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

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Demo at Easton 3" --- Sold

For the third demo at Easton, I did not do a high key one. I feel I have some thinking to do about my high key approach. As a matter of fact, I have a lot of thinking to do in front of my entire art career. At the time you look at my art, I look at other people's art as well. I have found that making progress in art is so difficult. So many artists (including myself) keep painting the same thing. We like their works when we at the first place, but after we saw so many similar paintings, we start to get tire of them and stop following them, because we know they don't have any thing new to offer.

Why is it so hard to progress in art. There are several reasons. First of all, artists are human beings, they have their limitations. If we can do one or two things well in this short life, we should feel good about ourselves. Secondly, most of us are slaves of the all mighty dollar. We perform as puppets controlled by the market. I try my best to be mindful and live intensionally, but so many things are beyond my control. It sounds that I am complaining, but I am not. I am investigating and looking for potentials.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Demo at Easton 2" --- Sold

For the second demo I used that red Japanese lunch box. With the orange red rose and orange warm grey back ground, the painting has a warm tone. I use to emphasize that the contrast is the key consideration to make an interesting painting, but recently I pay more attention on unification and harmony.

I am back to Austin now. The Oregon + Maryland trip was enjoyable. Now I need several days to recover my "Qi" (or energy). I really wish I will sit around and do nothing for a few days. Who knows if that is possible. Last night's full moon was so beautiful. I was pondering "unification" again. It was amazing. It doesn't matter where I am, west coast, east coast, or in Texas, the moon looks the same. Perfect, and bright, shared by the whole world.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Demo at Easton 1" --- Sold

I am at Easton Maryland now. Today is the second day of my Easton workshop. I want to thank Easton Studio and School for organizing this workshop, and thank artists from all over for joining me and painting. This is very artistic town. I have heard Easton many years ago about the well know Plein Air Easton event. I am so happy to be here. This is my first demo.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Demo at Springfield 3" --- Sold

This is the third demo. Now it gets more routine this third one is high key. However, I still feel my high key has not reached the level I want. I show my struggle right in front of my students. As a matter of fact, it is good. people see more genuinely how I paint. I made many mistakes and I try my best to solve problems.

Yesterday, Song and I flew 5 hours and arrived at Washington DC. Life is so surreal. At BWI, the rental car guy was very nice to me. He gave me a car with all kinds of advanced features. But I got so overwhelm of learning all the technology at the midnight, and not able to make the navigation system in the car to work. So I decided to use the GPS on my phone. In order to make the sound louder I tried to connect the phone speaker to the car via an auxiliary cable, but I could not find the jack to plug in. I ask the rental car guy. He told me there is no jack, but use my blue tooth to connect. I hesitated, I told him all my teeth are white, I don't have a blue one.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Demo at Springfield 2" --- Sold

This is the second demo painting. I enjoy specifically painting the brass goblet. Every place I go, I always found some interesting objects I never painted before. There is excitement and risk.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Demo at Springfield 1" --- Sold

I don't know why so many cities in America are called Springfield, but I have arrived at THE Springfield of America. If you watch the "Simpsons" on TV (I think all the Americans do), you will know where I am now. Springfield Oregon is the home of the Simpsons. I am so glad I am here and teaching a workshop. I want to thank the Emerald Art Center for organizing this workshop for me. I want to thank all the artists who attend my workshop. This is my first demo painting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Daily Painters Re-Union

I have arrived at Eugene Oregon yesterday. I am so happy visiting Carol and David Marine at their lovely home. To most of the friends who read my blog, this lovely couple shouldn't be strangers. As a matter of fact they are quite famous in the daily painting world. Carol is one of the most well-known  daily painters. She is very successful as an artist and teacher. Recalling seven year ago, Carol introduced me into daily painting, which marks as my starting point of my art career. David is the founder of the reputable online platform: Daily Paintworks. Now this website has been serving the daily painters' community as the most effective marketing and learning tools. Time goes by so fast, and big changes have happened in our lives. I am so happy to see Carol and David are doing well. They have set up they legendary role models for us daily painters.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Demo at Cloudcroft 3" --- Sold

This is the third demo, high key with flowers. I am keeping explore my high key approaches, and hope eventually I will get more control on it.

