“There is not much to say about my paintings; they are what they are,” said Huang Ming-Chang. “I simply paint the light, colors and shapes I see.”
He has exactly what they call “painter‘s eye”.
But to which evolutionary origin can we trace such visceral visual lure of light and colors? To the convex phototropic cells on trilobites that roamed the seabed five hundred million years ago? Is that when an
“Eye” first opens itself to the wonders of this world?
As if abiding by the mystic law of Nature and the mutual attraction
between his eyes and spectra of light,artist “Ah-Chang” and his flickering eyes constantly pursue ever-changing sceneries in his journey of life , and his hand simply follows. Day after day, year after year, he   tirelessly sweeps thousands of strokes with his brush, weaving visual impressions into piece of wordless poetry on canvas.  

Emerald carpets: <Paddy field> Series
From a distance, Huang Ming-Chang‘s paintings of paddy fields resemble blankets of vibrant green─the same visually soothing green that greets a person gazing out on a stretch of paddies in Taiwan’s countryside.
Then, a closer look surprises with the rich brushwork texture and palette variation encompassed within the green of the paintings.
One begins to notice that the paddy field sceneries have been produced by painstakingly delineating each blade and stalk of rice plants, using a needle-thin sable-hair brush and shades of varying intensity. The technique is similar to that of classical Chinese ink-and-wash painting for rendering orchid leaves.
It often takes Huang months on end to “grow” rice on canvas, as he overlaps thousands of brush strokes one on top of another to complete each painting.
Nevertheless, it is inaccurate to categorize this technique of “rice cultivation on canvas”as entirely representational. For light would reveal more than a figural of the crop. The magnified strokes would come to resemble impromptu Pollock-style paint drips that ooze the kind of animated energy and primitive rhythm typically associated with abstract art. The rhythm recalls that of a pleasant brazing an expanse of paddy fields, launching the crop into a thousand dancing waves. “Actually, paddy fields were my childhood playgrounds,”said Ah-Chang, who was born in Ruisui Township , Hualien. “You can find everything in the field-tadpoles, frogs, loaches, locusts, dragonflies, butterflies…We kids knew nothing of grown-up‘s drudgery in the farm. To us, there were simply endless treasures and games to be discovered there.”
Like large sheers of carpets, warm and beautiful, his <Paddyfield> series acts as a vessel of Taiwanese people‘s childhood memories.
Along the furrows, banana tree leaves sway in the breeze, Chinese parasol trees cast shade and guava and mango fruits quietly ripen in trees. Swallowtail butterflies gracefully flutter by, and dragonflies pause on dewy blades of grass… Whose older sister is it, strolling along the farm trail under a parasol? Whose child is it, running after a dog amidst the emerald rice plants of springtime? Look again─the boy is none but Ah-Chang himself.
This is the pastoral the artist has created on canvas.

The Endless Azure of the Ocean:<Gazing at the Sea> Series
“When I was studying at Hualien High School, I could see the sea just out the open classroom windows and catch a view of giant ships slowly moving into harbor,” recalls Ah-Chang. “I wasted no time getting to the beach after school.”
Young Ah-Chang had endless fantasy about the other side of the seemingly boundless Pacific Ocean on Taiwan‘s east coast.
“Paris and France, here I come!” In love with art ever since a young age, he made a silent vow to the ocean to one day cross to the other side and study painting in Paris, the world capital of art.
Years later, he enrolled himself into the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-arts de paris as promised and lived in Paris‘historical cultural district of Montparnasse for all of seven years.
“I only learned  later, when looking at the world map, that the other side of the Pacific from where I was dazing out was really Central-South America rather than Paris, ”he chuckled.
After returning from overseas study, he took a departure from the European techniques in which he was immersed in France and turned toward Taiwan‘s subtropical light, colors shapes, experimenting with brand-new brushwork techniques. Going from indoor to outdoor, stills and portraits to figures gazing at rice paddies, he embarked on the <Gazing at the Sea>Series. If the < Paddyfield > Series were a gentle and benevolent pastoral, then the ocean under his brush is a vast, fathomless azure in an apparent reversal of ocean and sky. Joined by resilient beach plants like screw pines and coconut palms that pierce the skyline with their razor-edged leaves and boughs, these paintings sublimate from hymns dedicated to the ocean to an ageless probe on the meaning of life.
“I love the coconut trees of southern beaches,”exclaimed Ah-Chang. “They are resistant to aridity, salinity, sun and rain. Under the sea winds, their pliable and feather-like leaves flutter and their trunks undulate as if ready to take to the air at anytime, and yet their roots always firmly cling to earth.”
The Hualien boy was as tenacious and resilient as the coconut palm; he made his pledge to the sea to overcome any obstacles and become a great painter. Embodied in each nameless beach plant and ocean wave drawn is the persistent side of the artist‘s personality.

