Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Demo at Hope Town 2015 1"

It is my second time coming to the beautiful Bahamas. I want to thank the Humming Bird Art Center, Christy Young, and Robbie Bethel for inviting me again to teach here and thanks to all the artists for coming a long way to attend my class, even though many people having difficult issues in travel this time.

It is super beautiful here. Hope Town is on a very small island. The population here is about four or five hundreds. It is a super quiet and has not been polluted by the commercialism. I have enjoyed so much the beautiful scenes here. I know it is odd of painting still lives here. It gives me more motivation to improve my landscape (or seascape) painting skills.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"Head Study 020415"

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Life is a roll of toilet paper. When it close to the end, it goes really fast. I don't know why I become so inefficient nowadays. Coming back from San Miguel for about a week now, but I have not got any chance to paint. I have been so busy all the time, but busy for what, I have no idea. Our life has been invaded by so many junks. I look at my roll of toilet paper. It gets thiner and thiner everyday. I feel anxious every time when I go to the bathroom.

This study was done right before I went to Mexico. I really need to work on my portrait and figures. I have some workshops this year, I need to teach portrait painting. If I don't practice, I don't think I can do a good job.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Nancy Tankersley Workshop Reminder


This painting was done by the Maryland artist: Nancy Tankersley. On March 26 - 29, Nancy will teach a workshop in Austin. I announced this workshop a while ago, and we got full house very quickly. Recently, a few people have to cancel due to personal reasons. So we got a few openings at this moment. If you are interested in learning Nancy's painterly approaches toward figurative painting, please check: Nancy Tankersley Workshop on my website, and sign up. In addition, latter part of March is the best time to visit Austin and Texas Hill Country. You will see beautiful blue bonnet and other wild flowers all over.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Demo at San Miguel 2015 4" --- Sold


For the 2nd plein air demo, I decided to paint a window. In San Miguel, there are so many beautifully decorated windows with flower pots. They are very painterly. I picked up one at Casa Gibson, where the workshop was hosted. It was all in shadow, so the variation in light was very subtle. I did very few window paintings before, and this is the first time I did in front of people as a demo. Many people think I am already a developed painter, but I know so well that I am still a beginner, because so many subjects I have never painted.  Now I get challenged more and more to paint something the very first time in front of many enthusiastic artists. I try to act that I am calm, but in my mind, I know I am walking on thin ice. I used a lot of palette knife work on this painting. It turned out much better than I thought.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Demo at San Miguel 2015 3" --- Sold


My workshop at San Miguel had four days: two days of still life and two days of plein air. I did this demo right at the center square. We have mainly talked about how to manage the perspective for cityscape paintings. This was a new experience to me, teaching at a busy touristy spot and doing a plein air painting. Many people have watched during this demo, my students and quite a few local people and tourists. I was surprised that three people on the street told me they know who I am. They read my blog, or follow me on Facebook. The world is so small now.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"Demo at San Miguel 2015 2" --- Sold

These a few days I had too much fun. The food were so delicious; the music was so wonderful; the city was overwhelmingly beautiful; and the time was too short. Jean Ann is a superb event organizer, the people in San Miguel are so nice. The artists in my workshop and I have enjoyed so much.

This is my second demo painting in San Miguel. I feel I have gained more confidence in my high key approaches. Even though my colors are still too plain, but the drama level has improved a little.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Demo at San Miguel 2015 1" --- Sold

Hola! I am at San Miguel De Allende teaching an workshop. I want to thank Jean Ann Fenneis for organizing this workshop, and thank all artists form US and Mexico for attending. Very different from my other workshops, the one is conduced completely outdoors. My usual way of low key painting will not work well under the bright day light. So I must paint high key. I have adapted the condition here, and this is my first demo.

