说起张霭维老师，因为是中距离的观察，对她的认识是较为三度空间的。在我的印象中，她是一位以学生为友的教师、一位不精明的美术编辑、一位游走于港台美加成功的巡回画家、一位历尽艰辛的单亲妈妈。我们这行很特别，全校的师生都是画画的，在学术面前人人平等，学生比老师画得好的大有人在，摆架子的老师是心虚的，只有虚心的老师才得到学生的尊重，往往他(她)们又是有能力的，亦师亦友，张是属于后者。1964年，当我还是学生，得到时任美编的伍启中兄的约稿，画了平生第一张彩色插图，交稿后倒数计时期待着 广东画报的出版，谁知等到的是一幅被改了的画，画中的妇女被改成个男人，令我十分失望，改画者张霭维也，时任画报美编。又有一次，出版社约我画宣传画，印后交回画稿，上加了大滩水印不小心弄上去的，约稿和加印者，张霭维也，时任美术出版社编辑，诚然，她不是一个精明的编辑，却是一位精明的画家。在英文中，ART，是艺术与技巧的同义词，技巧之于画家，实在太重要了，张霭维凭着一支画笔，游走于海外，举办过无数画展，取得过很大的成功。她画的肖像，尤为台湾、香港名人的垂青，画约不断，这应归功于她的深厚的绘画功力和敏锐的观察力，她的油画在写实中有一种浪漫的气息，浪漫主义本来就是重主观、重想象。她的油画在造型上重客观，在色彩上则重主观，这就形成了造型严谨而色彩又偏于冷暖对比跳跃的特点。这种在对比中求得和谐的音乐感正是其油画的动人之处。绘画本来是表现自我的劳作，而画肖像则是从客人的要求和自己的艺术追求之间去寻找平衡点，这正是画肖像最难的地方。张霭维在这方面是掌握得相当成功的。说句题外话，有一次在加州州博物馆见到一幅州长肖像，是用大写意近乎抽象的画法完成的，令人过目不忘。我感叹的不是这画家的技巧，倒是钦佩这位州长可以容忍艺术家造型手段的大度。现在的画家都有门有派，过去的画家有的画了一辈子到出画册时方悟到要 认祖归宗，好象练了数十年少林拳不知自己源出嵩山。于是我想起达芬奇了，他在十六世纪就提出镜子论，认为画家必须具备对自然万物都能描绘的全能，这个理论潜移默化的影响着我们整代人，我们这一代当年都一样穷，最大的特点是没有相机，速写本是记录生活的唯一工具，因此，都穷一生精力去练就这种 全能(写生变成强项)，这种能力令我们一生享用。雨果说:艺术是一面集中的镜子，它不仅不减弱原来的颜色和光彩，而是把它们集中起来，凝聚起来，把微光化为光明，把光明化为火光，这就是艺术生活真实的精髓。当前数码之镜充斥现代生活，但此镜不同彼镜，永远无法取代。如果我们从这个角度来欣赏张霭维的油画，你就能感受到她的画表现的不是女性柔弱的美，而是有一种超强的力量。这大概与她在生活中所担当的单亲妈妈的超强的负荷，超强的神经不无关系。可以想象，她曾经走过一段十分艰难的路，独力抚养一子一女，又是画画，又是做家务，一天24小时是不够用的。虽然她 傻人有傻福，一路走来都有友人仗义相助，但她自强不息的精神令人钦佩。现在她的子女长大了，成家立业了。正当她在国内的同代人已经安享晚年之际，她又在构想一个庞大的创作大计，再走上征途。
早于上世纪五六十年代，霭维就读于广州美术学院附中及学院油画系，系统全面掌握油画表现技巧，深奠其扎实写实工夫之基础。毕业后留校任教，又于早期《广东画报》担任记者、美术编辑，以 虹岚之艺名，配合登载之文章，创作大量插图画幅，初誉画坛。七零到七九年间，任广东人民出版社美术编辑，负责全省宣传画稿约工作，并同时创作大量油面及宣传画、水粉、水彩画等诸画种。自七九年后至今，先后陆续移居香港、台湾、加拿大、美国等地，画笔未歇，探求无尽。分别成为内地、港、台及加美四地的名油画家。夫多数画家者，一般多具 专攻一类或 特有风格者也。然霭维于风景、静物、肖像、人物创作皆有涉猎，才华通博，素材面极广。其画作之色彩虽多光彩闪烁之律动，灿烂炽烈，亦不固守某色调，而折射其油画个性正为其独特之色感，亦为其画中润泽丰富色彩语言。于其眼中，倘油画不讲究色彩，犹如植地无理庄稼之生长一般不可理喻。故观其画作，其中营造画面之意境，皆倚重于色彩语言，此油画之所以为油画之命脉所在耶。
About Ms. Ai-Wai Chaung, since my observation is in medium distance, my understandingof her is three dimensional.In my impression, she is a teacher that made friends with her students, a not-so-smart art editor, a touring artist who is successful in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the U.S.A and Canada, and a single mother who went through a lot of hardships.The arts field is uniquely different from other subjects. At school, all teachers and students are painters. Academically, everybody is equal. It is not unusual to see a student who can paint better than the teachers. Those teachers who put on airs are likely lacking in self-confidence. Only open-minded teachers who are usually also very capable receive respect from students. They are as much a teacher as a friend. Ms. Chaung belongs to the latter.When I was still a student in 1964, I was asked by Mr. Qizhong Wu to contribute to Guangdong Pictorial. That was the first color plate I ve ever painted in my life. However, after I received the final publication, the woman in the illustration was replaced by a man. I was greatly disappointed. It was Ms. Ai-Wai Chaung, art editor for the pictorial at the time, who changed my work. On another occasion, I was asked to paint a poster. But by the time I got it back, there was a big water mark on the painting. It was Ms. Ai-Wai Chaung who requested the painting and accidentally stained it. She was an art editor for Fine Arts Publishing House. However, although she was not a smart editor, she was a very smart painter.In English, ART is the synonym