"The mark of time" – by Le Huu Long
Featuring "5 Màu" (Five colors) artists group including Tran Huu Nhat, Hoang Bao Trung, Le Huu Long, Thai Van Nguyen and Phan Vu Tuan, “The Summer Solstice” introduces 65 en plein air paintings to the public (en plein air refers to the act of painting outdoors with the artist's subject in full view). This exhibition marks the first time the theme of Hue’s heritage landscape is exclusively featured in an exhibition after many years.
Each artist has a distinct signature, drawing techniques, personality, and expressions on different materials. Tran Huu Nhat and Le Huu Long tend to capture Hue’s heritage architecture. Hoang Bao Trung immerses himself in Lang Co, his hometown.
Phan Vu Tuan thrives in rustic natural sceneries in the city’s suburbs whereas Thai Van Nguyen flourishes with realistic inner city’s landscapes ...
In romantic landscape painting style and realistic techniques, these paintings have successfully depicted the spectacular landscapes, nature, people, heritage, and ancestors…
"Diệu Đế tự" (Dieu De Pagoda) by Tran Huu Nhat
In watercolor and acrylic, familiar scenes of the province’s most famous destinations like Ngo Mon and other gates to the Imperial Citadel, Lang Co Beach, Lap An Lagoon as well as the hectic urban life have brought viewers heartfelt emotions with their simple yet liberal subtlety and beautiful harmony of colors.
“Vạt nắng cuối chiều” (The glow of sunset) depicts a dock in Bao Vinh old town; "Diệu Đế Tự" (Dieu De Pagoda) represents the ancient and solemn look of the pagoda’s gate; then the "Hiển Nhơn Môn" (Hien Nhon Gate) or "Chương Đức Môn" (Chuong Duc Gate) ... reveal the authors’ love for the homeland in general and the heritage in particular.
Sharing the same hobby of roaming and plein air drawing, the group of "5 Colors" artists spent the entire summer together as a runaway from COVID-19 pandemic to indulge their love for nature and heritage. They roamed the Central region and visited many scenic spots from the Imperial city to the gorgeous suburbs and beyond such as Lang Co Beach, Hai Van Pass, Da Nang, and Hoi An ancient town. Powerful emotions were captured as they immersed in the beauty of nature and experienced elusive moments of time and space in a day or of the hustle and bustle rhythm of life.
"Nắng 3" (Sunshine 3) by Phan Vu Tuan
Artist Tran Huu Nhat shared: “Plein air painting is a state of mind. With this landscape painting style, we feel like we are "living", not existing by staying close to Mother Nature, to the village and its people, and we were stunned by our ancestors' legacies. Plein air painting is the way an artist confesses his love to the nature and devoted to his homeland with all his heart and soul.”
For Phan Vu Tuan, plein air painting is how he unwinds and keeps on the diary pages of his discovery journey. From town scenery to the countryside, nostalgic moss, and the four seasons in sunshine or rain..., Tuan paints to retain.
"I find joy in plein air art as I wander around with my colors and white canvas to capture space and time together," Vu Tuan said.
Plein air paintings bring waves of emotions and excitement for the artist who seems to bottle up space and time until the work is completed. For a beautiful plein air painting, the artist must nurture his inner emotions as this style resembles a state of mind. In fact, the artist does not draw the view but the feelings.
According to Tran Huu Nhat, the beauty of a plein air painting lies not in its polished effects but in the simplicity and sincerity of the artist’s heart; even sometimes the sketch remains incomplete. Through the artist’s unique prism and style, the more he paints, the slower life feels; the tighter the bonds between scenes and people become... Only then can the most cherished landscapes be recorded by colors and a realistic painting style.
Story and photos: Trang Hien