Friday, November 21, 2014

“Yellow Rose in Blue Vase"


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You can see I am practicing the design of my brush work. This is the third painting in this series. Painterly painting style does not happen accidentally. It requires a thoughtful process. I am still in the early stage of my style design. I heard comments like this: so and so's painting is too stylish. It has a feeling of some degree of negativeness in it. It sounds like the painting is developed by following a formula. Personally, I am not against using formulas. When I was doing my scientific research work, I used mathematic formulas all the time. The same principle applies to art as well. However, the issue is how many formulas do you have? If you only have one or two, that is problematic. Moreover, if your formula was not derived by you, in other words, you don't know why but just simply follow the steps, then the painting will be boring. So my "two cents" is: 1). painting from life, 2). summarize your own formulas, and 3). cumulate formulas as many as you can.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Shower in Cool Light"

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Am I getting crazier? Am I going too far? Please let me know. I felt pretty good about this painting. Finally I gained some freedom in relatively large paintings. This one is 11" x 14". Painting loose, but can not be sloppy. All the perspective, symmetry, and value need to be correct. Don't you agree?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Yellow Chrysanthemums"

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This is my dream direction: I want to paint loose on my large paintings. This one is 12" x 12". If I don't tell you, don't you think it is as loose as one of my small 6" x 6" paintings. This painting is not perfect. It is an experiment, but it does have some of the effects I have been trying to obtain for a long time. To be honest with you. I did not feel confidence when I paint this one. I have to concentrate on the aesthetic designs while to place adequate amount of realistic information to make it representational. It is a balance between the abstract design and convincing realistically.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nancy Tankersley Workshop Announcement

Besides painting and teaching, I feel I have another mission to accomplish. That is to bring top-notch artists come to Austin to share their art and techniques. This painting was done by my friend Nancy Tankersley. I really like her impressionistic figurative work. I am very excited to announce that Nancy will come to Austin in March 2015 and teach a painting workshop entitled "Keeping it Fresh - Painting Figures from Photos". If you are interested in learning Nancy dramatic way of painting, please check: Nancy Tankersley workshop in Austin for detailed information and sign up.

You will notice as well that I have a new website. I want to thank Jane Frederick tremendously for developing and managing this new site for me. My old website is still working as well, but eventually my two websites will merge.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"Still life with four objects"

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I am sorry I give such a lousy title to this painting. I feel I am not sophisticated enough to handle "Zen of something" type of topic. So I start to push my understanding of "Grey" into the background and introduce a few more recognizable colors into this painting. This painting was started as a demo for my Austin mentoring class, then I added a few more things after that. I intend to come out of my grey study for a while and shift the gear to "modeling". How to balance between detail and looseness in the modeling stage is another very important field I want to spend some time on.

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Calm Down in Chaos"

I don't know how genuine this image showing the painting. It is the worst time taking the photo (3 or 4 days after the painting started). I have so much glare, no matter what to do I can not avoid it. Anyhow it kind of matches the title I give to this painting.

Today I have something I feel exciting to share with you: Trailside Galleries has contacted me, and my paintings will be shown in Scottsdale, AZ and Jackson, WY. This is another high prestige gallery after InSight Gallery represents my work.

I have spent two days on the painting showing today. I want to keep it painterly as much as possible. It is also another grey dominant work. I don't have enough experience of painting larger paintings. so I will keep working.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

“Demo at Lafayette 2014 3" --- Sold

This is the third demo at Lafayette. My flower painting gets more abstract now. If you zero into any individual roses. you will see they are just several abstract shapes. They don't look like roses at all. My crazy mind starts tickling. Maybe one day in the future, I will paint roses blue and my art has turned into something completely strange and bizarre (but price tag shows a few Ms). Then you may say: "This guy used to know how to paint, I have seen his earlier paintings before". Just kidding.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Blue Dog Phenomina


In the evening of the last day of my Lafayette workshop, a group of artist friends and me went dinner at a very famous restaurant in town --- The Blue Dog Cafe. It is a very "artsy" place showing the "Blue Dog" paintings of the famous artist: George Rodrigue. I saw the blue dog painting before. They are ubiquitously distributed on art magazines. Surrounded by various colors of "blue" dogs on the wall, I was pondering about modern art. The friend sitting next to me said: "George Rodrigue did know how to paint, You can see that from his early works". I think I heard similar argument about Picasso's works as well.

Artists can do whatever they want to do, and collectors can buy whatever piece of art they want to buy. However, the question is what is people's taste about art. This "taste" will determine which artist will be successful or starving. Picasso and Rodrigue are phenomenal artists, and our taste has determined that the art world goes to dogs.

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Demo at Lafayette 2014 2" --- Sold

I felt really good about my second demo at the Lafayette workshop. Similar to my "Zen of Grey" painting series, this painting has not much of high chroma colors, but the subtle color change in grey makes the painting have strong feeling of light. I use the metallic objects to demonstrate the way to manipulate the high lights and show the metal texture. This painting shows how effective of using opacity vs. transparency to achieve the light effect.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Demo at Lafayette 2014 1" --- Sold

After a very problematic trip, I have arrived at Lafayette, LA. My workshop here started yesterday, and this is my demo painting number 1. I want to thank Lafayette Art Association for organizing, and all the artists from Louisiana and Texas for coming. The blue pot in my demo is an art work of another artist displaying in gallery here at LAA. It gave me a great opportunity of using pthalo blue. I am in the cajun country now, looking forward to some great cajun food.

