Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Blue Duet"

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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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Demo at St. Simons Island 2" --- Sold

I really like the silver thingy in my second demonstration. This demo is unusual. I didn't have any light objects. I didn't have much of high chroma colors either. The center of focus was developed by the texture of silver. The distribution of the colors is more from the reflections rather than using local colors. This may imply new directions. I felt excited.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Demo at St. Simons Island 1" --- Sold

At St. Simons, I started my 3rd Island workshop of the year. I want to thank Mary Anderson for putting this wonderful workshop together, and thanks to all the artists for joining and painting with me. My first demo was with complete black background. That gave me great contrast to show the white vase. I enjoyed this composition. My still life starts to show more texture variations. I am happy about that.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Demo at Jacksonville 2014_2" --- Sold

I have arrived at St. Simons Island, GA. Since my hotel room is not ready, I am sitting in a restaurant and have some time to kill. It is really quiet here. Beautiful golf course is right out of the window.

The painting for today is my second demo at Jacksonville. I like that blue thingy. The copper pipe adds on linear shapes making the geometric design of the painting rather interesting.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Demo at Jacksonville 2014_1" ---Sold

I am on my teaching trip again. This time is Jacksonville, FL. I want to thank Eileen Corse for putting this workshop together. Thanks to all the artists coming from all over for attending my class. This is my first demo. I am sorry the quality of the photo is poor. I took it in a hurry. Today is actuarially the last day of the workshop. I am on my way to Georgia tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 1"

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Thanks to all the friends who gave me suggestion on my recent cityscape project. I worked more on the first painting, mainly on the figures, using more knifes, and putting color accent. I described a little more on the buildings. I think I have fulfilled my objective: to imply the details but not render them realistically. I have struggled and learned a lot.

Now, I consider this painting is done. It is a serious piece of artwork. However, I want to market it myself first. If you are interested to own this painting, please contact me, ask questions, request a high res image, discuss about framing and display issues. I will be more than happy to help you.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 3 (Day 2)"

I worked on the 3rd painting today. Now all the three paintings are paused at this kind of intermedium stage. I need to do a lot of thinking at this moment. I am imagining myself as a chain smoker, sitting in front all these paintings, a cigarette after another cigarette, pondering what should be done next. I want to show "effects" not "details". In other words: details should be implied, not rendered. Should I stop now? but obviously this painting is not done. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 2 (Day 3)"

I have mentioned that I am doing 3 paintings together for my current project. I placed the first one on the back burner, which is my living room. I can see it often when I am not in my studio. The problems will pop up themselves if I display it in front of me long enough, the painting will nag me to fix its problems, then I will take action. Now I am working on the second painting. Its composition and color scheme is very similar to the first one. So painting the second one will help me to establish a systematic procedure to generate this kind of paintings (sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? It seems I am establishing a production line). If I say my first painting is R&D, my second painting is engineering. Please do not tell me that artists only used only the right brain. To be balanced is the key of doing anything well.

Monday, June 30, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 1 (Day 2)"

The second day went well. Now the painting look like this. I am not far from finishing it. On the foundation of yesterday's value design, I added more color. I put more designs on opacity and temperature. The warm and cool are very similar to what I did with the dual light source still lives before this project. In addition I want parts of the painting remain transparent and other parts I painted opaque. After establishing all those painting elements. I went further for more geometric design, which is balance of 2D shapes, lines, and dots. I did not add much details to make the painting more realistic. The only realistic part of the this painting is that I want to make sure the perspective is correct. That is it. Other part of the painting, I want to leave it to the viewers to figure out what is going on. I am not very sure what I should do tomorrow. Maybe enhance the color a little more.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"Wuzhen Street 1 (Day 1)"

This could have been an old news that my painting "Morning in Zhouzhuang" had won the "Impressionist Honorable Mention Award" from this year's Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition. I felt very fortunate and honored of receiving awards from last 3 consecutive years' OPA Nationals. I felt specially happy that I am no longer confined to the "still life" genre. I want to explore more on cityscapes, and figurative paintings. Today I have started three 12" x 16" paintings simultaneously. The image showing here is the value design of one of them. I am going to spend a few days working on these paintings. So please ride on and see how they go.

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Shining in Warm and Cool 2"

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I did another two-light-source painting. How we light the still life setup is a very important part of the design. It has happened so many times in my workshops during still life setting up time, students only pay attention on how to group objects together, but completely ignore how the illumination should be. This painting and the previous one are typical examples showing how the light becomes the major player of a still life painting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Shining in Warm and Cool"

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Back to Austin for three days, my art keeps on going. I did this painting yesterday as a demo for my Austin mentoring group showing how I paint metal. There were two light sources: one warm source from a halogen spot light on the right, and natural light from the left. I think I did the light distribution "correctly" on the pewter pot, but I can't explain why I did the light on the bottle "incorrectly". I used so called "artistic license" for that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Great Smoky Mountains"

After visiting Biltmore and Asheville, I followed the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It was an amazingly beautiful drive. On and off, I drove through the clouds. I felt so blessed traveling to such wonderful place.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


After my Waynesville workshop. I visited Asheville for a day. In this incredible place called "Biltmore" I saw six John Singer Sargent's portraits, one Andrew Zorn's painting, and many more great art works. I was so amazed by how the super rich live their lives. Facing to such unbelievable luxury, what do you think?

