Saturday, June 30, 2012

"AAU Figure Painting 2 (Day 2)"

I have been working on this painting whole day yesterday. It wasn't as smooth as the first day. I spent many hours on the leg in the front. It was soooo hard. I was painting something that I don't want people to see, but I can't simply remove it. That foot in dark is the most difficult part of the whole painting. I think the experience is more important than the painting.

Friday, June 29, 2012

"Daisies at Carmel" --- Sold

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Seeing so many figures and portraits I did at AAU, I don't know if you miss my small daily still lives. But I do. I did this small 5" x 7" after my figure class today. Last Sunday, when I was with Fongwei Liu, we went to Carmel for a day trip. We visited several galleries. We had our lunch at a small restaurant, and I saw a beautiful flower arrangement on the table. I snapped a couple of photos with my phone. The waitress gave me a weird look, but that is all right to me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"AAU Figure Painting Homework 1 (Day 1)"

Today is Wednesday, and I don't have any class. I went to the studio anyway because I have homework to do. For the figure painting class we need to paint two large paintings from photos we take . This is the largest figure painting I have ever done. The size is 24" x 36". It felt very different from doing 5" x 7", which I do most of the time before. I used a projector projecting my photo on the wall so I could measure. The pose was rather standard, so I didn't have much of problem getting the proportion and anatomy correctly. Then I practiced my recently obtained modeling skills making the 3D form. I painted 7 hours today. I maybe at the half way point now. I will finish this homework over the weekend.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"AAU Figure Painting 2 (Day 1)"

Today is the figure painting day. We started a new painting. Since the failure of my previous figure work, I was a little apprehensive at the beginning. But it turns out rather smooth. I have learned that the brushes I use for the early work were too small. For this painting I used brushes about 2" wide. They are the cheap house painting brushes. You can get a dozen of them for $2 at the Home Depot. Similar to the portrait I did yesterday, I concentrated on modeling. This is a relatively new skill for me. When I do still lives, I don't model seriously, because the objects I paint are much simpler. I was concentrated on light distribution and how to achieve painterly effects. But figure is so subtle and there is no room for mistakes. Zhaoming is a wonderful teacher. He sees things I can't, and give me tips working like a charm. I am so happy to see the progress.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My 2013 Workshop Schedule

I have placed my 2013 workshop schedule on my website today. On my blog, there will be a button that is linked to my workshop schedule page. If you are interested in knowing my approach to oil painting, please check it out. I will be more than happy to share what I know about art with you.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Head Study 062312"

This is my first weekend at AAU. My friend Fongwei Liu took me out the student dorm. I will spent a couple of days in his place. It happened to a be his open studio day today. We had a wonderful male model. Fongwei, myself, and two wonderful bay area artists painted together. To keep the continuity of my study at AAU. I still work on monochromatic paintings. I feel a little better than my previous portrait at AAU. The drawing part is relatively easy so I spend most of my time working on modeling. This painting is 11" x 14". I spent about 5 hours on it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"AAU Figure Painting (Day 2)"

I have spent about 6 more hours on this painting. It was a real struggle for me. I felt I was beating a dead horse. The painting did not progress much. However, I have benefited a lot from painting this one. I have gained new experience of observing the figure. Modeling the figure requires significant amount of sensitivity. I don't consider this painting is successful, but I have really learned a lot.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Ginkgo Leaves" --- Sold

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Today I don't have class at AAU, but I went to the studio anyway.  I did this small daily from a photo. If you follow my blog, you maybe remember when I was in China last fall, I posted quite a few photos. One of them was my father holding a small teak pot. Well this is the pot in my painting today. As a matter of fact, this setup was arranged by my father. I snap shot his design and finally did a painting with it. The ginkgo tree was showing beautiful colors at that time, it gives a wonderful texture in this painting.

I know my small daily paintings are quite sporadic nowadays, but I will try to keep it going.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"AAU Figure Painting (Day 1)"

My AAU journey started yesterday. Zhaoming did a portrait demo in the morning and student painted in the afternoon. I did not paint because I have to get my ID and keys of my dorm room. AAU is an interesting place, all of its buildings are spattered all over SF. There are shuttle buses taking us from one place to another. It feels so good to be among young artists half of my age. The way they dress and talk really fascinated me.

Today is my figure painting day. We had a male model in his late sixties. Zhaoming did a figure demo in the morning with a monochromatic approach. In the afternoon I spent five and half hours and got major block in. The size of the painting is 18" x 24", the largest figure I have ever done. We will finish this painting on this Friday.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My New Endeavor

I have mentioned a couple of days ago, I will start a new endeavor.  Now, it is the time to let the cat out of the bag.  Starting on Monday I will be a graduate student of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I will take figure painting under the guidance of the well known figure painter Zhaoming Wu. Many friends think that I know what I am doing, and it is also true that I have been teaching for many years. However, I am craving for learning. I know my current limitations, and the potential for improvement. 
Many years ago when I was young I had been strolling outside of the Central Art Institute of Beijing many times, daydreaming of becoming a art student.  Now this dream is finally coming true. AAU is one of the very few art schools I consider can offer something I need, and Zhaoming is one of the best in figure painting. I did pay an arm and a leg for this opportunity, but it is a major investment for my art future. I will stay at a student dorm and close to many young artists. I will paint many to bring my art to a higher level. 
I will keep you posted and share what I do at AAU.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"Memory of the Spring" --- Sold

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It has been years in the spring time, I saw these beautiful yellow flowers smiling at me when I drove passing by. I thought I will stop in front of them someday and paint them. Last spring, I saw them again. So I stopped in front them (because I don't commute anymore), and I took quite a few pictures. However, I didn't get chance to paint them until yesterday. In this modern time, our life is like driving in high speed. We swoop through beautiful scenes, but we only can have a short glimpse of them with our peripheral views. We have the wishful thinking that someday, we will slow down and enjoy the beauty around us. Well, if we don't plan deliberately, it would never happen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Raven (Day 4)"

Now this painting is done. According to your feedbacks I worked on the hand a little more. I kept the background very abstract so the upper part of the figure is the center of focus. This is my first very serious figure painting. Thank you for going through the entire process with me, and helped me to reach this milestone.

