Think of be­ing a lit­tle girl just com­ing to con­scious­ness in the Cheng­bai moun­tains of Chi­nese Manchuria. Here Cecilia’s Grand­mother was a re­spected doc­tor of Chi­nese medicine and holder of the Manchu cul­ture. It was a place of great beauty, with rich tex­tures, bril­liant colours, and pleas­ant pas­toral scenes. Cecilia’s imag­i­na­tion races to take it all in and one day her beloved grand­mother came to her and said, “My lit­tle girl you need to learn to paint”. For Cecilia, like her grand­mother, paint­ing is more than art. It is a con­nec­tion to her Qing an­ces­tors, a door­way to the past, and a means of deal­ing with an in­creas­ingly tur­bu­lent and chang­ing world. Here deep in the moun­tains her grand­mother taught her to paint wa­ter­colours in the style called “royal metic­u­lous” which was favoured in the court paint­ings of the Qing em­per­ors. Even as a lit­tle girl she showed great ta­lent with a brush, and quickly un­der­stood how to paint the mag­i­cal land­scape around her. At the uni­ver­sity she en­coun­tered a fa­mous painter, Cheng Yi-fei who in­structed master. Putting the two tech­niques to­gether Cecilia pi­o­neered a new style of paint­ing. Cecilia places great value on tech­nique, colour, ex­pres­sion and tex­ture in her artistry, but she has never for­got­ten the lessons of her grand­mother and the Qing her­itage she in­her­ited so long ago. Her work re­flects a mas­tery of rich colors and im­agery and her paint­ings re­flect an el­e­gance of time and place.

top left, Stage No. 2, oil on can­vas, 47” x 31” right, That Night, the Magic Mirror, oil on can­vas, 31” x 47” fol­low­ing pages, left, The Stage No. 1, oil on can­vas, 31” x 47” right, That Night No. 2, oil on can­vas, 31” x 47”

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