Chapter 162: Second Level?

Translator: StarveCleric Editor: GaiaNove
"Furthermore, painting revolves around one's state of mind. Without artistic conception, no matter how vivid one's drawing is, it is useless. The Dual Traversing Dragons technique forcefully divides a painting into two portions, causing a split in the artistic conception... Thus, even if the two sides match up perfectly in the middle, it would be difficult to reach the third level."

No matter how well one's left and right hands manage to coordinate together, one is still severing the painting into two. It is absolute that the artistic conception would be lacking as compared to when one uses only a single hand for the entire painting.

"Flaunting his painting technique, but losing sight of the original goal of painting. Hypocritical!" After explaining, Master Yuanyu shook his head.

After the initial shock, not only did his impression of Zhang Xuan not improve, it even worsened.

To him, Zhang Xuan is arrogant and disrespectful. Not only did he keep them waiting when they had agreed to hold the examination at noon, he even claimed to need to adjust his state of mind before painting, dragging the matter out for four hours straight. And now, in order to show off his painting skills, he chose to flaunt his technique instead of focusing on creating the best work he could, losing the soul behind his work.

Without a calm and peaceful state of mind, but instead, an intention to awe others, it is impossible to create a masterpiece no matter how skilled one is. It is impossible for such a person to become a grandmaster.

"Brother Zhang is still young, and it is normal that he will wish to impress others..."

Master Lu Chen understood his old friend’s frank and direct personality and smiled bitterly.

He is a youngster after all. It is normal to want to show off his techniques. We can’t expect him to be like us, beings with half a foot already in the grave.

"Creating the best work one can make is the best way to impress others. Dual Traversing Dragon is something those streetside craftsmen use to mass-produce paintings. If he doesn't kick away this habit of his, it would be difficult for him to achieve great things in the future!"

Master Yuanyu said without holding back at all.


Hearing his evaluation, Huang Yu and Bai Xun fell silent.

The both of them are not as experienced and authoritative in the field of painting as compared to the elder before them, and as such, they were unable to refute his words.

Just as Lu Chen wanted to say something, Bai Xun's voice sounded.

"Look, he is starting to connect the both ends..."

The attention of the crowd turned to the painting and exactly as Bai Xun said, Zhang Xuan's brushes were converging, beginning to connect the both sides of the painting.

"This... he can’t possibly connect them!"

Taking a glance, Huang Yu couldn’t help but comment.

The two halves of the painting were about to be merged, but the individual paintings on each side were completely different, be it the depth of the color, the underlying appeal, and the painting style. Even if Zhang Xuan were to merge the two halves together, it would simply become two different paintings on a single canvas instead of forming one perfect entity.

One half was bright while the other half was dull... Even if he were to combine them together, it would just end in a failure.

Could it be that he had failed?

"It is impossible to combine the two halves together..."

Master Lu Chen had intended to speak up for Zhang Xuan, but upon witnessing the situation, he fell silent. His complexion darkened and subconsciously, he exerted so much force on his fingers that he accidentally plucked a few strands of his beard out.

Even though he didn't want to admit it, based on his comprehension of painting, he could clearly see that the two halves of the painting were irreconcilable. It was as though they were of two completely different worlds; it was absolutely impossible for both ends match. Could it be that it was as Brother Yuanyu said, that Brother Zhang was being hypocritical?

Even though he had only met him once previously, his impression of him was that of a prudent, humble, and polite person. He wasn't such a person before...

If this here was indeed his true personality, it would be difficult for him to reach great heights in the field of painting in the future...

"If he doesn’t manage to merge both ends, it would simply be a failure. To think that I waited an entire afternoon just for this..." Master Yuanyu shook his head in disappointment.

When Lu Chen spoke of Zhang Xuan's affairs, he was actually filled with great expectations for the latter. He truly thought that a young painting genius had appeared and that he might be the hope to glorifying painting within the kingdom. Yet, after meeting him in person, he realized that he was just a hypocritical fellow.

