Dao of Painting
The term has both broad and narrow meanings. Interpreted narrowly, it means various painting techniques. Interpreted broadly, it means the cultural values, personality, artistic style, and aesthetic aspiration embodied in a painting, suggesting a perfect fusion of Dao and skills. Dao determines the theme a painting conveys as well as the painting’s artistic principles and aesthetic style. A painting is a concrete image that illustrates Dao. It reflects the cultural principles followed by the painter as well as his personality, artistic style, and aesthetic aspiration. Therefore, paintings illuminate Dao, which in turn enhances the paintings. Prominent painters seek to access Dao through refining their skills and epitomizing Dao in artwork. The Dao of painting not only encompasses the Dao of nature, but also the Dao of social life, demonstrating the commitment to humanism inherent in the Chinese culture.
Sages follow Dao intellectually, while virtuous talent can access Dao. Natural scenery manifests Dao in its natural forms and shapes, cultivating a love for it in the benevolent. Isn’t that wonderful? (Zong Bing: On the Creation of Landscape Painting)
The Dao of painting enables one to use his hand to depict the wonder of nature and present to viewers a scene full of life. (Dong Qichang: Essays from Huachan Studio)