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148 Painting Demonstration of the Artis

    Everyone present agreed with Yujia's suggestion. More or less, probably aside from Zhou Luowei who had seen her draw in person, they all had certain levels of apprehension.

    Now, Yujia took a few seconds to think about what she was going to paint. She found that throughout all of her experience, she painted faster if she had a plan in mind instead of free-painting whatever and making do with pure improvisation.

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    She originally had the idea of painting plum tree blossoms, but after hearing all that earlier about her horrid plum painting from her master, she didn't feel particularly motivated to do so. It seemed like she was more skilled in painting mountains, which would be quick and easy to paint as well. Painting branches and blossoms required lots of details. On the other hand, she could definitely accomplish a mountain painting within the time limit of ten minutes with a few bland flicks of her brush.

    Because of this, she settled with painting a very generic and very washed out mountain painting.

    There were a few supplies on the table already. This included some black inkstones, inkwells, brushes, and paper. Yujia also took a few seconds familiarizing herself with where everything was placed. In a timed challenge like this, she had to know every next step in her mind as she painted. Being familiar with all this foreign equipment would help speed things up.

    And then, the challenge begun.

    Stepping up to the table, Yujia started off with diluting the ink with a lot more water, grinding the inkstone against the inkwell to create the consistency she wanted. Once she had the proper value, she worked quickly. Her hands practically flew as she took the largest brush she found, swirling it across the paper to create the immediate shadow of a mountain range. She then layered some of the ink over the paper again and again to create a blurred and soft range of values. This added dimension into the mountains.

    Following that, once all the diluted ink was used up, Yujia began to create a darker, more concentrated value of ink. She switched the wide brush in her hand for one that was much smaller, using this brush to create more detail.

    There was no definite timer or stick of incense to measure how much time had gone by. At the same time, though, most people had a general understanding of how much time there was in ten minutes. Yujia could finish a little later than exactly ten minutes and none of them would be able to guess, but she definitely couldn't take half an hour.

    With this in mind, Yujia made sure to add in enough details to the mountains, including a tree in the front to create even more of a sense of dimension. At the same time, she also forced herself to stop adding in details when enough time had passed. She still wanted to save the last minute for final touches.

    Now, Yujia picked up a brush that was more medium in size. With this brush, she took some of the details, which had not dried yet due to the small amount of time she used to paint them, brushing and feathering some of them out. This gave the painting a softer effect, making the sharp details look less out of place once they were smeared.

    She finished with fading out the mountains. At this point, after painting more than thirty generic mountain paintings, it was practically second nature to create works that looked like what she just made. Though to anyone who had enough experience, her lackluster paintings would clearly be generic and worthless, it would be enough to impress beginners like the young ladies around her.

    Yujia stepped back. The mountain painting before her looked just like all her previous works. The only difference was that because of the time limit, there was definitely less detail. Nevertheless, she still liked how it turned out. It held more of a dreamy, mythical feel to it.

    The moment she stepped back to look, Yujia also created a mental list of fake-deep philosophy to say. Even if she created the most mediocre painting, as long as she made it sound incredible with her words, she could probably convince most crowds that the work was actually incredible. Certain keywords helped her accomplish this, such as "duality", "juxtaposition", "ethos", "Spirit Resonance", and "contrast", as well as the repetitive emphasis of the concept of "light versus dark" and "tranquility versus chaos".

    Ah. Being an artist was fifty percent real skill and talent and fifty percent pure bullsh*tting. No wonder Yujia was so good at deception- she had so much practice making up things about her art that lying was really a natural, consequential skill at this point.

    Yet before she could say any of the words she came up with, the girl who doubted her skills the most earlier, Jing Juan, immediately folded her hands and bowed.

    "Artist Yang, please accept my apology! I shouldn't have distrusted you in the first place," she exclaimed.

    A bit shocked by this sudden apology, Yujia took a step back, waving her hands in front of her. "It's okay. Really."

    Luowei smiled with triumph. Since she was standing next to Jing Juan, she nudged the girl with her shoulder and said, "Younger Sister Jing Juan, what did I say? Artist Yang is indeed a true painter. Did you possibly think that she was lying about being a disciple of Lingxin Pavilion's founder?"

    "Well-"

    Sima Qianzi interjected, "Luowei, you can't blame Jing Juan too much. After all, I did have a little bit of skepticism as well at the beginning." She turned to Yujia. "It's not very often- in fact completely unheard of- that a girl is a disciple of a great master. I hope that you don't hold grudges for our partial reasoning."

    Yujia nodded. "It's completely alright. This painting was a bit of a practice as well, similar to a warm-up. So it's all good."

    "No matter what you all say, let's make it clear that

    I

    didn't have any doubts!" Tianyu blurted loudly, "You all say that you had your uncertainties about Older Sister Yujia, but I believed everything she said from the very start!"

    "Really? If I remember correctly..." Luo Xiya, who was sitting during all of this, suddenly stood up and pushed back her chair, dramatically acting, "

    Wha-a-a-t? You're my older brother's junior sister? How could this b-be? You're a student at Lingxin? This-

    "

    Jing Juan and Luowei laughed loudly at this. A smile crept onto Qianzi's lips, and she held her laughter back with much difficulty.

    Tianyu pouted, crossing her arms. "I did

    not

    sound like that. And- and- I only said those things because it was surprising! I didn't doubt her at all! Not even once!" She turned and grasped onto Yujia's hands. "Older Sister Yujia, you believe me, right?"

    "Whether you doubted me or not, it doesn't really matter. I wouldn't hold any negative opinions because of something as fickle as this," Yujia pointed out.

    The others chimed in the conversation. The pavilion immediately turned lively. Yujia laughed at a few of the jokes made and joined in with occasional comments when things were directed towards her. Halfway through, she cast her gaze to the side, noticing that one person who had barely spoken- Lu Feifei- was standing alone at the table, her back towards everyone else, while she carefully looked at the painting Yujia just made.

    She stared at the painting for a long time. Her head was tilted to the side as if she was observing it with a newfound interest.

    Yujia only spent a few more seconds observing this Lu Feifei before joining back in with everyone else.

    Oh well. She was prepared to give a whole speech about how awe-worthy her painting was, but this crowd was easy to convince.

    Too

    easy. Perhaps they either had no artistic talent or that they were just too easily trusting of her...

    Regardless, Yujia subconsciously tucked the speech she created back into the depths of her mind. On another day, when she created another generic mountain painting and needed to defend it, she could use the exact same words as what she prepared today.
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