YeePing Lucia Wong Yip, born in China and raised in Hong Kong, worked as a cancer researcher for nearly four decades before reigniting her childhood passion for art.
“I am inspired by my travels, looking at the beautiful scenery and the people I encounter,” said Wong, whose detailed watercolors depict her travels overseas but also her adventures close to home.
“I live very close to Hartwood Acres and have spent countless hours hiking, hunting for wild mushrooms and walking the trails there.”
Her signature style combines vivid colors and reflections in landscapes, many of which were inspired by her travels to China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
Her paintings and ceramics are on display through Feb. 2 at the library located at 403 Fox Chapel Road.
Growing up in Hong Kong, Wong’s talent was discovered and honed by a middle school art teacher, but Wong followed another passion to a lengthy scientific career.
“My art teacher, Mr. Ha Lin Lee, saw that I had talent in watercolor painting and convinced my mother to allow me to take private lessons from him that summer,” she said.
“While I wanted to major in art in college, my older brother convinced me to major in science as a more lucrative way to make a living.”
Wong kept art as a hobby after she emigrated to the United States 51 years ago and earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Washington State University. Her master’s in cell biology came from California State University and she conducted cancer research at UC San Francisco.
She worked in the Department of Neurology, researching radiation treatment for brain edema. She also studied cancer research at Washington University in St. Louis in the hematology and oncology departments.
When her husband accepted a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh, they worked together in neurobiology, focusing on the development of the nervous system.
It wasn’t until Wong retired in 2010 that she was able to devote her time to painting.
Jill McConnell, executive director at the library, said Wong’s work adds to a patron’s visit, as he or she strolls through the book stacks.
“Her depictions of people and places both near and far are striking,” McConnell said.
Largely self-taught, Wong developed her own style of intimate human expression in her portraits.
A self-described admirer of nature and keen observer of people, Wong is a member of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society and the Pittsburgh Society of Artists. Her work has been exhibited in the Embassy of Croatia and the Egyptian Cultural Center in Washington D.C.