Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Birdie's Home" --- Sold

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This one is still life/landscape, high key, back-lit, colors in shadow, and knife work. It is the first time I put a piece of rock in my setup, and the bird house is new to me as well. It is so exciting and challenging. I am out my comfort zone completely, and away from my typical style too.

Talking about styles, I think they come naturally. We can't force it. I remember a master artist wrote: "Styles are limitations of an artist". I don't know if you agree or not, but it is a good way to see it. I will keep my exploration going. I will travel happily in the art world, and my blog is my travel journal.

Monday, August 29, 2011

“Away from the Heat" --- Sold

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The temperature of yesterday was 112 F, we are getting 109 F today. It is almost September. I can't believe it is still this hot. So far we got more than seventy days above 100 F and it has broken the record a few days ago (last record was 69 days in 1925), and the summer is not over yet.

I was too ambitious with my painting yesterday, and almost lost my control. So I backed off a little. This painting is a combined approach: I used knifes for the lights and bushes for the darks. I felt happy, especially the subtle value change between the top and lighter side of the box.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Distorted Time" --- Sold

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We arrived home last Monday around 2:00 in the morning. After a short sleep, I arrived at the engineering company and started my one week of technical work. Nothing has changed since I was here three weeks ago. Time seemed stopped in this concrete building. I felt I was experiencing Albert Einstein's relativity when I transferred from art to engineering. Time has been distorted. I didn't accomplish much last week, but I didn't get chance to paint either.

I was so tired. I have cancelled several activities and slept almost whole day yesterday. Finally, I put myself together again and did this small painting this afternoon.

This one was very hard for me. I was studying many new things all together. I did this painting almost completely with a palette knife. I was so clumsy and really struggled. I had a back-lid illumination for the setup and worked on colors in shadow. I still was testing my high key scheme. Oh boy, I used almost twice the time I usually did. I think I have opened a can of worm for myself. There will be more fun time waiting for me. Folks, please wish me luck.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Demo at Noblesville 2" --- Sold

I am at Indianapolis International Airport waiting for my flight back to Austin. The workshop was very successful. Everybody was happy about it. This is my second demo. Thanks again to the workshop organizers and all attending artists.

Our family and I had a wonderful vocation in Indiana. Purdue is a great campus. I am glad we came, because Song's niece did need some help to adapt her college life. In three days, We have visited Walmart at least four times and we have visited all local AT&T stores. I was amazed how well these young Chinese college kids equipped electronically. Iphones and blackberries are absolutely mandatory for them. Having one is not adequate. They all need several smart phonesto survive.

Noblesville is a nice small town. I love driving through corn and soybean fields. People are very nice and friendly. We have enjoyed here very much.

Believe it or not, I will be back tomorrow to my engineering company and work there for a week. Life is so interesting. I will try my best to paint something using my old routine.

Friday, August 19, 2011

"Demo at Noblesville 1" --- Sold

Today is the first day of my workshop at Noblesville IN. I want thank HCAA and Cheeri Dennis and Judith Weiss for organizing this workshop. I want to thank all the workshop artists for attending. This is my first demo. I hope you like it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Purdue University"

I have to interrupt my daily painting for a week. Right now, I am at Lafayette Indiana. Song's niece is attending Purdue University. She just came from Beijing China. We are here for three day helping her to settle down. Then I will teach a workshop in Noblesville. near Indianapolis. I will be back this coming Monday. I will send paintings sold this week immediately after I return to Austin. I am sorry for the delay.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

“Plein Air Indoor"

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I am continuing my practice in my high key world. I felt I painted a plein air landscape today. I had so much colors on the painting. Since I haven't done enough this kind of painting, my brush work is not free enough, and the painting took much longer than I thought it should. Anyway I felt good. There is so much I can work on.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Submerged in Color"

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Today I painted completely opposite of my usual style. I turned off my spot light and opened curtains of my studio. I removed my shadow box so I had no background drapery. I had this white sugar bowl and no other color object in my setup. I had extremely high key design. All my colors on the painting is in shadows, but not in lights. All my colors are in background, but not in the center of focus. I used many cool colors, but not hot cadmium orange and red. Wow!! I felt I have entered the anti-world. Just like in physics, we talk about matter and anti-matter. I realize such anti-world is also existed in my art. I have mentioned before I don't like high key as much as low key paintings. That was because I had not entered the "high key" world. I was outside. In my bones, I start to feel what artists felt when the Impressionism started. It is so great. At the mean time I must remind myself: it is nothing wrong by going modern, but I will never ever abandon the wonderful traditional art. Otherwise I would get lost so quickly and my art would turn to trash, and "modernism" or "contemporary" would turn to be dirty words.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

“Happy Hour"

