I wish to talk about a technique in Chinese landscape painting where the artist paints from a different vintage point to create variations in the sceneries.

Here is a photograph of the Welcoming Guest Pine (迎客松) with the background of a few peaks of the Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain) (黃山).


I took the liberty of changing the composition of the photo by raising the peaks above the trees. This creates a different painting that looks like this:

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The two paintings have different appeal and it is purely a matter of personal preference as to which painting is more attractive.

The following modelling illustrates how the artist arrives at the second scene by shifting the point of reference of his or her perspective.


I put the image of the pine tree onto a transparency and put it in a frame.

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The peaks of Huang Shan are drawn onto a piece of paper.

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The transparency is held in front of the drawing of the peaks.

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The pine tree merges with the background as in the first photo.

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When the camera is raised higher and pointed downward, the relative position of the background to the pine tree changes. This is similar to looking down on the pine tree and the peaks from a helicopter, creating a different scene.  It is from this perspective that the second painting was completed.

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Steps in painting

(1) Draw the pine tree

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(2) Draw the outline of the peaks

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Add ts’un (shading) onto the peaks. Darken some areas between the peaks and the pine tree. These show as a sea of clouds.

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(4) Add colours to the painting. Ochre (赭石) and anthocyanin (花青) are used.  The painting is completed.

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Please see also my webpage on vertical panorama. Since ancient times, Chinese artists have used their imagination to do landscape paintings. They imagine they were looking down from the sky so that they can create many variations.