Saturday, April 19, 2014

“Blue Bonnet 2014"

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The blue bonnet season is coming to the end this year in Texas.  I did this painting with my residue momentum of my high key exploration. I will pause of my small painting exercise and go to Seattle for a week. So this painting may be my last glimpse of this beautiful flower for 2014. However, something ends implies something new will happen. I am looking forward the special beauty in the spring of the Washington State. Now I start to realize the significance of knowing that everything will reach its end eventually. We tend to hold on what we have and feel sad when we reach to the end or death. However, the truth is that this ending feeling is the biggest illusion. We all have an eternal life, here now and forever. Ending is always the beginning. I will see new flowers, they are different, but equally beautiful.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Bright Texas Light"

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I am glad the tax time is over. I have been glued on Turbo Tax solidly for about a week and categorized every dollar I have spent. I really want to thank Tricia Butler for guiding me through the whole process. I can't believe I have dealt with more than five thousand transactions and money went in, out, and between among more than 18 financial accounts. I know all of you have to deal with the same thing and I have no place to brag how much I have achieved in the field of accounting. You know I rather spend more time painting, but without know the art of living, I don't think I can survive.

I have to step on the brakes for my high key experiment now. Very soon, I will travel again. I did this 9x12 today, partially as a demo to my Austin mentor group. After the class, I have added more stuff in the setup. So far I can't say I like high key better than my usual low key approach, but this experiment is not bad. However, it is definitely incomplete. My understanding about color is still very fuzzy. I will continue for sure when I get another chance in the future.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Color of Easter"


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Easter is the time I see so many pastel colors. It is suitable to my recent high key painting experiments very well. I used purple background this time. I thought I was making a purplish gray. According to my CSA, the background color only has a chroma value at 33 (100 means pure color), but somehow the background looks too colorful purple to me, and the photo show it even more colorful. I don't know why. I will work more to achieve a better understanding.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Tulips in Spring" --- Sold

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My friend Jane brought me some tulips. The colors are so beautiful. I don't remember I painted tulips before. Now you have it.

For my recent high key paintings. I really pay attention to the background colors I use. They are colored grays. I am experimenting on how to enhance the colors in the center of focus by using different gray backgrounds.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Apple and bottles" --- Sold

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The song I mentioned in my previous blog was "Demons" by Imagine Dragon. My son Jonathan introduced this song to me. In terms of music, Jonathan and I have no generation gap.

I continue exploring the high key approach.




Monday, April 7, 2014

"Blue Purple and Red" --- Sold

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Putting blue and red together is not a best color combination. Then why did I still do that? To be honest with you, I really don't know at this moment. I always think myself is a rational person, but recently I am not really consistent. Well, it is not true either. These two colors are showing strongly in my emotion lately. Recently, my mood is kind of sad and in rage. I can't explain. I disguise my true self when I face the world. It must be a coincidence, but I heard this lyric: I wanna hide the truth. I wanna shelter you. But with the beast inside, there's nowhere we can hide ....... Now I hear this song all over the places. We really need to think: What is happening, and why?

Friday, April 4, 2014

"Cool Feeling" --- Sold

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I have got more feeling about high key paintings. It looks like I have stepped into an exciting field. It gives me more opportunities of showing colors.

My friend, are you doing your taxes? I am doing mine. Oh boy, I thought I want to live a simple life, but somehow life is getting more and more complicated. Be careful, be mindful, and take it easy (even it is not easy).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Morning Fresh" --- Sold

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I confess that I was obsessed in software developing. Thanks to some of you for introducing me to a few online tools and apps. My CSA tool has improved a little, but it still need much more development before it becomes user-friendly.

The reason I was into color scheme analysis is that I am dealing with more color designs more with my high key approach. I like the color scheme in my today painting, but I have hard time to explain to you. I have not grabbed the tangible rules of color aesthetics, but I do believe there exist such rules and I will get them eventually. When I was in LA talking with Jeremy Lipking, We discussed Denis Dutton and his thinking about aesthetics. It is possible to understand beauty in a more scientific manner.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Color Scheme Analysis"

In order to improve my art. I can not rely only on my intuition and practice. Research and theorizing is also very important. To achieve a good color design, I do "Color Scheme Analysis (CSA)". The image above is an example. With a painting image, I pick up a few representing color samples, evaluate their HSV (hue, chroma, and value), and map them on the color wheel.  The distribution of those colors on the color map informs me if this painting has a good color design.  Other way around, if I see a painting appealing to me, I run CSA on it. Its color map will show a specific distribution. Understanding this distribution helps my color designs for my future paintings.

