知天、知地、知物——林玉山的畫鳥觀

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1993 / 2月

文‧張靜茹



今年八十七歲的台灣前輩畫家林玉山,喜愛畫鳥,在他的八十五歲回顧展中曾展出鷹隼、環頸雉、鴛鴦、鶺鴒等廿多種台灣本土的野生鳥類。雖然過去受限於交通工具,無法更深入台灣的山林觀察鳥類,因而所畫的鳥種不如新一代畫者豐富,但林先生的畫鳥精神卻不輸今人。

外師造化

他喜愛畫麻雀,為了了解麻雀的習性,常在田中以稻草蓋窩,藏於其中,觀賞鳥兒啄食穀粒、爭鬥、飛翔、鳴噪,常看得入神,彷彿自己也跟著雀群跳躍。他也在野外寫過花鳥日記,內容是生態的觀察和研究,比如某種鳥類何時脫毛,冬、夏羽毛色澤如何區別等。

他曾為自己的寫生原則,整理出所謂的「三知論」。三知是指知天、知物、知地。知天,意指隨著時令與氣候變化,自然界的物體不免隨之產生不同現象,畫鳥人就應觀察到鳥類、花卉在四季不同的色澤與形態。

所謂知地,指須熟知大地地理環境的不同,高山、河川、海島等各種不同的地貌上,都有特殊的動植物存在;熱帶、溫帶、寒帶間則有不容並論的自然條件。而知物,也就是作畫時,須對動植物的生理、動態作入微的探究。

提倡自然寫生

林玉山有一套很中國的繪畫觀。他曾說,古人創作花鳥畫,無論勾勒色彩,或水墨寫意,都必須根據自然的觀察,不容率意描寫。雖主張意不在似的寫意畫,其所謂「不在似」,實係一種神似形離的超現實,根本就不是忽視自然的幻想畫。

他認為,寫生目的不在工整地寫實,而應寫其生態、生命,得其神韻。

「師造化必須深究自然,一方面由外體察,一方面從內孕育,所謂中得心源,須內外配合才可」,是他說過足以代表他寫生精神的一段話。

〔圖片說明〕

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台灣前輩畫家林玉山喜畫自然生命,尤其農村最常見的麻雀更深得他的喜愛。(林柏亭提供)

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近期文章

EN

Know the Sky, Know the Earth, Know the Creatures--Lin Yu-Shan on Painting Birds

Chang Ching-ju /tr. by Christopher Hughes


Lin Yu-shan, 87 years old this year, loves to paint birds. His retrospective exhibition at the age of 85 featured more than 20 different species of Taiwan's indigenous wild birds. Although travel difficulties which meant he was unable to go deep into the mountain forests to observe birds might have left his range of species somewhat less rich than that of the new generation of bird artists, the spirit of Lin's bird painting is by no means inferior to theirs.

Making nature your teacher:

Lin is particularly fond of painting sparrows. So as to understand the habits of the sparrow, he would often build a hide in the fields out of rice stalks, where he would conceal himself so as to get a close view of birds pecking at discarded husks, squabbling, hovering and singing. He would watch so often to try to get into their spirit that it seemed he was hopping about with the flock. He also wrote a bird diary out in the wilds, containing ecological observations, such as at what times certain birds shed their feathers and how their plumage changed color between winter and summer.

For the principles of his own painting from life, Lin organized what he calls a tripartite epistemology. His three theories of knowledge include knowing the sky, knowing objects and knowing the ground. "Knowing the sky" involves following the changes of the seasons and weather: The objects in the sphere of nature cannot avoid producing different manifestations according to these changes and the bird artist should thus observe the different colorings and shapes that occur in birds and flowers through the four seasons.

What Lin calls "knowing the earth" involves becoming familiar with different geographical environments. High mountains, rivers and marine islands all have their different appearances and their own special types of plants and animals; tropical, temperate and frigid zones have their own natural conditions that cannot be confused. Finally, "knowing objects" means that when you are painting, you must do detailed in-depth research into the physiology and movements of plants and animals.

Advocating natural painting from life:

Lin Yu-shan has a set of very Chinese ideas about painting. He once said that when the ancients did flower and bird painting, no matter whether it was outline filled in with colors or impressionistic splashes of ink, all had to be rooted in observations of nature and did not permit off-the-cuff depictions. Lin might well advocate impressionistic painting that does not pursue likeness, but what he means by "no likeness" is actually a kind of superseding of reality through a likeness to spirit that goes beyond form, and is not to be confused with fantasy painting that takes nature lightly.

Lin thinks that the aim of painting from life is not to be found in accurate realism. It should be to depict the relationships of things to nature, their life and to catch their poetic grace.

When making nature your teacher you must look deep into the natural world, on the one hand looking at the outside, and on the other getting nourishment from the inside. What is often called getting to the source of your inner self can only be possible through such a coordination of the inner and outer.

[Picture Caption]

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Senior Taiwan artist Lin Yu-shan loved to capture natural vitality in his work, and was particularly fond of the sparrows that are so common in farm villages. (courtesy of Lin Po-ting)

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