San Miguel is so beautiful. No wonder so many artists live here. I spent whole day yesterday touring this old mountain city, and later on I will do a few plein air paintings here. I am so happy being here. I think my cityscape painting will progress even further.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Plein Air Painting in China 2015

I am very excited to announce my "Plein Air Painting in China 2015" trip officially. This coming September 10 to 24 I will go to China again, and I would like to cordially invite you to join me this two-week long painting and sightseeing trip. If you are interested in this trip, please visit China 2015 webpages for detailed itinerary and registration information. In 2013, fifteen artists from America, Australia, and Philippines joined me, and we traveled in 4 different locations in China. We had a fabulous time. I am sure this year's trip will be equally or more exciting. I hope this event can offer you great opportunity of seeing and painting in this exotic culturally rich country in an comfortable, safe, and enthusiastic atmosphere.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Bamboo and Tangerine" --- Sold

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I did this painting on my Austin mentoring class today. My student Kyle set up this composition. He is 15, but his paintings have been already accepted by a major gallery. I am so happy to see talented young people like Kyle interested in representational art. He is very passionate about painting. I am sure he will be very successful in the near future.

This painting is relatively high key. The bamboo is from my back yard, and the half of tangerine is in an irregular shape. I am testing how far I can go with this high key approach.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

"Flowers in Cary" --- Sold

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I stayed one additional day at Cary. A group artists got together and painted. I decided to do a high key floral. I have not done much of white flowers. So I gave it a try this time. I started to like more about my high key paintings. I studied more of Richard Schmid approaches. I think this is a good direction. I feel so grateful that nowadays we have so many great masters we can learn from. When I do low key paintings I follow David Leffel, while I do high key I follow Richard Schmid.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Demo at Cary 2015 3" --- Sold

This one is rather classical. I spent a long time developing the silver tea pot. I have enjoyed the details in this painting.

I am honored to have another magazine article about my workshop teaching published. It is showing at the Feb/March 2015 issue of the "Professional Artist" magazine. I want to thank Kathi Ferguson for writing this article.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Demo at Cary 2015 2"


I don't know what those flowers are called and have no idea how to paint them. But they are in my setup. Go ahead and do it. Putting emotion and self consciousness aside, I see the shape; I see the value, I see the color, and I see the texture, slow down, observe more, and paint less. One thing at a time....

Here is my second demo.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Demo at Cary 2015 1" --- Sold


I am traveling again. This painting is my first demonstration on the workshop at Cary, NC. I want to thank Waverly Artist Group and Monica Linares for organizing this workshop, thank Beth and Howard for their hospitality, and thank all workshop artists for attending.

I know pumpkin is off the season, but I can't resist the temptation for putting that piece of pure cadmium orange on the canvas. It was a lot of fun of painting this one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Dies Ranch" --- Sold

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There is a very old house not far from where I live. I did this plein air painting yesterday there. I must confess that I don't know how to paint trees. So it is what I got.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

"Elisabet Ney Museum" --- Sold

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This a couple of days in Austin, the weather is beautiful. I went to plein air painting yesterday, and this is what I did. The location is the Elisabet Ney Museum in Hyde Park, downtown Austin. This place is the former studio of the 19th century sculptor Elisabet Ney. I have not painted plein air often lately. I surely enjoyed painting there. I started around 3:30 PM, when it is close to the time I finish, the beautiful warm colors were showing on the limestone wall of this old building giving me so many color opportunities.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

"Vine Tomatoes"

I followed Richard Schmid's approach and did this painting. For a few years, I have tried many times painting high key, but for a long time I have not found the effects I really love. These a couple of days, I tried high key again and actuarially feel pretty good about this one.

