Saturday, December 29, 2012

At a Hong Kong Market

I went to Hong Kong a couple of days ago. Nowadays in China, I have experienced more capitalism than I was in the US. In almost all the conversations I had here, people talk about money, money, and money only. commercials are all over. All the peoples here have involved in this life long vicious competition of money making. If you can't win, you will fall into cracks. I feel so overwhelmed and tired. What about art? what about morality? Nobody cares. I feel this society is so off the balance. It is very scary. I have not given up yet. I am still looking for true friends who I can share art and something I consider more important than the all mighty money.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


You may not know what I mean if you see the title of my today's post, but you must has seen some very cheap original oil paintings selling in hotels, shopping malls, or even on the street. Have you wondered where all those paintings come from. Well, Here it is. Da-Fen-Cun is the place where the main business here is mass producing oil paintings. Many studios in Da-Fen-Cun hire young people with very low pay, and provide basic art training, then produce oil paintings as assembly line. I visited Da-Fen-Cun yesterday. Took a few photos and chatted with several artists. It is amazing how art is produced here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Handmade RV

I was on my way to the railroad station, and I saw this special vehicle. I call it RV, but it is not relevant at all to what we call "recreation", because it does not amuse me at all, only sadness . This man modified a small junky pickup truck with whatever material he has. I saw a chimney on the upper rear. He must have a coal burning stove inside to keep him warm in this -15C winter night. The red banner on the side of the vehicle says: "My dear wife, where are you?". I don't know this guy is homeless or not, but he must have all he has on this RV and travel all over the country looking for his wife. Like all the people in this modern society, I was in a hurry all the time. I quickly snapped this photo and rush to catch my train. However this image just cannot be erased from my mind. I don't think this guy knows what the Christmas is, but I sincerely wish him merry and happy, and find his dear wife in the near future.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snow Sweepers

Beijing is cold, very cold now (-15 C tonight). This photo was shot after the 2nd snow storm after I arrived here. I don't see any snowplows to clean the road and anyone use snow blowers. I saw quite a few snow sweepers cleaning the road with those giant brooms made of bamboo stems and leaves. This scene brought back some of my childhood memories. People swept the dirt road and snow with the big brooms like in this photo, leaving beautiful and calligraphic brush strokes on the ground. I was very impressed by their "art" work. It is highly possible I was influenced subconsciously by the giant broom marks, and now they are shown on my canvas. Tonight I will take a 24 hour train ride to Shenzhen and Hong Kong. I will keep you posted what is going on there.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"On a Beijing Street 4"

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I want to thank all friends sending me emails and comments concerning my father's sickness and difficult situation of my mother and me. Your message really warm our hearts. We are very touched, and happy to know so many people are care and supportive. My father's condition is stable, and our maid came back two days ago. She is very helpful, so I have more time to paint and doing other things.

I continue on my Beijing cityscape series. My today's painting is another Hutong scene. I really like using palette knife now. My texture variation is still very limited, but I became more comfortable and freer. The subtly and drama of the painting are improving.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"On a Beijing Street 3"

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I have been back to China for about a week. I did not go anywhere since my father needs attention all the time. We have a living-in maid to take care him and other chores, but she happen to be off for a while to take care of her own family issues. My father has lost the control of his body. He does everything in bed now. Being sick for a long time, he became very very skinny. I can see his skeleton very clearly. All I have learned from human anatomy study has demonstrated vividly right in front of me. Lying there with pain and all kinds of problems, my father now is the best teacher showing me about life. I feel sad, shocked, and frustrated. Human suffering is inevitable. No matter how rich and famous we are, we never can escape from aging, sickness, and death. The colorlessness of my recent paintings did show my current feeling. On the other hand, my father has also shown me that the time is very very short. I will just like my father or even worse in the future not long from now. I better not wast any minutes I have now. Our maid is coming back soon. I hope our life will get a little better then.

Monday, December 17, 2012

"On a Beijing Street 2"

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Continuing on my Beijing cityscape experiment. I used a lot of knife work on this one. I kind of like this water based oil colors. They are very different from acrylic colors. They dry very slow, and they have no oder at all.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"On a Beijing Street"

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I have established a small painting station in my bedroom. Because there is no ventilation and I can not open the window, I decided to use water mixable colors to minimize the oder. I didn't bring full palette of these kind of colors with me, so I decided to do a monochromatic one. Since I am here in this very old city, I want to try to paint some local landscapes. Houses in old Beijing has a very special courtyard design. They joined together forming many narrow allies (I mean narrow streets, but don't know how to spell). The gate of the courtyard has many different styles implying owner's social status. My painting for today shows one of them. Since color is not a issue here, I want to explore the texture presentation like the brick walls and tiled roofs. I used more knife work and thick paint. I hope soon I will have the freedom of this kind of painting style.