Despite being obviously incapable, he chose to feign as an expert by using the Dual Traversing Dragons technique instead of drawing calmly. Now look at what has happened, both ends of the painting turned out to be of completely different, making them impossible to connect. I'll see how you talk your way out of this embarrassment.

Even if you wanted to show off, you should first have to capabilities to do so. Otherwise, you will just make a fool out of yourself.

Clearly, this Zhang Xuan is one of such fools.

With a sigh, Master Yuanyu closed his eyes slowly, refusing to watch on.

It wasn't that he didn't want to look, but he was afraid that he would be unable to keep his temper in check upon seeing the other party make a fool of himself when he fails to match the both ends together.


"Wait, that's..."

"How is this possible?"

Immediately after he closed his eyes, he heard exclamations of shock, as though the others had seen something inconceivable.

Frowning, he opened his eyes once more and saw Master Lu Chen, Huang Yu, and Bai Xun staring in shock at what was in front of them, as though they had just seen a ghost.

"What's wrong? Even if he fails to match both ends together, there should not be any need for such shock..."

Perplexed, Master Yuanyu turned to take a look as well. With a single glance, his eyes immediately narrowed and his body swayed. He was immediately plunged into astonishment as well, "This... This... What is going on?"

He was astounded as well.

Right before him, at the boundary where the two ends of the painting came together, a gentle stroke by Zhang Xuan erected a wall, thus creating a barrier that separated both ends into two different entities.

The divide created by the wall erased the dissonance between the two halves of the painting. Instead, the contrast between both sides harmonized together to create a sensation of peering into two different worlds at once.

"It's this courtyard..."

Bai Xun couldn't resist exclaiming.

He had realized what the painting illustrated. What Zhang Xuan’s left hand drew is the courtyard they were in. There is someone painting, someone commenting on the painting, and the scenery is calm. On the right is another courtyard and its interiors are filled with flowers and dancing birds. There are also quite a few animals dancing the midst of it, and the sound of the cicadas are bright. It felt like a natural paradise outside of the bustling human society.

On one end is the world of the humans, on the other end is the natural world; on one end is quietness, on the other end is commotion. Two different sceneries, two different states of the mind, and two different sensations. Yet, they merged successfully due to the appearance of this single wall, perfectly harmonizing the two different themes.

"A divine stroke, truly a divine stroke..."

Master Lu Chen complimented.

Previously, he shared Master Yuanyu's thoughts that the painting would surely be ruined. Yet, he never imagined that these two completely different scenes could be perfectly harmonized with a single wall, letting its viewers enjoy an incredibly unique beauty and pleasure.

Commotion within silence, and silence within commotion.

The wall was truly a divine stroke.

A single wall, yet a completely different world. The quality of the painting soared to a whole new level immediately.


After a long moment of silence, Master Yuanyu couldn't help but offer a word of praise.

Clearly, he didn't expect the presence of the wall at all.

If the artistic conception of both ends of the wall were the same, the painting would instead be a failure.

"I have embarrassed myself!"

After adding in the wall, the entire painting was completed. Zhang Xuan put down his brush and chuckled lightly. "Please appraise my work!"

He had just learned drawing so he had no idea what he should draw. Thus, he drew the lounge where everyone was at and the neighboring courtyard.

"Let me take a look!"

Master Lu Chen walked over and studied the painting with a lowered head.

Huang Yu and Bai Xun hurriedly came forward as well.

Previously, they were standing a distance away so as to not disturb Zhang Xuan, so they didn't manage to obtain a clear view of the painting and was unable to recognize that Zhang Xuan was drawing this place. Now that they came closer, they couldn't help but be impressed.

The drawing of the courtyard was vivid and lifelike. Under the work of his brush, the beautiful image seemed to be floating out of the paper.

"How pretty..."

Huang Yu's beautiful eyes gleamed with admiration as she subconsciously offered a praise.

