Tradition can also confuse people. Those who have seen Cao's work often willstart talking about the classical elegance of Song-dynasty shanshui paintings and mourn the loss of the ancient methods. Painters think about
his too; it is an inescapable question. However, artists still must paint; and thus they must seek out the traditions
that exist within their own minds and hearts, and harness the inner wellspring that connects them to the dao of Nature. These shanshui must be his own shanshui, must be his own tradition, must be his own self: his own present, in this moment and as it begins to move into the past.
Excerpted from Shanshui: A View: An Appreciation of Cao Xiaoyang's Art, Sun Shanchun