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Better than Spring (1975) 52.5x52cm

When I was young, we frequently went to Jue Zheng Garden to read and sketch, since the park was next to our school. We often went there to finish sketches assigned by my teacher, and before exams, we always found a corner of the park to revise in. I knew every tree, flower and rock in the park, as well as many elegant terraces and pavilions. In the autumn of 1975, the city's annual chrysanthemum exhibition was held there, and the gardeners painstakingly autumn sunlight. I chose this scene in a quiet corner of the exhibition, and spent two entire days finishing this sketch in a passageway that had originally been a quiet spot but became noisy and crowded with people that had gathered to watch me paint.

*Morning Lights (1974) 45x32.5cm

*Camphor Forest (1976) 52x42cm

On the lush Xishan Mountain of Dongting, on the cherished island of Taihu Lake, several simple and ancient, but lively, small towns are embedded amidst the flowering fruit trees. This stretch of fragrant camphor forest dates back several hundred years, and appears verdant and mysterious in the depths of the remote mountains.

*After a Spring Rain (1975) 42.5x37.5cm

In the springtime, when thickets of red bayberry trees are lush and luxuriant, and scattered tea bushes beneath the trees are blossoming with small white flowers, all of nature is harmonious and serene. These water and ink painting were sketched from life at Dongshan Mountain in Dongting and reworked later at home. When they were shown to Lin Fengmian, who was living at the time in Nanchang Road in Shanghai, he sighed deeply and, with great enthusiasm, declared, "I have taken the first step in revitalizing Chinese painting, but the journey must now be taken up by young people like you."

Plum Groves (1975) 52.5x52cm

When a newly-planted stretch of plum grove on the slope on the left side of the entrance to Jue Zheng Garden flowered with an abundance of white blossoms after the rain in early spring, the pure, fresh fragrance gently wafted a breath of new verdure over the withered yellow grass.

*Qingdao after a Rain (1977) 44.5x31.5cm

When I reached the peak of Guanxiang Mountain in the Qingdao, and looked down over a stretch of European buildings that extended as far as the eye could see, I truly felt as if I was in another country. After the rain, when the sky still was layered with clouds, a sliver of sunlight suddenly broke through the cloud cover, adding a dash of vitality to the picture.

*Welcoming Pine (1976) 39.5x38cm

The Welcoming Pine is a common image in Chinese hotels and public places -- Chinese use it to symbolize extending a welcome to guests. In 1976, I visited Huangshan Mountain for the first time, and on our way up the mountain path past the three islands of Penglai, the path turned sharply and for the first time, I saw for myself the famous and familiar Welcoming Pine, and earnestly began to draw its exquisite branches.

Clouds and Mist in the Mountains (1976) 39.5x38cm

This picture was sketched from life in front of the Pavilion of Layered Clouds at Huangshan Mountain. When Chen Congwen visited my home in Suzhou in 1976, he saw this picture and said, "You must have trained through imitation of Song Dynasty paintings. The precision of Song painting is clearly evident in this picture.

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