我跟李老師的認識，應該是從我開始到青年路學畫開始。還記得是一個夜晚，周末的夜晚。然後我剛剛下完班，到青年路城隍廟對面的 7-11 吃個消夜。那抬頭一看，有一個畫室。我一直 很想學畫，所以呢我就鼓起勇氣走上二樓，那迎面而來的打開門的，就是一個有滿臉鬍子的李老 師。那時候是我第一次看到他，第一眼看到他，我是有一點點, 我稍微嚇了一跳。因為以前沒有 接觸過李老師嘛，然後他又長得比較魁梧，又長滿了鬍子，所以那時候...這是好人還是壞人?心 裡都很有芥蒂。不過他講話倒時候很斯文，那時候也有學生在那邊，就是練習，那他就簡單跟我 介紹一下環境。
那開始的時候, 我跟李老師學畫的時候，李老師曾經問我我想要學什麼?我跟他講說我要從 鉛筆素描開始，我要畫石膏像，然後我要畫靜物。他那時候就覺得很好玩，他問我說:「為什麼 你要畫畫石膏像?」我跟他說:「因為畫石膏像畫靜物是繪畫的基礎，把素描的底子打好之後， 以後我才能夠畫好的繪畫。」然後他也沒有講怎麼樣，就笑一笑說:「好吧!那你下次過來時候， 就把你的鉛筆啊、紙張就帶過來，我們就開始來畫素描這樣子。」那我就很努力的一直畫畫畫， 畫了幾次之後，我想有一天老師可能真的忍不住了，他跟我講說:「你真的要這樣子畫嗎?因為 這些是一個比較學院派的訓練。你會要考美術系嗎?如果你以後是要當美術系的學生，那當然這 個很重要，因為是考試必須要考的。如果你的繪畫只是你的興趣，你要發洩你的一個感情，那我 不會覺得你必須要這樣子畫。你應該要利用各種不同的素材，利用各種不同的顏料、材料等等， 就是把你心中所想的所要的，就把他宣洩出來表現出來，我認為這個才是真正的繪畫。」然後我 就說, 那我要該怎麼做呢?因為我一直以前的觀念，認為是從鉛筆到水彩到油畫，像類似這樣子。 他說:「你想畫什麼就畫什麼，什麼東西都可以嘗試。」所以我後來呢，下一次我就把油畫顏料 就帶去，我就開始畫。然後第一張的繪畫呢, 畫完之後我好開心，因為我第一次可以把顏色，就 是我眼睛看到顏色，我可以把它改變掉。就是蘋果變成綠色，蘿蔔變成黑色。像這樣子的一個改 變，哇，李老師跟我講說:「很好，這是一個初步的突破。」然後我很開心，因為我好像開始突 破了一些，一些固有的一些概念，然後真正就是，比較往現代藝術、當代藝術的一個方向前進。 然後，後來畫室搬到了東寧路。
第一次的展覽應該是在一九九九年吧，那是李老師幫我安排的。在成大的鳳凰樹, 那個藝廊 吧。李老師說那是我的畢業展，所以那一次之後，老師說我就不用再去畫室學畫。所以應該是從 那個時候開始，我跟李老師的關係，從老師的關係變成朋友的關係。比較印象深刻的是後來，就 是太子畫會，在米窟的那段時光這樣子。那每個禮拜五的晚上大概六點多就開始，那一直到深夜 吧，因為我常常大概，該是在十一點多我就會先回去。當然在那段時間，大家就是一起吃喝玩樂 啊，那時候的時光真的是很快樂。
之前，常常會因為自己的一些境遇啊，或是心情的不愉快，有時候會跟李老師談論這樣子。然後, 他是一個很好的傾聽者，他有時候聽聽聽，然後之後, 他也不會跟你講說你這樣是不對的 啊, 怎麼樣怎麼樣...他總是很能夠站在朋友立場去安慰朋友。那我記得他講過印象最深刻的一件 事是，他跟我講說:「不是只有你才有故事，每個人都有故事。也不是只有你，就是整個人生過 程是坎苛不順利的，每個人都有每個人的不順利。因為每個人的生命都像是一本小說，你就是盡 情去把你的自己的生命小說，把它寫好這樣子。小說裡面當然有一些喜怒哀樂、悲歡離合，可是 總是不要把自己過度放大這樣子。然後他那一天跟我講這句話，之後到現在我還常常會回想起他 跟我講的話。
總是覺得李昆霖老師一直是一個很有正義感、非常耿直而且非常純真、非常率性的一個人。到後來，我想李老師可能就是，每天可能盡情在山水吧。因為我一直到後來印象深刻，是他獨腳 仙的一個系列。因為我覺得那個是他整個，自己個人的一個心靈寫照。所以只要看到獨腳仙，我 就馬上連想到李昆霖。
How Lee Kuen-Lin and I met? It started when I went into learning painting in his studio in Youth Road. I remember that it was at night, a weekend night. I had just finished work. And I went to the 7-11, opposite of the Youth Road City God Temple, to eat a midnight snack then I looked up. There was a painting studio. I always wanted to learn how to paint. So I took the courage to go to the second floor and the person who opened the door was teacher Lee with a full beard on his face. That was our first meeting. After my first sight of him, I was a little bit shocked, because I did not meet Teacher Lee before. He looked a little bit burly and had a super thick beard. So at that time... I was thinking if he was a good person or a bad person. So there was a bit of scruple in my heart. However, he was very gentle when he spoke. At that time, there were also students practicing. He simply introduced the environment to me.
