Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Oak Dynamics" --- Sold

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Last night I did more leaf study and did this one. I had some hard time painting those light color leaves on the wet dark background. I need some help on this matter. Does anybody know a very quick dry medium such that I can paint on top of it without picking up paint underneath in a short time (a couple of hours or even shorter)? Have you tried paint acrylic first and paint oil on top? Please let me know if you have some good tips. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Cherry Dance" --- Sold

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My gray study keeps going, just like my leaf study. For the background I used raw umber + white. I felt it is a little purplish. Then I used raw umber + viridian + white for the foreground. So it gave a little greenish. I had a lot of fun painting those cherries.

Besides painting, I would like to talk a little about email communication between you, my dear artist friends, and me. Because of my honestly sharing my art and life experiences on my blog, I have been receiving massive amount of emails everyday. My heart is really touched when I read your kind and supportive messages. Besides congratulation and appreciation letter, many friends want to work with me to create business opportunities, like gallery representations, and organizing workshops. Many friends ask for advices, critiques, and other questions. I do read all your messages. In the earlier days, I tried my best to replying all emails. However now, I have reached a point that it is impossible to do that for everybody. If I received the emails I consider I must reply, I "flag" them, think about them, and reply as quick as possible. Nowadays, Even my "flagged" emails have piled up. It looks that delaying responses are inevitable. I feel pretty bad about it. Managing the email communication has become a big issue now. What I plan to do is to categorize the messages and generate templates for the answers, and update FAQs on my website. If you have good suggestions, I really appreciate you let me know. I feel so grateful that most of my friends are so kind, very understanding and patient. I promise that I will try my best to reply as quick as I can. If you don't hear from my, please be patient. If there is timely matter, please remind me, I will try to expedite the process. For the very few people who are upset, I sincerely apologize. I am only human. What I can do is very limited, and I want to be fare to all my friends. In a nutshell, I want thank all of you again. I will figure out a way to be more efficient in communication when time goes by.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Halogen Warmth"

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Over the weekend I did this gallery level painting. The setup is very similar to the demo I did recently at the Gemini art school, but I have spend a long time on this one. The setup was illuminated with a very warm halogen light. The gray I used was ultramarine blue + cadmium orange. I really want to show the light source color on the painting.

Since I have never attended any formal art school, my knowledge about art is like a fish net. it is full of holes. many common terms I am not familiar with. Now I got more time chatting with professional painters. I start to realize that so many things I do not know. For instance, I hear quite a few art teaches mention "modeling" the form. I do not know what exactly it means. After many time, I think I kind of figure it out. I think "modeling" means providing adequate amount of details so the painting shows consistent relationship of the planes to form a 3-D representation. I did more "modeling" for my today's painting to give a more realistic looking.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Peach Season" --- Sold

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This painting combines my gray study, leaf study, and my general still life approach together. The repetitive presentation of the leaves and peaches creates rhythmic composition. I want to feel the beats of the visual music.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Riding the Wave" --- Sold

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This painting is still a part of my gray study. I have used ultramarine violet + cadmium green light + white. The mixture is good for light gray, but it can not make dark gray. I also start to touch base of depict the folds of the drapery. I painted drape before, but I need more systematic understanding to gain control.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Demo at Gemini"

I did a demo last night at the Gemini School of Visual Arts and Communication. This is a four year art academy in Cedar Park, TX providing professional training for commercial art in illustration, advertising, and game industry. Different from most of my demos and workshops, the audiences are predominately young students, male more than female. Also different from most the art departments in universities, Gemini teaches fundamental realism skills. it offers cast drawing, perspectives, and human anatomy. combining with computer graphics skills, the students here are capable to create spectacular concept arts. Most of the graduates are working for movie industry like Disney, and other video game industries. I am certain that the young artists coming out of this place will not be starving artists.

I only have about a hour to demo. This is what I got.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Touching" --- Sold

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This is my third day being full-time in art. What a difference it makes!!! On Monday morning, I was even able to visit a friend of mine and had tea around 11:00 AM. I made lunch for Jonathan as well. But yesterday, I felt sick. I slept whole morning. I guess my long term cumulated fatigue starts to get me. I need psychologic adjustment for this new life for sure.

