Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Demo at Cary 2015 1"

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"

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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"

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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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Demo at Sedona 2014 2" --- Sold

This is my 2nd demo painting at Sedona.

After the workshop, my family and I are taking a vocation. We have visited the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and we have just arrived at Moab, UT.

Monday, December 15, 2014

"Demo at Sedona 2014 1" --- Sold

Time goes by so fast. I came to Sedona teaching a workshop. Today the workshop is already over. I want to thank Sedona Arts Center of organizing another successful workshop for me, and thanks to all the attending artists from Arizona, California, Colorado, Columbia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan,  and Montana. I don't know I have missed anybody from other States. This is my first demo painting. Please enjoy.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I did two paintings between my workshop teaching trips in December. This is one of them. When the time is fragmented, and too much going on. Very often painting will be the first event to be sacrificed. But now I must try all my might to paint, even though I don't have time to do it. So I did it.

I have arrived at Sedona. I will share with you my demos soon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Peony - Demo at San Antonio 3" --- Sold

I have not painted peony until this one. I confronted my challenge in front of a group of enthusiastic artists. These flowers were overwhelmingly complicated. I wasn't very confident I could do it. The result wasn't bad. I kept reminding myself: I am not painting flowers. I am painting shapes and forms, lights and shadows.

Now I have enough galleries willing to show my work. While I was feel happy, I feel more worried. I have promised too much more than I can possibly deliver. Oh! boy, what should I do now? Like an Ostrich, I bury my head in the sand.

Monday, December 8, 2014

"Demo at San Antonio 2014 2" --- Sold

This is my second demonstration at Coppini.

I have another news to share with all of you: the Greenhouse Gallery in San Antonio has accepted my art and wants to show my paintings. I am honored and feel very fortunate to be represented by three nationally very well known galleries: InSight Gallery, Trailside Galleries, and Greenhouse Gallery. At the meantime I am humbled. I know the status of my art. So many further developments are needed. I need to work even harder to learn, to progress, to paint better.

Friday, December 5, 2014

"Demo at San Antonio 2014 1"

This is my demo number one at my San Antonio workshop. I want to thank Coppini Academy of Fine Arts for organizing this workshop, and thanks to all the artists who are attending this workshop.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Pewter and Brass

The experiment keeps on going.
The journey is far, the time is running out, I am slow moving.
I know I shouldn't be so ambitious, because I know so well that greed causes suffering.
However as a human, I am not wise enough, like a moth, light craving.

Friday, November 28, 2014

"White Cup with Blue Stripes"

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I did this painting last week. There are too much things going on so I did not get a chance to post it timely. It seems my daily painting practice has moved to a new phase. I have not done any 6" x 6" for several months now, and my comfortability level in dealing with relatively large painting surfaces is increasing steadily. Showing painterly effects on larger canvases is my effort now, and this effort will continue for a while. The visual impact of a larger painting is significantly stronger than that of a small painting, so now I am a more serious painter than before.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My 2015 Painting Calendar

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Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. My 2015 painting calendar is ready. Please preview the images and purchase

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" --- Sold

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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.