Yesterday, I had an interview with American Art Collectors Magazine. In March I will have a show case at the Trailside Gallery in Scottsdale. I am working hard and trying to test the water of gallery presentation and high end collectors market. Having shown in galleries for quite a few years, I can't say I am satisfied with my performances there. Obviously the 40% and 50% gallery commission really put artists like me into a disadvantage situation. I am competing with many developed artists to get a share of that market. I have to price my paintings high, even myself can't afford them. In a nutshell, I must improve significantly to survive there. It is a totally different ball game than what I used to play before. So please watch my "reality show". If I fail, let it be. However just in case, I may have a chance.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Pavilion in Summer Palace (Day 6)"

Do you still remember this painting? I have mentioned that I was in the "mid painting crisis". So I put it aside and got busy of teaching my workshop at Austin. Now the workshop is over. I came back to it. I spent two more days following my intuition to improve it. I don't know if I have brought this painting to fruition, but I decided to call it done. I still have a lot of thinking about the issues with it, but somehow I found it so difficult to put more brush strokes on it.

The "mid painting crisis" makes me think about my entire art career. I am no longer feel that emotionally enthusiastic about my paintings like a few years ago. My friends, having followed my art for so long, you should feel tired of my dark background still life paintings by now. A style of painting is like a delicacy on the dinner table. No matter how delicious it maybe, if you eat too much of it or eat the same dish everyday, you will feel tired of it. My art has entered into a relatively quiet time. It is quite normal. There will be more time to think. Think as an ordinary human on how to make living, how to pay our debt, and how to make the family happy. I have chose this journey voluntarily. So I will keep on cultivating. Cultivating persistently, and do not think about harvesting too much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

“Demo in Austin 2015 4" --- Sold

My workshop in Austin was a 4-day one. On the last day, I went beyond the still life painting and did this landscape. This one was based on a photo I took from in China two years ago. My landscape or cityscape is still in the developing stage. So much I don't know but I need to know. I try my best of learning a little bit everyday. It may not sure much of progress in a short period of time, but for the long run, it will make a difference.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Demo in Austin 2015 3" --- Sold

The third demo deals with flowers. Flowers cannot be copied, and they do not have too much room for correction either if you make mistakes. You must slow down significantly, observe seriously, and place down your paint confidently. After the paint is on the canvas, leave it alone.

You might have noticed that my website has changed. The url (website address) is still the same, but the content has changed. I am still learning how to design and improving this website. If you have suggestions, please let me know.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"Demo at Austin 2015 2" --- Sold


This is my second demo, which I showed my step-by-step approach. Students followed me closely. This way of teaching has been proved to be very effective to pass on the information.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Demo in Austin 2015 1" --- Sold


My first workshop of the year started today. It is right at my door step. I want to thank Jane Frederick and my wife Song for putting this workshop together. As a matter of fact, this workshop feels like a family reunion. More than half the participants have taken my workshop before and come back multiple times. This gives me tremendous encouragement. I feel so happy to see that people really enjoy learning from me. Great thanks to all of you, new and old friends. This is the first demo. My brushwork gets more abstract. I hope this one give all of you excitement.

Monday, January 5, 2015

"Pavilion in Summer Palace" (Day 4)

Everybody have heard something called "mid life crisis", but has anybody heard about "mid painting crisis". The answer is No, because I just made it up. However, I am sure you have had this kind of feeling. When you do a new painting, especially a long term project and your experience of doing this  kind of painting is inadequate. You feel lost in the mid of the painting process. You have exhausted all your know-hows and have no clue what is next. This stage of the painting I call that "mid painting crisis". Now this painting is at this "crisis". I don't know what exactly I want to do, but the painting is obviously not done.

The "mid painting crisis" is the time to learn. It is the time to research. I will listen to what the painting wants to say. What my intuition wants me to do. I will compare my painting with other artists' work o see what is missing in mine. I will significantly slow down and preserve the good effect I have from going away. Do not take action blindly. The painting can go down hill very quickly.

It looks like I have to pause this painting for a few days because my workshop in Austin will start tomorrow. I will share my demos and come back to this project after the workshop.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Pavilion in Summer Palace" (Day 2)


In the second day, this painting has entered the color stage. I have the warm-light-cool-shadow situation. The colors were applied abstractly. My attention was on the design rather than giving the realistic presentation.