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Demo at Waynesville 3" --- Sold

The third demo was high key with vibrant colors. I love that green colored wine glass. It was made by hand, and it has a very asymmetric shape. Although my high key approaches are still in the experimental stage, but I understand a little better now.

My Waynesville workshop has come to the end now. I had a fantastic time in the Smoky Mountains. I specially want to thank Margaret and her lovely family for providing a very comfortable place to stay.  We had such a wonderful time together.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"Demo at Waynesville 2" --- Sold

Having not done completely black background painting for a while, I really enjoyed doing this demo. The flower in the back I painted very abstractly. I like the texture and color.

It is very cool in the Smoky Mountains. Temperature is around 70 F. It is second place I stayed having cool summers and relatively mild winters. The first one was San Francisco.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Demo at Waynesville 1" --- Sold

This is the first demo on my Waynesville workshop. I want to thank Margaret Roberts and Ann Todd for putting this workshop together. Thanks to all the Smoky Mountain artists for attending. I really enjoy the southern hospitality here. I enjoy the wonderful food everyday and beautiful cool summer in the woods. I feel I am very fortunate.

Monday, June 16, 2014

"Demo in Atlanta 3" --- Sold

This one is a little crazy. It is one of my experimental high key demos. The vibrant red orange colors make my heart beats faster. My hand wasn't steady, so I got some crazy edges. My high key painting has not formed a style yet. It will happen naturally. My job is simply keeping the experiment going.

My Atlanta workshop ended yesterday. Today I have driven to Waynesville NC.  I am now in the great Smoky Mountains. Another workshop starts tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

"Demo in Atlanta 2" --- Sold

As usual, I involve flowers in my second demo. Silver and glass are the objects I really enjoy painting as well. I didn't spent much time on the leaves. They are just whole bunch of abstract shapes.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"Demo in Atlanta 1" --- Sold

I am in Atlanta now. I want to thank Donna Thomas for organize my workshop here. Thanks to all the artists for coming and painting with me. This is the first demo.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

"Gold Apple on Blue" --- Sold

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I want to thank all the friends who commented my recent serious painting "Evening Tea". In that painting, I have pushed many envelops, but there are still many envelops I didn't push, or not push enough. One of them was color. Now I come back to the study of my high key color schemes. I mention to my students that high key is not my cup of tea. It is much easier for me to deal with value and do low key paintings. I have been aware of my weakness a long time ago, and have put a significant effort to understand color. My practice in high key is not very consistent, like a blind try to find my way. I hope my today's color scheme can touch you in a positive psychological way.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Evening Tea" --- Sold

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I think I have finished this painting project. I have changed the title to "Evening Tea", reminding me the time I was in my retreat. We had no dinners during that period of time. We only drank tea in the evenings. Tasting the subtle flavor of a simple cup of tea with a calmed mind, watching the cool breeze rattling the wild flowers under the warm dusk sun light. Everything was so peaceful and sensational.

This painting is one of my most involved ones. I have put utmost of my effort to push the limit. I know I am no Richard Schmid, nor David Leffel, but I have being trying my best to bring the quality as high as possible. It is very significant in my career in fine art. I want to hear your comments. Thank you for helping to grow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

“Color of Light" --- Sold

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Today is my Austin mentoring day again. I did this small one as the demo. I feel my sense of color is getting better, and more interested the colors on objects with no obvious local color. In other words, I am more interested in presenting the colors of lights. Similar to my demo last week. I have two light sources for this painting: a very strong artificial light producing very warm light, and a relative weak natural light giving me the cool. It is more dramatic of using colors to show white, and using darks to show light. Contradictory? but works.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

"My 2015 Workshop Schedule"

Time goes by pretty fast. A half of the year is almost gone. At this time I want to announce my 2015 workshop schedule. 2015 will be another very exciting year. I plan to travel many beautiful places such as: The Bahamas, San Miguel Mexico, Montreal Canada, Napa Valley California, Durango Colorado, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and many other exciting locations. If you are interested in my techniques of oil painting, please check the schedule or click the "Qiang's Workshops"widget on the right. I know many friends are trying to sign up my workshop for this year, but found out the workshop gets full so quickly, and the waiting list can be long as well. So in order to secure your seat, please contact the workshop organizers as soon as possible. At this moment, some of the workshops are not finalized yet. I will modify this schedule often such that it will be up to date. I am looking forward to meeting you and having several days great painting experience with you.