I have to admit that this workshop was one of the difficult ones. All the outside conditions were excellent. I had a group wonderful artists, and logistics were good. The issues were within me. Due to my busy schedule, I feel my physical and mental well being are out of balance. During the workshop I felt very tired with a strong headache. I coped with my issues with my meditation practice, but I felt I need more strength to face more challenges. I might have started to feel "burnt out". I am very grateful that one of the artists in the class, Carman, who helps me to straighten up my diet and get more energy back. We are human. We need to have the skills to take care of ourselves. I will do, and you do too.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Demo at Cloudcroft 2" --- Sold

This is the 2nd demo. I like the fresh pamagranit (spelling? I am amazed the blogger spelling checker is not capable to correct this simple spelling error for me. I am even more amazed that my English is still so inadequate to write a simply blog post like this.), and the silver incense burner. I converted the cup holding the flowers from a coffee mug. That was an interesting process.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Demo at Cloudcroft 1" --- Sold

I am 9000 ft above sea level. This is my first demo at Cloudcroft, New Mexico. I want to thank Cloudcroft Artist Workshops for organizing my workshop. Thanks to all artists for coming and painting with me.

As a reminder, I will go to Springfield, Oregon to teach another workshop after Cloudcroft. We still have several openings. If you are interested in attending, Please contact Emerald Art Center for information.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

“Purple and Green" --- Sold

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I did this demo on my Austin mentor class. Purple and Green are too super important colors for painting. I am doing a significant amount of research on them.

I have been enjoying my longest stay at home. I did a few serious paintings, and progressed quite a bit in understanding and exploration. It looks this period of quiet time comes to the end pretty soon. Next week I will start another phase of my workshop teaching.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Sugar Bowl and Charcoal Thingy"

I did another gallery level still life painting. I am happy I have been able to finish this one in two days. This is my usual low key approach, and the composition is also kind of standard. In other words, I am back to my comfort zone. I like the brass object. I have painted it many times, but is the first time I painted it from this angle. I know it is used for doing something with charcoal, but I have forgot what it is called.  It was a quite enjoyment of painting the detail on it, the porcelain handle, the rivets, and so on. The most difficult part of this project is still the leaves.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Three Quarters of an Orange"

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This is a demo to my mentoring class. It is a difficult color scheme, but it is a good experiment. I am curious about what kind of psychological effect of viewing a large area of alizarin crimson. Somehow I feel dark purple in painting is always difficult, but I tried anyway. If you don't try, you will never know.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Vase and Bamboo"

Recently, I reviewed my still life paintings. I found that most of my work were either small daily studies or demos on my workshops. I have not done enough larger and more serious paintings. I also noticed that I painted either very quick, finish a painting in a few hours, or I have to do one in 4 or 5 days. Now I start to realize that doing serious gallery level paintings is totally different ball game than doing quick studies. In other words, doing small daily paintings does not help much to the larger and serious paintings. That is why I have to spend quite a few days to finish a larger painting, because I don't have enough skill and knowledge for doing large paintings. I will exhaust all I know about painting in a few hours, then I have to do a lot of research after that, so it automatically prolong significantly the painting process. My today's painting took me 4 days. It will be sent the InSight Gallery for the Fall Show. Perhaps this is my very first serious high key still life painting.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

"The Blue Vase" --- Sold

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This blue vase, well it should be called the vase with blue to be more accurate, has found me in an antique store on Amelia Island, FL. I immediately know it will be in many of my paintings in the future. So this is the first one.

After painting cityscape and seascape for several days, I felt I start to lose control. I want to back off a little. So today I returned to still life. I want to practice more on my high key approach so I can feel more comfortable with it.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

“A Small Boat" --- Sold

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I feel I am a small boat, very happy in a small river. I thought I know quite a bit, until I reached the sea.

My art experiments expand. Painting the old streets for a while, I feel I want to get some fresh air. So here I am. Thanks to Dianne, one of the artists in my mentoring class, for telling me about the "Paint My Photo" website, where you can get reference photos to paint without worrying about the copy right issue. I want to thank the photographer for posting this photo for artist to use. I have not painted many boats before. So I feel inexperienced. But I like the color scheme. I have moved quite far from my usual low key still life paintings. I might have lost my identity or style. Should I concern about it? Who am I anyway?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 3"

Now all my three "Wuzhen Street" paintings are done. This is the final look of the 3rd one. I like this one the best. I have gone through significant research and experiment in this painting project. I enjoyed this learning process.