It has been the third week I worked on figurative paintings. I am going to take a short break and do some technical consulting for the rest of week. Starting on Monday (June 18), I will enter a new exciting endeavor. It will be a dream come true. I will let you know the detail when the time arrives.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Raven (Day 3)"

I want thank all of you who have commented on my yesterday's post. I love the synergy and felt so fortunate to have it. It is a good "omen" (I learned this word from my son) for my future success. I really appreciate it.

On the third day, I worked on her legs and feet. I have to extend them quite longer to make the proportion correct. I have spent much longer time painting her feet than doing her face, because I have not painted enough feet. I have to do many more hands and feet before I feel comfortable to figure painting. The color in the form shadow area are much cooler because I have light coming from a window on the right. Now the figure has been presented in general. I will work on the background to enhance the design. I have looked many figure paintings done by Pino. I think I can reference some of his approaches to make this painting more exciting.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Raven (Day 2)"

The second day of the painting, I have entered the modeling stage. I used the photos I took as references. This image is a partial shot of the painting. I have worked on the details of the face and the upper body. Color became more important. I have used the temperature difference to separate the light area of the figure (warm) from the light background (cool), because the value is almost the same. There are many lost edge opportunities, but I have not utilized them enough. I feel the hand needs some work, but I am not sure what is wrong. Is it too small? Is the shadow area too bright? Or maybe the gesture is too boring? Anyway please let me know. On the third day, I will work on her legs and feet, and maybe the drapery and her dress. Who knows where I will end up. Let's move along.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

"Raven (Day 1)"

Starting from today, I am going to share with you the development of one figure painting. I am not sure how many days I will spend on it. You are welcome to take ride with me, and comment on my process and help me to grow.

This is the stage at the end of my first day. I went to AVAA yesterday and we had a beautiful model Raven posing for us. I have spent 3 hours and did a monochromatic sketch on a 8" x 10" canvas. I was concentrated purely on the accuracy of the proportion. I got some details on the face, hand, and feet. I got the human form basically correct. What about color? I had a little there. Are they correct? Who cares.

Friday, June 8, 2012

"Dance Me to the End of Love"

I did this painting for Song. To be honest with you, I really don't know the artist Jack Vettriano until a couple of minutes ago when I googled this painting. I saw the image of this painting many time in some commercial areas I have forgot where. Song told me she like to have it to decorate our family room. The style is not mine, but I like the feeling of the painting. Song is happy with this painting. I am happy too.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"A Young Artist" --- Sold

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I am continuing on my journey of figurative painting. Different from my previous figure painting, I used opaque background instead of a transparent wash. I feel I like my today's approach better, but I am not certain. I like transparent washes too. Richard Schmid uses it very successfully. However, I like the opacity of the background color for this one. It gives the painting more solid look, instead of the watercolor look. So I don't know. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Shining All Together" --- Sold

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I almost forget that I am still a still life painter. I hope my figurative work and my still life painting can enhance each other. When I approach to my figures, I treat them as still life objects, (well, I treat my models nicely as human beings, you know what I mean), I paint shapes, value, and color. On the other hand, we can treat still life as figures as well. A curve can be graceful. A design of vase can be elegant. I feel lucky to be an artist because everything around me presents beauty in its own way. I wish I could  capture them all with my brushes.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Hula Ring Girl" --- Sold

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This painting starts my second week of figurative work. I have strongly experienced how much my subjective mind interferes my objective observation. In my painting workshops, I keep telling everybody: "Only believe your eyes. Do not believe your brain". During my figure painting, I have been fighting with my conceptual mind constantly. I do tons of measurements, and they demonstrate so dramatically how wrong my mind can be. With every figure painting I did so far, there always is a stage that my figure looks significantly wrong. In this stage, I thought I did everything correctly, but the figure looks ugly, unhealthy, unbalanced, and handicapped. I have to work very patiently, measuring in high precision, correct errors in proportions, angles, shapes, and value meticulously. This process takes about two hours in average. If you don't give up, and use your rational mind (put away your emotions), your figure will mutate in a positive way, healing, growing, and get more and more humanized. It is a very tiresome work, but I feel rewarded at the end.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

"The Girl in Red" --- Sold

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This painting was done half way from life, and half way from a photo. I went to Austin Visual Art Association yesterday painted an exceedingly beautiful model Helen for three hours, but I only got a basic  sketch. Fortunately this time I took a camera with me and got a photo of her pose. I spent the rest of the day on it. I think this is my most finished figure painting I have ever had.

I am very satisfied with this week of my life. I painted literally every day and all paintings are challenging figurative projects. I have gained more confidence. Figurative painting is doable now. I am at the beginning but overwhelmed. So I am only concentrating on the accuracy and modeling, barely touched the value design, and completely let the color and paint quality issues go intuitively. It is a good start, and the future will be good too.

Friday, June 1, 2012

“Hula Ring Boy" --- Sold

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Keep doing more narrative figurative work. I really enjoy my recent momentum in painting. I feel enthusiastic and concentrated. The progress is noticeable. Similar to my drummer painting, this one is also painted from a photo I took at the Eeyore's Birthday party. I like the tight dye shirt he was wearing, which gives me opportunities of using many pure colors.