Friday, October 31, 2014

"Demo at Falmouth 2014 3" --- Sold

This morning, I have arrived at the Logan International Airport really earlier, got on the plane to Houston, then to Lafayette, LA. Before the plane took off, the pilot found an engine problem. We have to turned around, back to the gate, and deplaned. Now I have several hours waiting for the new plan.

This is my third demo on the Falmouth workshop. Besides the rose, I placed a few New England Fall foliage into the setup. After I moved to the South, I have been longed for the beautiful Fall time in the North. Now after I became a full time artist and teacher, I feel very fortunate that I have opportunities to come to New England every full to see the beautiful colors.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Demo at Falmouth 2014 1" --- Sold

Another phase of workshop teaching has started. This is the first demo I did at Falmouth in Cape Cod, MA. I want to thank the Falmouth Artists Guild for organizing this workshop, and thank all the New England artists who are attending this workshop. This is a very typical demo: a dark bottle, a shinning pot, and colorful fruit.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Visiting Adelaide Cummings

We have arrived at Cape Cod this afternoon. We visited our friend Adelaide Cummings at West Falmouth. Adelaide is a legendary lady. She has just turned 100 years young in June. She wears a special pendent, which is her Olympic gold medal. She is winner of 4 Olympic gold medals in Tennis. Now she is also a very well known poet, and still writing every day. We met Adelaide the first time at Hope Town, the Bahamas in February. She was our next door neighbor at the hotel we stayed. Her story inspired me tremendously. She spends a part of the year in Bahamas, and the rest of year at her home in West Falmouth. I am so happy seeing her again here. Now I want share a verse of her poem with all of you:

Centenary

Folks are prone to blink, then rue,
What they think an aging mind can't do.
So, here are facts they need to heed...
We still read, enjoy a drink,
Rarely think we're on the brink,
Seldom call on help from shrink,
So to brush us off is oh so sad.
It's true we don't pursue each fad,
But we still have the brains we had!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Zen of Grey 2" --- Sold

I have abandoned the painting project I posted previously. I felt it went to the wrong direction, well I mean the direction I don't want to go. First of all it started using "good" colors on the cup to capture attention, but I intended to let the grey to tell the story mainly. Secondly, It gets into too much details so the painting turned into a long term project.

This painting is larger (12" x 12"). I managed to finish it in one session. To prevent me going the "wrong" direction like my previous painting, I gave myself a few rules: 1. do not remove my glasses during painting, by which I must stay quite far from the painting to see clearly; 2. use only large brushes (half in to 2 in wide). I really want my large paintings have a similar look of my small (6" x 6") daily paintings. This one is sort of on track.

The most important for this project is let the grey tell the story, not the "good" colors. Grey colors are very delicate colors. You can not be sloppy with it. We all know the absolution neutral grey is the center of the color wheel. It likes the bull's eye on a target. Can you get it casually? In Texas, there are many good shooters. They work hard to control their guns and get the bull's eyes. For artist, grey is difficult to mix. If you are not careful enough, you will make mud. In other words: mud is an insensitive (or uncontrolled) grey. So, Improving "grey sensitivity" is a serious homework we all need to do.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Zen of Grey" (Day 2)

I need to prepare a few small still life paintings for a gallery show in December. However, my mind is a complete blank. I started anyway. Beijing has taught me a lesson about the color grey. So I did this painting still working on my grey. This is very difficult project. I even has no confident it is going to make it. Definitely it will not go the gallery this December. However, my grey is progressing.

I like the word "Zen". Its meaning is loud and clear, but it is unspeakable. Just like grey. I hope my grey will have a "Zen" quality soon.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Beijing Hutong 2014 9"

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This is the last painting I did in Beijing, and it is another plein air one. A couple of days before I left Beijing, I went to plein air painting with a new friend: Kuang Han. Han (is his first name, the Chinese always put their last name first) is a very well known pencil drawing artist in Beijing. However, he may not be known enough in the Western world. I don't need to say too much about him, please check Kuang Han's Art, you will know.

I have been home for a few days now. Due to the jet-lag, I have not started any serious painting project. However, I have been thinking a lot on what I have been doing. It is getting clearer and clearer that my art career has entered a relatively quiet phase. It feels like a novice sailor coming out of the busy harbor now. In front of me is the vast ocean, endless and exciting, but some sort lonely. For a few years I have touch_based a few areas in art. I felt quite frequently that I am either just see "the tip of an iceberg" or  "open a can of worms". Now the icebergs are getting bigger, and the worms are crawling all over (Man! what a mental picture I am painting). Well, we have no choice. Let's keep going. Maybe slow, and  maybe disoriented, but keep going, since we are determined.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Zai-Jian Beijing"

Zai-Jiang means Goodbye in Chinese. I have left Beijing and back to Austin. My painting email newsletter should be back to normal now. I will continue painting more cityscapes, and hope this new endeavor can bring you more flavor of my art. I took more photos like this one serving as wonderful references for my future paintings.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Beijing Hutong 2014 - 8 SOLD!


