Shangrila. Landscape Painting by Ning Yeh
There is No Greater Creative Power in the Universe than the Love of What You Are Doing
In studying the story of creative people, particularly songwriters and musicians, I noticed an interesting trend. There is a common arc to most famous creators potency. In short the typical story like this:
- A period of enthusiastic learning
- Initial learning curve ascended, but still focused purely on the the love of what they are doing, they often create their most commercially successful work
- After the initial fame generated by this work, they now begin to challenge accepted norms and do something that is considered ground-breaking and brilliant albeit slightly less commercially successful
- The next thing that happens is either a slow decline in quality until they stop releasing material or a sudden stoppage of creation due to the pressure of being famous and having fan expectations and industry professionals intertwined with their creative process
Observing Ning Yeh
Before I continue, let me warn you that these are only my personal observations. I have not interviewed by father for this so take my opinions with whatever grain of salt that is required.
I can tell you with complete certainty that my father is more creatively potent than ever. This is after near 50 years of being a professional artist and teacher. What is the secret of this continuously improving creative output?
- After all this time he seems more focused than ever on the love of what he is doing
- Just the right amount of fame. I'm not saying being famous or commercially successful is bad but it inarguably places more distractions between the artist and the love of what they are doing. My father did well enough to provide a situation where he is completely free to do whatever he wishes but stayed away from the situation where the livelihoods of huge groups of people or companies depended on his ability to be commercially successful.
- The pandemic removed the pressure of teaching. My father is a brilliant teacher but teaching causes him to place pressure on himself. He has created a class format that allows people to achieve amazing results. It is hugely successful and addictive for his students. His system of teaching and the atmosphere of positive expectation he creates compels students to be their best. But in the end the results in the class are ultimately the responsibility of the students. I think in a perfect world my father would prefer to guarantee the ideal outcome for ever single student in every single class.
Classes for the Fall
- Four landscapes, four divas (flower subjects), and four gentlemen courses
- Single classes on wet mounting, crane, and calla lily
Lorean Weng has trained under both Ning Yeh and Mayee Futterman. She is doing classes inspired partially by Ning Yeh's classic books Chinese Brush Painting: An Instructional Guide and the ABC of Chinese Painting.
These classes are great for those looking for a guided experience through some of Ning's book material that could empower self study afterwards.
This Fall she has themed her classes Four Gentlemen and friends, pairing these classic four subjects with butterflies and dragonflies for a little twist.
Video Book Reviews
If you haven't seen them yet, check them out below:
Video Book Review of Chinese Brush Painting An Instructional Guide by Ning Yeh
Video Book review on the ABC of Chinese Painting by Ning Yeh