I did this painting yesterday afternoon. Gray study continues. The gray was ultramarine blue + raw umber. It worked pretty well.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"Can We Play Together?" --- Sold

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I am keeping on reading your emails everyday. I really appreciate your support. I am so sorry I cannot reply individually. I know it is not polite to not to response, but I feel so inadequate. I have got more than one hundred emails and comments today. I don't know what to do. I want to let you know I am deeply touched. Thank you very very much. BTW, if you have a good way to manage email communication, please let me know. I really need that.

My today's painting is another gray study. You have seen a few of them lately. Gray is non-trivil matter. The color wheel I made several days ago really helped me. For this painting, I used predominately viridian + transparent oxide red + white.

To share some other news with you. On the recent 20th Oil Painters of America National Show, my painting "Memory of the Old Days" has got the Still Life Honorable Mention. This is the first time I got award on the OPA National. It gives me more confidence for my art endeavor.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Place to Hide" --- Sold

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After I announced my career transition yesterday, I have experienced something I have never ever imagined before. I saw huge waves of congratulation messages coming from all directions. I was lifted up by all of you and submerged into the absolute happiness. My fairly new Mac Book Air computer has almost shattered into pieces due to too many words bombarding on its fragile LCD, and my Wi-Fi has turned red hot due to the too high current of bids coming in. I almost burst into tears, so touched beyond any expression. I have spent almost whole day yesterday and this morning reading your kind phases. I am deeply moved. I sorry, I feel so inadequate in expressing my feeling at this moment. I only can see: THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Your cheers has inspired me to start immediately. Your encouragement has empowered me to go forward. I want to shout: I LOVE YOU, MY ART FRIENDS!!!

The painting for today was done a couple of days ago. I am really humbled in front of you. I feel blushed and shy like the apple in it, always try to find a place to hide. It is very clear to me. I am still a beginner in the art world. On my long journey, I am so happy that you are with me always. Hugs.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Farewell, My Full Time Job

I have reached another important milestone for my short life in this small planet. Today is my last day as a full time engineer. I am so thrilled to start my full time artist career tomorrow. This photo is the first one you see me in a lab of a high tech company, and it maybe the last one.

As a matter of fact, we coming to this world is not for accomplishing anything, but rather to witness and experience what is happening around us. Thirteen years ago, I joined this startup company as the first employee, and worked here ever since. During these many years, I have experienced a lot. I have been excited, indulged, hallucinated, struggled, exhausted, achieved, confused, hoped, prayed, rewarded, stressed, and expected. I feel so grateful to this place. I love all the people here. They taught me so many things. The corporation is a grand stage. Performances have been going on and on. I have enjoyed so much colorful characters, dramatic scenes, dazzling costumes, symbolic makeups, and eloquent garboligocs (spelling?). I feel I am in a gigantic hologram. Every thing looks so real, but actually nothing has ever existed.

In this material oriented world, we chase wealth day and night. In business, we always say “Time is Money”. However soon or later, we all will realize in our bones that “Time is better than Money”. I will enjoy my time fully, and I hope you do too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Carnation and Rose Leaves" --- Sold

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I came back to do more leaves and felt I was still not there. I am still way off of the anatomy of the rose leaves. So I put a carnation there. But I promise, I will be there. It won't be tomorrow, or the day after. But eventually, I will be there.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Gray Sophistication" --- Sold

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I remembered many years ago I was in China during the Culture Revolution. Everybody worn the Mao jacket. We didn't have much choice in color. Gray, green, and blue were the dominate colors. In that situation, we developed high sensitivities about subtle colors. I remembered there was a special type of green called the "national defence green". Only the PLA had the dye formula. You couldn't get the cloths or hats with that color on the market. Wearing national defence green is an indication you had a special privilege, because you can get something most people couldn't get. At the meantime, you might jeopardise your life, because you were the target of the gangs.

Now I try to gain back my sensitivity in subtle colors. This painting is very gray and very cool. It is the opposite of I used to do. I really enjoyed painting this. My recent color study has paid off significantly. The temperature consistency is very important. Otherwise the grays will turn into mud in no time.