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Snowy Morning"

It has been snowing during the night. I saw this scene in the morning. Beijing is a very busy big city, even in this cold snowy day. Cars are all over. The traffic is always in jam. Like all the pedestrians, I waded through the semi thawing sludge, trying to keep my balance on the slippery and grey world.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

First Image from Beijing

My previous blog post was misleading. I am so sorry. I am in China only temporarily. I did say "Goodbye America", but I didn't say "Farewell America". I have arrived at Beijing last night. I am here visiting my parents, and I will spend the holiday season with them. My father's Parkinson's disease has getting worse. He is completely bed-bound. So I want to spend a little longer time with him. I will be back to US in February 2013, then I have even more workshops booked for the coming year. I will see you again.

Just like my last trip in Beijing, I will keep you posted and let you know what I see, do, and think. I went out this morning. It is very cold here. The temperature is -3 degree Celsius (about 19 F). The dominant color here is grey, very grey. However I see an orange vender has placed a high chroma color on the grey background.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Goodbye America

This photo was taken at the beautiful Sedona. The last glimpse of the sun painted the majestic Cathedral rock with burning colors. I felt the temperature is dropping, and the night is approaching. I have to say good bye to this fantastic place. Although the day and night are alternating, the person comes and goes, the the beauty is everlasting.

Recall my journey of 2012, I feel satisfied. It has been a very busy year, and time goes by so fast. I can’t believe it has been one and a half years since I have left my full-time engineering job. I feel I am a little bird flying all over, bringing worms to Mom Bird and Baby Bird. Our small nest in Austin is still in good shape. Ray tracing my zigzag path across the United States this year, I have perched at Houston Texas, Scottsdale Arizona, Sacramento California, Melbourne Florida, Putney Vermont, Albany New York, Cypress Mill Texas, Atlanta Georgia, San Francisco California, Marshfield Massachusetts, Newport Rhode Island, Jacksonville Florida, Montgomery Alabama, New Braunfels Texas, Wethersfield Connecticut, Magnolia Texas, and Sedona Arizona. Oh boy, that is a lot of travel. I have some significant improvement in my art, especially the two months study at AAU. It opened up my vision, and I know I have more areas need to be improved. I have realized that my beginner’s luck has started to run out. Wether I can stay in the art field will be only determined by courage and tenacity. I have  been trying new things. Some of them may not always benefit me, but I have to do it to find out. Challenges are a part of life. It is so often we don’t know what to do. However, we have no way out, except keeping on going.

Now, I am sitting at San Francisco International Airport waiting for my long flight across the Pacific Ocean. I am on my way to Beijing China again. My art travel goes to a new phase. I will keep you posted from the exotic Orient. Goodbye America!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"Demo at Sedona 2012 2"

Now I have finished my very last workshop teaching of the year.  Under the crispy sun light, the red rock of Sedona reflects dazzling color impinging on art journey of 2012. I am on my way home.

This is my second demo. I am getting looser and thicker. I have a long way to go with my high key approaches. Can't wait to progress more.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

“Demo at Sedona 2012 1"

I want to thank Sedona Arts Center for organizing my workshop at this super beautiful place. I want to thank artist friends from all over for attending. This is my first demo. It is always a challenge to figure out a setup and finish the demo within two hours. I really like the copper and lemon.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Sedona Arizona"

It is too too too beautiful, Sedona AZ. I arrived last night. I have gone anywhere. This photo was taken from my hotel room.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"AAU Portrait Painting 3"

Another portrait study from my AAU time. This one is one of my favorites. Zhaoming mentioned in his class. Portrait painting is different from head studies. If you concentrate on how to get the anatomy, perspective, lighting, and modeling correct to make the face look human, you are only doing a head study. Painting a portrait has to go beyond the head study level, the artist should concentrate on the personality, mental and emotional characteristics. I feel this painting has started to show some portrait qualities. I am happy about that.

For a while, I have been working on improving my art, so I did not take care the business part of my art. I feel a little hungary now. Tomorrow I will go to Sedona AZ to teach a workshop. I am very excited about this one.

BTW, I made a mistake on my calendar button on my painting emails. Know I have fix the error. It should be working now.