Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Awakening" (Partial)

Finally, I finished my long term painting "Awakening". Since the painting is semi-dry, I can't get a good photo. I got a ton of glares. Doing a large painting is so different from my small daily studies. I go a way deeper in designs and paint effects. My AAU study during the summer has really laid the foundation for doing large paintings. I like the light effects and light consistency of the painting. I really want to do more projects like this. It gives me more opportunities to deal with detail modeling and dramatization. I consider to submit this painting for the 2013 OPA show. I missed this year's show, so I want to be prepared a little earlier.

I have not done any small paintings for a while, but I hope I can pick it up soon. Life keeps on going. Problems are inevitable, but if we do not give up, we will be there eventually. So, I don't want to talk about my demons any more. I am awakening gradually.

Monday, November 26, 2012

"AAU Portrait Painting 6"

I am still working on my long term painting, so I show another portrait study I did at AAU in the summer time.  It used two light sources: one warm and one cool.

Recently I started a discussion about demons. So many friends sent me great comments. They helped me a lot and warmed my heart. Thank you so much. But what is the “demon” I mean specifically? As a matter of fact, it is the paraphrase I use to refer the problems I ran into during my personal development. They are not horned monsters that my son trying to kill in his video games, but it is true that they are the power from the dark side. They have many appearances. Today I just want to talk about one of them - my fear of unknowns. Since I left my engineering job. I have given up the security and stability. I know I have to face the anxiety of the unknown future. It force me work harder, and try to accomplish as much as possible. I tend to work too much. I have difficulty to relax. I try to take all the opportunities. However, that starts to take away all the fun and freedom, which are my original objective of departure from a meaningless job. How come I turn my dream into another job. This is all because I have this demon in me. It shows its ugly face and sharp fang, waving his bloody claws trying break me into pieces. However, it is too often, I forgot this demon was created by me. You know well that I want to be a good artist to share the world beauty with you. However, only I know I am an even better artist that I created the most fearful monsters to scare myself. Now I am learning to accept my demon, because it is me. I am learning to meditate with him. Learning to use the most powerful weapon to conquer everything.

Friday, November 23, 2012

“Awakening (Day 5)"

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been working on a long term painting project. Instead of showing the final result only, I decided to share the process with you. The project is the continuation of my calligraphy/still_life painting I started a couple of months ago. The Chinese character in the image means "awakening". I combine the calligraphy with a scene of a Buddhist shrine, since the word "Buddha" happens to mean "the awakened one" in sanskrit. Awakened from what? That is a very interesting question, but you can think about when you have time.

This painting is relatively large: 18" x 24". I have spent five days on it already. I work only several hours each day on it, since I have so many other things on my plate. I have to spend long hours dealing with the demon in me as I talked about previously. Thanks to all of you who wrote me wonderful comments on my battle. We will talk more on that topic later. With this painting, I used a very different approach. I don't have a fixed setup. I design the light and value in mind first, then found representative objects to form the scene. I combined painting from life and using photos. I altered freely the sizes of objects according to my design. I used computer graphics to simulate the effect so I can visualize the result before I paint it. As a matter of fact, the image you see today is not a pure photo of my painting. The calligraphy is an overlay to show me the effect. With this approach I can set up the still life on canvas directly and gradually, instead of having a fixed setup in my shadow box. I did a way more thinking than push paint. With this approach I gained more freedom. I can vividly put on canvas objects which do not exist in the real world. Now this painting has began to show the effect I wanted. I am creating an illusion in front of you. However, my intention of this illusion is to help you, including myself, to be awakened from the delusion of the world, and see the true reality.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"AAU Portrait Painting 7"

I am currently working on a long term painting project. It will take me a week at least to finish. Since I don't have any new painting to show you, I will share some of my old work. This is one of the portraits I did at Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco in July. I was there for two months in the summer. AAU was a significant eye opener for me. Since then, I have been very sure what to do to be an good artist. After I came back, I made a plan to pursue my study. However, I worked according my plan only for a short while. Then I quickly found out that I have to stop most of my rigorous approaches. I ran into so many difficulties, some of them are physical and Psychological. Now, I am still going, but much slower. I have seen significant fragmentation in my art development.

From this a couple of years of my art journey, I realize a philosophy. I don't know how true it is, but I want to share it with you. Here is what I found: When I started a new career, I also planted a evil seed in me. This seed will grow into a demon as my career grows. Most of the time this demon will over grow (especially, if the career is some sort of "business"). Soon after this demon is strong enough, it starts to destroy me. I have spend more and more time to fight my demon. Obviously, the growth of my career slows down. If I am not careful, the demon will easily destroy me. It has happened to so many people in history. Have you seen the life of many so called "celebrities"? I surely hope I will not become another victim. So having the awareness of this demon exist in me is the first step. Secondly, I need to have infinite patience (Yes, INFINITE), and fighting (no, living with) my demon is a absolute skill we all need to have. As a matter of fact, to be a good artist is not my final goal; to be a mature human being is.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Demo at Magnolia 2012 3" --- Sold

I did an additional demo on the last day of the workshop at Magnolia. It was a very enjoyable experience of doing this one.

