Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Morning Calm" --- Sold

2008 has been a remarkable year, for the two countries I call home, I shed tears for the victims of the devastating earthquake, I cheered the spectacular Olympics, I was excited to see the historical election, and I shared the pain of the collapsed economics. The world is like a Jackson Pollock’s painting. I feel myself like a small insect holding on a piece of leaf floating on a vast sea full of excitements and turmoil.

It has been a good year for me as an artist. Without much of the professional training, I have jumped into the art world. Far from maturity, but I had made some progress. With the great Internet, I shared my joy and frustration with you. With your uninterrupted support, I have been inspired and encouraged to surf the art waves.

At this New Year’s Eve, my small boat is docked. The water is calm; the air is misty. I am having a sweet dream….. without aware of that 2009 is just around the corner and the new challenges are approaching.
Thank You and Happy New Year !!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Hide and Seek 2"

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This is another mid size painting maintaining the painterly look of my small ones. I used this composition before, but I really like it and decided to paint it again. I used very big brushes (2" wide) to do this. I may have to use brooms and mops if I paint a 30" x 40". If you like to paint large, do you use very large brushes? Would you tell me what kind of large brushes you like and where you get them?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Feel the Heat" --Sold

You might have noticed that I have been illuminating my still life setups from the very same direction since the very beginning. That is because I use the same light to illuminate both the setup and my canvas. It worked and I didn't bother to change it until this one. I finally setup one more light so I can separate the setup and canvas illumination. What a revolution it is to me! From the almost back-lit setup, I see so many beautiful colors within the shadow in form of reflections. It reminds me sitting by a camp fire seeing the red hot flames glowing on everybody's faces. So feel the heat.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Red and Black" --- Sold

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I am back to my still life painting again. This one is so typical of my small painting style. Do you see anything new on this one? If you say no, I will get my purpose fulfilled. The truth is: this painting is not that small. It is a 12" x 16". I am working on the paint quality today. I want to see my large paintings as painterly as my small ones.

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Happy Holidays"

Happy Holidays to all of you. No matter where you are, and what type of religion you have, please enjoy the merriest time of the year. I cannot send a card to every one of you, so please accept this image as my best holiday wishes to you. I want thank you for your uninterrupted support, inspiration, and guidance to my art. Without your help, it is not possible for me to keep my daily painting practice going. I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"South Wind" --- Sold

It is pretty cold these a couple of days. So I did this one trying to bring some south wind to warm you up. This is not plein air. It is from a photo I took at Rock Port, TX in spring. I loaded the photo on my laptop and put it on my still life stand. Maybe we can call it computer plein air.
You know I was having problems earlier of painting darks on top of lighter colors, and many of you provided me tips. Through few studies I find a way I like, and practised on this one. I thin the sky color with turp and paint it on first, it dries pretty fast. Then I paint darks on top. It works well for me. So thank you for your help.
BTW, the murder whom the police was searching for last weekend killed himself. His body was found two days after my last plein air day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Oaks in a Park" --- Sold

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Last Saturday I went to plein air painting again. When I arrived at the small park where I did my first plein air of the year, I saw more than a dozen police cars on the parking lot. There was even a police trailer with several cages for search dogs. Later on I was told that there was a murder at large in the area. That is a part of plein air painting. You never know what you will encounter at the painting site. I did this oil sketch on a picnic table while the criminal might be lurking in the nearby woods.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Workshop Reminder

Upon the request of my workshop organizer at Cincinnati Ohio, I would like to pass the following information to you if you are interested in taking my workshop in April 2009:

Please send $50 to hold your spot for the workshop made out to WACCF. Mail the check to Deborah Ridgley, 8326 Wetherfield Lane, Cincinnati, Ohio 45236. PLEASE SUPPLY YOUR NAME, ADDRESS AND EMAIL ALONG WITH YOUR CHECK.

If you have already sent in your reservation check but did not include your contact information, please email Deborah Ridgley at so you can receive my painting supply list.

As of December 2008, there are only 6 spots still open for this workshop.

