Author: Lau Po Shin ( 樓寶善, 楼宝善 )
Translation by: Karen Yu

The Charm of Art

A person who loves to paint certainly loves to contemplate everything that is beautiful. This is the nature of things. Learning the art of painting is not only learning the basic techniques such as drawing, sketching, perspective and colors that are rather practical knowledge. Learning these skills, practicing and mastering them are still a technical expression. It is therefore important to understand the true meaning of art, the spirit of it. Art is emotional, not rational. If it is too rational, it becomes a avant-gardiste craft. Thus, when creating a work of art, the artist must express himself freely with his thoughts and feelings through the techniques of painting . Artistic creativity is very important and this is what helps to make the ordinary extraordinary. In fact, it is not necessary to give too much importance to the various artistic movements, whether avant-garde or conservative. In any form whatsoever, it is not important. I think the most important, the most attractive is the charm that emanates from the work of art. How does one qualify the charm of a work of art? This sounds very abstract, but it is actually very simple.

When a work of art, a painting, attracts the gaze of your eye again and again, this is the charm of art.

Lau Po Shin


Enchanted Trees – by Lau Po Shin ( 樓寶善, 楼宝善 )

Although the tools, materials and forms of art of Chinese painting is different from the art of painting in Europe, the ideology is the same. Concepts such as the resemblance is given to the subject’s mind and not the shape and emphasis put on emotion rather than rationality are principles which are common. The neoclassical realist painting in Europe and the United States is similar to the meticulous Chinese paintings (named Gongbi) where attention is paid to the rational. The Chinese impressionist movement appeared with the works of the eight eccentric painters of Yangzhou at the Qing dynasty where the emphasis is put on the emotional. With this fast pace lifestyle, modern people often tend to rely on bizarre ideas to produce work faster. Using a simple expression built on the basis of the sketch, it is impossible to show the image of the art with its deep content, skills and ideas that are equally important. In fact, students of art academies often have no problems in terms of their techniques. However, their works of art are not always attractive. The problem lies in the fact that they apply too literally the concepts that they’ve learned. They work only in the square that their teachers showed them. Each line, each brush stroke only reflect what the teachers have educated them. For these reasons, the self-taught artists sometimes stand out more in terms of creativity. This is because they are not restricted in a square that other peoples have created. These self-taught do not allow themselves to be delimited by any form whatsoever which demonstrates the simple definition of creativity. An artist is always in a mode of self-learning. They use their skills combined with their experiences to express their sense of life.

A Poetic Touch

Sometimes, we find it difficult to choose a theme. In my opinion, I think the choice should be inspired by our lives. Looking into what we are most familiar and find what is the simplest and most natural. The art is to express what surrounds us in our everyday life. These themes could be as simple as: the sun, the moon, flowers, trees, mountains, rivers and the wonders of nature. Expression of rain, snow and climate change indicate joy and anger. We must seize these characteristics that affect the human mind, attracting the viewer’s attention. Thus, regardless of the artistic movement or the method that is used, a work of art that manages to touch the heart of the audience is a work of great value. The various forms of modern art are in fact a conception of art. Some qualified avant-garde modern works are in pursuit of strangeness and ugliness, unconventional, which can be linked to beauty. From a young age, my love for painting is directly linked with the fact that I like to contemplate everything that is beautiful. Thus, in my opinion, I felt that the art of painting is to express the different facets of beauty.

The beauty of a work of art that emanates a poetic touch is what touches the deepest heart of the audience who are both moved and excited, an unforgettable feeling.


For beginners, it is important to learn the basic techniques. However, it should not go to a dead end. It is therefore important to practice as much as possible the techniques that have been learned. We must therefore ensure that they apply the concepts in their everyday life.

A view of inspiration

For inspiration, painters now gather information with a quick sketch or a camera. The most important is to get an idea of what is required to complete the painting.

For the human body, the use of models is very important in the basic course. A painter should be familiar with the curves in order to highlight the dynamism and to bring the brush strokes alive. Otherwise, it is not possible to give a soul for the creation.

Thus said, the root of an artist skills are very important. Use photos to create a painting does not mean to take the picture as a model in order to make a copy. The picture is rather a reference, an inspiration. Depending on the desired result, we have to make changes, add personal touches. All these changes are part of the creative process. All my painting techniques are the result of my self-study. At first I practiced copying realistic works of many painters of Europe. In addition, I often went outdoors to make sketches of landscapes. Sometimes, I asked friends to pose as models for me. I was improving, but very slowly.

Realism Art

In fact, a painting, whether in terms of composition, color or the lines, the aspect which we should be given the most attention is balance. In order to show the atmosphere, the colors are very important.

The choice of background color is what determines the mood of the painting, whether refined or confusing atmosphere, far or near. But I think the realistic expression cannot be too strong, because the painting  will lack free space, air.

Glowing Lights – by Lau Po Shin (樓寶善, 楼宝善)

People’s thoughts can change depending on the environment. At first I did not really understand what modern art was. In fact, I would have to say that I had no understanding of this topic at all. However, after studying in France, it allowed me to gain some knowledge of Western art. So when I returned to Hong Kong, the works of my first etching exhibition were not all focused on realism. They had rather a decorative touch. However, after my second trip to France where I had the opportunity to work at La Monnaie de Paris, I decided to take the path of realism. This is because I saw that there were many medals based on modern art from several renowned artist who have been accumulated. For some, a single copy has not even been sold. The works of famous modern avant-garde art are often exhibited in museums. However, it is rarely these works that appeal to collectors. So I think that using the poetic aspect to express my works is the path to take.

Abstract Art

Autumn Forest – by Lau Po Shin (樓寶善, 楼宝善)

After these decades in my artistic journey, the work that has touched me the most is a painting of the poet Wang Wei. Through the painting was a poem. The other person who has influenced me the most is the painter Qi Baishi. He said: “A painting that is too realistic is too heavy, a painting that is not realistic is misleading.” Thus, according to this thinking, abstract painting does not seem very appropriate. Despite this lack of resemblance, it does not mean that I am opposed to abstract art. Abstract painting is a work built with lines and colors that are specific to the artist who expresses the emotion of the composition. Through some abstract paintings, the poetic soul is very present. This is a different expression of the art techniques. If the composition of lines, the use of the colors and texture can clearly bring out the originality and the rhythm of the painting, it will manage to touch people. Therefore, the pursuit of form as such will not be equally important. However, the problem lies in the fact that nowadays, anyone can paint anything and it can sell at a very good price. This is a misleading trend. But in today’s society, diversity is a reasonable direction, the art is still art. These views are the result of over 50 years of my artistic life and the foundation of my artistic thought.