The March 2013 digital edition of PleinAir presents an informative article about a group of American plein air painters, organized by W. Jason Situ, who were invited to a region of China seldom visited by tourists. They shared their talents with local artists, a museum’s staff, cultural officials, and curious onlookers.
Brian Stewart developing his painting “The Red Door”
A group put together by W. Jason Situ was invited to Guangzhou Province in China, where they were hosted by the Kaiping Art Museum and government officials. The Americans included Situ, Andy Evansen, Joseph Paquet, John Cosby, Andrew Lattimore, Jack Dant, Chuck Kovacic, Brian Stewart, and Yen-Ping Miao. The Chinese artists who joined the group included Zhounan, Li Ying, Wang Zhu, and Gong.
“The Red Door,” by Brian Stewart, 2012, oil on canvas on board, 8 x 10 in. Collection the artist
“This was my second visit to Southern China,” says Joseph Paquet. “Our group was led by the talented artist W. Jason Situ, who is originally from the region, and we were hosted by the Kaiping Art Museum. Everywhere I went, I was struck by the fact that most everyone was intensely involved in the business of simply getting by.”
Andy Evansen painting in watercolor
Although many contemporary Chinese artists paint in oil, there is also a strong tradition of watercolor painting in the country. Andy Evansen, a Minnesota watercolorist who joined the trip, had been invited to China twice before because people love his realistic watercolor paintings. “The friendships I’ve made over there, coupled with fantastic scenery and painting subjects seemingly around every corner, made this a highly anticipated journey for me,” Evansen says. “W. Jason Situ, as always, made sure all went smoothly.”
Jack Dant says, “Our hosts from the Kaiping Art Museum were warm, inviting, and a joy to spend time with. I was surprised and delighted to find that we were joined by several painters from the region throughout the week, and that made it an even richer experience.”
Joseph Paquet with a crowd around as he is painting
“The greatest joy painting in China was the interest the people had in outdoor painting,” says Brian Stewart. “One of the women I met was an art teacher from Kaiping who watched with interest as I painted. She didn’t speak English, so she asked me questions by typing in Chinese into her iPhone, which translated her questions and audibly asked them in English. That worked amazingly well. We are now e-mail pen pals.”