I’ve known Hong for more than 15 years. Her life experiences, individual inner experiences, and her aesthetic taste have all shaped her life to what she is today, and made her continuous improvement in painting almost inevitable.

Hong first started painting in 2017 with small watercolour works. She has worked in Chinese media for 20 years. Realistic painting usually requires professional training, but Hong’s form is accurate and even vivid from the start. This is caused by years of her observations as a journalist and photographer.

She has good eyesight and her skills improved rapidly. After immigrating and settling in Montreal in 2018, she began experimenting with ink painting in 2019. Since ancient times, meticulous brushwork figures in Chinese artworks have a set of norms and a self-contained aesthetic. Hong immediately learned these cultural norms with her mother tongue.

After the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, she began to create large-scale oil paintings at home. In 2021, Mrs.Hong produced even more oil paintings. She paints not only using alla prima, but also classical glazing techniques. She discovered that her favourite hobby was portraiture, and she had ambitions to paint people in groups.

In 2022, Hong moved with her family again, this time to Toronto. That year, she only painted floral still lifes because the house she rented was temporary. It is obvious that Hong’s degree of settlement affects her paintings. Her biggest motivation that year was winning a live drawing contest. Two paintings were sold.

In 2023, Hong finally settled down and bought a house. She began to paint with a purpose. Despite the name of this exhibition being “beauty of the bees”, Hong’s chosen subject was not bees or even flowers. It was instead a couple, one kissing on the other’s cheek, and the atmosphere around them filled with love. Combining these elements, Hong delicately illustrated the courtyard breakfast. The man across the table has an implicit back figure and a polite hand, while the woman moves forward with longing lips and dreamy eyes. The flowers in the bottle were apparently picked from the bushes behind them. Beside the honey pot and dipper was breakfast bread and a coffee cup that the woman did not have time to put down. If bees are carriers of pollen in flowers, then all these sweet things from home – the breakfast,  the garden, and the kiss — are carriers of love. Hong’s artwork slowly attracts the viewer’s eyes with various compositional details, and when you focus on the woman’s face, you could feel her lively presence. Hong is good at creating a sensational setting.

The portrayal of women in artworks is her passion and also what inspires her. Hong’s media work experience has allowed her to have many female interview targets, which requires her to “read” and understand them with her own sensitive and delicate feminine characteristics. Therefore, she can always discover stunning, non-superficial details that differ from social stereotypes of women’s voices, bodies, clothes and style preferences.

She likes to “digress” courageously and is keen to get secondary information. This is a sign of an overactive mind, that is unable to settle for one thing. But with remarkable delicacy and confidence, she digresses and enriches at the same time, consciously or unconsciously.

Hong always painted “challenging” paintings for herself because she believes that her talents and energy need to be exercised and sometimes even forced towards improvisation. Hong did not have college level art training. She has gained an unexpected ability throughout her work in media.

Painting figurative characters often can easily be turned into painting comics, cartoons, or commercials. How are Hong’s paintings still kept realistic? Because she emits a kind of spiritual dialogue into her paintings. She is the kind of artist who enjoys finding challenges for herself. She is happy to inject simple and fresh style and vitality into the deteriorating style of realistic oil painting.

In Hong’s paintings, you can find the same painting techniques used by Renaissance masters in the bodies, expressions and even clothing lines of the subjects. In her outdoors paintings, you can also find impressionist colour themes, brightness and shadows. All this in Hong’s works was given a more poetic and Oriental taste. (We can even sense a hint of the ambience of her hometown Wuxi, China’s famed water town south of the yellow river, in the gardens that she paints. But the strong storytelling makes it clear that she has never been confined to the traditional “Oriental art.”

Her paintings are attractive and do not require too many words to help explain, making it so that you can get inspired by just the specific details.


Corporate communication expert and former media person who is deeply engaged in “effective public communication”