Friday, December 12, 2008

"Rock Climbers" --- Sold

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I enjoy painting grapes, but this is my first time using grapes as my center of focus. They are full of translucent colors. The shadows on the white cup have very interesting shapes. The composition is a kind of new as well. I was pondering on my still life painting for a while and felt I need to put something new to it. I think this one works nicely.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"Ski Friends" --- Sold

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I was planned to go skiing at New Mexico around the Christmas holidays, but this morning I finally decided not going. At my engineering job, we are under a lot stress because we are approaching a major deadline. It would be very helpful if I can keep working during this holiday season. In addition I can save several more vocation days. I can roll them over to next year so I can use them for my workshop teaching. I may do more paintings as well during this time instead of wasting my time driving two days.... All these excuses sound reasonable, but the true reason I am trying to cover is that I am a LOUSY skier. Now you know.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Morning Cedars" --- Sold

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This is my second plein air of the year. Compared with my previous one, this time was much better. It was a sunny day and I painted with a group of Plein Air Austin painters. I was still working on trees.

Friday, December 5, 2008


I did this study to practice how to paint trees. It is really difficult to paint darks on the top of lighter color background. I tried doing darks first then use lighter colors to cut off the branches, but I can't get fine twigs that way. I have to finish this painting in two sessions. I have to wait the lighter background dry enough so I can paint darks on top. Do you have a good way to do this kind of thing in one session? Please please let me know.

Monday, December 1, 2008

"Colors of White 2" --- Sold

I have received many comments and emails after I posted my plein air painting. Many friends shared their plein air stories with me. I really enjoyed reading them. Now my regular working week started and I lost my daylight again. So I come back to my still life studies. Similar to my previous still life painting, I try to use colors to present white. My colors scheme is purple for the shadow and blue for the light. I am sure there are other good color schemes for painting white object. If you have a good one, would you mind sharing with me?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Early Winter" --- Sold

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I bought an Open Box M easel lately and I was so excited to try it out. This morning, I went to a small park not far from my home and did my first plein air of the year. It was a cold and cloudy day. I set up my clean and shining easel and carefully placed some fresh colors on the palette, afraid of contaminating the new thing. Well, life was getting more interesting. The wind came and it was getting colder. After I just blocked in my darks, it started to rain. Oh boy, using water as the medium for an oil painting was totally new to me. My paint stuck on my brush like a lollipop and refused to stick to my glass palette. I had to mix my colors on the canvas. My fingers got numbed, my hair was wet, and my new Box M..... Well, it was no longer new any more. "I think it is the time to go home" I was telling my stubborn artist's mind. I covered my canvas with whatever colors I got on my brush, and put away everything clumsily in the car. As soon as I rushed out the park's gate, Oh my Lord, the Sun came out.
What a wonderful plein air day I had! In spite of all the miseries, I sort of like what I did on this painting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

"Colorful White" --- Sold

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This is the same cup I painted last time, but there are quite a few drastic changes. I didn't use any high chroma colors. Subtlety of the colors is the goal for this one. Using the variation of the color temperature, I make subtle value changes. Following is my color mixing for this painting:
Shadow color: Ultramarine Blue + Burnt Sienna + Alizarin Chrimson + White;
Light color: Ultramarine Blue + White + Shadow color.
I really like this one. I am glad I can make a painting work without using cadmium colors.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"On the Edge"

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We have this kind of odd shaped tomatoes growing in our yard. I balanced one of them on the edge of my still life stand to create the shadow shape I like. I am glad I am back to my classic style before I got lost in the "contemporary" la-la land. So I am a good boy today, but I can't guarantee you that I won't go crazy again. I like that odd shaped tomato balancing on the edge.

At this moment, I want to say "Thank you" to all of you, for your support. You make me very happy for this a couple of years. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Ajijic Impression" --- Sold

I don't know this painting is good or bad, but it is definitely new to me. It is a pure knife painting and I have crossed the representational border. Doing abstracts is not my favorite, but it is kind of fun coming out of my comfort zone once a while. It is a good study on paint work and effects. Ajijic is the Mexican town I did workshop several months ago. It is really beautiful.
I got "tagged" lately by a marvelous artist and writer Jala Pfaff. Her work is very expressive and showing solid academic skills. according to the "rules", I must reveal some info about myself. Here they are:
1. I have a very good sense of directions. I can always find my destinations even crossing the glob if needed.

2. I cannot deal with numbers in English. So I often make mistakes when I communicate if numbers are involved. I was buying a piece of art once from a gallery online. I gave them the wrong zip code, the wrong phone number, and the wrong credit card number.

3. I did studied subatomic physics in college, but I don’t know anything about the string theory.

4. I got my first ticket before I got my driver’s license.

5. I belief the world will be destroyed by computers rather than nukes.
Now here is the artist I would like to tag:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Worshop in Austin

At the last weekend EAST show I met quite a few friends requesting information about my workshop in Austin area. I have just updated my workshop page in my website and I will teach a three-day still life painting workshop at Austin on May 15 - 17, 2009. Please contact Karen Wilkerson at: for detailed information. Thanks.

