Dream Journey to China

I was able to study at the China Art Academy in Hangzhou, China for three months. I'd like to share that experience with you.

A Quiet Corner

March 5th

Dear Friends,

I'm very excited to write this letter to let you know that I am on my way to China Art Academy in Hangzhou, China, to study and research for three months. I received a grant from Peninsula Community Foundation earlier in January that allows me to pursue my "Back To My Roots" project.

Within these three months, I will be studying under a couple of the masters at the Academy. Also, I will spend part of the time doing research on Chinese art history, Chinese art supplies, and materials. For the last fiteen years, I have been teaching Chinese Brush Painting around the Bay Area. There are numerous questions that were unanswered for me and there is much information I needed to have verified. My goal is to go to the source and learn as much as I can and come back and share this information and knowledge with my friends, students, and the greater communities. I appreciate the Peninsula Community Foundation that made my project possible. I will have Internet access after I settle in at the school (my email address is the same; adpking8@yahoo.com). I hope I will get email very once a while from you to encourage me while I am far away from home. Please also log on to my website www.brushpaintingcircle.com if you are interested in knowing my activities at the Academy.

I am leaving for China on March 13, 2004 and will be back on June 30, 2004. While I am away, my award winning students, Linda Stansen, Wendy Lee, and Laxmi Natarajan will take over the classes at Beresford Recreation Center in San Mateo. Please sign up for the class to get a different perspective in Chinese painting. Until then, please take care and have a wonderful spring! I will see you in the summer.

Amy Da-Peng King.

Amy's Painting

March 27th

Hi to all,

I've attached a few pictures recorded during my activities in Hangzhou. I spent most of my time around the campus. It is quite a big school and lots of things to see. Thought you might be eager to see what I did in the last two weeks at school. Here they are.

Front View of the School
Entrance at the Art Academy

The most scary thing her is the "traffic". Car, bicycles, and people all think they have the right-of-way at the same time, so the chaos is undescribeable. The cars will drive to opposite lanes to pass the traffic. It is the cultural shock!

But the sceneries are breathe taking around the West Lake. I am so lucky to get to live right there and get to take walks around there a couple of times a day.

View of the West Lake from the Pagoda

I attended a lecture last Wednesday morning that was given by a very respectable retired professor from the Academy. I learned so much just in that three hours.

Okay. I will write more later!

The Pagoda

April 3rd

Hi to all,

It was sunny this Friday, so I went out for a long walk along the lake. There were a lot more people than I thought. I heard that in the first week of May is the Spring Break for the entire country, so it's going to be people everywhere.

Modernized Boat Ride on the Lake
A Quiet Corner

I also visited a couple of museums and galleries near by. But I decided to spend more of my time painting, so I took my two hour routine walk daily, and on Friday, I spent more time outside. On the weekend, I will try to stay in my dorm to study. I will take some pictures of my work next time.

The "Starbuck Coffee" by the Lake is the most popular spot here.

Starbucks by the Lake

Miss you all and love you.

Willow Wave by the Lake
The Waterway

April 27th

Hi to all,

It's been a while since my last email. During last three weeks, my learning experience has its ups and downs but after constantly asking questions and diligently practice, finally, I am enjoying the fruit of understanding the result underneath the brush strokes. My new teacher, Mr. Gou Zhen Yen, is a very well known "Floral and Birds" artist in Hangzhou. I am not only learning the painting techniques, theories from him but also observing the willingness of his teaching. I respect him very much.

Mr. Gou's Demonstration

During this month and half, I also get acquainted with my classmates and neighbors in the dorm so I no longer feel lonely anymore. Last weekend, Ling and I took a two-day trip to a near by "water-region" - Xitang. It is about an hour and half by bus from Hongzhou. Like Suzhou, it has nine waterways join here , most of the houses are built right by the waterways as you can see from the pictures attached. Beside the waterways, it is also famous for the long corridors, narrow lanes, wood works, ancient bridges and some authentic gourmet food. Most of the buildings were built in Ming and Qing Dynasty - 12th to 19th Century. We planned to do some sketches there but we were too fascinated by the scenery and, of course, to shop for souvenirs, we didn't find time to paint after all. But I was truly inspired.