I started doing CSA a year ago on GIMP. The process is tedious and time consuming. But I don't know other software that does this and I have no time to develop this tool. These a couple of days, I have figured out a way to plot the color map with NUMBERS on my Mac, but I still need GIMP to obtain HSV values. Eventually I will have an app for everybody to use. If you know similar tools exist, please let me know.

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Lonely Onion" --- Sold

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It has been two days after I came back to Austin. I have sent out all the filter orders (Sorry for the delay). Last night I resume my daily study. Here you have it.

We were in a rush when we left home for California, and this onion was left on the kitchen counter. After we came back, I found it has sprouted beautifully. So I select it as my model for my first painting during this time period I stay home. I am continuing my high key study. As a warmup session, I didn't design seriously. I like the colors in the shadow and the texture of the leaves and the onion. The color scheme is ok.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

“Demo at Los Angeles 3" --- Sold

After my previous post, I have received very large amount of comments and emails. I am very happy to said I have received UNANIMOUS support and encouragement. I wish I can write back to all of you individually to thank you, but that is beyond my ability. So here I want to express my deep appreciation to all of you for supporting me, my art, and my teaching . You give me confidence to keep going. I feel the best way to say thank you is to make my art better and my teaching more effective and accessible.

My today's painting is the third demo at LAAFA. Since my teaching load has increased significantly than last year, my time used for studying is very limited. So I started to combine my exploration into my demos. In my most recent 3 workshop (Nashville, Sacramento, and LA) I did three high key demos. there is a blue tea pot in all of them. I remember I mentioned once that I want to entitle these paintings as "This Is Not My Cup of Tea", because high key is not a comfortable way for me to paint. I hope my workshop artists do not mind I do experiment in my demos. There is a risk I may fail right in front of you. So far I feel lucky. My high key still lives are progressing.

Last night I met the young master artist Jeremy Lipking. I want to thank my art friend Christy Young for introducing Jeremy to me. I have been admire his work for a long time. I had a great time in Jeremy's studio. He is such talented artist.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"Demo at Los Angeles 2" --- Sold

This is my second demo at LAAFA.

Recently, I visited a friend of mine. From the conversation with him, I have sensed something new. My friend is a very successful artist. He told me something interesting: The night before I visited him, he had a party in his house. He told everybody that he will have a visitor tomorrow. This guy was a Ph.D. in physics, but now he has quitted his job and became an artist. The party reacted unanimously: This guy is nuts. He must have a brain problem. Moreover, He is not only stupid, but also selfish and irresponsible to his family. They can not rationalize the behavior of this stupid guy. Finally, they concluded that this behavior is the symptom of the mid-age crisis.

I really appreciate the honesty of my friend. It is true that I work harder and make less, but I have never regretted I made my decision. It is not surprise some people not agree with me, but why people UNANIMOUSLY disagree with me. Maybe I am a real self-centered fool. I heard Ph.D. stands for Permanent Head Damage. So please let me know what your think. Please comment and email to me. Thanks.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"Demo in Los Angeles 1" --- Sold

I felt very good doing this demo painting. Thanks to LAAFA for organizing this workshop and thanks to all the artists for attending. I found a few unusual props here. I enjoyed very much of painting new stuff.

Friday, March 21, 2014

"Demo at Sacramento 3" --- Sold

According the request, I painted my third demo showing how to do leaves and folds on the drape. I like high key color scheme more and more now.

I have arrived at LA. Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art (LAAFA) is a very professional art school. I am very impressed by what they do here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

“Demo at Sacramento 2" --- Sold

The second demo does not have much of color. As usual, I showed how to paint a rose.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Demo at Sacramento 1" --- Sold

This my third time teaching at Sacramento. I want to thank Patris Miller for organizing this workshop and thank all the artists for attending. This is my first demo. This year I have a very busy teaching schedule. This workshop is my 7th of the year.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Visiting Zhaoming Wu

I arrived at San Francisco a couple of days ago. I stayed with one of the best figurative master painters Zhaoming Wu. If you draw or paint figures, you must know his work. If you don't know this artist, google him right now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Demo in Nashville 3" --- Sold

Rules are made to be broken. So on the third day of my workshop, I showed how I destroyed the procedures I have established in the two previous days. Am I contradictory to myself? No. Artists really need both side of the brain. On one side, you need the controlled process to execute the effects you want to show. On the other hand, you don't want to be restricted by the process. You try new things and explore new territories. This demo is high key with cool color dominant. I don't usually do this kind of paintings in workshops. I have mentioned to the class: I want to entitle this painting as: "It is not my cup of tea".

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Demo in Nashville 2" --- Sold

This is the second demo. I found several "kisses" and put them in my setup. They are very decorative giving me more color opportunities for the foreground.