Friday, November 21, 2008

East Austin Studio Tour

I am sorry for this short short notice. I will show my work at the EAST show this coming weekend. If you are in the Austin area, you are more than welcome to come to my show. I am located at Studio #70: 1406 Smith Rod Ste D. This is my first time to show Giclees of my work. I have not got time paint lately. Every night I was busy stretching canvases and framing. I don't know what I am expecting, but it will be definitely interesting. I am excited about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Sweet and Colorful" --- Sold

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This one shows my typical style of painting if I have one; my typical composition, my typical way of using color, and my typical way of illumination. I remember a master artist has said that a style is the limitation of the artist. I agree. In my art practice, I never deliberately pursue a style. I only know what I like and what I don't like.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Natural Dryer" --- Sold

Two days ago, our washing machine quitted. I tried to fix it, but it was much harder than I thought. We have to buy a new one I am afraid. What a shame it was. It still look new to me and most parts still working. This reminds me the old days. We hung cloths and sheets under in the open air to dry. I still remember the smell of the Sun.
I did this painting from a photo I took in Mexico. I started (again) painting landscape now. It is more difficult to me since I have not done it enough. We will see. Maybe I would like it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Orange in Green Light" --- Sold

Transparent objects like bottles provide great opportunities for putting high chroma colors on a painting. Unlike the opaque objects, the light filtered by the bottle remains high color intensity. In contrast, the light reflected from an opaque object, like the orange, usually gets bleached, and pushing the high chroma color into the area closer to the shadow.... bla, bla, bla.. You know what I mean. I had too much technical junk at work today. My brain has not shifted to the artistic mode yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Go-erds" --- Sold

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"Go-erds" is way to say "gourds" in Deep South. I learned it when I was in Mississippi last month. I really enjoy traveling. It is a good way of learning new things.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

2009 Workshop Announcement

I have just updated my workshop page in my website. If you are interested in taking one of my workshops in 2009, please check Here (or click the yellow "Workshop Info" button on the right) and contact the workshop organizers to get detailed information. This is a partial list at this moment. There are still several more in the middle of processing. I will post again when they are ready. I am looking forward to meeting you or seeing you again.

My wife took the photo above when I was teaching a workshop in Mexico in September. I use PowerPoint presentation, painting demo, and individual assistant to make the workshops informative and fun.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"First Orchid" --- Sold

This is my first try of painting orchid. I had some hard time with it. My palette did not provide the colors I need. I could not mix the purple I want. If you have the experience with orchid painting, please help me out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Demo at Round Rock 2" --- Sold

This is another demo I did at the workshop. I got a nice secondary light source from a winder on the right. The cooler light made this painting with a morning freshness. I did most of my paintings in evenings under artificial lights. So, I really enjoyed having this natural light shining on my setup.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Demo at Round Rock 3" --- Sold

I have just completed a workshop at Round Rock, TX. I want thank Denise Larue Mahlke and the Art Center at Williamson County for making this workshop possible. I saw quite a few old friends and made many new friends as well. We had wonderful 3 days painting together. Thank you all so much.
This is one of the demos I did on the workshop. It put quite a challenge on me, but it turned out all right. Hope you all like it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


New Workshop Announcement

I am going to teach a 3-day workshop at Andreeva Portrait Academy (APA) in Salado, TX from February 21 to February 23, 2009. APA is a private painting atelier offering high level professional art workshops and classes. If you are interested in knowing my approach of still life oil painting, please contact APA by for information and registration. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Halloween Is Coming" --- Sold

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Halloween is coming and I have a real ghost story to tell. You know I was in Mississippi about two weeks ago teaching a workshop. I stayed alone in a small cottage next to an old cemetery. The owner of the cottage has many antiques displaying in the room for decoration. I went to bed around 11:00 PM. I turned off the light…..and it was getting quiet. Well, I started to hear a faint noise. To be precise in the engineering terms, it was a low frequency, periodic buzzing noise –zzz---. Some one was breathing…. I jumped out of the bed and turned on the light. The noise was disappeared. I checked the refrigerator and bathroom, but nothing was looking suspicious. Maybe an animal was in or around the house. Maybe it was simply my imagination. I turned off the light and tried to sleep again. Well, the noise came back. It was REAL I swear. I felt a little scared, but I didn’t know what I could do. I thought about the tombs several yards from me and the spirits under the stones. The house must be HAUNTED…. I started talking to the “ghost”. I chose English for the obvious reason…. Of course, I hardly had any sleep that night. Next morning, I searched the house and inspected the antiques items as careful as I can. You know what, I found the “ghost”. Do you want to know what it was? It was an old electric clock. It has a motor constantly moving (not ticking). It makes a very faint noise just like someone was breathing…. I slept like a log ever after. The end.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"The Only Rose" --- Sold