The Mound of Maternal Love: <Portrait> Series
At first glance, My Mother resembles an old photo. It appears as if a photographer has instantly frozen the subject in time and space with a casual click of the camera.
Yet, instead of one instant, it is rather the amalgam of thousands of instants; it is an oil portrait artist Ah-Chang has put together with countless strokes and scrupulous observation…
The basic outline is simple. Mother sits squarely in a rattan chair, her plump thighs practically filling up the lower section of the composition. Her hands fold loosely in front of the abdomen, their every strand of muscle, wrinkle and callus attesting to a lifetime of toil.
From the shadowy bottom of the painting, Mother‘s silhouette begins to contract from the base up, with the general compositional structure resembling a pagoda rising from flat ground or a precipitous mound.

The visual perception also ascends from somber to bright. A close look at her gray-blue dress with fine flowery print reveals sky-like hues of ashen, ice blue and light purple. Millions of lotuses and small white flowers on the fabric make up the innumerable stars in the sky. The pattern is at once dense and spacious, transfiguring into a milky way in the celestial universe. It was with incredible patience that the artist has painted the garment.

As the silhouette contracts from her two arms, up her shoulders to her cheeks and hair, we are met with her gentle smile and tender eyes-a mother‘s compassionate look from the top of the mound down at the wanderers of the world.

“That year when I returned to my hometown to visit Mom, she was nearing the end of her life because of cirrhosis,”recalls Huang.“But she was in high spirits that day, gleefully sitting in the living room with her new hairdo. So I took photo of her.”Huang completed the portrait before she passed away. Although it was based on photograph, every stroke was laced with loving memories. He shaped Mother’s form into a hill rising from a plain, projecting a timeless representation of maternal love.

External Scenery and Internal Reflection:<Heart Lake> Series

“I am hesitant to paint sceneries that are simply too beautiful,”remarked Huang Ming-Chang.“I am worried my lack of maturity would turn them into sensationalized and frivolous expressions would turn them into sensationalized and frivolous expressions not worthy to be called art.”

His body of work between 1997 and 1984 during his stay in France is often shrouded with melancholy gray hues. But concealed in the lonesome <Parisian Attic> and <Phone Booth> series is a young painter’s fierce experimental spirit. He was working at an astounding speed as if hastening to catch the new waves of the global art sphere.

Then one year before returning to Taiwan, he suddenly slowed down with the window-framed figure paintings of the <Good Morning Paris> series. The contemplative, refined and rich style of classical oil paintings was beginning to set in-probably the consequential influence of his frequent visits to admire early Renaissance art at the Louvre.

In 1985 after returning home, he settled in an apartment by the last rice paddy in suburban Xindian, northern Taiwan. Here, he set aside the Parisian grays and sought different techniques to articulate the disparate light, colors and shapes of the southern atmosphere.

Once again, he moved from indoor to outdoor-from the <Interior> series, the <Gazing out> series to the <Paddyfield> series. In contrast with an art student’s short-distance sprint in Paris, he was now a seed that has drifted from alien land back to home turf. Quiet, unhurried and confident, he was poised to sprout the first from the fecund soil toward the sun, intently waiting to one day spread a sea of green over the entire field.

