Artist Inspiration : CAROLINE YOUNG

When you look at these delicately rendered paintings of Oriental women in their natural elements, how can you not be awed? No, these are not old paintings by Chinese masters, they are very modern and fresh watercolours on silk by contemporary artist Caroline Young.

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Excerpt from Caroline’s website, which describes her background, inspiration, influences and techniques.


Caroline Young: In classical Oriental painting, artists approach their work the way pianists in the West might approach the existing compositions of the great masters. Each new painting was a performance that the artist rehearsed for by practicing the performance of earlier painters. Contemporary artist Caroline Young took that wisdom to heart. Her delicate watercolors on silk pay homage to classical Chinese technique called the “delicate style,” and the lessons she learned from her mentor, Lam Oi Char. Each is a virtuoso celebration.

“Lam Oi Char changed my life. My mother had encouraged me to paint as a teenager in Hong Kong where I was born and raised. But it was not until I began studying watercolor wit Lam Oi Char that I gained the confidence to succeed as an artist, “says Young. From her teacher Caroline Young learned the traditional forms of Chinese art and filled her silken rural landscapes. She chose as her medium Chinese watercolors, acrylic and gouache. Caroline mixes her own colors to achieve unique and vibrant tones, unavailable in commercially prepared paints.

Caroline’s soft, lyrical brush work and graceful composition has earned her critical and popular acclaim. Although her Japanese themes brought her to fame, Young decided to return to Chinese historical subjects. “I wanted to pay homage to my great-grandparents, who immigrated to Hawaii from China, and to commemorate the bicentennial celebration of the first Chinese to arrive in Hawaii.”

Caroline Young is currently at work on her most ambitious project to date, the Immortal Twelve Suite. The paintings on silk will depict legends of the twelve signs of the eastern zodiac. This is a major project for the artist which will last for many years, and one which promises to cement Young’s place in the ranks of outstanding contemporary artists in America.

“Art has given me a second chance to learn the essence of my own culture and to discover what it means to be Chinese. I will continue to paint Japanese subjects in the future because so many of my collectors enjoy them so much, and I enjoy doing them. But I will concentrate the main thrust of my artwork on Chinese subjects, such as “The immortal Twelve Suite.” When I’m not painting I spend most of my time researching Chinese history, culture, costumes and ornamentation.”

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I love not only Caroline’s wonderful artwork, but also the fact that she is helping keep Chinese and Japanese culture and folklore alive. Her paintings very often tell the story of famous Oriental characters and fables passed down through the centuries. They also accurately depict details of the traditional costumes and accessories of the period, place settings or locations, musical instruments, body language, backgrounds, flora and fauna. By painting them now in the 21st century, Caroline is preserving the memory of those stories and historically accurate facts for future generations to appreciate. We are humbled and honoured.

More of Caroline’s artwork can be found on http://www.carolineyoungstudios.com/artwork.html

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