Flowing Colors, also known as Splashing Colors, is a brand-new painting method innovated by Arthur B. Liu through more than two decades of creation and research based on the traditional Chinese technique of splash-ink painting. By integrating the traditional Chinese technique, it imbues paintings thus created with the freehand spontaneity and connotation that are characteristic of Chinese paintings; by drawing on the strengths of western oil painting materials, it brings new ingredients and life to Chinese paintings, further extending and developing the latter’s horizons. At the same time, the works produced with the Flowing Colors technique have the abstract and colorful effect as is typical of western painting, which moves one step further the creation and development of western painting techniques by adding to it a new style and meanings.
Strong Chinese painting, Arthur Liu started during his graduate studies at New York City University to take in the quintessence of western fine art. Proceeding from Chinese painting techniques and perspectives, he put his heart and soul into the pursuit of an entirely new approach to artistic portrayal that brings together the East and the West. He views art as a never-ending journey—now that the first step had been taken in this direction, he must remain steadfast and diligent in blazing his own trail as a path to artistic success.
To this end, Arthur Liu has worked painstakingly exploring the path he wants. With a passionate love and firm grasp of Chinese painting methods, he was only too well of the fact that the right combination and deployment of water and ink produce the colorful effect of myriad changes in shades and shapes. This inspired him to come up with the idea that water and oils, when mixed together, could produce a technique and art form unseen before. This way, the traditional Oriental water and ink technique could be combined with the oil colors of the Occident to display the best of this traditional Oriental art through a new type of abstract, subdued, colorful, freehand artwork. Liu had also wondered about why there was “splash-ink” in Chinese painting whereas no “splash-oils” in oil painting. This prompted him to draw from the “splash-ink” technique in Chinese painting and embarked upon a bold experiment of mixing oil and water, two substances that normally repel each other. Splashed on saturated canvass, the mixed and yet mutually repelling water and oils produced a special effect through mutual counteraction, counter-balance, reinforcement and immersion, resulting in a natural effect that’s vivid, flowing, varying, and splendidly colorful. This was the prototype of Arthur Liu’s Flowing Colors Oil Painting.
Having proved through practice the feasibility of his original concept, Liu then proceeded to research into the specific applications of this unique painting method. Prior to this, it had long remained a headache to marshal the controllable oils flowing freely in water to take concrete shapes to form the configuration in the artist’s mind. Generations of painters had attempted to create paintings with water and oils by means of such props as glass an basin, but they invariably failed to overcome the difficulty of “forming shapes”. Constrained by the “props”, the paintings were limited in size and confined to abstract or landscape paintings only without specific figures and shapes. Under Arthur Liu’s Flowing Colors Oil Painting method, one splashes oils directly unto saturated paper or canvass without resort to “props” and hence without any limitation imposed on an artwork’s size. Additionally, his innovated papercut shaping technique brings the otherwise free-flowing oils into submission, enabling the artist to create forms and shapes in paintings at will. Thus, after more than a dozen years of incessant research and explorations, Liu finally overcame what had long been an insurmountable obstacle to other fine artists. With the new Flowing Colors method, he can now easily recreate highrisers, human figures, birds, animals, rockeries, trees, mountains, rivers, clouds……
In nature, flowing water may take the form of leisurely flows, cascading falls, torrential rapids or towering waves; colors in motion may portray the wellsprings of inspirations, creativity and passion in the painter’s heart. Flowing Colors is most fitting for reproducing the natural interplay and integration between emotions and colors as a pure revelation of the power and passion of nature and the creative zeal of the artist, producing spontaneous and miraculous formations and textures without any artificial decoration. The inter-mingling and flows of water and colors fill the painting with motion—a rhythmic vibration of life and the pulsation of Nature. Finally, Arthur Liu has succeeded in reaching the goal of his pursuit—depicting natural scenes and objects with a natural technique in his search for natural beauty and filling the canvass with an invigorating sense of motion and vitality. In painting, he wallows in the free splashing, flowing and infusion of colors, indulging in his own world of willful, passionate, exuberant and unstrained creation as if rhythms of nature were gushing through his mind, voicing the artist’s sentiments with variegated flowing colors. The works created with this Flowing Colors approach present the viewer with a refreshing sense of natural vivacity, splendor, change and meaning. Besides, the naturally flowing and fusing colors form paintings that are never alike, adding to their collection value. It comes as no surprise that Arthur Liu has been granted a US patent for this invention（Flowing Colors Oil Painting # US 7,572,126 B2）— the only US patent for a Chinese American artist in the field of art. One can foresee that this East-West art miracle has bright prospects on vast Chinese and foreign lands.