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I am gradually coming out of my gray study and start to pay attention to other colors. High key painting gives me more opportunities for color designing. Different from my usual approach, I didn't do value establishment at all, but jumped into color directly. Of course, I was aware of value when I painted colors. The painting is much more colorful than most of my low key paintings, but effect of light is relatively weaker. You will see I toggle between high and low keys.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Make Me Clean"

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My today's painting is one of the high key paintings that I feel satisfied. You may have noticed that my paintings are getting a little tighter lately. That reflects my recent mental uptight-ness. Now I must rely on my art to bring food on the table, so I am not as idealistic as I was before. This concern has its positive effect. It makes me paint more. However, I don't want to see my art life is completely controlled by the market. This a couple of days I lost more and more confidence on the almighty Money. Maybe that is the beginning of the real freedom. We feel bad when our dreams turn into nightmares. However on the other hand, our nightmares will wake us up, so we will realize that we have been attached so ridiculously to something so unreliable. I think this realization will be the so called "Enlightenment". I hope someday I may reach that. But, I am not there at this moment, so you have to pay if you want to buy my paintings. But I can promise you that the value of my art will not go down with the paper money.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

“Fruit for Today"

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Transparent oxide yellow + ultramarine blue + white makes a good yellow gray, and I used it for my background today. With this painting, I practice chroma contrast. The yellow pear and the yellow background are similar in value, but the intensity of the yellows are quite different. This contrast in chroma can be used for the design.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Silver and Gold"

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I think everybody has been staring at the stock market for several days. It feels that our dreams turn into nightmare just like that. I don't know much about investment, and for me it is always too late to do the right thing. It looks like something very bad is happening, but what can we do? I remember one of the Titanic movies. The ship was sinking, but the band was still playing. I can't do much. I just keep painting.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Roses in a Hot Place" --- Sold

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I am so amazed that even at this extremely hot place and hot time the roses in my yard are still blooming. Song cut some this morning and set up a still life for me. These are different roses from the ones I painted before. They are fresh but already full of scars. Their young life is just starting but winkles have crawled up their tender faces. I feel melancholy when I painted them. They don't know what will happen to them tomorrow. Well, in this chaotic world, we don't know either to us. I just keep painting.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Freshly picked" --- Sold

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We have an apple tree and two peach trees in the back yard , but they didn't give us much this year. It maybe because it is too hot here. The temperature has been above 100 F every day and no rain at all for a long time. I really don't know what is going on in the world. Like everybody, I am concerned, but what can I do? Well, I just paint.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"My Secret" --- Sold

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I felt the gray I used yesterday is a little too cool. So today I tried a new combination: transparent oxide yellow + ultramarine blue. I like this one better. It made the background warmer. I really appreciate several friends sharing their gray recipe with me. I don't have any secret in painting. I have been growing right in front of you.

This is my 5th painting of the month. I have been a genuine "daily painter" for this week. I will try my best to make this momentum going.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"A Pair of Pears" --- Sold

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I used the same gray I used yesterday to experience this color more. After my post yesterday. I got a few comments and emails mentioning that ultramarine blue and burnt sienna to make a gray. I used to do this combination, but I have stopped using it. I feel it is too purple. If you add more blue, it will turn too blue very quickly. That is because those two colors are not complementary enough. The mixing of the two does not neutralize enough. I still use those two for warm darks, but use them much less to get gray now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Lime Water" --- Sold

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When I am asked what I like to drink in a restaurant, I usually say water with lemon or lime, and no ice. I heard a theory that drinking ice water makes people tend to eat more. So if you consider lose weight, maybe drink water without ice will help.

With my painting today, I was testing my grays again. I found recently I use less and less ultramarine blue. I used to use this color a lot. I found I have been using viridian more. I have learned it is hard to make a gray with ultramarine blue on my palette. But I like ultramarine blue. So I did a search today, I have found that "transparent brown oxide" (Winsor & Newton) and ultramarine blue makes a wonderful gray. I used this gray for the painting above.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

“Discover the orange" --- Sold

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In my previous two painting emails, I mistakenly described my paintings as "Pencil drawings". I apologize for the mistake. I generate my painting email by cut and paste from my blog to a hand made html template. It is simple but not perfect.

You might have noticed, my recent paintings I smoothed out the background and kept the foreground more painterly. They are more like David Leffel's style. I like Richard Schmid's approach of using vignetted background with washes and dry brushes. I also like what David does to make the background smooth to increase the feeling of the depth. Can these two wonderful methods combined, I am not so sure.

Monday, August 1, 2011

"Happy Tea Kettle"

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I was told that tea kettles are always happy. They have positive attitude always. Even their butts are burning, they still are whistling.

I have this old kettle for a long time. Burning marks are all over the place. I painted it today just because those burns created so much rich color around it high light. I am more interested in colors from non-color objects like this old kettle. I am whistling with happiness.