Painting keeps on going. However, all the necessary important issues keeps pile up too: finance is a mess, health is unchecked, the computer keeps on crashing, so many IT junk knowledges forced to be learned. Why life has to be so difficult and complicated? Recently I listened to this TED talk. I agree with the speaker. We are living in a very uncivilized era. But do we really have a choice? I am not sure.

"Pavilion in Summer Palace" (Day 1)


I started my first painting in 2015 on Jan 2. This is a 16" x 20", a landscape based on a photo I took two years ago in Beijing. This is the placement or drawing stage. I did my composition and value. The correctness of the perspective is crucially important.

I know many people are setting up their new year's resolution at this time. What is mine? To be honest to you, I don't have one. If you really insist that I must have one, I will say I will try to keep my painting discipline as long as I can. Living on this earth is very strange, There are more or more things get so important, so legetement(legal), so time consuming, and so complicated. They shout at me: Don't be stupid. You must take care of me first. Painting is not that important. It can always wait.

I choose ignoring all of those urgent calls. I will just paint, come xxxx or high water.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Heavy Metal"


This is the last painting of the year. It took me 3 days. I feel happy about this one. The abstract shapes in the lower left corner and the solid realistic presentation of the metal object have a good contrast and a smooth transition. My colors have be more on the light source colors instead of obvious object local colors. I want to submit this painting for the 2015 OPA National Show. So please wish me luck.

This year I have done 125 paintings, and taught 23 workshops. Recall the year that will pass in a few hours, I feel satisfied. 2014 has been a super busy and difficult year, full of challenges and frustrations. However, I did feel happy and rewarded, especially the support from all of you - my dear artist friends. At this special moment, I want to wish all of you a Very Happy New Year. I will see you in 2015.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"Brass Kettle" --- Sold

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Back home late at the Christmas night, I did this painting in the morning of 12/26.

Every time I came home from a trip, there always are overwhelmingly amount of chores waiting for me. (Sounds familiar?) I decided this time that painting is the absolute priority. I will paint without listening to phone messages, without open the mailbox, without checking emails, ..... even without any idea of what to paint, even without the desire of wanting to paint. Just throw any object in front and paint mechanically.

It sounds insane, but it is absolutely necessary. Our living environment has been deteriorating day by day. So many things have mercilessly hijacked our time, energy, and well being. We must take abnormal actions to make this short life meaningful.

You have got my message. Go to your studio and start to paint right now.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from Zion

Merry Christmas to all of you. I want to thank you so much for giving me so much support. I wish you happy and joy at this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Abstract Art by Nature

These a few days I have been wandering in multiple National Parks in Arizona and Utah. Besides in awe about the beauty of nature, I am pondering about art as well. As an representational artist, I have spent massive amount of time to achieve skills such that I can achieve the likeness of my subjects. As a matter of fact, the ability of achieving resemblance of the subject has been as a very small portion of skills of an developed artist. When I look at the giant mountains, interestingly shaped rocks, and fast moving waters, I was stunt by the extreme beauty which impact me so tremendously, it is not because this rocks resemble a face or an animal. It is simply the abstract beauty. 


This is a piece of rock formation at the Hidden Canyon in Zion National Park. I was so attracted by the patterns. As matter of fact, all I saw these several days are shapes, patterns, and textures. However, it is the beauty that really moved me. But why those patterns and shapes in those National Park moved me so much, but one piece of broken concrete in my back yard doesn’t. They are all patterns and shapes for sure, but what makes a pattern, a shape, a texture, a color beautiful is really the question we should ask. Abstract art can be beautiful, and can be ugly too. I believe that a good piece of art is not always necessarily need to resemble a real world subject, but it must be aesthetically appealing. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Double Arches

Song is doing her usual yoga exercise in an unusual place.