of art and skills. Skills of a painter are extremely important. Ms. Ai-Wai Chaung traveled among overseas destinations and successfully organized many art exhibitions. Her painting, especially her portrait paintings are very popular in Taiwan and Hong Kong, which won her numerous commissions. It is fair to say that we could attribute her success to her masterful skills and sharp observation. Her paintings have a radiance of romantic feelings amidst realistic depiction.Romanticism itself is very subjective and imaginative. Her paintings are more objective in shapes, but very subjective in colors, which creates a special effect of loyalty to shapes accompanied by jumping comparison among cold and warm colors. Her paintings touch people because of the sense of musical harmony that she was able to achieve.Paintings are artworks to express ourselves. However, portrait paintings need to balance the requirement of the clients and our own artistic pursuit. That is the most difficult aspect of portrait paintings. Ms. Ai-Wai Chaung is very successful in this. To stray from the topic a little bit, I once saw a portrait for a governor in the State Museum of California. The technique of the painting was close to freehand, almost abstract. I was very impressed. I applaud not the skills of the painter, but the open-mindedness of the governor.Modern painters belong to many different schools. Some painters didnt realized that they need to trace their artistic origin until the time of publishing their works, just like a Shaolin boxer who exercised for many years, but didnt know that the martial arts were from Mount Songshan. This reminded me of Da Vinci. He raised a Mirror Theory in the 16th century asking painters to have all-around capacity to be able to depict anything existed in nature. This theory unconsciously influenced our whole generation. Our generation was poor growing up. We didnt have cameras. The only thing we have to record lives surrounding us was a sketch book. As a result, we spent our whole life trying to reach that all-aroundedness and sketching became our strength. We benefited greatly from it.Victor Hugo once mentioned that art is a concentrated mirror. It does not diminish the original color and splendor. Instead, it collects them, condenses them and changes dim lights into brightness, bring brightness into fire. This is the quintessence of art creation. Even in this digital world of modern society, this mirror is irreplaceable.If we appreciate Ms. Ai-Wai Chaung s oil painting from this perspective, youll notice that her paintings do not demonstrate the beauty of a soft woman. On the contrary, it is great power that we experience. This may result in lifes pressure as a single mother. Its imaginable what kind of difficulty she went through bringing up a son and a daughter all by herself in addition to her art career. It will make 24 hours too short to take care of both housework and painting. Even though as a Chinese saying says, she has the luck of a muddle-headed and she has received great support from friends, her diligent spirit is highly admirable. Now that her children are grown up, despite the fact that most of her peers in China are relaxing in retirement, once again, shes embarked on a new journey of art creation..
