Tamsui Scenery (1)
木板油彩 Oil on wood
私人收藏 Private collection
Standing on the slope of a small hill behind a church, the scene of the small town in the eyes of Chen Cheng-po appears as a kind of harmonious contrast—the limpid light blue of the sky and river to the dark red concocted by the roof tiles, brick walls, tree trunk and sailboat. The humid air peculiar to Tamsui is rising in the painting’s scene. The rough lines of the scenery along the shore seem to be faintly moving. But the distant water and mountain remain silent. The slow boat on the river casts a tranquil reflection. The slight drag of the tree branches hint of a gust of wind, dissolving the contrast of the red and green, the action and stillness blending a distinctive aesthetic sensibility.
1. 樹 Tree
The spectacular broadleaf tree grabs the close view; its trunk and branches wantonly sprawl forth. The lower plants encircling the tree also exude a vivid kinetic potential. The oil paint on the crown of the tree has been swiped to form a large expanse of textured dark green strokes; these are highlighted by the single color of the water and sky which blossoms forth an exuberant vitality. The brush strokes vector slightly to the right making the tree branches on the right have a swaying image suggesting the touch of a light breeze.
2. 景物線條 The lines of the scenery
Compared to the other works of Chen Cheng-po about Tamsui, this small wood panel painting has comparatively heavy use of a stump; the oil paint is also relatively thick. Having returned to Taiwan from Shanghai, Chen Cheng-po was confronted with Chinese ink painting, or as well it influenced his conception of this painting, so he took pains to express movement in the lines of the scenery.
3. 帆船 Sailboat
A single-masted sailboat is slowly sailing. Of old Chinese sailboats can be used in various ways like inland river transportation, open ocean navigation, coastal fishing, etc.; several hundred years before the sailboats were already sailing in Tamsui Harbor. The artist expressly arranged the sailboat and the buildings along the shore to have the same red brick color, perhaps to hint at the same kind of heavy historical deposits.
4. 沙洲 Shoal
The light green mass on the water is a shoal covered with green vegetation. The Taiwan writer Wang Chang-xiong in his Tamsui River Ripples wrote, “Green shoals quietly traversing along the River,” and the sparkling water waves and a profusion of street scenes seem to be “palace maidens wearing cloud garments of a color made in heaven”—Is that perhaps the color Chen Cheng-po had in mind?
5. 觀音山 Guanyin Mountain
The southern foot of Guanyin Mountain enters the right side of the painting in the distant view. In the midst of the gradual soaking of the humidity and the gentle care of the warm sunshine, the mountain slope on the opposite side of the river also exhibits a mild yellow-green. The light warm color connects with the tree crown of the near view. The vitality of nature delicately flows between the far and the near.
6. 淡水禮拜堂 Tamsui church
The clock tower of the Tamsui church behind the large tree faintly appears in contour. In the feeling of the artist, the Gothic-style tower rising up in the small town seems not to have been taken as out of place. The Western-style, red brick building and the red brick color of the surrounding Min-style buildings blend to make a harmonious whole.