Saturday, September 29, 2012

" At the hillside"

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I have been doing a serious study on color harmony for a week. It is one of most important topic in graphic design. In this painting I used the analogous color scheme. I am trying to develop a tool on my computer to analyze the color design of any arbitrary painting: I run a filter to get a simplified version of the original image (to mimic the effect of squinting). Then I sampled a set of colors and get  their corresponding hue, chroma, value figures. Then I map those colors on the color wheel, and the grey scale. From the distribution of the colors, I can know the painting's main color, color scheme, color dominance, value dominance, and value range. With this method, I can quantitatively understand the design of any artists including myself. Please see an example of my analysis. In the future, I will develop an app, you may put on iPhone or iPad. If you know someone doing the similar thing, please let me know. I might have reinvented the wheel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"Green Go Red Stop"

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I am painting again. The time between this one and my last painting was about a week, so I am not qualified as an daily painter if I keep doing this. I did a lot of thinking lately. A couple of years ago, I don't think too much when I paint. "JUST DO IT" was my spirit. But nowadays, my art has reach to a bottle neck. I saw problems in my paintings. I can't stand when I see some of my old work. I am learning proactively, and feel overwhelmed. I must control my desire, and reluctantly pause something I really want to do (like figure drawing and painting). Now in still life, I have decided to do high key and colorful small paintings, and my dark background paintings for only large paintings. I also start to put away some of my general principles like "painting the light, not the object", and "use large area muted color to make the color at the focal point sing". I am working more on graphic design concepts, which I don't know enough about. I am trying new approaches, even approaches I don't have strong believe in. My today's painting is not my usual style. Someone may think I am going backward. No matter what, it is just an experiment.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"More thought about teaching art to children"

I did two children's art classes yesterday. This image is a drawing done by my son Jonathan (15 years old). Since my post of last week talking about teaching art to children, I have received many artists friends' comments and emails. Many of them provided me information of website links of art teaching projects. I want to thank all of you for supporting me and help me out. I have been googling and try to find appropriate projects that I can use to beef-up my curriculum. I am sorry to say I have rejected most of them from the Internet and ended up creating most of the projects by myself. Personally, I feel the current art education has over emphasized too much the importance of the Impressionism and the modern trend. So many projects online try to teach kids how Van Gogh and Warhol paints. I have not seen any project teaches how Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Bouguereau, and Sargent paints. For those artists, art education can only talk about them as a part of history lessons. I really believe this kind of representation art is teachable if the teacher arrange the projects properly. Those are the projects I would like to involve into my curriculum. I understood that most of children love to draw during their kindergarten, elementary, and part of the middle school. However most children conclude they can not draw when they are around 12 years or older. The reason is they see more and more around them, but feel frustrated with their art skills. So most people give it up. As a matter of fact, that is exactly the time, art teacher can really help.  I am happy to see many of my young students making progress.

You haven't seen much of my painting lately. Well there are many thing to talk about that. I will get back to you soon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

“Autumn Sweet"

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This week I was called back by my previous engineering company to work on a technical project. So I tried the old routine I had when I was working full time, i.e. working in the day and painting in the evening. So I painted this small painting last night, but I felt very different then before. Instead of concentrating on creating art, I was fighting to myself to keep going. I was so tired. My energy level was significantly lower then before. At many points, I almost gave it up. I just wanted to go to bed. I reluctant to accept that I am no longer a young man any more. To many of you my friends, I have no right complaining about aging. But I understood now that I am confronting the challenge of life itself. Oh boy! Getting old is not for sissies!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Artists for our future"

I don't have a painting to show you, but I want to share what I am doing for this a couple of days. I have not mentioned much in my blog that I have art classes in my house, most of the students are children from 5 to 16 years old. In order to teach kids art properly, I did a lot of search on the Internet, but I was very disappointed to find out that there is almost nothing I can use to guide children to gain hands-on skills and knowledge about art. I asked some of my young friends in both elementary and high schools if they have art classes in school and what they have learned. They said they do have art, but they hardly learned anything. It is a sad reality that art education, in America as well as in China, schools only teach how to talk about art, not how to do it. I feel sorry to our kids, and I will try my best to help them.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I have some workshop openings

