beautiful. It is skilful to become clumsy, overly clumsy is skilful. There are no more than hundred people in the divine continent in such a realm.”
“The fourth realm of painters is the lonely realm, the water does not flow, the flowers do not bloom. Spring breeze does not blow, winter snow does not melt. The whole world is in a deathly stillness. This scene and situation, only makes people sad. There are only are a dozen of such people in the divine continent.”
Hearing Gu Huangwu’s evaluation on Chu Ning’s painting and the ten realms of painting, countless students had crowded around him, listening attentively, and some students even took out paper and pen to make notes.
Even Li Muyang’s only two hardcore supporters Qiandu and Lin Canghai were attracted by Gu Huangwu’s description of the ten realms. They abandoned Li Muyang and headed toward the crowd. They wanted to hear what the ten realms of painting that Master Gu was referring to.
When Gu Huangwu mentioned the lonely realm, he, like a very lonely man, raised his gourd and began to pour wine.
“Teacher Gu, what is the fifth realm?” Someone anxiously asked.
“The fifth realm is the free and scatter realm. Zeng Gong wrote in his poem: ‘I also want to be free and scatter, then I’ll be much more happy’. As natural and unconstrained. The aesthetic concept of ‘free and scatter’, refers to the mind of unrestrained and without worries, the fresh atmosphere rustling in the air, scatter and graceful, and beyond all order. The famous poets known as free and scatter include Tao Yuanming, Meng Haoran and Wang Wei, who are all famous great masters. Painters include Nu Yunlin, Huang Gongwang and Dong Qichang. They tour the mountains and forests, happily and freely. They call themselves the people of the mountains, but I prefer to refer to them as celestial beings. ”
“They all are admirable people.” Someone sighed.
“My painting is finished.” Li Muyang excitedly exclaimed.
He twisted around, only to find that no one was around at all.