PAT Hui's most vivid memory of her paternal grandfather is the ritual he insisted on. ''He had so many grandchildren,'' she recalled, ''that the only way he could keep track of us when we came to visit on Sundays was to get us to write down our names. ''In that way, he could tell our characters and temperaments.'' What did the childish script that read Hui Suet-bik tell him? That she was a born highbrow, but down to earth when it came to the crunch? That she would live most of her adult life on foreign soil, yet win acclaim for illuminating the Three Perfections? As a traditionalist, he would have known what that meant: the Chinese artistic ideal of combining the three elements which are spelled out in New Landscapes: An Exhibition of Painting, Calligraphy, Poetry by Pat Hui. It opened yesterday at Alisan Fine Arts, Prince's Building and continues till the end of the month. There are about 35 works. And to Wucius Wong, who has written the introduction for the catalogue, each is fascinating. ''By doing painting that is not normally considered as painting and calligraphy that is normally considered as calligraphy, she has successfully created a kind of art that is totally her own,'' the eminent artist writes. A European observer might beg to differ. Surely nothing more mysterious here than a Chinese artist with a flair for abstract watercolours. It's the relationship between the characters, the colours and the technique that makes all the difference to Chinese eyes. For the words are drawn from exquisite poems penned during the Sung dynasty, the blended hues replace what would normally be pictorial and the style is indisputably Western. Those aware of Hui's background would be further intrigued: how did this member of one of Hongkong's most prominent business families - once in shipping, now in real estate - come to be an artist and such a cerebral one at that? She found out in the way all artists do; through self-discovery and increasingly, through her work, though the first spark was ignited by Chinese painting teacher Lui Shou-kwa who took her on when she was 19. ''When he wasn't teaching me, we talked about everything under the sun - sociology, politics, economics, literature,'' recalled the artist who had translated two of Albert Camus' works into Chinese by the time she was 23. The birth of her only child, son Eugene (''after O'Neill'', the American playwright) who is now 17 and divorce from her computer scientist husband also had their effect. Now in her 50th year, Pat Hui is an established artist and quite a bit more. The calligraphy-strewn silk top she was wearing is another of her talents: wearable art which won her modest fame as a designer when she joined L'Atelier, a fashion co-op in Minneapolis in 1982. Two years earlier, the enterprising Ms Hui founded her own gallery (''now operating from home'') devoted to works by contemporary Chinese artists, though her own creations come first. ''I've just finished the art work for 300 Sung poems to go into what I'm calling my painting book,'' she said proudly. ''I'm adding them to the 66 I started with, so now there's one for an entire Leap Year - a sort of vitamin a day for the mind. ''I'd hate to think that my paintings were beyond the means of most people, so I'm keeping my prices down.'' By affordable, Pat Hui means US$2,000 tops and a starting price of US$400 - a steal in today's contemporary Chinese art market.