For both 2014 and 2015, I scheduled more than 20 workshops per year. The jobs of communication and coordinations with all the workshop organizers are tedious and time consuming. I feel very fortunate that I have a very kind and efficient helper: Jane Frederick. Jane has been managing my workshop activities since this January. She is very professional, quickly and effectively coordinates so many my art activities. I really want to thank her for the wonderful job she did. Without her help, I will be running around like a chicken with the head cut off. If you have communicate with her, please drop her an email to thank her. We all should give her a big applause.

Let's work together and create more good paintings.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Metal World (Day 3)"

First of all, I want to thank sooooo many friends wishing me happy birthday. Various kinds birthday cakes have overwhelmed my FB. Someday I will do a birthday cake painting. I should have more than enough reference photos. Thank you for making my life so sweet.

So far for how this painting goes, I think I have exhausted all I know about painting. Now I have entered my "pushing envelope" stage. Obviously, I will get more details on the white cup in the front and I will add more stuff in the foreground. The painting will naturally move into a more realistic look. That is not the direction I want to go. I want to keep the painting painterly, but offer more dramatic effects. Let's keep on going.

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Metal World (Day 2)"

When I was meditating in my retreat last week, I thought about my art. This a couple of years, I have been traveling, teaching, learning how to manage business, and trying to make ends meet. I did many small paintings and demoing significantly. The market is not bad, and my family and I are surviving in this tough world. However, what I really want to do is painting some serious paintings. I did some before, but they are sitting in the galleries and not moving. As a practical person, I concern about the market. Can I really afford to do this? On the other hand as a late starter and serious about progress, I should not be satisfied with a mediocre accomplishment. I need to aim higher. Even this kind of painting may not selling, but I  will learn significantly, and I will not regret what I did in this life. Just like this meditation retreat. I may meditate in my house for 1 or 2 hours. Why bother using 10 days very valuable time going through 10 hours of agony everyday? Now my experience has told me. the effort is very well deserved. I am entering a new dimension.

Yesterday, I started this serious painting project. This painting is 16" x 20". I will work on this one for several days. I want to push as many envelopes as possible, using utmost what I know, and explore whatever unknowns, and document my journey. If you have suggestions, please let me know. I appreciate greatly you help me to grow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Warm light cool shadow" --- Sold

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Coming out of Kaufman TX in heavy rain, I came back to the real (or the unreal, both are correct) world. I had a wonderful time of this 10 days Vipassana meditation course. It is way beyond my ability to describe what I have experienced in this retreat. In a nutshell, I will say it is not a religious ritual, even it is not a way to relax. To be more exact, it is an expedition and sightseeing. Like climbing a mountain, we worked really hard, but the scenery on the way was spectacular. 10 days is way too short for this trek. What I have seen was just the tip of an iceberg.  I realized there is another dimension of human life, and we do have the ability to live happily, peacefully and harmoniously. I will go back to do it again in the future for sure. Vipassana means "seeing things as they really are". Nowadays it is no longer a foreign word, It is getting so popular, so many people practice it, and it brings so much positive energy to the mankind.

I was so amazed how successful the meditation center is operating. There is not a trace of commercialism. The center was run by all volunteers and provides free lodging and food for hundreds of participants. No donation will be accepted if you have not participated at least one 10 days course. Coming out with so tremendous benefit from the course, everyone are more than willingly to support the center either financially or provide services. Everything worked so efficiently and no waist. I feel it is almost the Utopia I have been looking for.

Now I have restarted my regular life. Today is for my Austin mentor class. I did this small painting as a demo.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Demo at Lindale 2014 3" --- Sold

This is my favorite demo painting so far, and all the students thought the same way, right? I usually push the envelop a little when I do my third demo for my workshops. I told all the artists that I have used two days to establish my rules, but on the third day I show how all the rules are made to be broken. I enjoyed very much painting the old clock and Moroccan tea pot. The brush washing container and some of my paint tubes gave me more color sense.

I have come back to Austin now, but can only be home for a couple of days. I have a very significant event I will participate soon. This trip is not for my art of painting, but more importantly it will be for my art of living. From May 15 to 26, I will be meditate in an isolated place experiencing my life (and pondering about my death as well). I have been trying to getting into this kind of meditation a few times but failed due to many reasons. Now this time, I get in. Am ready for this serious and painful spiritual exercise? Of course not. But I have made up my mind.

This world is mainly driven by human desires (mainly greed and ego). We learn all the tricks trying to survive. Sometimes we are forced to carrying on wrong deeds, but we have no choice. We are not able to communicate the most important issues, like religion and politics, except preaching to the choir.  Because we think our way is right, and other ways are wrong. To avoid arguments, we must rely on a compromised way we called democracy to balance, or (in many cases) simply beat the hick out of others if we consider we are stronger, richer or more privileged....  I will ponder all of these issues in the dark for ten days, and hope coming back as a better person. I have to say I don't recommend my spiritual path to everybody. It is a private journey. I don't remember where I heard this poem:

If you want to get the plain truth,
Be not concerned with right and wrong.
The conflict between right and wrong
Is the sickness of the mind.