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Description/According to his writing on the back of the painting, Chen Cheng-po stationed himself at the Agricultural Research Institute for this painting. He included the Reserve Combustion Power Plant and the water source in the composition and made a special note of the painting as a work "en plein air". While studying at the Taipei National Language School, Chen received instruction in watercolor from Ishikawa Kinichiro , who attached great value to painting en plein air as both a way to hone students' sketching skills and familiarize with Taiwan's landscapes. Influences by his teacher can be found in Chen's early watercolors, many of which were landmark-type landscape drawings as representations of nature, including Taipei East Gate and Tropic of Cancer Landmark. In this piece, the composition is divided into the front, middle and back. In the foreground, soft brushwork is used to depict crisscrossing farmland. An extensive void in the background alludes to the sky, while the Western-style brick buildings are backdropped with verdant mountain ranges. Complementing an emphasis on the buildings in the middleground with compositional breaks and contrasting colors, the artist makes the center of the painting the visual focus. His pointillistic color application takes advantage of the transparency of watercolor, and the forthright palette and clean, swift strokes perk up the serene suburban scenery. With a shadow of his teacher Ishikawa, stylish elements customary in Chen's later works have also started to appear in this work—animals as staffage, decorative and patternized electric poles and a non-perspective composition and scale.
- Shihming Pai, "‘Sketching from Life’, Modern Scenery, and Chen Cheng-Po during His Study at the National Language School—Revelations from Newly Disclosed Watercolor Information," in Under the Searing Sun: A Solo Exhibition by Chen Cheng-Po (Taipei City: Chin-Shuan Cultural & Educational Foundation, 2012), 20-27.
- Shihming Pai, "'Sketching from Life’ and the Formation of the Modern Landscape: An Analysis of Chen Cheng-Po's Early Watercolors (1913-1924) and Their Significance in Modern Paintings," in The Spring of Alishan—New Perceptions on Chen Cheng-Po and Taiwanese Art History, ed. Soka Arts and Cultural Center Committee (Taipei City: Chin-Shuan Cultural & Educational Foundation, 2013), 92-135.
- Viewing Farm and School Buildings by looking towards the Toad Mountains, The First Yearbook of Forestry Division, Taihoku Senior School of Agriculture and Forestry (Taipei: Taihoku Senior School of Agriculture and Forestry, 1928 ). Retrieved from the database of Taiwan Old Photos at the National Taiwan University.
Near the Water Source 1915.09.19~1915.10.16
Materials & Techniques：Watercolor on paper
Location:Taipei Thermal Power Station (Today's Taipower General Research Center, Taipei City, Taiwan; No. 198, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, Taiwan)