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Become One with Nature Through Liu Linglie’s Brushstrokes

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“Nature doesn’t hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
—-Lao Tzu

Since the dawn of time, nature has been the beloved muse of artists, providing human civilization with beauty for the eyes and wisdom for the mind. 

Accomplished artists are not only able to capture nature’s physical beauty but also its intangible power to heal, inspire, and invite contemplation. 

Taiwanese painter Liu Linglie is such a painter. Liu depicts nature with mineral pigments, poetically using the resources of the earth to paint her artistic landscapes. For her, art is a way to explore the deeper meanings of the world. 

On Liu’s canvas, nature is both the subject and the metaphor—the agent through which she shares her philosophy and life experiences. Through Liu’s nature art paintings, we can observe the cyclical nature of life, the fragility of existence, and the resilience of the human spirit.

“Through my art, I seek to understand the harmony and serenity of nature, capturing those fleeting moments and preserving them on canvas.”
—Liu Linglie

In this article, we delve into 14 paintings by Liu, uncovering their layers of meaning and inviting alternative perspectives on life.

Nature Art 1 – The Way We Came

nature art

In the painting, The Way We Came, we can feel a vast emptiness—both serene and dramatic—between the expansive sky and the earth. The reeds, painted with unusual white mineral pigments, appear exquisitely delicate yet paradoxically firm. Intricately woven together, they stretch along the meandering river in a poignant metaphor of life’s journey, with its twists and turns, sorrows and joys, fragility and hope, extending endlessly towards the future.

The far-off sky, embellished in the subtle variety of nocturnal palettes, is softly pierced by the tender blush of the unrestrained dawn light. Through a masterful interplay of juxtaposing elements—light and dark, tension and calm, tangible and intangible—the painting encapsulates the intricacies of human nature and the passage of time, resonating with the artist’s accompanying poem, Moonlit Rivers at Night.

Moonlit rivers at night,
Voiceless, they question the east winds; 
The flowing waters,
Rise and fall within moments;
Surrounded by the ethereal glow of the moon,
Rests a lonely heart.
I turn to the grandness of the sea,
Its vastness cradles each transient moment.
Silence echoes in the cosmos, 
Flowing freely towards the rivers and seas.

Nature Art 2 – Poetry of Spring

nature art

Painted in precious golden-orange mineral pigments, Poetry of Spring exudes the vibrancy of existence through the emergence of the spring bamboo shoots. These new lives burst forth eagerly from beneath the soil where they slumbered throughout the winter.

By manipulating visual perspectives from top to bottom, Liu creates pleasant visual rhythms across the overall composition, alluding to the exchanges between the celestial and terrestrial realms.

Upon closer inspection, we can almost tangibly sense the fuzzy and velvety textures adorning the fresh bamboo skins. This finesse is artfully achieved through Liu’s distinctive brush technique and glue-based mineral pigments.

These sprouting bamboo shoots, beautifully rendered in this painting, signify growth, renewal, and the perpetual flow of nature’s cyclical energy.

Nature Art 3 – Moon Light

nature art

What do you see in this painting? A bright moon appears to linger in the water. Yet only the moon’s reflection in the rippling water can be seen, not the moon itself. The painting is hypnotic since we’re almost unable to tell the difference between the water and the sky. The water doesn’t quite seem to be water, but neither is it sky. The moon appears as an illusion. Only the pitiably desolate reeds, stirred by the breeze, are immediately recognizable, yet even they seem to be reaching to touch the watery mirage. 

Within the darkness of this serene night, a subtle yet profound hope, cradled by the gentle embrace of moonlight, echoes the sentiments expressed in the artist’s accompanying poem.

In the darkness, it may seem faint, yet it’s full of hope.
All because there’s a faint moonlight surging on the waves.
A subtle dance upon the waves, where moonlight gently paves,
A journey through the dark expanse, laden with hope’s radiant trance.

