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Copyright 2008
Mingmei Yip

 

Mingmei YipMingmei Yip

My Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy


Calligraphy demonstration, Astor Court,
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, Feb 4, 2012

Calligraphy demonstration,
Metropolitan Museum of Art Feb 4, 2012

Calligraphy workshop for children, Piscataway Public Library,
New Jersey, July 16, 2011

At home with my ink painting and calligraphy
2012

Performing calligraphy at
Tzu Chi Foundation,
New York City, 2007

Me at fifteen painting an oil portrait
of Brigitte Bardot. From South
China Morning Post article

Teaching calligraphy at
City University of New York

Students’ work


How I Became an Artist

When I was fourteen -- the same year I had my first essay published -- my mother, proud at having discovered my supposed talent in writing, decided to arrange for me to take painting lessons. As a teenager, when she’d asked her own father to let her take art lessons, his response was to scowl till the veins on his temples throbbed so violently that they resembled baby snakes wriggling to free themselves.

“If you dare to try to become an artist, I swear I’ll break your legs!”
Mother retorted. “Then you want me to be a beggar?”
“Yes, because there’s no difference from being an artist!”
This working out of karma, as so often, was bittersweet.  Mother’s broken dream was fulfilled in me.

My first teacher was Hong Kong’s most famous oil portraitist and an “old man” in his late fifties. A bond quickly developed between us. Every Saturday, even with a headache or cramps, I’d pick up my heavy wooden paint box and take the ferry to his house. When I arrived, the door was already open with the rich aroma of hot chocolate rushing to greet my nostrils.

A year later, my teacher recommended me for inclusion in the annual exhibition of the Contemporary Chinese Artists’ Guild. Since I was the youngest member ever admitted, newspapers were eager to interview me. Mother, proud of her discovery of my other talent, hired another teacher to tutor me in Chinese painting and calligraphy at home. The Guild continued to exhibit my paintings every year until I left to study music in Paris.

Now my favorite subject of painting is Guan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion. Before I began, I would light incense, meditate, then recite the 360 word Heart Sutra. I prayed that the Goddess would guide my hands to reveal her beauty, wisdom, and compassion. My prayers seem to be always answered, for each time as her serene face began to manifest on the fragile rice paper, my heart would swell with the wonder of the Dharma!

In 2002, I had a solo painting and calligraphy exhibition in SoHo, New York City, and in 2008, I teach a calligraphy workshop at the City University of New York.

Click here for a detailed description of my calligraphy course

Click here to see Mingmei's calligraphy

Click here to see Mingmei's paintings

Click here to see my painting and calligraphy events