Xuan Spring: Artworks by Mendy Howe (郝曼蒂 HAOMANDI)
Jolted out of bed one morning in late 2010 by a dreamlike wisp, saying, “Get up! Start painting!”, she did.
Mendy is Principal Investment Specialist (Pensions) at the Asian Development Bank (ADB). After lecturing in engineering, Mendy took graduate degrees in Japanese and Computing Science before receiving her PhD in Mathematics and Computing at Imperial College London; her thesis was a major part of a co-authored, and well-received, graduate text on optimization and financial risk management, published by Princeton (Book Title: Algorithms For Worst-Case Design And Applications To Risk Management). Before joining ADB, she was Vice President and Senior Analyst at several investment banks in the City of London; at ADB, she heads the Staff Retirement Plan Investment Unit. Apart from painting, her leisure hours are devoted to collaborating with her husband in producing a performing edition of masterworks of Elizabethan drama, mainly Shakespeare, for ESL speakers.
Her journey into watercolor and ink painting started with xuanzhi. Mendy’s discovery of the beauty of xuanzhi, the elegance of Chinese brushes, and the potential of Chinese watercolors and ink owes much to a colleague at ADB, Liping Zheng – a very distinguished Chinese Literati master (www.zhengliping.com). He gave Mendy her first brush, watercolors and xuanzhi, and has been supportive throughout, giving encouraging and constructive comments on how best to meet the challenge of xuan. She also discovered trepidation. Trepidation before starting a painting, worrying about damaging the sensitive paper; trepidation at each reach for water, at each brush stroke, worrying one misjudgment would irredeemably destroy a painting, always conscious that Chinese watercolor painting is a stern master, unforgiving to mistakes and errors; trepidation even when the painting is complete, worrying that a mistake in mounting will wreck the painting. Yet the deep satisfaction of a successful painting, well-mounted, more than compensates for the serial trepidation, and drives her on to the next. Mendy now has 400 paintings and has a life-time actuarial expectation of 4000.
The wisp is counting.
[External website displaying some of her Digital Art: http://www.celesteprize.com/mendy.howe ]
[She is also on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mendyhowe ]