Liu Shuai mainly employs black and colored ink and uses both the two main techniques in traditional Chinese painting-Shui Mo, freehand or watercolor or brush painting, and Gong Bi, meticulous or court-style painting.
Shauai suffers from cerebral palsy and has been confined to a wheelchair since his childhood. Despite many adversities of life, Shuai has never yielded to it. Being not able to attend school, he asked his mother to borrow textbooks to teach him to read. Then he got a dictionary and started teaching himself . At 10, Shuai started painting when one day his father picked up a crayon in the street and brought it back home. “I soon lost myself in the pleasure of painting and found it a way to express my inner world,” Shuai said in an interview.
Liu Shuai, Elegant Gathering of Friends.
When Shuai paints, he has to sit in his shabby wheelchair with the help of his father he has his legs tied to the wheelchair in order to allow him to paint. “I can’t stretch out my fingers fully and my hands tremble when painting so I have to lay my wrist on an ink box.” Shuai said, He is left handed only because his right hand is a lot worse then his left. .” For all these limitations, Shuai paints three to four hours every day.
Shuai is a self taught painter. He spends a lot of his time reading theory and instruction books, copying artworks in history and learning from videos and artists advice interviews.
Liu Shuai, Picture of Listening to Spring
Traditionally, as a painter of Chinese brush painting, the artist must be versed in literature as well if he wants to be an accomplished painter. Chinese paintings have long been a means of expressing thoughts of great scholars down throughout the ages. Shuai knows this well. He reads as many books as he can get his hands on and keeps writing down his thoughts. Here is a short note by Shuai: “Immersed in the painting for over a decade, how many hot and cold times have gone? Fingers tremble with the cold bed in winter and in summer shirts get wet and dry. Every single dot and line are painted in heart. My brushes and ink move and flow as days extend.”
In spite of years being isolated in his village, Shuai successfully held a small exhibition of his China and won a second prize in an arts competition for the disabled in Hebei Province.
Today, Shuai is accepted as a member of Chilture Studio of Disabled Artists. Chilture will do its best to assist him in holding a formal exhibition, having a collection of his painting published and getting instructions from accomplished masters of Chinese painting.
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