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Motivational Art And The Aesthetics Of The Ice Series

motivational art

In traditional Chinese culture and art, qi/ch’i [氣] refers to the breath of energy that flows through all things. An artist looks inward to the spirit of an object to extract a mystical connection, while the admirer reflects on the painting and discovers its energy. The Ice Series as motivational art expresses nature through abstraction.

When water shifts from a liquid into a solid, we call it ice. Blue ice occurs when snow falls onto a glacier. It compresses over many years forcing out tiny air pockets between crystals. Blue ice is beautiful to behold.

As I meditate on the marvel and creation of ice, I wonder, “What if water can be frozen instantly? What if I can capture this process of blue ice?” While I reflect, I also discover within its form a story of success.

Aesthetics in art

Aesthetics in Chinese art has its origin in ancient traditions and beliefs. While classic European artists painted realistic depictions of an object, traditional Chinese artists abstracted the spirit of Dao (Tao) influenced by I Ching.

The Dao joins two pairs:

  • Wu 無 (non-being) and You 有 (being).

  • Xu 虛 (void) and Shi 实 (solid).

From these philosophies came the idea of metaphysical abstraction and aesthetic feelings towards art. I Ching conveys the two opposing sides: the objective natural scene and the subjective personal emotion.

The influence of Chinese aesthetics in my motivational art shows through the emotional engagement reached during its creation. It also shows in the responses to its viewing. The Ice Series suggests something beyond the actual object.

As well, other aspects of Chinese aesthetics evidenced in my art include:

  • A vital resonance and movement of energy.

  • The unity between opposites.

The aesthetics of Impressionism, which emerged as a reaction to realism, also influence my new abstract art style:

  • The use of light and color to interpret nature.

  • Style based on sensation.

  • Discovering beauty in irregularity.

  • The painting of fragments.

  • Transformation of subject matter into motif.

The transformation of ice into motivational art

The Ice Series displays a dynamic motif. My artworks look different to realistic paintings of ice or ice found in nature. The motivational art exaggerates energetic forms and lines, like splashes of water frozen in a singular moment.

In nature, water freezes as temperatures drop. Shades of blue ice on glaciers vary depending on its density. When it is exceptionally dense, ice absorbs infrared light and reflects blue. Some shades of blue seem pure, elegant or mythical.

Depending on the environment, ice forms in many different ways to pose in energetic gestures. I like to use free-flowing lines, colors, and shapes to transfer the energy and vitality of ice.

My aim with the Ice Series is to capture the acceleration of the freezing process when water crystallizes into ice. It is a moment of expansion when a body of water bursts into a new state.

In Ice 17, the free-flowing lines created by the layered color pouring and Chinese brush strokes, engage the eye to move in a downwards flowing motion.

For some gazers, the motivational art resembles a waterfall, snapped frozen in time, while others behold a more elegant feminine form. Within the painting, other shapes such as a face, forest, and a fish give rise to the imagination.

In natural conditions, the moment when water expands and explodes into ice requires a series of moments to appreciate it. It is not a static state.

My idea exhibits the color and purity of ice as it instantly transforms from the softness of water into hard crystals. It is an abstraction of ice formation.

The other side to my motivational art

As I marvel at the explosion of ice, I apply my experience and beliefs of I Ching. With my feelings and thoughts, I appreciate the cycle of nature and how it relates to the journey of life. This approach is the subjective side of my motivational art, the personal emotion.

Just as water fills a space or container, we also fill with knowledge, experience, and energy. With the right opportunity when that space is full, we can embrace life to reach beyond our potential and achieve success.

Moments like this exist in everyone’s life. We all have opportunities to transcend our potential and unleash our qi/ch’i. It does not matter what type of role we play. For some, the big break arrives early in life, while for others it is much later.

The opportunities to excel in our lives may be abundant. We never know our full potential.

My journey with motivational art

My interest in art ignited in my childhood when I watched artists demonstrate calligraphy and painting. For many years, I gathered knowledge, gained experience, practiced painting techniques and learned about nature and life.

Even during the Cultural Revolution when I traveled far away from my family, I continued to gain experiences that inform my art. Now, I am reaching a new pinnacle in my artistic career where Chinese aesthetics combine with the aesthetics of Impressionism.

Some of my Ice Series paintings as evidenced in Ice 14 and Ice 16 display shapes like eagles or giant birds. The bird’s wings spread wide symbolize someone who has finally achieved success.

I regard these paintings as a self-portrait, for they reveal my subjective-self. They represent the current state of my art career, where I am taking flight and soaring high on a new journey of artistic development.

Through the Ice Series, my new emerging art style blends traditional Chinese art with Impressionism. It captures an abstract idea and condenses the process of ice formation, extracting its energy from space and time to explode on to the canvas in a singular moment.

The Ice Series is a story of change, of growth, and allegory of success.

Shulin Sun

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