Novice artist paints countryside scenes, gains recognition with online support

By Xinhua in Fuzhou ( Xinhua ) Updated: 2016-07-18 09:44:03

It has only been a year and a half since Wang Zhenfeng started painting, but now the villager from East China's Shandong province is about to host her own exhibition in Beijing.

Her work has been compared to that of Zhou Chunya, one of the most well-known living Chinese painters, but Wang would likely still be unknown if it hadn't been for all the online attention.

Netizens first began comparing Wang's paintings of peach blossoms with Zhou's work in March.

One key difference: Wang's paintings sell for 200 yuan ($30) each, while one by Zhou fetched a staggering five million yuan in 2013.

Before she became an online celebrity, Wang was just an ordinary villager in Ma'erqiu, Pingdu city. She toiled in a field of around 1.3 hectares and also worked in a small shoe factory.

Early last year, Wang's daughter, an art teacher, returned to the village and launched a campaign called "Everyone is an artist". She encouraged her mother to pick up a paintbrush, but Wang wasn't sure at first.

"How do you expect a farmer to become a painter," she said.

Wang's curiosity was piqued, however, and after several weeks of training she finished her first ever painting of a bucket in her house. The piece eventually sold for 200 yuan online to an artist from Hebei province.

"I never thought paintings could help me make money," Wang said.

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