" View a cloud, a meadow, a painting of distant mountains with fresh eyes, and interpret them in your own manner. I have insisted upon painting in the direct presence of nature, for nature is ever-changing. The subtleness in weather and colors cannot be dreamt of by those confined in a studio who repeatedly manufacture scenery by applying limiting formulas to nature."
— Shiy De-jinn
In his later years, Shiy merged his person and invested his life wholeheartedly into the mountains and waters of nature. He traveled throughout Taiwan with friends, painting watercolors from life and transforming Taiwan's natural landscape scenery and native sentiments into candid, guileless literati paintings. Mountains and rivers are recurring subject matter in Shiy's paintings. In The Scenery of Mountains and Lakes in Puli (Lot 421) depicts mountains and lakes, his brush coupled vigor with tenderness and the shades of colors were rendered with delight. This work yields transcwendency through tranquility and possesses majesty; it was, therefore, the artist's most satisfactory work he created on the trip.
When painting amidst nature, Shiy was most fond of exploring untrodden paths. He would sometimes walk for hours on wild land in pursuit of an optimal angle. In his work, The View of Chihsing Mountain at Danshui (Lot 423), Shiy was concise with his use of colors, but from the thoughtful composition and viewpoint, one can see that it resulted from the artist's painstaking deliberation over the scenery. Shiy's consummate skill of painting with lines is evident in Fish Farm (Lot 428), in which the artist used only parallel lines, focused on the investigation of the relationship between lines and shapes, the stroke of his brush is clean and powerful and thoroughly reflects his ability to master the line.
During 1979–80, Shiy created a large body of landscape paintings. In Dawn (Lot 424) and Returned Ship in Autumn (Lot 426), sandy soils of ochre and distant mountains of cyan paint a scenery of serenity. In both paintings, Shiy applied the white space technique that is highly characteristic of traditional ink and wash painting. Between absence and presence — solid colors and blank paper — the concept of the painting is made to extend further and linger longer. In Boats Returning on an Autumn's Day (Lot 426), the branches painted in rich ink embody the lessons Shiy learned from calligraphy. In Landscape in Guguan (Lot 425), paddy fields rendered in light yellow correspond with distant, faintly discernible mountains that Shiy painted with broad and bold strokes. In Geraniums (Lot 422), red flowers are portrayed in picturesque disarray, the branches and leaves are painted with distinct shades of inky green; the composition thrives with vitality while still retaining the gentle and elegant traits of literati paintings. We present a body of Shiy's work that fully manifests the artist's extraordinary artistic skill as well as his all-encompassing subject matter and technique, all while revealing Shiy's profound sentiments towards Taiwan's culture and nature in his later years.