The First Load of Lumber
Water-based pigment on silk
In the fall of 2015, I met Southern Utah University's President, Scott L Wyatt at an event in town. He brought up an idea of a painting of Southern Utah University’s founding history. I realized immediately that it would be a great honor and opportunity for me to create a painting for the school. Since I came to SUU in the fall in 2013, I have been given opportunities to teach art students and work side by side with professors and colleagues at the university, especially in the Art and Design department. I love this school and this city.
Southern Utah University has a history of over 100 years. After several times of reading the founding story of SUU, I have a high respect for the community of Cedar City and the pioneer founders. Without their devotion and support, the school would have not been able to exist in Cedar City.
I discussed several ideas about the painting with President Wyatt. He mentioned that there are many works of art showing the cowboys who fought through the severe winter and got the lumber from the mountains. However, the women and children were also an important group of volunteers in building SUU. President Wyatt expressed his desire for a painting showing respect for the contributions of the whole community.
I did many sketches and thumbnails with my artistic thoughts for the painting. One of them was an imagined scene of the first group of men who risked their lives came back to town from the mountains with the lumber. The focus was on the happy and touching moment when the families and community were gathering together in celebration of this great accomplishment.
Based on the composition, with the help of a group of enthusiastic friends and volunteers, I could gather all the essential photos and materials to start with this painting. On the 5th of February in 2016, I started the creating. The drawing of the painting took months... By February 15th in 2017, I finished the painting. It took me more than a year.
It is a precious opportunity for me to share Chinese art with American people through this historic painting for Southern Utah University. This painting was painted on silk and was created with traditional Chinese painting techniques and materials. However, I mixed western aesthetic views and techniques in this project. Silk is the oldest substrate for Chinese painting. It was used by ancient Chinese artists before the Chinese invented Xuan paper, or as American call it, Rice paper. The drawing was the solid foundation of the painting. From the closeup pictures, hope you can see the unique style from the delicate lines and layers of gentle colors. It is water-based painting.
Thanks for your attention!