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A Sixty Year Artistic Journey

Visual Art: September 2018 edition

Connie Shun-Yiu Ho started painting in 1958, at the age of 12. Her father saw her natural talent, and although lessons were not affordable, he encouraged her and enthusiastically asked his friend, Mr. Wong Man Bo, to teach her to draw. In those days, not many people could afford having a hobby. Two years later, and through Mr. Wong’s assistance, Connie was fortunate to study under the famous watercolors master, Mr. Kan Mei Tin. For one year, she only sketched black and white, glassware, newspapers, pottery ware, old shoes, vegetables, etc. What most people considered dull and tasteless black and white drawings, Connie truly believed it helped her build a very solid foundation for her future artwork.

In 1968, through the help of Connie’s friend and teacher, Mr. Tsang Chi Lau, she became a student of Lingnan Master Yang Sang Sun. This was the start of her Chinese Painting journey.

Chinese painting was not Connie’s primary career, like others, she had to earn a living outside. While working as a secretary, her boss advised her, “Without a diploma, you will never be in management positions.” She took his advice and took evening courses while working full-time and painting. Connie earned several diplomas, which helped her career in the corporate world: Personnel Management, Public Affairs, Training Management, and many extracurricular certificates. She also achieved qualified titles: International Facilities Manager, Chartered Institute of Marketing Management. The courses paid off and she soon was promoted to management positions where she oversaw facilities throughout Asia including Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing. Due to her frequent business travels, her attendance at Master Yang’s studio became less frequent. Once Master Yang asked her “Why don’t you stop working and concentrate on painting? You can live on painting one day.” Unfortunately, that was impossible at the time.

Connie is persistent by nature and it was important to her to pursue all her dreams. Despite taking classes and working, she would continue painting. During her business trips, in plane rides, cruises and during the holidays, she would sketch pictures. The result – an accumulation of hundreds of paintings and sketches throughout the house as another trait is that she believes every painting can be improved; as such, she has not discarded any piece of painting during her 60 years of painting. Now that she is teaching, she shares this with her students.

Showing her paintings was in Connie’s future and in 1998; she held her first solo painting exhibition in Hong Kong. She continued this trend and to date has held nine solo shows and has participated in many group exhibitions. Her first international exhibition was in 2009, at the invitation of the Cambridge University Press. Other international solo exhibitions included San Diego, United States, Vancouver, Canada, and Guangzhou and Fo Shan in China. The success of the exhibitions and compliments from spectators and collectors encouraged her to continue. With the support and encouragement of friends, family and artist friends, she focused her efforts on creating and developing her own unique form and style, which introduces colors, lighting, and depth to the traditional Chinese painting style.

Today, Connie is an international award-winning artist and she is celebrating 60 years of artistry. She will be hosting her tenth solo exhibition on November 28-30, 2018 at the Hong Kong Central Library. A unique and special exhibition as it will highlight paintings, specifically selected by Connie, to commemorate her 60 years of painting and one may get a peek at what the future holds.

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