I have almost finished my workshop teaching for 2012. I have one more to go and I am very excited about this one. My final workshop will be held at Sedona, AZ, a beautiful beautiful place. The date will be on Dec. 4 - 6. We still have a couple of openings. I know most people are busy preparing for Christmas, but just in case if you have sometime, please join me at this spectacular place. If you are interested in attending this workshop, please contact: Sedona Arts Center.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

“Demo at Magnolia 2012 2" --- Sold

This is the second demo I did in Magnolia. I hope you like it. I am back to Austin now. Life goes on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"My 2013 Desk Calendar"

Click Here to See Detail and Purchase

Time goes so fast. Now the holiday season is just around corner. I have used 13 of my painting images and made a desk calendar for the coming New Year of 2013. Please click here to see the images in the calendar. I also placed a calendar widget on my blog. Please check it out.  I can't believe that the major part of 2012 has passed. This year is very important to me. It is the first year for me as a full time artist. I have experienced a lot, learned a lot. I feel very grateful to all of you who are supporting me. I am very happy I have made it so far.  Thank you so much.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Demo at Magnolia 2012 1" --- Sold

I paused my color study and put on my teacher hat again. After about 3 hours drive, I have arrived Magnolia TX, and started another workshop. I want to thank Marty Hatcher for putting this workshop together, and Thank all artist friends for attending. In this workshop, 50% students have taken my workshop before. Some of them have taken 3 times. I feel so grateful that so many friends are supporting me. That gives me more confidence to keep going, even my art learning path is not as smooth as I wish. Thank you all for taking care of me.

This is the first demo I did. It is low key and has a lot of light.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Demo to My Tuesday Class"

This is a demo painting I did to my Tuesday mentoring class. I am sorry I feel a little low today. After I came back from New England, I thought I could continue on my color study. However, I have encountered so many side tracks, and I can't concentrate on anything. I understood more now that if you want to be an artist, you must hold on  to your dreams. Even you hold on to it, there is always more than enough barriers and challenges trying to break you down. You fall so often, you feel exhausted always. So many have given it up already. Only the one can get there who keeps on going no matter what. So "Stay Foolish" is the key. I cultivate my land, but do not anticipate the harvest.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Purple Sugar Bowl"

Click Here to Bid

After a long pause, I resume painting in my studio. If you read my blog posts, you know I was studying the color of purple. So I am continuing from where I stopped. I got this beautiful purple sugar bowl from Keene, NH after I visited Vermont. The green bottle was given to me by one of the Putney painters. I spent quite a long time on this painting, but I felt happy about how it turned out. Finally I am able to use purple as the color for the center of focus. I feel more comfortable with this kind of high key approach now.

Another thing I want to mention today is I found a new tool to hold my canvas or panel. It is called the canvas & panel gripper designed and made by an artists friend Connie Nobbe and her husband Jeff. I have used many kind of easels. The mechanism of holding canvas always block small parts of painting area. I have to move my canvas over to cover those dead spots. However the new canvas gripper do not have this problem. If you are interested in this new tool, please click the link above. I also have an ad on my blog.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Can Color Temperature be Quantified"

It is beautiful today in Austin: sunny and 86 F. After several workshop teaching in a row, I came back to my color research I left weeks ago. After reading my notes, my attention has been brought into the issue of "color temperature". We talk and think about color temperature all the time. For instance, painting shadow warmer when we have cool light. However, the color temperature in art seems so relative and confusing, especially when we deal with greys. To my limited knowledge, I have not seen anyone assign a number to a specific color. But I think number is important. Can you imagine the meteorologist in TV only tells you that tomorrow will be cooler than today, but no specifics? I think that the number "86 F" does give us more information, doesn't it?

Since I don't have a quantified system for color temperature, I have to invent the wheel myself. I wrote myself a tech note as the following. (If the terms are too techie to you, please ignore them at this moment, I will share them again with more understandable words in the future after I get all bugs removed).

I want to establish an absolute color temperature scale. Every color should be specified by a value T for its temperature. The range of T is from 0 (the coolest) to 100 (the warmest). In the HSV color system, I assume the value (i.e. grey scale) change does not affect the color temperature. I also assume the color of Red-Orange (30, 100) is the warmest, and its complementary Blue-Cyan (210, 100) is the coolest. The the temperature T of any color (H, S) can be calculated by the following formula:

T = 50 + (S/2) cos (H - Hh), where Hh = 30 is the hue value of the warmest color.

The image above is an example of the calculated temperature of 12 selected colors. I hope they make sense.