Thursday, August 14, 2014

“Purple and Green"

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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"

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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.