The heart of the colourful mural Along the River During the Qingming Festival is commotion caused by a river boat moving towards the Rainbow Bridge (虹橋Hong Qiao) with it's mast still up. Onlookers everywhere shout and gesture, while those on the ship are painted trying to bring the mast down and steer.
A photo of the entire contemporary mural of the Chinese masterpiece artwork “Along the River During the Qinmgming Festival.” This mural is 8 feet high by 44 feet long and can be seen in Edmonton's Chinatown at 10673 97th Street.
The Bian River is the life of this Chinese mural, as like most civilizations, the city of Kaifeng rose along a river during the Northern Song Dynasty. I painted the Bian in greens and blues with animated swirls to appeal to viewers with a variety of boats, moored and in action, along the river bend.
12 Rowers man long Chinese oars; 6 at the front and 6 at the back of the river boat, like the motion of a fish tail, propelling and steering. I painted the figures and boat in colorful blues, reds, and earth tones, to help viewers feel the river water and the wooden boat.
The mural painting shows a variety of colorful restaurants and the upper floor balcony of a wine shop, with customers relaxing. As an artist interpreting the most celebrated painting in China, the authentic original was the detailed blueprint to creating my own brightly coloured version.
I painted a bamboo scaffolding structure on the top section of a wine shop, with merchants selling their wares nearby. The signs 'tiān zhī, měi lù and Shíqiān' are likely the names of Chinese wines, which I painted from the original scroll into the mural.
This painting is about daily life in ancient China during a prosperous time, shown by the variety of vendors on this section of the rainbow bridge. Among the crowd I painted two men moving coal by horse with a wheelbarrow cart, a tool and knife seller and food stall vendors with hot snacks.
I enjoyed painting the mural's busy bridge scene, teeming with all types of figures in bright clothing doing all types of things. In the middle of the bridge an elderly woman tries to diffuse a traffic standoff between a rider on horseback (looking away) and someone in a sedan chair, both of whom have announcers telling the other to move.
The centre of attention in the Qingming mural is a riverboat crew scrambling to lower their mast and correct the boat angle before crashing. While my painting follows the original scroll, I accentuated many of the figures with expression and bright color, like the passengers shocked at the boatmen in action.
I painted large tree partially obscuring the river, which is full of fishing boats and passenger-carrying ferries. Many of the characters in this mural live on the river, such as the lady doing her laundry on her boat at the bottom right of the painting.
Naturalism in Chinese art peaked in the Song Dynasty. While I painted sections of the original Qingming masterpiece that were mostly urban, the Bian River is the main character in the mural. The river leads the eye past events, like the sailors in their river boat pointing off screen.
My Edmonton mural adaptation of Along the River during the Qingming Festival has the river painted green and blue and packed with boats. Above the passenger boat moored at the river's shore, Conan the Barbarian enjoys fine Chinese cuisine in a busy restaurant.
The far right of my Edmonton Chinatown mural shows the importance of water travel to daily life during China's Song Dynasty. The colorful shops and restaurants I painted thrive from merchant shapes that could be carrying silk and tea, paper from Korea, or cloves and cinnamon from Java.
My modern mural version of Qingming Shanghe Tu 清明上河图is shown compared to the same section of the original masterpiece. Where my 3D wall mural has bright color and is 8 feet tall, Zhang Zeduan's version is 10 inches tall; it's amazing how he fit so much in that space! So much that I trimmed some of the boats on the right out of my version, to fit the wall space and budget.