Chen Cheng-po, a first-generation artist from Taiwan to the world, self-proclaimed "I Am. The Oil Painting." passionately and meticulously depicted the love for his hometown with his brushes. FindARTs, in a special partnership with Chen Cheng-po Cultural Foundation, handpicked six of Chen’s masterpieces to create “ Taiwan in Oil Painting” , a special collection that shows the sceneries and customs in Taiwan's mountains, sea and small towns from the artist’s point of view. They reflect on Chen’s feelings in the new era that embraced the world and concerned for the locals.
The crimson earth, the luxuriant green hills, the snow-capped mountains, the silent and murky canopy of a deep blue sky, the profound and majestic atmosphere, all accumulated in thick layers of oil paint, piling up the artist’s reverence and praise for the natural world.
Simple strokes of the brush contain a variety of colors. In this painting, Chen Cheng-po is no longer telling a long story, but a poem in a condensed voice. In the lines of the poem, the Jade Mountain stands tall, and in the pristine white light, one seems to be able to see the spiritual soul of the island.
The modern buildings standing in the midst of the city streets are an interesting contrast to the wooden houses and traditional storefronts nearby. The sunlight descends slowly around the building, covering the ground with a large stretch of golden brown. Bathed in the glow of the warm light, everything in the painting also reflects the gentle and lovely colors. A big tree in the foreground stretches out into a canopy, as if to provide shade for the people on the street. Close your eyes and try to walk into Chen Cheng-po’s painting, perhaps you can also touch the warmth of this land.
The Matsu Temple in the center of the picture has the raised roof and complicated decorations as if dancing and swinging with the big tree aside. Chen Cheng-po uses the twisted and soft lines to depict the space of the temple and its square. The roads extending to the distance are straight and ordered, constructing the Taiwanese streetscape that integrates tradition and modernity.
In the 1880s, the British Presbyterian Church established communities in and around the eastern part of Tainan City, and later developed important venues such as the Treasure Hall Newspaper Office, the Sin-Lau Hospital, Tainan Theological College and Seminary (inside the city), the Presbyterian (Chang Jung) High School, and the Girls’ School (outside the city). The scene pictured here is around Rev. William Campbell’s residence inside the campus of Tainan College and Seminary, with a very beautiful view of the courtyard.
When the artist looks from the height of Qizaiding into the distant sea, the small town is linked to the world in a historical prospect. Along Beacon Street, which zigzags like a snake in the painting as well as before Chen Cheng-po’s eyes, the church bell rings the story of George Leslie Mackay’s missionary work, and the wharves and ships at the riverside bespeak how commerce promotes the prosperity of modern Tamsui. On the distant hill, the Fort San Domingo is indistinct and faraway like its past. History is deposited at every corner of the small town, radiates from the sunset on the Tamsui River, and flashes with the glittering ripples in the painting.
The waves of the sea are rolling towards the shore one after another. As long as time allows, every inch of the territory in the painting will be swallowed up by a whole swell of blue. In the face of the waves lapping at the shore, the tawny rocks remain silent, and the jaggedness of the surfaces is the proof of their resistance. In the never-ending one-act play of nature and time, the man in the painting stands on the rock, fishing freely at the ocean. In the vast world, it seems that the sound of the waves can be heard in the middle of the painting.