Finally the Texas heat is coming down. The cool autumn is coming. I will be busy teaching in this beautiful season. I have arranged quite a few workshops. some of them are quite full, but I still have a few opening for two workshops. One will be in Wethersfield Connecticut organized by Wethersfield Academy of Arts on October 24 -26. If you are in New England, or want to go there in this colorful foliage season, please contact Betty Standish to register. Another workshop will be at Magnolia near Houston Texas organized by ARLC on November 9 - 11. Please contact Marty Hatcher to sign up. I am looking forward to sharing my art with you. The photo I posted here was at Newport Rhode Island. I was doing my demo painting. My workshops do fill quickly. I wish you good luck.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Demo at Jacksonville 2012 2" --- Sold

The workshop at Jacksonville is over now, and I am on my way back to Austin. I feel so blessed, and very grateful to so many people supporting my art. I hope I did not wear out too much of my workshop artists those three days. The information was overwhelming. Please make sure you review the notes and practice regularly. You will see the progress for sure.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"Demo at Jacksonville 2012 1" --- Sold

I am in Jacksonville FL now. This is what I did yesterday on my workshop. I want to thank Eileen Corse for putting this workshop together, and thank all artists from all over. This is my second trip to Florida this year. Travel has become a normal part of my life now. Hurricane Isaac is still pour down a lot of rain here. Yesterday was a busy day for me. Besides the workshop during the day, I did also a quick portrait for one of the artists. Now I am forming this quick blog post before my class starts for the second day.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


It looks that my calligraphy/stilllife painting works well in small format (5x7). Now I want paint a little larger. I did this 9x12 yesterday. The character in this painting means "peaceful". Many Chinese characters can be decomposed into simpler characters, just like some English words have "prefix and suffix". For this one, the upper part means "a house" and the lower part means "woman". So "a woman in a house" means "peaceful". I guess the better interpretation should be: if you are in a family, you will have a peaceful life. In our modern life, traditional family life is out of fashion. We emphasize more on individuals. Maybe that is the reason we don't have much peace nowadays.

Monday, September 3, 2012

"On My Kitchen Counter" --- Sold

After my last post, I have received quite a few friends' comments and emails. Thank you so much. Your words warm my heart. AAU and figurative painting are dreams coming true to me. I had wonderful times, and gained useful skills and knowledges. However, I have also realized that I can't solve some of the problems in two hours, putting something down maybe harder than picking something up. But I need to be rational and practical. I really need to have my left brain cells kick in, and treat each of my paintings as a scientific project.

I have a workshop coming up soon. So I did this 9"x12" to warm up. I feel a little rusty and need some force to get the momentum going. I didn't give too much composition thought on this one. After my breakfast yesterday, I simply move our family fruit plate to my studio. I have vague ideas in my mind. From my still life with Chinese characters studies, I know I want to work on depicting abundance of things. I am going decrease the gap between still life and landscape paintings.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Head Study 4 at AAU"

I have not painted for several days. To keep my blog going, I post a painting I did before. This head study I did at AAU. All my AAU paintings are 12" x 16" or larger. I can't sell them as my small still life studies. I really don't know how to market them. If you are interested in them, please contact me.

I didn't paint is because I am having a mental problem. I was like a drug addict with an obsession, I was so into figure drawing and couldn't stop doing it. You may have noticed if you read my previous post. It was not that I was so indulged into what I did, but I just couldn't stand the problems I had seen in my figure work. I thought I could fix that problem in two hours. However, the hours turned into days, and days became weeks, ... I was like a desperate gambler in front a slot machine, hoping the next quarter I put in it will bring me a good fortune. I was so frustrated. I ignore painting, ignore I have a business to run, ignore my family and I need to eat.  I need a life coach or a rehab to fix me up. Boy! I never thought that learning can be so harmful.

Now I force myself putting down my pencils (similar to a smoker putting down the cigarette). I understood (at least theoretically) that craving is a universal disease. It is the source of all suffering.