Nature Art 4 – Harmony in the Mountain Stream

nature art

The painting Harmony in the Mountain Stream features the classical Song Dynasty (ca. 960–1279) composition technique “One river, two banks,” which is renowned for its essence of simplicity and depth. The banks, painted as vast expanses of snow-covered emptiness, evoke a profound sense of boundless desolation and tranquility.

The focal point of the composition captures an early spring plum tree standing near the shore. Slender and deciduous, yet upright and tall, the plum tree, adorned with delicately outlined snow lingering on its branches, stands with a graceful posture. Surrounded by the austere landscape, the plum tree is dynamically juxtaposed with the swirling whirlpools, alluding to the pulsating vitality of life.

Celebrated for her mastery of the purest mineral pigments, Liu rendered the expansive snow in a palette of ethereal white and subtle grey tones, accentuated by ocher hues, establishing a compelling contrast with the animated streams, portrayed in deep indigo and inky pigments.

Nature Art 5 – Autumn Wind

nature art

Rendered with delicate brushstrokes, the painting Autumn Wind presents a delicate equilibrium between strength and fluidity, resilience and surrender, uncertainty and opportunity. Though unseen, the presence of the wind is palpable in the rhythmic motion across the entire composition.

Against the vast golden gilded backdrop of the untouched wilderness, slender, sentinel-like palm trees bend with a determined yet elegant poise under the force of the wind. The soft, fanlike leaves twirl and sway, not in defeat, but in a choreographed display of resilience. 

At the bottom, golden-tipped delicate weeds, standing tall yet bending gracefully in unison, echo the palm tree’s dynamism with their soft chanting murmur.

The vivid, burnt autumn colors of the wilderness harmonize with the palm tree’s verdure, revealing a fascinating simultaneity of the ripeness and renewal of life—the eternal cycle that everything in the universe is subjected to.

A silent exchange of energy between the palm trees, the weeds, and the breeze, transforms the stillness of the wilderness into a pulsating spectacle teeming with perpetual change and the promise of new possibilities.

Nature Art 6 – Spring Ridge

nature art

The sober, fresh and pellucid use of pure mineral pigments—white, emerald and dark green—in the nature art painting Spring Ridge reflects Liu’s spiritual realm and the distinctive clarity of her artistic style

Depicting snow-capped mountains in early springtime, the painting features two affectionate trees covered by fuzzy newborn leaves, soaring high up to reach the fleeting white-green clouds. The symbolism delineates the artist’s prospect of a faint yet growing life. The subtle, nuanced colors and flowing brushstrokes exemplify the signature refinement and elegance of Liu’s artworks.

Nature Art 7 – Autumn Moon

nature art

For thousands of years, the moon has inspired poets and artists with its ethereal glow stimulating the human heart’s longing for eternal bliss. Among the many admirers of the moon, the most prominent was perhaps Li Bai (701–762), a dazzling poetic figure in Chinese history. Court official, sword-bearing Daoist practitioner, and prolific poet versed in the fantastic and romantic genres, Li confided in the moon, drank with it, and gazed at the celestial figure for comfort when struck by homesickness.

In Li’s poem Autumn Winds, the narrator’s heart is deeply afflicted by the longing for a former lover. Classical topoi such as the crystalline moonbeam, the chill autumn breeze, the fallen leaves, and the trembling, startled crow are masterfully employed to mirror the depths of a wistful soul. 

The poem ends with the soft, melancholic lines “If I knew my heart would be seized with such longing, I would rather that we had never met.”

In the painting Autumn Moon, Liu Linglie portrays the lofty spiritual world of the poet by projecting it onto a fantastical scenery. A misty moon illuminates a surreal forest patch covered by wind-brushed foliage in a mystical silver-violet hue, echoing the luminous, unrestrained imagination characteristic of Li Bai’s literary creations. 

Slender wild grass sways in a dreamy rhythm. On a clog-like ashen rock is perched a snow-white eagle, exuding a serene and unearthly aura. The bird’s fierce, determined expression communicates the eternal loneliness of earthly existence, whose bittersweet flavor can be enjoyed only by a being blessed with inner strength.

