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

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

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.