Art has defined Ning Yufei’s life, steering her through higher education and shaping her career as an educator.
Ning completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Hebei Normal University’s Academy of Fine Arts, a school that “has fostered many talented artists and is an exemplary institution in the art circle,” she says.
“I learned so much during my seven years there, and it was an experience that was both mentally and physically satisfying,” she says.
Ning chose to remain at the school after graduation, and for the last decade she has worked as an instructor. “I find peace of mind as a teacher, and that peace allows me to listen to the voice deep in my heart,” she says.
Her online portfolio includes massive paintings of landscapes that express her feelings about nature. The images reflect her own feelings and are a record of her life and self-exploration.
Ning’s Henian Yongtan and Heman Suisi series depict many lotus flowers in different states. She says she was motivated and inspired by the qualities of the flowers and used them to represent emotions such as love and hate.
No. 18 in her Henian Yongtan series depicts several lotus flowers under the sunset, a scene reminiscent of Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.”
“No matter what struggles we experience, at the end of everyone’s life they deserve a ‘good night,’” she says.
Her Huazi Piaoling shows a very different style of painting that emphasizes the brief and sad life of the blossom. “When a flower opens, nobody sees it. When it withers, no one cares. In the end, the wind carries it to its destiny,” she says.
“In some ways, my job affords me plenty of time to spend on what I love. I had a huge amount of time to look at the sunset [on campus] and record it in my painting ‘Long Night,’” she says.
The “Mountain in Warm Winter” series is another of her ongoing works. The images depict her time with her mentor in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. “It was a whole new expression in terms of painting. The color had to be dramatically different in order to express warmth in the cold weather,” she says.
Ning’s art is intensely personal, and she says she cares little about what others see in her landscapes. It’s an attitude that can make her work disorienting to some viewers.