Sketch of the Artist
The Artistic Soul in a White Coat
Chih-Ping Chen, a distinguished Taiwanese obstetrician-gynecologist who has practiced medicine for nearly four decades, is not only selected as one of the 100 best doctors in Taiwan, but also recognized as the master of prenatal genetic diagnosis. Wearing a white coat and a confident smile, Chen always gives a first impression of earnestness and meticulousness in pursuing perfection both in clinical and teaching practice.
Despite his prestige in the medical world and his age of nearly 60, Chen started a hobby that he had never tried before—painting. On the Christmas Eve of 2013, he embarked on an adventure of creativity and artistry, and has since drawn pictures every single day in his leisure time, despite his demanding and busy hospital job.
As an amateur painter, Chen did not choose popular materials such as ink or oil paint, but something more primitive and basic—crayons. “Crayons are probably the first painting tool every little kid starts with. Whether they are used on paper or on a wall, crayons have become a medium through which kids show their creativity and ingenuity, as well as a great companion during kids’ childhood. They are also a non-toxic and eco-friendly painting tool for everyone,” said Chen.
Chen has never taken lightly this seemingly easy tool, but truly enjoyed and fully utilized his crayons as an access to spontaneous and serendipitous fun of painting. He would get ideas while reading newspapers, magazines or books related to photography and tourism. He would sketch any interesting scene in any given corner in the city. He would also demonstrate his religious belief and his love for life on paper. With a box of crayons and a sheet of A4-size drawing paper, Chen gets as much fun as he can, at any moment.
Crayon painting has not only given Chen a sense of achievement and pleasure that relieve his daily stress, but has also brought him and his daughters closer, as he shares his thoughts and feelings through one after another colorful and vivid pictures. Chen is proud of his two daughters, who are also medical doctors, but there have always been some regret that he has not been able to accompany them throughout much of their childhood, due to his busy job. During the interview, Chen took out the Christmas surprise his two daughters gave him—a compiled album of his crayon works. “I think they realized that the best treasure their father could leave them is not wealth nor power, but these paintings that are uniquely drawn by him. These works have reflected my inner self, recorded my life, and represented my love for my children,” said Chen.
Thanks to these paintings, Chen has a lot more to talk about with his daughters, and his communication with his family and friends became more frequent, and he even made friends with people in various fields other than medicine. Something as simple as crayons has given Chen a truly different life and numerous unforgettable moments.
As Chen reflected, painting is a great access to a healthy mind, and his experience as an amateur painter could well serve as a case that would encourage more people to ease their daily stress, care about the society, and see the world through painting.
For Dr. Chen, a painting is a piece of art, as well as an epitome of a person’s life. He will continue to create his unique artworks and to appreciate the beauty of this world in his eyes, with a pure and innocent heart.