|▲ Artist Hwang Yeon-sook aka Chungcho|
Lotus is a symbol of pure mind and body. It grows up from mire but it is as clean as morning dew. It is a flower of virtue like Buddha who was unspotted by any dirt of the world.
The artist who paints lotus
People call lotus and water lily as ‘fairies of water’ for their aloof beauty unaffected by the surrounding world which is muddled. The leaves and roots are used for tea and food so nothing should be wasted.
Artist Hwang Yeon-sook lives in Yonin City. She runs a clothes shop attached with a small art studio of her own. She paints lotus so she is called a lotus artist. <Tear-Brimmed Beautiful Day>, <Chungcho>, <Story of Pond> and <Detached Figure> are some of her famous works. But lotus is not the only one she paints but also pumpkins which remind her of childhood.
“I don’t like to eat pumpkins but I like them for they arouse my childhood memory of walking hand in hand with my permed hair mother on a country road one sunny day. The memory remains longing and the longing makes me feel cherished about life” says Hwang.
“We still have half bottle of water”
Hwang was born to a 6 sibling well-to-do family as the third daughter in Daegu Metropolitan City. She majored in home economics and attracted eyes from fellow students with her fashion sense. It was after she got married that she started to have interest in painting. She learned under the instructions of a number of famous artists in Insa-dong and built her own art world for the last 30 years.
After retiring from a large company, her husband started a business which went bankrupt. The failure damaged them financially and mentally. The husband felt more discouraged and she encouraged him “We still have half bottle of water.” But she could not find her own solace until lotus came to her to give one. The flower growing on mire yet beautiful as it should be touched her heart and she braced herself to bravely carry on her life.
She shifted leaf by leaf and flower by flower onto the canvas. She walked around a lotus pond again and again and took photos of them as many as possible. This whole creative process healed her wounded heart and made her strong. It was this time that she opened the clothes shop to support family income and to paint the pictures in her own little space.
Passion and diligence
She was painting lotus in her old studio when a man approached and watched her work for a while and said “Your lotus is tear-brimmed beautiful. I hope you remain as an artist like lotus flower pure and clean.” It was after a while that she knew the man was a renowned judge of an art competition. Since then, painting became an asset of her when someone who paid a visit unexpectedly to give courage and hope.
In 1998, one of her works was selected by the Korea New Art Competition. Alongside painting lotus, she often enjoys Korean painting, still life and abstract which have been displayed at around 60 exhibitions. She has taken part in exhibitions held in the US, Canada, China, Malaysia and Uzbekistan. In Korea, she joined an invitational exhibition of Samsung Electronics and had an exhibition at Hangaram Arts Center Museum. As for the year 2019, she is scheduled in April, June and September.
“It is my style not to confine to forms but open to my sincerity. Pure and clean like lotus flowers, that is what I want to paint and to share with people.” Chungcho is her nickname her husband made for her.
|▲ 고고한 자태(2016년, [73x60], Oil on canvas)|
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