Friday, June 10, 2011

"Quiet Bloom" --- Sold

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Continuing on color mixing I brought up yesterday, the key factor is the purity of the color. If we have very pure blue and very pure yellow, then we will get black. However, none of colors we have are very pure. All blues and yellows we get have green in it. When they are mixed together, the blue and yellow cancel out and green light gets reflected. So we see green. The term “purity” here is vague. To be more precise I should use “spectral bandwidth”. The nearer the bandwidth is, the purer the color is. In my optics lab, I have something called “interference filters”. The blue filter allows narrow band blue light goes through, and yellow one transmits narrow band yellow. When I stack a blue filter on top of a yellow filter, I see no light goes through, or I can say I see black.

I don’t want to be too left-brain-ish. Let’s talk about painting. The painting I post today emphasizes on the subtlety of the grays. I used to get my grays by testing randomly. After I did my color wheel study, I have gained more sensitivity on grays, and I can obtain my grays more systematically. I like David Leffel’s paintings. He is the expert of grays.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

“Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green"

Recently, I read a book entitled "Blue and Yellow Don't Make Green" by Michael Wilcox. It is fascinating. I agree with the author. The logic is rather simple. We know a yellow pigment reflects yellow light only and absorbs light of all other colors, and a blue pigment reflects blue light and absorbs the rest. If we mix yellow and blue paints together, the yellow light reflected by the yellow pigments gets absorbed by the blue pigments and vice versa. In consequence, the mixture will reflect no light, and we should see black. With the same reasoning, we can conclude that red and blue don't make purple, yellow and red don't make orange. They all make black only. The whole concepts of primary and secondary colors have been thrown out of the window. Isn't that bizarre? But, you know what, he is right. I can demonstrate this effect in front of you if I see you.

However in our experiences, we all know that blue and yellow do make green. I will talk to you more next time. After reading that book, I spent some time with my own color structure. I made this color wheel last night. The colors was arranged carefully such that the complementaries really make grays. I want to make sure this wheel does provide practical guidance, but not just an illustration of theories.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Rose With Flowers" --- Sold

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"Rose with flowers"? What an idiotic name it is. But you know what I mean. My leaf study has been too academic lately. Now I come back and be more human. I feel that my effort starts to show effects. My leaves are more believable now. My still lifes and plein air landscapes have been approaching each other, and soon they will be connected.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Rose Without Flower 2" --- Sold

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I have stepped on something really hard for me. I spent more than four hours on this 5"x7". To make it look like rose leaves, I went tighter deliberately. It is so difficult to paint darks on lighter background on a wet-on-wet basis. Nevertheless, I think I made some progress comparing to my previous painting. Don't you agree this leaves are more resemble the rose leaflets? I had real hard time painting the stems. I use cutting in the negative space, but the paintwork labored tremendously. Man! I am so tired. On this thorny journey, I have a long way to go. If you are a developed painter, please wake me up if you know I am on a road toward a dead end.

Friday, June 3, 2011

“Rose Without Flower" --- Sold

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As what I said yesterday, I painted a different kind of leaf. I have quite a few rose bushes in the back yard. There are no flowers at this moment. I decided painting some rose leaves.

It wasn't smooth. I had a few issues with this painting. You can tell I am lack of anatomic understanding about rose leaves. If I don't tell you those are rose leaves, can you tell? My value range is too limited. My grays are not clean. There were quite a few surprises during the painting process. I was out of my comfort zone. But I am glad the problems has led me into a new territory. After I get those problems solved, my art will get to next level. So, please wish me luck.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Green Rhythm 3" --- Sold

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I got several new panel samples from Wind River Art Supplies. They are very fine linen with very smooth surfaces. This is my first time using this kind of panels and immediately like them.

My leaf study keeps going. I worked on my grays on the background more, and feel easier with leaves now. You may have noticed that I have been working on the same type of leaves. Very soon I will expand into different kinds of leaves. I hope you are not getting bored with my leaf study. You are witnessing my learning process. I must be tenacious to achieve progress. I think it is good method if you are learning by yourself. If you keep working on one thing for a long while. The improvement will be obvious.