My Classmate's Home

During this three weeks, I also visited Shanghai Museum, the Peony Garden at West Lake. Next week, May 1 is the "Golden Week" in China. From the information I gathered, I understand the whole country is on vacation. (the Chinese government is encouraging the people to travel around this week to stimulate the tourist business and economy), therefore, there will be millions of people visiting the famous West Lake in Hangzhou. Guess what? I am taking a vacation too. I am going to my home town near Shanghai. It is a small region in the country side so I assume there won't be too many people visiting. I will be back around May 5th. This is it for now. Wish you all well.

Peonies in the Spring Breezes

June 15th

To all My Dear Friends and Relatives,

This is it! I accomplished my dream journey today and I am leaving Hangzhou tomorrow morning to continue my vacation with my husband, Larry in China. Larry is meeting me in Beijing and we are going to tour Beijing for three days and then to Hangzhou. I get to show him around the campus that I have been nourished for the last three months. Of course, we are going to walk along the West Lake too. Then, we will be visiting Suzhou and Shanghai before we heading back home.


I canít believe to leave this place I stayed for three months is just as difficult as to leave the place I have lived for 25 years. I made so many good friends here Ė teachers, classmates, staffs. I was showered with love and care when they learned that I am leaving and they want to make sure I will be back here soon. I miss my home in California but I must be honest that I fall in love with Hangzhou even though there are many areas that I donít care for such as weather, traffic etc.

In all, Hangzhou is a beautiful place. They say " Hangzhou is the hidden back garden of Shanghai". Because this was once the capital of Tang and Song Dynasty, therefore, it has very unique and rich culture background. Many historical sites, many real antiques, lots of good food, and their famous Long Jing Tea. They live in a more leisured life style. People will often time spend an afternoon in the tea house to taste the goodies while they are sipping the tea. Enjoying the fragrance from the plant by the West Lake while the breeze blow the flower petals into the tea cup. Nothing seems bother them too much. Iím kind of adopted this character a bit in this three months.

I have learned so much in the Academy. From the basic concepts of Chinese painting to how to use the materials properly, from what is the real purpose to copy the Old Masterís work to how to utilize the "Old" into the "New". I have over load luggage to carry home from this journey - that includes my over flowed inspiration. I can not wait to share with you in the near future.

At the end, I would like to thank everyone for your encourage, support. See you real soon in California!

My Artist Friends
Great Wall of China

July 1st

To All My Dear Friends and Relatives,

HOME, SWEET HOME! I am back safe and sound last Friday (June 25) and I am glad to be back.

Larry and I reunited in Beijing on June 17 and started our 8-day tour in China. We've been to Tian'anmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, Summer Palace the first day and the second day we went to Ming Tomb and The Great Wall. "Magnificent" is how I would describe them.

Forbidden City

Then the next day, we flew to Shanghai and they bused us from Shanghai direct to Hangzhou. Here I am again! So I was Larry's tour guide. We visited my China Academy of Art the next morning and made to the International Department Art Exhibit just in time. After a gourmet lunch with our friends by the West Lake, Larry and I took a gondola ride to enjoy the little breeze from the lake in the middle of the summer. We really get the feeling of "much do about nothing". "Relaxing" is the word.

After the beautiful and relaxing Hangzhou, we headed back to Shanghai again. On the way, we stopped at Suzhou where we visited a beautifully designed private garden from Song Dynasty and a historical site - a City Wall from Wu Country (approx. 500 BC). I was stunned to think how smart my ancestors were. I was proud to be Chinese and now I am even more proud after I visited these places. "Amazing!!!"

Net Master Garden in Suzhou

When we go into Shanghai that evening, we were all pretty tired and we know that there are lot more to see the next day so call it a day early. Shanghai is such a unique city that is indescribable. By the Haung Pu Bund, European influenced old buildings from early 19th century were remaining from "Eight Countries Allied" concession in China. And across the Haung Pu River (Shanghai's mother river) is a newly developed area called "Pu Dong". We saw numerous modern high rise buildings erected in the fog-like air. I can smell the old and the new meets. "Chaos" and "Awesome" is the scene.

The entire tour was an eye-opening experience for both of us. There was lots of information for us to keep up - more than two thousand years history to remember. We really learned quite bit about Chinese history, Chinese culture and how people's life in the modern China is as well. It was a great trip and we will be ready for another one if we could.

Now, I am home unpacking the suitcase, sorting out stuffs and thoughts, getting over my jet lag, etc. I know many of you can't wait to hear all about it and I promise you that as soon as I am ready, I will let you know immediately. I will be back in my studio within a couple of weeks, please drop by. Hope you all have a great, wonderful summer!

Marble Boat at Summer Palace
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