Even though both halves of the painting were created simultaneously, even the minute details were flawless. In fact, even the tables and chairs could be clearly seen within it. The expressions of the crowd in the painting could be clearly made out, and it was as though he had plucked them from reality and imprinted them directly. It was almost unbelievable that a painting could be that elegant.

"It's a pity..."

After taking a brief look, Master Yuanyu couldn't help but shake his head. In fact, even Master Lu Chen expressed his pity.

"This painting is so pretty, what could be wrong about it?" Unable to comprehend the reason behind their sighs, Bai Xun asked.

Honestly, he wasn't able to see anything wrong with this painting. He felt that it was on par with the previous two.

"This painting had perfect workmanship. There isn't the slightest error, and in terms of painting, contrast, complement... It can truly be said to be top-notch. Just that, as I said before, working simultaneously with both hands would cause one to place too much emphasis on the details and neglect artistic conception! Without artistic conception, it can only reach the second level, Spiritual Canvas. This painting is still a huge way off from reaching Infused Intentions."

Master Lu Chen shook his head.

There were four levels to painting, Reality Depiction, Spiritual Canvas, and Breathtaking Verisimilitude.

The paintings that Yuanyu and Lu Chen created previously were both of the third level as the conception of the artist was infused into the paintings. With a single look, one would feel refreshed.

Zhang Xuan's painting was perfect regardless of the theme, its outline, or its workmanship. But, it was a pity that... it was lacking this kind of feeling.

Without artistic conception, the highest level his painting could have reached was the second level, Spiritual Canvas. If so, it couldn't be considered as a masterpiece.

"It is a pity, but Brother Zhang is still young. When he reaches our age, he will surely be able to easily whip out a painting of the third level, or even one of the fourth level!"

Master Lu Chen consoled.

Even though the painting was still far from reaching the third level, he was nevertheless impressed by Zhang Xuan's work.

After all, Zhang Xuan hadn't even reached twenty, and yet he was already able to create a painting of a quality that could awe him.

"It seems that he has true skills!" Master Yuanyu nodded his head in approval. Then, he turned to look at Zhang Xuan and reprimanded him, "However, it is still better for youngsters to remain humble!"

After the series of affairs, his impression of Zhang Xuan was poor. However, it was true that the painting was of superior quality. Putting aside the lack of artistic conception, he wasn't able to find any flaws with the workmanship. It seemed that the fellow wasn't a fraud, and possessed true abilities.

In spite of that, Master Yuanyu was displeased by the airs he put on just because he possessed some capabilities. After all, he made them wait for such a long time just for his painting.

"Humble?" Hearing the other party's words, Zhang Xuan knew that he must have kept them waiting for far too long and the other party was displeased with his actions. He smiled embarrassedly, "I apologize for keeping everyone waiting for so long!"

"That's more like it!" Seeing the other party apologize to everyone earnestly, Master Yuanyu nodded his head in satisfaction. "You have good foundations. As long as you polish your painting skills and accumulate more experiences, you will surely be able to paint a painting of the third level soon. Please do not waste your talents because of complacency!"

"Indeed. In order to create a painting with artistic conception, one has to gain a deeper comprehension of the world around by paying careful attention to the surroundings!"

Master Lu Chen advised patiently.

"Thank you for your guidance!"

Knowing that the other party had good intentions at heart, Zhang Xuan nodded his head.

"Alright, now that we're all done painting, it's time for you two to start appraising the works..." Watching him accept his advice humbly, Lu Chen didn't dwell on the issue further. Instead, he turned his attention to Huang Yu and Bai Xun to continue with the examination. However, at this moment, Bai Xun's shocked voice echoed suddenly.

"This isn’t right... Master Zhang, why don't the humans and birds in your painting... have any eyes?"

Everyone had been more concerned with the overall structure and concept of the painting instead of the details earlier. Taking another glance at the painting, they realized that the birds and the humans in the painting didn't have eyes indeed.



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