When he was still only 11 years old, watercolor artist Lin Ying-che, born in Chiayi County’s Puzih City, was taught by Wu Mei-lin, an established artist at the time. Lin would later have to put his dreams of being a painter on hold as he had to turn his attention to looking after his family. Even his wife had no idea that he was able to paint, and it wasn’t until after he retired at the age of 75 that Lin picked up the brush again, after a gap of over 60 years. Over the following decade, he has been painting scenes of farming villages as he remembers them, as well as temples around Taiwan. He has exhibited his work in Taiwan and overseas, and was once selected for a national landscape painting award in Japan. One elderly Taiwanese living in Japan back then was even moved to tears when viewing his painting, as they were reminded of the Taiwan of their childhood.
This year, Lin returned to his hometown to visit the Tian Gong Tan temple in Puzih City and paint the temple architecture. On Thursday last week, he donated the finished painting to the Tian Gong Tan, which was received by temple chairman Lin Po-wen. At the event, Puzih City Mayor Wu Pin-jui awarded Lin honorary citizenship of Puzih City.
A smiling Lin, who is now 86, says that when he was a young boy, the artist Wu Mei-lin showed him how to sketch from nature, and tried to persuade him not to give up painting. When Lin left National Chiayi Industrial Vocational High School, however, he had to go out and earn a living to contribute to the family keep, since he was the eldest son. After he started working he was too busy, and being an artist was a dream that he never was able to realize. Fast forward over 60 years to when he retired, and Lin recalled his boyhood dreams and the feeling of the farming village of his childhood: he decided to revisit, through his watercolors, the good old days when the people around him labored to improve their lives.
Photo: Lin Yi-chang, Liberty Times 照片：自由時報記者林宜樟
“Even my wife had no idea I could paint,” Lin said, chuckling. Nobody in the family knew he could, until he picked up his brush again in 2010 and turned his attention to creating with watercolors. When his daughter-in-law saw his paintings she took photos and posted them online, and to their surprise someone in the art world contacted them about Lin taking part in an exhibition. Since the appearance of his work in the 2011 Art Revolution Taipei exhibition, he has continuously been invited to take part in exhibitions. When people in the Japanese art world caught sight of his paintings, he was invited to exhibit there. In recent years he has also shown his work on many occasions throughout Taiwan. His work focuses mainly on Taiwanese agricultural scenes, depicted in a realist style and painted in meticulous detail.
(Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
Photo: Lin Yi-chang, Liberty Times 照片：自由時報記者林宜樟
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