I have a rose bush in my yard, given me many beautiful flowers last year. I painted quite a few of them. But for some reason, it did bloom this year. It grew a lot of leaves and thorns but no flower. I almost give up on it.... But finally, I saw a small bud yesterday. This morning it turns into a beauty. I have to paint it. It is the ONLY rose. So here it is.
2008 is a difficult year to many people. Many suffered due to natural disasters, wars, and economical crisis. Life is full of thorns. But we shouldn't give up the hope. We will hang in there waiting the only rose blooming. It will come, and there will be many more to follow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Sew Much 4 U" --- Sold

It took me three days to finish this small painting. After I returned from my Mississippi trip, I found my wife was in bed. She had a severe back pain and could hardly move. Our neighbor and some our friends helped her during my absent. I want to thank them for their kindness from the bottom of my heart. For more than a week. I had to take up all the chores in the house. In the mean time my daytime work had increased its load. We have a major deadline approaching. I don't even have time to unpack my painting stuff until about four days ago. My wife is getting better now, and I started painting again. However my painting time is still fragmented. I even can't finish a 5"x7" in one session. I said it before: being able to paint is a luxury. We should not take it for granted.

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Demo at Mississippi 2" --- Sold

This is my second demo painting at my Rolling Fork workshop. I was using a lighter background to show the transparency of the Ball Jar. The cool color of the glass strongly enhanced the warm color of the orange.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Demo at Mississippi 1"

Hi You'l! I just came back from Deep South. I taught a 3-days workshop at Rolling Fork, Mississippi. I want thank Pat Walker-Field for organizing this workshop and all the artists for participating. Rolling Fork is a wonderful small town at the Mississippi Delta in mist of cotton fields. I enjoyed several days of the warm Southern hospitality, and tasted delicious grits. Now I know who "Muddy Waters" was and where the Teddy bear came from. I really learned a lot, and have more stories to tell.

This painting was the first demo I did at the workshop, showing how to achieve looseness on a painting.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Mutual Support" --- Sold

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The shadow of the stem shows today's stock market. Red is THE color. I thought someday I could be a full time artist. Well, it looks like that I have to postpone my plan for a couple of more years. I guess we just have to hang in there, take the challenges. But, I believe there will be a rainbow after the storm.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"After Work" --- Sold

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I drink socially only. Usually a beer and a glass of wine will do it. But drink Tequila was absolutely new to me. This happened at the last day of my workshop at Ajijic, Mexico. We had a potluck party. I was told by one of the artists that I MUST drink Tequila. Well, here is Mexico, I got to follow the rules. So I did. I finished a 50 ml bottle in two gulps..... Wow!!! It was strong! But it tasked really sweet and it smelled really great too. It wasn't what I thought it was. "Now, I am ready for another painting" I thought. Of course, I didn't do it, but I really had a great time at the party afterwards. I took the empty tequila bottles back to my studio and did this tequila painting today. I hope you all like it. Be honest to you, I didn't drink before I paint this one.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"On Red Napkin" --- Sold

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I really enjoyed the shape variation of this setup. The fold on the napkin, the casting shadows, and of course the shape of the pears make the composition such a nice design...... You know sometime you need to pat your own shoulders, especially the depressing time of this a couple of days.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Blue and Red" --- Sold

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I was listening the VP debate while I was painting this one last night. This election is so important to everybody this year. Blue and Red are the seasonal colors now. I hope all my American artist friends will vote this November. Do you want to know who I will vote for? I will vote for Change.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Demo at Ajijic Mexico 2" --- Sold

I just came back from Mexico yesterday and this is another demo painting I did at the workshop. I want thank Mrs. Isabel Deblanc for organizing this successful and unique workshop. We had artists from Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, USA, and China. What an international group it was. I want to thank all of you for coming, and hope to see you again. Ajijic is a very beautiful place. I saw striking colors everywhere. I really need to practise my landscape painting skills and hope to generate some landscapes paintings from the photo I took in the future.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Demo at Ajijic Mexico 1" --- Sold