画家霭维写景，或蓝天春日 或细雨连绵，或清晨林雾，或日出江花，皆融以空气透明之感觉;蔼维静物，多写生鲜花、水果，色彩热烈炽丽，用笔洒脱，着重寄于情趣 ;寓维写人，或富贾政要，或名媛淑女，或学者耆英，皆生动传神，突显人性气质特征。其犹为善写少女情怀，画面朝气蓬勃，纯真明媚，专注表现对女性生命本质之细腻刻画，表现对少女情榡之理解与热爱。霭维女士虽年过耳顺，还以画者对艺术之笃信，一如青年时代末变，仍以年轻激情，虔诚之理想主义心灵，拥抱生活。所触发之每一次冲动皆与色彩美感联系共鸣。霭维独特之敏悟在于其把握景、物、人整体之色彩形象，发掘最感动其心灵之审美关系，力求惟肖惟妙之表现。其所创作及展现之色彩纯化而感动观者。
by YANNING CHENDec. 1,2006YANNING CHEN: American Chinese.Famouse oil Painter
Studying art, teaching art and creating art are the life of my teacher, Ai-Wai Chaung,although it has been a harsh life_rising and falling, unlucky and rough, with loneliness her companion for several decades. Viewing her paintings, I see a clear sky after the rain. All the past has vanished in a puff of smoke. In her work, you see no scars, but new shoots of growth, happy brushwork dancing with color. She still sings her praises to life with her youthful heart, a heart that never ages.
Twenty years have passed since Ms. Chaung left for Canada. I have never forgotten those days when we worked together with heated discussions about artistic creation. Ms. Chaung s beautiful and bright oil paintings have always lingered in my mind. Not long ago, during my visit to Canada, I had the occasion to meet Ms. Chaung again.
Ms. Chaung graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts with excellent grades and became a lecturer at the Academy. Like most of the Academy graduates, she devoted herself with great enthusiasm to art education under the new Republic and began her lectures in her first class. I was one of the students in this class under her guidance. Later she experienced many blows because in society everything became politicized.Her student dreams shattered, she was at a loss, unable to understand what was happening,but had to throw herself into the complex social currents. During those years when both public and personal lives were greatly distorted, a person had to meet all the challenges with their own personal will in order to survive. During those years, the narrow space between the artist and her canvas became the only haven of her soul, a calm space to contact the spirit of art.
In her studio on the other side of the Pacific, surrounded by the greenery of the woods, I had the chance to appreciate all her new paintings, which reminded me of those old days when we discussed art. Ms. Chaungs art is a combination of realistic expression as conceived artistically within Chinese traditional art. In pursuit of this unique atmosphere, she paints in bright, vivid colors, full of vigor, soft and sweet. The brushwork is free and rhythmic, and the variety of its application brings to the viewers a colorful experience. This enables her to reveal her inner feelings successfully through the interplay of her brushwork and color. This results in a successful combination of both western and eastern artistic expression. Her thorough research in western and eastern art has allowed the artist to develop a unique style of her own, resulting in her art being well known in the art field at home and abroad.
When the social ideals of that era vanished, a huge tidal wave of art broke through the established rules of the political system, and flooded cultural life with a sea of artificiality in pursuit of all kinds of immediate success and profit. Many people in the art field drowned in the new tide and many others disappeared from the field of art research, busily engaging in other businesses. However Ms. Chaung paid no attention to this situation in the arts, and insisted on remaining true to her own concept of beauty-seeking, although it tended to be regarded as somewhat out of date. She continued faithfully to improve her ability to use color with an honest heart. In pursuit of her dream, she has never stopped practicing. Painting is her inner pleasure, her spiritual food. Painting gives value to her survival. Although she understands that art has its social function, her art has nothing to do with anxiety, hatred and anger, but instead eulogizes life, conveyed in an increasingly simple and serene atmosphere.
