Sunday, June 30, 2019
First, Let's talk about art. This is a bad photo, but it is kind of interesting. This is my 3rd nocturne painting ever. I brought a portable light this time, but I did not realize how fast the battery fades. It was a good experience. Even under the fading light, the painting glowed in the dark night. I start to like nocturne plein air gradually.
Secondly, Let's talk about life. It is sort of like this painting: dark and fuzzy. Now we have closed our new house. The bank is empty, and I cross my finger for the future gamble. I hope it will rent fast so it pays its mortgage, insurance, and tax. The reason I don't like this main stream lifestyle is that it is totally out of control. Your fate is at the mercy of the "outside". If the "outside" says I don't like your countertop, you better change it. If "outside" says I want your arm and leg for the tax, you better give it. Just like Thoreau, I turn my direction to the woods. I love building my "Off-the-Grid" place. I experienced the entire process of human surviving. I have put a roof above my head, and I know how to deal with black and grey waters. I spent very small amount of money to get my basic supplies. I am happy when it rains, because my rain tank gets fuller. I am happy when the sun shines. I check my volt meter to see how much energy comes to my battery. Yesterday was in the 90s, and I kept my AC running for hours to cool my small place to 82 F. I feel good about life, because the nature provides so many resources for free. I feel good about myself, because I am able to survive with my own hands and brain.
I want to thank so many good friends to encourage me. With all of you, I don't feel lonely.
Thursday, June 27, 2019
I did this painting less about one and a half hours. I was not plan that way, but the light changed too quickly. I have to abandoned completely my usual approach, and just went with the flow. It was a relatively large painting. I even did not have the confidence that I can finish it. But the result was surprising.
In my last post, I talked about my "Off-the-Grid living" project. I must say I did not do it for my philosophy only. Currently, we live in a relatively big house that I have paid it off 10 years ago, but now I can't afford to pay its $14,000 per year property tax. We have decided to downsize. We are buying a small house brand new, and sell the big house. Everybody says: Austin is such a booming city, and your house will sell in no time. Well, it has been on the market more than 2 months now, and it does not move. I have reduced its price twice, and it did not help. The small house will close tomorrow. Since the bank only gives me a small loan (I am an artist you know), I need to use up almost all my cash to buy it. We also must to rent the small house out immediately (I need good luck for that as well), otherwise my property tax will shoot up way above $20,000 at the end of the year, not talking about paying the mortgage. After renting out the small house, we will have no place to move if the big house sells. That is the reason I am building my "Off-the-Grid" storage shed like crazy. Sometime, I feel what fool I am --- living in a storage shed but paying $20,000 property tax.
I like the song "Hotel California" by the "Eagles". "We are all just prisoners here of our own device". Modern life is such a trap. "You can check out anytime, but you can never leave". "Welcome to the Hotel California, such lovely place. Such lovely face"...
Saturday, June 22, 2019
This small 8"x8" won me an award on the Wayne Plein Air competition. It was some sort chemical tank on an dairy farm. I was attracted by the colors.
When I post this painting, I am at my "Off-the-Grid" land. There is no electricity, no water, no septic here. Since I can't afford to set up power lines, dig a well, and a septic tank, I have decided to make all of these living necessities myself. Last October, I put a factory built 200 square feet storage shed on 1.1 acre wilderness, and started my "sustainable living " projects. I have put solar panels and the roof and installed an electric system so I can turn on the lights, fans, and water pumps. I harvesting rain water with seven 55 gallon water tanks and build 4 stage filtration system. I have installed a tankless gas hot water heater for a shower. My biggest expenditure is a composting toilet. I have a gas heater for the winter, and I am upgrading my solar system so soon it can drive an air conditioner.
Why am I doing this? Henry David Thoreau said: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived." Many have read "Walden", but very few decided to do it.
Saturday, June 15, 2019
I really like to paint old barns. This painting was done on a private property. It was cold and windy. I did not see any other artists at this location. It was a struggle, but the result was rewarding.
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
The rain finally stopped. I went to the Valley Forge National Park, and painted the Washington Headquarter. It was a cold day, but I painted the first time outdoors at this painting festival.
Sunday, June 9, 2019
My 2nd painting at the Wayne PA Festival was done at a placed called the Willow Brook Farm. It was raining heavily. I decided to paint inside an old barn. I found whole bunch of antique items and formed a typical still life setup, which is indeed my "cup of tea". I did not set up a light and use the existing lighting in the room. It was fun, and I completely forgot the rain outside.
Friday, June 7, 2019
I have participated the 13th Wayne Art Center Plein Air Festival from May 13 to 19. I did 12 paintings, sold 10 of them and won an award. I want to thank Anne and Phil Graham for offering their lovely home for us to stay. This one is my first painting there. It was a raining day. I decided to stay indoors. The location was at Valley Forge Flowers.
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Somehow I forgot to post this one. I am pretty sure that old clock is older than I am. Time is an interesting thing. We think it is linear. The future can never meet the past. Well, the clock tells us something different. Time goes in circles.
Sunday, June 2, 2019
My Austin workshop seems eons ago. Many things have happened since then. We have put our house on the market more than a month now. So far nobody want to buy it. Very soon we will close another house. I remembered someone "advised" me when I decided to quit my job: "Qiang, please do not leave your job. Imagine you need to buy a house. If you are an engineer, you will get a loan easily. Well, if you say you are an artist, you probably will not get the loan you need." 9 years has passed. Unfortunately, this someone's advice has been proved TRUE.
This painting is available, please contact me if you are interested in.