Dragonfly Deskmat - Departure
Where most people would include inspiration and whatnot for deskmats, I suppose this is where I should talk about where this deskmat came from and why. So grandfather on my mom's side of the family was a fairly well known shanshui artist and columnist back in his day, and he's held pretty high up positions within the Chinese government when it was still a democracy (yeah this was a LONG time ago. Keep in mind that grandpa was born when the Qin Dynasty was still a thing). You could safely say that grandfather has seen quite a few pivotal moments in Chinese history.
However, possibly one of the most noteworthy accomplishments is that one of his paintings was gifted to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a representation of Chinese art and culture. In a show of FDR's admiration for the painting, the president scripted "Famous Chinese painter" on the painting and was stored in the white house museum vault (where we think it still is to this day? Maybe I could call to check....)
I never had the honor of knowing him personally since he passed away when I was very young. According to my mom, grandfather had always been a thoughtful, honest person, who seemed carry with him an aura of melancholy. But perhaps he wasn't always this way? When examining grandfather's paintings with my mom, you could see a very clear difference in his earlier works and later works. While a lot of this is most likely due to his maturation as an artist, we believe that it was most likely due to his departure from China to Taiwan when the communisty party pushed the democratic party out of China. Prior to the exodus, his paintings seemed to have a much more joyful mood with birds frequently pictured in groups, singing to each other. The later works were typically very solitary. Maybe he was lonely? Perhaps what stuck in his mind was, "nobody here understands me"?
The dragonfly painting was one of his final works with the year written on as "year 65"; however, Taiwanese years start from 1911, which would make this artwork from 1976. Pictured as a single dragonfly leaving the branch, I'd like to think of this as grandfather wanting to leave where he was. The removal of the dragonfly not only allows the branch to act as a cradle for your keyboard, but to me it also represents that grandfather is no longer here. The painting this deskmat is based off of didn't have a name, and I've decided to call it Departure.
I hope that this wasn't too long of a read! While I'm sure the deskmat itself isn't perfect, please understand that this was cleaned from a scan of a very very old painting that wasn't kept in the best condition. Thank you to everybody who helped with this and gave advice on how to make this a reality. Special thanks to Bolsa, Luke, and Eura. Photo credit to Frank!
TLDR Grandpa was a famous Shanshui painter and this is one of his paintings
Gorgeous photos of the deskmat courtesy of Frank. Thank you so much for all your support.