Ms. Chaung began her art study in the late 50s to early 60s of the last century in the Attached High School and the Oil Department, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, where she mastered the techniques of oil painting systematically and gained a solid foundation in the style of Realism. After graduation, she became a teacher at the Academy, and later was assigned to work in the editorial offices of the Guangdong Pictorial as an art reporter and art editor. Many articles and illustrations under her pen name, HONG LAN , appeared in the pictorial, which brought her early fame in the art field. From 1970 to 1979 she was employed as a fine art editor for the Peoples Publishing House of Guangdong Province, publishing posters over the whole province. During this period, she created many oil paintings, posters, gouaches and watercolors. Since she left in 1979, she has traveled in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Canada, never ceasing her art practice and research, and has become a famous artist in China, Canada, and in the area of Hong Kong and Taiwan. Having studied and learned from both Chinese traditional and western culture and art and read so- many typical masterworks from ancient times until the present, she has matured and evolved a completely unique art style of her own. Most artists in the world are absorbed in their own subjects and restricted within their own familiar styles, but Ms. Chaung s paintings include landscape, still life, portrait and figure. She is an artist of great talent and has mastered a great variety of artistic subject materials with a special sensitivity for color. The color language in her paintings is attractive, fresh and bright, but never rigidified into an established form or theme. She understands the nature of oil painting, and works from the idea that without color, oil painting would not exist, because color is the life of this medium.
Similar to many other artists, because of her interest in the subject matter but also out of practical necessity, Ms. Chaung has created many portraits, from friends and relatives, minorities, to famous CEOs. Out of her pure, honest and broad-minded personality, the portraits are created sincerely and profoundly, without any beautification. The complex lives of the people she portrays are successfully displayed in her work. Maybe that is why so many celebrities and entrepreneurs have invited her to paint their portraits.
That is why she can fully make use of the power of the language of color. In her landscape paintings of a spring day with blue sky, a rainy scene, the morning woods with fog, or flowers in bright sunshine, a feeling of transparency evokes in the viewers a real yet mysterious atmosphere. Objects in her still-life paintings include fresh flowers and fruit, which are bright in color with vivid brushstrokes. Human figures in her paintings include important politicians, refined scholars and elegant ladies, all with unique personalities, especially the young girls are so attractive and full of vigor. Although Ms. Chaung is now in her 60s, she remains very young in her soul. The fervor and passion of her youth has never changed. She retains the pure and honest soul of an idealist with a deep love of life. Her interest in the delicate depiction of the real nature of womens life reveals her deep love and understanding for the feminine. She never has ceased to search for new effects of color and brushwork in her paintings to transmit the inner feeling of the artist. It is the charm of these effects that attracts and evokes an echo of her feeling from the viewers. Her success in her art is based on her understanding and mastery of the color image, whether in an object, a human figure or a scene. The role that color plays in her paintings really touches the viewers.
Ms. Chaung has never thought that her paintings should belong to a certain school or ism, but she never has forgotten to attribute her success to those predecessors whose thinking or techniques nourished her. For example, the color techniques in her oil paintings especially reveal the deep influence of her tutor, Xu Jianbai, who brought color techniques back from abroad. These techniques enable the color in her oil paintings to be vigorous, bright and powerful, full of strength.The impact of those tutors who studied in the former Soviet Union can be seen in the structure of her work. Her free, almost mysterious, brushwork mentioned above melts within her rich and endless pursuit of colorful effect.
Nowadays, a variety of art styles, structures and forms impact one another. The common ideal of most artists to pursue a combination of western and eastern approaches, the classical with the contemporary, rationality with sensibility, science with art so as to create an art form that projects the spirit of our age, local theme and personal characteristics. During her artistic career of several decades, through rain and storm, Ms. Chaungs art has become even more attractive and her color language speaks with a powerful, mysterious charm. When I stand before these wonderful paintings, I can really see the artist moving her brush on the canvas. constantly in pursuit of her joyful celebration of color within space.
Ms. Chaungs landscape paintings best convey her warmth and worship of nature and color, similar to a religious belief. Scenes in her paintings contain a vivid depth, especially those seascapes made after her arrival in Canada where viewers can almost inhale the cool, fresh air, bathe in the warm sunlight, or play in the dear and transparent ocean. The water is so pure,calm and transparent that the viewers feel the spirit of the artist bathing in the nature of her innermost heart. Within her creations, her gratitude and happiness emerge naturally. The dust of the past has been washed away.
by ZHAOTANG LIANG
by Xuanyi Jian
Autumn,2006, by the side of Pearl River
Zhaotang Liang,National artist of First Class,Director of the theory Department of Guangzhou Painting Academy,Vice-Chairman of Guangzhou Artists Association