Sunday, September 1, 2019
I did quite a few paintings at Easton, and this is the last one I want to show. I did this one for Rich Carroll. He was my host family during my Easton days. Rich lives in the country surrounded by beautiful trees and corn fields. I had superb time with him and enjoyed every moment chatting with him. Having a peaceful living is my dream. My off-the-grid project approaches this dream gradually. I hope someday I don't need to paint for money. I will have a Sustainable, Green, Harmonious, Peaceful, and Happy life. Ladies and Gentlemen, please wish me luck.
I am heading to China tomorrow, and I will try to post something during this international travel, but in case it is too difficult, I wish you all the best for the month of September.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
This painting is my quick draw piece at Plein Air Easton. Gush! I have already forgot what title I gave to it. I have enjoyed so much of the color play during the time I painted it. I used to be a tonal painter and using value and light to show most of my intentions. But now I am more and more into the effect of what color can do.
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
One of those steamy hot afternoon, I painted this turquoise house in downtown Easton. It was so sweet when using those radiant colors. I felt dizzy. I was drunk. Those vibrant pigments combined with Gambsol was so intoxicating. I want to call it "Noon Shine", for its light and for its feeling.
It is a small painting. I did many small paintings before, especially my "Daily Painting" days. It has been a long time since I visited any "Daily Painting" websites the last time. I am wondering if there are still many artists call themselves "Daily Painters" nowadays. I am wondering if there still someone selling painting via eBay as I did before. It feels like the last century, must be many iPhone versions ago. Something goes up, and something comes down. Things move in circles. "Noon Shine" turns to "Moonshine". Besides that, nothing has happened.
Sunday, August 25, 2019
This is my nocturne painting during the Plein Air Easton. A few of my fellow artists were painting across the street from me. Beautiful lights from the store gave me chances for color. There was a storm before we started. I like the reflections on the road.
"Painters in the dark" has literally described what is in my mind at this moment. I am experiencing a dark time in my art career and my life. Long term over working has burnt me out. I don't feel as enthusiastic towards art as before. I am looking for new inspirations, but have not seen much. Too often, I am in my off-the-grid place, pondering about the future, just like painting in the dark. Darkness does not mean negativity. Without darkness, light will not show. I have not ever seen so much colors during the day at the corner of this street.
This painting is available.
Friday, August 23, 2019
In order to take a hot shower at my off-the-grid place. I have set up this experimental system. The collected rain water goes through a 4-stage filtration to get clean enough, then it either goes through or by-passes a tankless propane hot water heater so I can have either hot or cold water from two shower heads. The water pressure is provided by a water pump powered by solar. At this moment, I am testing the feasibility of this DIY gismo. It works like a charm. I plan to build a bath house on the deck before the winter comes, and a grey water irrigations system so I don't waist the precious resources.
You probably want to ask me if I have time to paint. Well I will say that my art has been significantly compromised at this moment. I confess sincerely that my family and I have been enticed by the main stream commercialism so in consequence, we are trapped helplessly. However, I am positive, we will survive and have a much better life in the near future.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
I think this is the best painting I did during the Plein Air Easton. I submitted it as one of my two competitions pieces. I thought it may won something, but it didn't. However, it was sold within minutes after the show opened. I deliberately kept the painting very abstract. Only one boat in the center is barely identifiable. It looks it is the way to go.
Monday, August 19, 2019
I painted another tractor. This one did not go away during my painting time. I just enjoy painting mechanical thingies. The simple shapes like circles, rectangles can form beautiful patterns. I have been amazed by the design work done in the old days. That is why people keep the skeletons of old tractors and cars in their back yard. They just simply beautiful.
Sunday, August 18, 2019
During the Plein Air Easton Festival, there happened to be a farm equipment show. I went there on the day after the show. Only a few tractors and farm machinery left. But it was relatively quiet time. I saw this red tractor and decided to paint it. When I got the painting about 2/3 finished. A old gentle man in old blue overall hopped on the tractor and drove it away. He ignored me completely. He said nothing, not even looked at me. That was just the nature of plein air painting. Your subject can disappear any time, mercilessly.
Friday, August 16, 2019
About a month ago, I posted a photo of my off-the-grid haven. Many friends commented, and some of them wanted me to show the interior of my place. Now you have it. I divided the 200 square feet into two rooms: one for the kitchen, one for the bedroom. A home made asian style window provides the air flow between rooms. The beauty is that I can do everything here by myself. I got the kitchen cabinets from "Re-store" for $60, and made the counter top with lumber and paint from Home Depot for $40. The sink ($90) and cook top ($90) were from Amazon. I insulated the bedroom only, spent $300. The plumbing and electric wiring are completely DIY. To survive without much of money. handiness is absolutely necessary.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
The hot and steamy weather continues. I was at the Maritime Museum, St. Michaels MD. The scene was quite busy. I just love it. I saw all kinds of plays: the geometric play, the color play, the value play and so on. When you see through the reality, you will see the true art.
Monday, August 12, 2019
When it gets too hot, what do you do? It has been above 100 F everyday in Austin for more than a week now, and it looks it will be the same kind of weather for another week. It was similar day when I did this painting in Cambridge MD. To be honest with you, there were nobody under the colorful umbrellas when I was painting this one. Only the crazy artist is willing to stay outside in a super hot day.
