Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Casts for Drawing

The art education in China emphasizes the training in basic skills. I was in an art supply store, and this photo showing the section of casts for drawing. In art schools, students spend significant amount of time doing cast drawing to develop the sensitivity of observations, obtain thorough understanding of perspectives and anatomy. This rigorous training lays a solid foundation for these artists. They have a plenty of tools handy for their creative processes. So it is not surprising that so many wonderful representational artists coming from this part of the world.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I can’t believe this is a painting

I went to the Chinese Fine Art Museum today. It has a wonderful show there. I saw a painting by an artist named Leng Jun. Photo realism is not my cup of tea, but I was really stunned by his work. It is really amazing what human can do. I am wondering how much time he has spent on this work.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Yin Yang

This is the place I did that portrait demo. Yin-Yang is a small courtyard house. It is miniaturized Beijing “Ci-He-Yuan” style. All rooms are built around an open courtyard. It is very cozy and homy. It is very self contained. You may forget temporarily what is happening outside. I wish I can have a house like this.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Demo in Beijing 1- Sold

Yesterday I met a group of International artists in Beijing. They meet every Thursday (include the Thanksgiving) at a marvelous courtyard house called Yin-Yang, practicing drawing and watercolor painting. I was invited to do a demo. I felt so good being able to resume painting and this was my first painting since my last China trip, in my home town and so far away from my current home. More importantly, this is my first portrait demonstration. The light condition wasn’t ideal, but the result has turned out OK.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On a Beijing Street 2

In contrast with the post of yesterday. I want to show this one to depict what is taking over the ancient civilization. China is modernized leaps and bounds. Money is everything. People of all levels are chasing money with all their might, otherwise they will soon fall into cracks. It was a very cold day. I watch this money swirl with cold eyes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On a Beijing Street 1

This is a typical street scene in Beijing, very the third worldish. You can get all kinds of food on the street. To me, they are very delicious, but you need a strong stomach. The street vendors have very limited space for their business. They have all the creative ways to make their business going, very primitive but functioning. As a matter of fact, I feel rather comfortable here. I can get a taste of the special flavors I missed and long for. In Austin, Song and I occasionally drive 3 hours to Chinatown in Houston, just try to quench our craving for those flavors, but we don’t always feel satisfied with the authenticity of the food there.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My 2012 Desk Calendar

Click here to preview images and purchase. (link to

The holiday season is here. I would like to wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. At the mean time I would like to announce that Song and I have made a desk calendar for 2012 with my paintings images. It is a snapshot of my effort in art this year. If you like to have one (or more) please click above link. The price is $10. I hope you like what I did. Thank you so much for your support to my art.

(This post has been 2 days delay because technical issue on internet. Sorry for that from Qiang's brother in Canada)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


The main purpose of my China trip is to see my parents. They are not in good shape. I want to see what I can do for them. My father has Parkinson’s. He has problems of walking, and requires constant attention. However within a decaying body, he still has a very alert mind. He arranged some still life designs for me, and I will paint them.

Aging is photo realistic. We have no choice but facing it. We go through all seasons of life, and eventually harmonize with the world like falling leaves. All my effort is for that day to make my leaf (and leave) with maple and ginkgo colors.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Then and Now

In my art, I stress on contrast. In my everyday life, I also try to capture any glimpses of contrasty moments. This photo is showing one of those moments: old vs. new, traditional vs. modern, feminine vs. masculine, humility vs. aggression, ... That is life. That is art.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Calendar back ordered

After I announced my calendar 2012, we have received massive orders, and we exhausted all our inventory in several hours. I back ordered immediately, and will received the next batch in 7 days. I sincerely apologies for the shipping delay to many of you. After we receive the back ordered batch, Song will send your order to you right away.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Gold is Everywhere

Twenty six years ago, I left Beijing and arrived in US. At that time, The Chinese had mysterious feeling about America. “There are gold everywhere in America” was a popular saying. However for 26 years, I had worked really hard toward my American dream. On the other hand, “gold is everywhere” was true literally, but it happens only in the fall. Beautiful maple trees carpet most of the USA with dazzling golden colors.

