1980 Transmission of Knowledge
1980 was an extremely productive year for children paintings. As in the previous years, his children paintings involve outdoor games and activities. Some of these games and activities such as ‘Horse Riding’ cannot be found today. There are children participating in Chinese festivals, stories about children and activities of the seasons. But other titles, like story telling through zodiac signs, children and animals, imitating adult work such as gathering of sticks, planting, cutting grass and building house were painted only in this particular period.
There was a general feeling that Huang Yao was using his paintings for educational purpose. He was imparting the wisdom of Chinese culture through his paintings. Huang Yao was convinced that paintings have another very important function, that is, it can be used to educate people. Artists with an education bent can be a transmitter of knowledge that benefits people. A painting speaks a thousand words. We should be aware of the power of a painting and the meaning of what the painting represents. He always chose topics of paintings that can have good effects or promote well being of the viewers.
These are images of paintings completed in 1980. Although the children have the same facial and body features, the style for drawing them is distinctly different from those of earlier years. Apparently because Huang Yao had been a cartoonist in his younger days, his children paintings were criticized as looking like cartoon figures because of the simple bold strokes and neat lines. So, he added a few more strokes to his children figures and came up with a new style that was actually easier and faster to do than the earlier version. This is because with less brush strokes, mistakes are more difficult to conceal and greater care is needed to draw them. There is also an extra addition to the children’s clothing; they now have much longer strings tied around their waist. These strings with curled ends add extra motions as they follow the already active chil-dren, increasing the vitality for the whole painting.
Comparing the below painting 'Horse Riding' to earlier paintings on the same topic of ‘Horse Riding’and‘Somersaults’, the children of 1980 are just as joyous; though the brush strokes are not as neat and children may not be as charming, they are just as delightful and definitely appear to have more energy. The title for 'Fan Shen' literally means ‘Roll Over’, but can also mean ‘Recover from fall or Bad Luck’. A local businessman claimed that soon after he acquired a Huang Yao painting with this title, he recovered his business losses! There is strong wind blowing the tree in the back-ground. Is it helping to lift up the boy at the right of the painting?