Nature Art 8 – Summer Rain 

nature art

Large leaves are bent protectively over bunches of bananas as a summer storm descends upon them. In her nature painting Summer Rain, Liu once again displays her ability to catch the small details. The fibers of the leaves are meticulously painted stroke by stroke, with yellow woven among the green for a more realistic look. 

We can tell from the thin white streaks pelting down relentlessly and hitting the leaves with a splash that the rain is falling hard; we can almost hear it pattering forcefully upon the leaves. The bananas peeking from under the leaves evoke the excitement of finally reaping the long-awaited fruits. 

Nature Art 9 – Between Seasons

nature art

A cluster of budding branches stretches into the frame and the foreground of this nature painting, interrupting the view of the turquoise river and offering a contrast to the flowing water. 

The transition from winter to spring as seen in Liu’s painting Between Seasons is both rapid and slow. The melting snow in the faraway mountains floods the rivers, while the tender new leaves take their time to make their debut in the world, seemingly frozen in time.

Nature Art 10 – Eternity

nature art

Eternity is both the title and the theme of this painting by Liu Linglie. The soft elegance of a flower in bloom is, perhaps, by no means eternal when compared to the lifespan of rocks and mountains. 

Yet although the existence of a single blossom may be brief, it plays a part in ensuring the eternity of another element—beauty. For what is eternity but an infinite number of individual moments stitched by life? What is beauty but the resplendence of each individual life flourishing to its full potential in the time that it’s been granted? 

The dainty purple petals of the flower in the painting have gently unfurled to reveal a golden center of pollen, a promise of more life and beauty in the future. By contemplating Eternity, the fleeting beauty of this world becomes eternal by connecting itself to a higher spirituality.

Nature Art 11 – Tree of Life

nature art

Liu’s painting Tree of Life is an ode to the resilience of life within nature. Depicting the tree of life without its flourishing leaves seems, at first, rather paradoxical, for how can it be the tree of life when it’s nothing but jagged branches clawing at the sky? 

Yet that’s precisely what makes this painting powerful. Withered, grappled, and windswept, the tenacious branches and tree trunk, firmly grounded in the earth, evoke an enduring spirit of resilience.

In harmony with the Dao,
the sky is clear and spacious,
the earth is solid and full,
all creatures flourish together,
content with the way they are,
endlessly repeating themselves,
endlessly renewed.

Lao Tzu, Dao De Jing

Nature Art 12 – Rocky Waves

nature art

There’s an undeniable feeling of holiness in Liu’s nature painting Rocky Waves. In the top left corner, the last of winter’s oppressive stormy clouds disperse as the golden rays of sunlight pierce through, evoking hope. 

In the left foreground is a tree that has braved winter; its budding branches reaching for the warmth they’ve long yearned for. We can see the eagerness for renewal and a new beginning in their newly emerging leaves.

Nature Art 13 –  Spring Sprout

nature art

Veiled in a refreshing blue mist, the scene depicted in Liu’s painting Spring Sprout stands as a poetic homage to new life in spring. Several golden-tipped sprouts burst forth exuberantly one after another in a joyful ascent to the sky

Simplistic in theme and rendering, the painting invites the audience to join the artist in celebrating seasonal transition and the renewal of vitality.

Nature Art 14 –  Arietta of Hibiscus

nature art

In Liu’s painting Arietta of Hibiscus, the ardor for life is intensely compressed into the colors—flamingo, rose, golden and eggshell-white— of the hibiscus flower and its branches. 

It’s as if the dainty, everyday flower evokes the richness of our personal history. Cut across in the middle by a resplendent golden light, the painting gives physical form to the nostalgia for life’s past glory. 

The echoing movements of the floral subject and its pale pinkish leaves give the impression of a passionate duo that chants of life’s cherished recollections. 

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Inspired for a Beautiful Life

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