Friday, March 7, 2014

"Demo in Nashville 1" --- Sold

My workshop at Nashville started yesterday. I want to thank Jeanie Smith for organizing this workshop, and thanks all the artists for coming and painting with me. This is my first demonstration.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Nashville Tennessee

I have arrived at Nashville, TN. A moment ago, I took a short walk from the B&B I am staying. I stepped on the campus of the Belmont University. It is a quite a lovely place. After sunset, it was getting dark quickly. I snapped a few shots with my phone to document this visit. New place and new experience. Life is so dramatic.

I stayed at my Austin home too short, only got a chance doing one small painting. However I have got many other things done. In comparison, painting is rather easy. Life itself is much harder, and it gets more and more complicated and challenging. I keep reminding myself: I came to the world, the purpose is not to accomplish anything, but to experience the whole life process as sensitive as possible: the Time, the Space, the Change, and the Eternity.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Blue Flower" --- Sold

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I don't know if you have noticed, when I do low key (i.e. dark background) paintings, I hardly use any cool colors with high chroma at my center of focus. I feel it does not look colorful when a cool color object against a dark background, it looks more black-&-white to me. Imagine a lime with a black drape in the back. I feel the lime look pale. However, if I put an orange against the black, it looks much more colorful. In contrast,  I did a high key painting today. I used a blank canvas as the background and high chroma blue color for my center of focus. You know what, I feel the blue showing beautifully, much better when using a dark background. From all above observations, can I generalize and say: warm colors show better with dark background, and cool colors show better with lighter background? Is there any aesthetic relationship between hue and value? Pardon me for being so ignorant, I have not heard anybody's comment about the value and hue are not independent if you want to form an appealing color design. If you know someone has documented this relationship please let me know.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Workshop Reminder


This is a photo I shot last year on Whidbey Island, WA. They are wild but so cute. I heard that their ancestors were runaways from a circus. Now there are so many of them around the fairground where the Whidbey Island Fine Art Studio (WIFAS) is located. Whidbey Island is a wonderful place. Beautiful flowers are all over. I am going back there on April 21 teaching a 4-day workshop. So far we still have openings. Please contact Cary Juriaans to Sign up.

After coming back from FL, I have buried myself among a pile of paper works about finance. I must admit I am so ignorant about accounting and taxes. So I decided to learn it. I have been working very hard and hope I can put a control on my finance. I felt I would have forgot all about painting. Please give me some time. I will be back soon.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"Demo at Melbourne 2" --- Sold

The second demo took me more than a day. I got looser but try to keep the painting not to fragmented.  With demo paintings, it is hard to take care of everything, but I kept a mental note and always look way to improve even more. I will leave Melbourne in a couple of hours. I hope this workshop helped in bringing your art to an higher level.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Article in the Artist's Magazine

You might have noticed, there is an article about my art on the April issue of the Artist's Magazine. I think it is available in bookstores now. I am very honored to be featured in this magazine. The author Robert Carsten did a great job describing my approaches to still life oil painting. I hope this article can help you in your painting endeavors.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Demo at Melbourne 1" --- Sold

My Melbourne workshop has started today.  I want to thank Carmen Beecher and Brevard Art Students Guild for organizing this workshop. I so happy to see so many old friends and meet quite a few new friends. Thanks to all the artists for participating. This is my first demo. The setup was so complicated today. I felt a little rushed, but the painting turned out all right.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

“Demo at Hope Town 3" --- Sold

On this paradise island, it will be a shame if I don't paint plein air. On the third day of the workshop, I  set up my easel on the harbor and painted this quick sketch. On this island I see vibrant colors all over. But when I paint, I did not use too much colors, I try to put control on how much pure paints I use.  This painting was really an experiment. After I return home, I will work on the color scheme for my seascape paintings. Wow! It is so exciting to wade into new water.

Song and I are leaving Hope Town today. My next station will be Melbourne FL.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Demo at Hope Town 2" --- Sold

The second demo I show how to paint silver, glass, and flowers. I enjoy the soft and disappeared edges. After doing so many demos, I have found more opportunities. Since demos tend to be repetitive, I got more chances correcting previous mistakes. So the brushwork gets more efficient and structure gets more accurate and delicate. When I am not teaching workshops, I explore new territories. When I demonstrate during workshops, I refine my craftsmanship to make paintings more dramatic.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Demo at Hope Town 1" --- Sold

I feel a little odd painting still life in the beautiful Bahama Islands, but I did it anyway. I want to thank Christy Young and Robbie Bethel of the Hummingbird Art Center for putting this workshop together. Thanks to all the participating artists for attending my class. This is my first demo.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hope Town



Song has found a typo in my previous post. We are in Hope Town, not Home Town. I think you can read my subconscious mind now. I really wish here is my home town. It is exceedingly beautiful.