Now, many Americans think about China is full of opportunities. “Gold is everywhere” forms the Chinese dream. Holding an American passport, I am strolling on the street in Beijing. “Gold is everywhere” is literally true as well. Beautiful leaves of ginkgo trees gently spreading golden colors all over the place.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Good Morning from Beijing

It is 4:00 AM in Beijing (or 3:00 PM Nov. 16 in Austin). I don’t know if I should say good morning or good afternoon to you. Due to the jet-lag I can’t sleep. So I am recording my first note for you. I arrived last night. Everything went smoothly. Now I am staying in my room which l left 26 years ago. It brings me a very nostalgia mood. Many things in this room has been kept the same: my crib and my mom’s old keyboard, some of my brother’s furniture. The calendar on the wall was the year 2000, which is the time my brother left this room for Canada. I turned on the ceiling light by pulling a string attached to a switch located up high. I don’t see this kind of switches any more. As a matter of fact, it has been the most reliable “remote control” I have ever used and it is still functioning like a charm. I remembered my grandma used to tie the switch string to the corner of a table near her bed so she could turn on the light conveniently. We didn’t have table lamps at that time, and the ceiling light is the only light source. Time goes by so dramatically. I am sure the old switch will still clicking after I have been long gone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

See You in Beijing

I am sitting at the Gate 94 of San Francisco International Airport waiting for my flight to Beijing China. About one hour later I will board my flight to Beijing. I feel really excited. I have not seen my parents for about three years. This is my last normal posting on my blog, and I am glad the test I did with my brother yesterday was successful. I took a snapshot of my flight to document this trip. Now the loudspeakers around me are speaking all kinds of languages . I have a hard time to concentrate, so I will stop now. I will talk to you again in Beijing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I will spend a month in China

Starting on November 15, I will spend a month in Beijing, China. Since I may not able to view this blog there, I have teamed up with my bother. This post was done by him from Toronto, Canada via my email. What a global effort it was. I have investigated the possibility of using RSS feed to sync with another blog I have in China, but It was so difficult and I am not savvy enough for that. So I am trying this low tech way. For a month from now, I may not paint much, but I will document my travel and try my best to keep you posted about what I see and what I feel. I hope you enjoy “riding” with me to see the other side of the world. Zai-Jian (bye in Chinese).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Red Lanterns"

I want to express my sincere thanks to all the friends writing and praying for me. I am really touched and encouraged to continue on. In life we have seen so many "successful" people. They became well known because one or two gimmicks they have and the right timing. However their shine was short lived. Like shooting stars, Bright and soon disappeared.  I want to seriously work on my art, and it is a long and difficult journey. So please bear with me, if you see I do a boring painting, or a crazy painting. That is all parts of my growing up. Our conditions are not ideal. Our time and energy are limited. We move in baby steps. However, we are progressing.

This painting took me more than ten days to complete, due to my lousy time management. I started to deal with some new objects to make my painting more interesting. This painting will be sent to a gallery. I am so behind on providing works for my collectors.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Demo at Rosenberg 2"

I am back to Austin. This is my second demo at Rosenberg. I hope all the workshop artists can practice what we have talked about, and turn my approaches into yours.

Now I have finished my 2011 workshop teaching. It is a good time to calm down and examine myself as an artist, and a new entrepreneur, as a dreamer, and as practitioner.... most important, as a human being. Last night I had a dream. I dreamed I was in a hurry to attend a very important event (but I don't know what is was) in a far away place. I just had an old bicycle not going very fast. I was so out of shape and my legs were so weak. I tried all my might, but just could not pedal the bike fast enough. I was exhausted, zigzag out of balance, but my destination is far beyond reaching..... I think this reveals the worry in my mind. I have no right to complain because I am far more fortunate than many many people in the world. But I do have some wishful thinking. I wish life is much simpler. I wish I can be less busy. I wish  I could paint more. I feel I have entered a difficult phase of my art development. There is a demon growing with my art and trying to destroy my art and my life. Fighting this demon takes a lot of my energy and time. I have seen more and more time I lost my battle now. If you see my art is not in good shape, that indicates I am dealing with the demon. However, I will keep going. I can't guarantee I can make it, but I will keep going.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Demo at Rosenberg 1"

I am at Rosenberg, TX (near Houston) teaching a workshop. Thank you Diana for organizing and all the artists attending for this wonderful opportunity. The small beady red things in the painting are grape tomatoes. They are from the garden of Angie and Mike. I want to thank them for their great hospitality. The small tomatoes are so sweet. Now I understood why the part of Texas is called the Sugarland.

Thursday, November 3, 2011