Yesterday, I went plein air painting with a group of local artist friends. I did this sketch as a demonstration. I have quite a few artist friends here in Beijing. Every time I come here. I like to get together with them. We went to this place called “the Orchard”. It is very beautiful. It was so enjoyable painting with old friends. For purchase information click here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Beijing Hutong 2014 - 7 --- Sold


This painting took me several days. I really worked on the grey, making sure the temperature change and color harmony are as correct as possible. I was very careful to avoid any arbitrary colors on this painting. This is very analytical painting, rather tiresome. Painting grey but not dirty is so difficult. Fortunately, it is still doable. Click here for purchase information.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Beijing Hutong 2014 - 6 SOLD!


I feel good about this painting because it goes to a good direction. Too many artists, me included, if we see part of the painting having issues, we usually fix them by adding details. When the painting is getting more realistic, we think the painting has progressed. This approach works but it usually ends up to a tight painting, not that exciting and dramatic. I am glad this one did not go that way. I have large areas on the painting remaining abstract, especially the knife work on the lower right corner. For purchase information click here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Beijing Hutong 2014 - 5 SOLD!


In the Hutongs, I saw so many clothes lines. They are the major color contributions on the top of the grey. I like this one. Under the yellow afternoon sun. I have the situation of warm light, cool shadow. I tried my best to mix clean grey colors. I feel the color scheme of this painting works OK. For purchase information click here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Beijing Hutong 2014 - 4

I modified my grey. I feel the result is better than my previous one. Grey color is so tricky. If you are not careful it turns into mud in no time. Click here to purchase.

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Many Years Ago, There Was A..."

I have been to Beijing for about two weeks now. Almost everyday, I walked around the inner city capturing the glimpse of local people’s life. This one was shot in one of the Hutongs. The tour-guide on the tricycle is describing what was going on many years ago in this area. I may do a painting based on this photo in the future. I like the back light given a rich red glow on the tricycle. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Beijing Hutong 2014 - 3



Grey is the color of Beijing. This is great opportunity for me. Although I have already spent quite a bit of time working on my greys, I am still not able to handle it in a controlled manner. Well, I have no choice, but keep going and keep learning. Click here to purchase.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beijing Hutong 2014 - 2


I did achieved color harmony on my previous painting. However, I did not feel very comfortable about the warm tone for the cityscape in China. Today I have tried used much cooler tone. I used very few colors for today’s painting: ultramarine blue, transparent oxide red, and white, plus a touch of pthalo blue and red for the color  accents. I like the cooler tone much better. Click here to purchase.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beijing Hutong 2014 - 1 (day one)


I started painting again. The conditions here are not ideal, but I can’t wait. This one is from a photo I took a couple of days ago. I used this almost monochromatic approach to achieve the color harmony. I don’t think it is finished, but I have to wait until the painting is dry to the touch to continue. Since I am using a medium I am not used to, there is a learning curve to cross.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Beijing Hutong 1


In Beijing, the old historical districts are called Hutongs. Many small houses and courtyards were clustered together along narrow alleys. I was born in one of those Hutongs. So yesterday I went to my birthplace. The courtyard was long gone, but the Hutongs where I spent my childhood are still there. The place was chaotic. So much construction going on. Old houses are disappearing, replaced by ugly modern structures. I passed this courtyard with a heavily decorated gate. A group of local people are chatting. They seem pretty happy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Early Autumn in China



It feels like a blink. I am now standing on the streets of Beijing. This year I was not successful  in bringing a group artists  to China to paint. However, I still made it myself. After more than thirteen hours of flight I arrived in Beijing yesterday afternoon. Due the jet lag, I got up very early this morning. The weather is so great here. The cool breeze of early autumn feels so wonderful.

China is like a painting which has had too much color put on it randomly. Parts of it are so dramatic, and other parts the colors are getting muddy. Every time I come here, I always feel so excited, and so shocked as well. The modern looking buildings in this photo are actually an electronics flea market where I just bought a 3G data card so I can hook my my Macbook air to the Internet. The place I am staying has no WiFi. This is the only way I can talk to you. I will be in China for a month, and I will keep you posted about what I see and what I do. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Richard Schmid 80 Years Birthday

If you ask me who is the best artist I consider. I will say Richard Schmid. I admire many artists, some are good at painting still lives, some are good figures, and some are good landscapes. However, if you ask who is good at everything. I will say Richard Schmid. I am very fortunate for painting with Richard a few times. They were very great and very informative. They have strong impact on my art. I am relatively a late starter in art, but study with Richard Schmid has significantly accelerated my progress.

Richard Schmid will be 80 years young in this October. Please join me and friends all over to celebrate his Birthday by participating the Global Birthday Card Party for Richard by the Village of Arts at Putney.

Thank you