Thank you again for all your support to my art. About the issue of how to market my serious paintings, I will let it go and not worry about it. I may send it to galleries, or sell them myself. My collector friends are more than welcome to contact me. If you are in Austin area, I can show my paintings to you. On my art journey, I will keep going and sharing.

Monday, July 28, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 3 (Day 3)"

My journey keeps on going. Thanks to all the artist friends for cheering me up after my yesterday's post. I really need it. The road is getting more treacherous. I often feel lost. So your help is right on time. I appreciate a lot.

I pull my 3rd Wuzhen painting out of the back burner. This image shows how much "damage" I did on it today. As matter of fact, nothing is whimsical or arbitrary here. I planned all the accidents. If you squint on the painting, you will see what I am trying to say. Due to my clumsiness, My statements are not clear, but I feel I am in the right direction.

As a daily painter for so many years. I have reached to a point that I need to do some serious thinking. I hope all the daily painters, especially the developed ones, should think as well. Should we just do small paintings, sell them online, and feel satisfied? Daily painting is a fantastic way for beginning artists to make his/her art activities more meaningful. However, what we should do next? I feel the risk of my recent activities. I am experimenting larger format work, exploring and practice a lot. It is be a long while before I can reach the next level. The market for what I am doing could be very slim, and I may not able to generate as many small paintings as I did before. Currently, I teach many workshops to make ends meet, so I take all opportunities I have to experiment and grow. This must the life supposed to be. I will "stay hungry, and stay foolish".

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 2"

This painting I consider it is done. I can not say I really like it, but I have put all effort into it. I don't mind showing my vulnerability to you. I must say I have learned more this time. Growing is more important than just getting a good painting.

I admire many people who have the courage to challenge themselves by taking difficult treks. Yesterday I watched a movie about a young man traveled to Lhasa, Tibet by bicycle. At the starting point, he gets applauds from others for his unusual decision and his courage. Gradually, he entered his journey, and faced all kinds of difficulties alone. It is his strong determination keeps him going.

As a late started amateur painter. I have decided to give this new career a try. I really appreciate many friends supporting me, and I am lucky and have progressed quite a bit. Now I feel I have entered more difficult period of development. My usual painting style has been out there for a while. Naturally, the exciting level is going down. Now, making my art grow is a rather challenging task. You will see more my not-very-developped paintings. My market will go down. Just like that lonely biker on the treacherous mountain road. His bike is no longer shining, his jacket is no longer clean, and his face is dirty and full of scars.  I am not sure where he gets his courage, and neither about mine. Only thing I know is keep going.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 2 (Day 4)"

Last month, I started 3 cityscape paintings based on the photos I took in China. I finished one of them and learned a lot, and left the other two on the back burner. This a couple of days I worked on the 2nd painting. This is what I have got so far. I worked on the color harmony mainly. I found that purple grey and green grey can not co-exist on the same painting. If they do, one of the greys will look dirty. I apply this new "home made" principle to this painting. I feel it works pretty well.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Blue Duet" --- Sold

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Back to Austin now. I did this painting with my Austin mentoring group. I feel my high key art is getting more stabilized. I started to understand why some of my old high key painting didn't work well. I have document my feeling into so called "principles" to guide my future practice and share them in my teachings. For instance: Cool colors work better with high key paintings, while warm colors work better with low key paintings. This kind of "home made principles" help me coming out the blind "just do it" or pure intuitive approaches to art. They also made it easier to share with other artists. To make a joke: In science, when someone made a significant discovery, people put his/her name with the discovered effect, such as Omh's Law and Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Why shouldn't I called my understanding the "Huang's principle". Ha Ha. I am just kidding. Art is different from Science. In science, people try not to "reinvent the wheel". However in art, every artist have to invent his/her wheel themselves.

Monday, July 21, 2014


After the workshop, I went to Savannah, GA. I really like this old city. There are so many old houses. It is wonderful place for cityscape paintings. The movie "Forest Gump" was shot here. I really like that movie. "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get". It is so true.

Friday, July 18, 2014

“Demo at St. Simons Island 3" --- Sold

Now the workshop at St. Simons is over. This is my 3rd demo on the last day. I felt a little more in control on my high key paintings. I minimized the value range. You can see I hardly have any very dark part on this painting. In this way,  color presentation captures more attention.