In his paintings, Jia Youfu often combines the monumental landscape tradition of the Northern Song period (960–1127 AD) with dramatic composition and light and dark contrast. In 1960, Jia Youfu began his studies at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA, or Zhōngyāng Měishù Xuéyuà) in Beijing. He later studied under the noted landscape painter Li Keran (1907–1989), at the School of Chinese Painting, where he learned the Western technique of contrast. As a student, Jia Youfu often traveled to paint the Taihang Mountains in his home province of Hebei, a site that remains a source of artistic inspiration. His monumental ink paintings of the mountains combined traditional Chinese landscape painting with contemporary innovations, both in his brushstrokes and in his subjects. Jia Youfu graduated from CAFA in 1965. From 1967 to 1977, during the Cultural Revolution, he taught theater design at the Zhōngyāng Xìjù Xuéyuàn (Central Academy of Drama) in Beijing, and in 1977 he began to teach traditional landscape painting at CAFA, where he remains on the faculty.