While the artist’s brush was poised, the world was changing at a violent pace. Farmers half a century ago would never have fathomed the land, which their ancestors so arduously cleared and cultivated inch, would one day be inch, would one day be replaced with bristling high-rises of concrete and steel. By the time the <Paddyfield> series took form, the sight of rice paddies by Xindian River has forever vanished from the artist’s windows.

Huang continues to travel all over Asia in pursuit of the pastoral landscape he so adores. Over the years, he has set foot in India, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He has been to Bali so many times that he is tempted to make the paddy- and coconut-filled Ubud Village his retiring place.

He snapped numerous photos of sceneries encountered in his travel. The photos work like inspirational sketchnotes for future compositions. Despite the abundance of gorgeous photos, his exacting criteria make it difficult to select a suitable one even out of a thousand.

He chooses a subject not for its grandeur or marvel, but for its ability to carry a virtuous and rounded visual experience. “Pure and timeless”are his critical pursuit in painting.“If there is no sufficient underlying emotion or solid skills to back up the pursuit of external sceneries, the resulting landscape paintings would become no more than evanescent pretty pictures.”

That said, “Sunrise, Fisherman’s Song” in the <Heart Lake> series stands out among his works with its surprising splendor.

He recalls the experience thus:
“I saw a staggering scenery of a reed-strewn lake on the way to Inle Lake when I was traveling in Burma. Under the breaking morning glow, a fisherman tossed a net from his small boat onto the glimmering water. My breath was simply taken away. In that moment, every aesthetic canon, every description in Chinese poetry and every aspiration sought in Chinese landscape painting came to materialize right there before my eyes… the sun slowly rose and cast its brilliant rays over the lake and mountains. I used up an entire roll of film on the scenery.”

The roll was subsequently developed; the pictures turned out like prize-winning photographs. Although he would often spread and peruse them time and time again when looking for new inspiration, he would always put them away, leaving them alone for many years. What was holding him from converting the breathtaking scenes into paintings?

“Scenery is external,”he explains,“while paintings are internal reflections.”“I am waiting for the internal world to ripen.”

In 2007, he finally completed Sunrise, Fisherman’s Song I, the first piece in the <Heart Lake> series.

Just like the glassy lake reflecting the morning sunrays and mountains in the paintings, the artist’s inner world has settled over the years to become clear and peaceful as a mirror. This ability to now candidly reflect sceneries along his journey of life is probably why the series has been given the title, <Heart Lake>.
Self-Portrait: Traveler Gazing out at the Valley
Of all his self-portraits, Traveler Gazing out at the Valley took Huang Ming-Chang the longest to complete and conveys the strongest intent in self-expression.

He fell in love with 19th-Century Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich back when he was studying in Paris. The expansive and profound landscape work of the German painter exudes a sort of religious devotion. Ah-Chang’s favorite is a work titled, The Wanderer above a Sea of Mists. The traveler in the painting stands on a precipice with his back to the viewer; ahead of him is a thick sea of clouds.

He so interprets the mood of the painting:
“The traveler arrives here after wandering the world and lets the mountains and clouds to inundate him. The solitude he feels is not one of emptiness; Nature’s sunrays bear witness to his true happiness, transcending the material world and in harmony with the cosmos.”

These words pretty much sum up Ah-Chang’s own painting pursuits over the years.

After repeated attempts, he finally completed an impression from a trip to Indonesia in Traveler Gazing out at the Valley.

It is set in front of the volcanic lake in central Flores Island, Indonesia. At dawn, the morning sun drives clouds and mist in the valley into sideward currents. The painter stands, his back to the viewer, gazing out at the metamorphosing light, colors and shapes.

“The base color is dark like the night,”he explains. “As the day breaks, I also brighten up the canvas little by little. The painting conveys the Nature I see and my ode in praise of her marvels.”

It is worth a trip to this world to be touched and drawn by the mutual attraction between our eyes and the spectra of light that reveal themselves to us through the magic of serendipity. For this grace, the painter stands in salute to beauty.