Thursday, August 8, 2019
This painting has brought me the "Best Marine Painting" award at Plein Air Easton competition. I have learned my lesson. It was one of those the hottest and most steamy days. I spent most of my day time in a restaurant eating crab cakes. I started to paint around 5:00 PM, and finished it about 8. That was the best time of painting plein air. The temperature was tolerable, and the light got better and better. When the nature puts up her best show, I put down my finish touches. The world is the best place, if you know how to live.
The painting is available. Please contact me if you are interested.
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
What attracted me when I saw this little storage shed was the light. One side of the little house was under a cool sky light, and on the other side the bright sun light was shining on the ground and a strong warm reflection had brightened the side of the house.
This painting is available. Please contact me.
Monday, August 5, 2019
The painting was done at Tilghman Island as my first one for the Easton Plein Air Festival. It was a good day. I enjoyed the turquoise in the painting. This painting is still available. Please contact: https://studiobartgallery.com/artist/qiang-huang/ for details.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
In July, I taught two workshops (Eaton MD and Sunbury PA), and participated the Plein Air Easton competition. I was on the road for 20 days. Now I have been back to Austin for a week, working on projects at my off-the-grid place. I did 15 paintings at Easton and 3 in Sunbury. I will show you gradually. I am happy my art journey keeps on going.
We have decided to put our house out the market. There are a few major remodeling projects need to be done before we sell it again. Thank God that someone is interested in renting our new house. I hope it goes through smoothly.
I enjoy painting houses and love the architectural beauty. Now I feel them so mysterious. When I came to US many years ago. I have no idea about real estates and how the capitalist system works. How come you have something that you have used for a while, but you can sell it with a higher price than you paid to get it new. It does not make sense, does it?
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
With more than 10 quiet days on the cyber world, I have been so busy and exhausted in the real world. Many workshops have passed since I painted at Wayne, and Plein Air Easton competition has ended. There are so many things worth to talk about, but I simply have no time and energy to talked about. Our house has not been sold. Our new house has not been rented out. I have been traveling far away from home painting rich people's yachts and sail boats, but complete forget that I am current deadly broke.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
This is a small painting I did for my host family Anne and Phil Graham. I really appreciate they offered their lovely home for us to stay during the Wayne Plein Air Festival. Anne is a excellent portrait artist. Please check her website: http://www.annegrahamportraits.com. You will be amazed what you see.
Monday, July 8, 2019
Let me finish the story of my misfortunate painting day first. I almost had a panic attack when I found my classes were "gone with the wind", because that was my only pair and I needed a new prescription from an optometrist to get a new prescription. I was not home and two days later I needed to go to Michigan to teach another workshop. I had no idea if I could have another pair of glasses made within 48 hours. After, my heart sunk into the bottom, my situation started turning around. First of all, I felt so grateful about having a wonderful family and so many wonderful friends around me. My wife Song was with me when all of those misfortune happened, She took over the driving part. We arrived at Wayne Art Center about an hour later, the center director Nancy Campbell immediately made calls to all the eye doctors in the vicinity of Wayne. It happened to be a Friday afternoon. She made more than 10 calls, but all the optometrists were not available in Wayne. Finally she found an eye doctor in another town. So we went to see this very doctor. The optometrist was very nice. She measured my eyes, and helped me calling to see if anyone can make my classes quickly, and she found one. We went to nearby shopping mall, and visited a "Lens Crafter". They made a new pair of glasses for me within ONE HOUR. Well the story ended happily. I then painted those happy peonies the day after.
Saturday, July 6, 2019
I have an amazing story to tell about this painting. One of those Wayne Plein Air days, I went to a ship yard near Philly. I saw a few beautiful tugboats. The best view of them was from a bridge across the water. I set up my easel right away and started to paint. When I just layed out of my composition, I noticed that boat (I used for my center of focus) started to move. Quickly it turned. I saw a guy on the stern waved to me, seemed to say "Bye-bye". Then it disappeared. I was so disappointed, but I did not give up. I started to observe the second tugboat. It was not attractive as the first one, but It looked ok. So I altered my composition and kept on painting. Well, just when I blocked in my colors and ready for details, the second boat started to move. It turned mischievously, and disappeared. I was so frustrated. Only one tugboat left, but it was rather uninteresting. Well. I had no choice, and kept on painting. I removed my eye glasses and put it to the pocket of the apron I was wearing, and concentrated to develop a design to make the painting work. I painted, and painted I did not know for how long. I wanted to observe the painting from afar, and tried to reach my glasses. Suddenly I discovered my apron has mutated into a piece of string on my neck. The body of the apron had been blown away by wind. You know I was painted on a bridge. I looked into the water, and there is no trace of the apron and my glasses. Without glasses, I am literally blind. I may paint loosely, but I can not drive. That was the end of this lost tugboat painting. rest of the story is about how to get back to Wayne, and how to be able to see again. I will tell you later.
Thursday, July 4, 2019
Happy 4th July my friends! It was also on 4th July, Henry David Thoreau moved into his small house by Walden Pond. Although so many people around me considered my effort of building this Off-the-Grid shelter is so idiotically unnecessary, but as an artist, I feel it is my responsibility to demonstrate my American spirit: Fighting for the Freedom and Independence. I believe we can use our own hands and brains to build our beautiful life and librate ourselves from the shackles of the merciless commercialism. The photo shows the status of some of my projects. So far I have 6 100V solar panels (cost $81 each) giving power to a small window AC so I can stay comfortably indoors agains the brutal Texas summer heat. I also put up a deck, and installed the awning above the window. Today I don't show a painting. Maybe I can call this piece my sculpture or my performance art.
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.