Artist visiting from China paints Williamsburg landscapes

Contact Reporterhbridges@vagazette.com

Xiaodong Yan is far, very far, from his home in the Hainan Province of China.

But the artist has made Williamsburg his home for a year, and while here, he's painting the town as he sees it.

"I want to record it using my paintbrush, and when I return to my country, I will introduce it to Chinese people," Yan said.

Yan, who doesn't speak English, provided answers through Weiyan Yu, a visiting scholar to the College of William and Mary's mathematics department. Yu translated Yan's answers to English through writing.

Yan, 52, said he is visiting through an exchange program supported by the Chinese government. He indicated he is visiting William and Mary, though that fact is not confirmed.

Here since April, this is Yan's first visit to the United States.

Yan grew up in Jinan, the capital city of China's Shandong province and a place also known for its many natural springs. Yan said the city is home to many painters, and when he was a child, he saw them depicting nature's beauty with paint brushes.

Struck by the beauty of these paintings, he was inspired to paint. He said he's been an artist for 20 years. According to Yu, Yan studied oil painting during his time at university in China.

While here, Yan has painted Williamsburg landscapes, including Crim Dell at William and Mary.

"I think that Williamsburg is the most beautiful town of America in my heart," Yan said.

He's also found local residents to be very friendly, saying many have offered him help in his time spent painting outside, whether through offering water or even encouragement.

Yan's visit will last until next spring.

"My main purpose is that I want to paint spring, summer, fall, winter of Williamsburg and bring my painting to my country to introduce Williamsburg to Chinese people," Yan said.

Yan can be reached through Yu at wyyume65@163.com.

Bridges can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

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