At the beginning, when I had just started learning how to draw with Lee Kuen-Lin. He asked me what I wanted to learn. I told him, “I want to start with a pencil sketch. I want to paint classical sculptures. Then I want to paint still life.” He thought that I was very funny and asked me, “Why do you want to paint classical sculptures?” I told him, “Because painting classical sculptures and still life is the basis of painting. First the foundation of the sketch then I can draw good paintings.” He didn’t say anything, just smiled and said, “Ok.”
“The next time when you come over please bring your pencil and paper. Then we will start to paint pencil sketches.” I painted and painted quite hard. After I have painted a few times, one day Lee Kuen-Lin could not help his curiosity any longer and asked me, “Do you want to paint in this way?” “Because this is an academic training.” “Would you like to apply for the art department?” “If you are going to be a student of the art department,” “Of course this is very important because they will test you on this.” “If painting is just your interest you have to vent your feelings. So I don't think you have to paint in this way. You should use a variety of different materials, pigments and materials, and so on. Just vent what you really think and want. Vent it and show it. I think this is what real painting is.” And I said, “What should I do?”
Because I have always had this concept, I thought it should be from pencil to watercolor, and then to oil painting. Just keep this type of sequence. He said, “Just paint what you want to draw. You can try anything.” Then from the next day on, I started taking my oil paints with me. I started to paint. After finishing my first oil painting, I was so happy because it was my first time changing the color. Changing the color that I saw. For example, I changed the apple’s color into green, the radish’s color into black, this kind of change.
"Wow", teacher Lee told me, “Good. This is a preliminary breakthrough.” Then I am very happy. Because I felt that I started to break some…some inherent concepts of me. Then I really…went ahead into the direction of modern art and contemporary art, just like this. And then the studio moved to Dongning Road.
My first exhibition was probably in 1999. Teacher Lee arranged it for me. I think it was at at the gallery "phoenix tree" in National Cheng Kung University. Teacher Lee said that it was my graduation exhibition. So after that time, I didn't need to learn painting in his studio. So it should be from that time…my relationship with Teacher Lee went from student and teacher into a friendship. What impressed me was the later on in the “Prince’s Painting Society”. The time in “Rice Cave”(Lee Kuen-Lin’s studio which had been a chicken house)Every Friday night, it started at about six o'clock and ended late at night. I often went home around eleven p.m. before they left. Of course, during that time, everyone ate, drank and had fun together. It was a really happy time.
In the old days, sometimes when I faced some circumstances or when I had an unpleasant mood, I would tell teacher Lee about them. He was a really good listener. He listened and he would not tell you that you are wrong. He was always able to stand on a friend's side to comfort his friends. In my memory, the most impressive things he told me was…He told me, “It is not only you who has a story. Everyone has a story. Not only you, who is unlucky in the life process, everyone has their sadness. Everyone's life is like a novel. So you just do your best to write your own life novel. Write them well. Of course, there are some joys and sorrows in the novel. But don't always overextend yourself.” That's what he told me that day. After that, even until now, I still often think back to what he told me.
I always feel that Lee Kuen-Lin had always a sense of justice. He was a very honest, pure and genuine person. I think that Teacher Lee probably, every day, was enjoying the mountains. Because from the beginning until now, I have been given a really big impression of the series of his one-legged fairy because I think that is his whole personally. A portrayal of a soul. So I just have to see the one-legged fairy, and I will immediately think of Lee Kuen-Lin.