Hola World! I am at beautiful Ajijic Mexico giving a workshop. This is a demo I did yesterday. My today's class starts now. I will talk to you later. Chao!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Lean on Me" --- Sold

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When I setup this group, the green vase was rolling. The black vase and the apple came as stoppers and established the stability. In this world we all need other people's support. As a painter, I am very grateful to have the support from my collectors, and my fellow artist friends. Thank you!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Workshop Reminder

I don't remember I have announced this workshop, and I am sorry for the late notice. I am going to teach a 3-day still life painting workshop on October 11 – 13 at Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Artist Pat Walker is organizing this workshop at a beautiful place full of nature and wildlife. We still have several openings left. Please check Pat’s website and contact her to get more detailed information. I hope to see you and paint together with you.

"A Glass of Apple" --- Sold

I have got so many responses on my post yesterday about naming a painting. Oh boy, I have learned a lot, both linguistically and culturally. Thank you'l so much, partner (got to sound like a Texan). You know I have lived in America for more than 20 years, but English has never been stopping challenging me, but I am grateful that people are very nice to me and tolerating my broken English. Meanwhile, I also got quite a few international messages. Art is a dramatic thingy. I am making friends all over of the world.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Another Rose" --- Sold

"Another Rose" - What a boring name it is. I am not good at naming my paintings you can tell. I admire some of my fellow daily painters who can generate really exciting names for their work. If you have some tips, please help me out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Fishing Float"

I found this float in a park the other day and was attracted by its vibrant fluorescent colors. It gives a wonderful texture contrast against the metal pot in this painting. Plastic items usually give an impression of cheapness, and not every artist likes to paint them. Well in some cases, they do have a position in art. Next time my wife going shopping, I will ask her to buy me a rubber ducky.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Green on Red" --- Sold

I have violated the cardinal rule of composition by placing my painting object exactly at the center of the canvas, but I think the painting will still work because of asymmetrical background and light distribution. I hope you can enjoy the drama of the light with this supper simple setup.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Mexican Vase"

I have spent last several days working on this gallery level painting. I really like this colorful vase and I have painted it many times. I think it is from Mexico. In two week, I will go there and give a workshop. Knowing almost nothing about this country, I am excited for this trip. I am pretty sure it will be fun to gain new experiences.

Friday, September 5, 2008

"Iron Bowl" --- Sold

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Actually, the bowl in this painting is not made of iron, but I like the rusty color. The Iron Bowl has several meanings. To most of Americans, especially Alabamians, Iron Bowl is a football game. I don't know much about football, but I did live in Alabama for seven years. To most of Chinese, especially the Mainlanders, iron ball symbolizes the job security, because iron bowl can not be broken so it will provide food with no end. The logic is a little shaky, but you have got the idea. At this difficult economic time, an iron bowl is surely good to have.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"White Nectarine" --- Sold

I was informed by the Riverbend Gallery today that there is an article about me showing on a newspaper. Please check Lake Country Life page 6 for details. I am really happy to see my art growing healthily, and I am even happier to see my work make you happy.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"A Peach" --- Sold

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I just can't stop painting fruit. Apples, pears, grapes, plums, and so on, they are my color carriers. Today is the peach. My son is addictive to peaches. He can eat them without stop. There are only three people in my family, but we consume more than 30 lbs. of fruit each week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Being Preserved" --- Sold

The odd shaped tomato is about 7 days old. It is from our yard. The Ball jar is more than 70 years young I think. An artist friend of mine Kathleen McElwaine loan it to me to paint. I like the contrast of these two objects, and the relationship between them. I think painting is a way of preserving time. It establishes the relationship between the current moment and eternity.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Sweet Colors" --- Sold

Can a color be tasted? Maybe not, but beautiful colors give us such an enjoyment very similar to the experience of tasting a sweet fruit. As a matter of fact, the fruit on this image provided both wonderful sensations to me, because I ate them after I painted them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Copper Kettle"

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A friend of mine loaned me this hand made copper kettle to paint. At our technology-flooded age, I still enjoy more hand made stuff. I admire astonishingly the craftsmanship created by human hands. When I touch this copper pot, I can feel the relationship between its creator and me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"A Pair of Pears" --- Sold

Pear in Chinese symbolizes leaving, separating, or going to a place far from home. I had this "pear" feeling last night. As many of you, I watched the Olympic Marathon at my American home. Through my HD TV screen, I really enjoyed Beijing, A city I spent 24 years in this place. Following the athletes from all over the world, I saw the place I was born, the place I spent my childhood, and the building my parent still live in. I felt I was at home.