Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Downtown Austin (Day 12)"

I am so sorry that I am showing you the same painting again. I just can't stop working on it. You heard about overworking, but what I am doing is actuarially working over. I am no longer think this is a painting. It has turned into my laboratory or my academy. In front of this big monster, I am a sincere and serious student. I admit what I don't know, but I want to figure them out by analysis and experiment.

I have noticed at the previous stage of this painting that I had many areas with muddy colors. I didn't have a dominant color tone for the entire painting, so the color harmony was not very obvious. I know myself mainly a "value" painter. My knowledge and skills on color has not been fully developed, even I have worked quite a bit on it before. So these a couple of days, I painted this painting over, and almost completely changed the color scheme. I drove the dominant tone color much cooler and harmonized all the colors with the tone color. The muddy color issue has been controlled better. Weather this painting has improved is still questionable, but I surely know more about color know. I will continue experimenting with this painting, and figure out as much as I can.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Demo at Napa 2015 3" --- Sold

This is my third demo. I have struggled quite a bit for this one. The colors of the rose are so subtle and the its shape was quite complicated as well. I spent a long time on the rose in the center. The painting turned out quite good. Painting flowers is really a test of patience. Slowing down, observe more, but paint less.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Demo at Napa 2015 2" --- Sold

The second demo at Napa is showing here. I have shown how to paint flowers and silver.

One thing I want to mention today about lighting again. You may have remembered I compared with fluorescent light vs true day light. Today I want to talk about LED. If you recently visited the lighting department of the Home Depot, you might have seen a new type of LED light. They look like fluorescent tubes but inside are whole bunch of small white LEDs line up. The light from these tubes are very similar to fluorescent tube. The color is so similar but much brighter. You might have a lot of positive comment about these new LED tubes, but from a painter point of view, I will say NO, NO, NO. Because the color change is so significant that they will totally mislead you color judgment. The painting under those LED light will look much greener, So I do not recommend this new LED tube for your studio. However, other LED may work  for painting. I recently stopped by a well known gallery in San Francisco, They do use LED to illuminate the paintings. The result is rather good. So I will investigate further to see which types of LED can work for art.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Demo at Napa 2015 1" --- Sold

I have arrived at the wine country. I want to thank Cindy Taylor for organizing my workshop at Napa Valley CA. It is so legitimate to paint grapes and wine bottle on this workshop. Thanks to all artist friends for learning, painting, and drinking with me. This is my first demo. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Fluorescent vs Daylight

Today, I want to share a piece of information with you about lighting. I painted my Austin painting in my garage with the door open. So the daylight was my light source. However when I view my painting when the garage door was closed, I turned on the fluorescent light on the ceiling. I saw a significant color change. It makes the painting look horrible. To investigate what is going on, I took a photo under the fluorescent illumination and compared it with the photo I took under the daylight. The difference is obvious. Even though the photos are not exactly the same as what I see, but it is rather consistent with my observation.

What is going on? It is not the problem of color temperature because a fluorescent light has about 5000K, which is very similar to that of the daylight. I feel the problem is related to the spectrum of the fluorescent light. The fluorescent light spectrum is not continuous. It has only 4 colored bands leaving many wavelengths in dark. Have you see any galleries using fluorescent light to illuminate their paintings? There must be a reason.

Monday, March 16, 2015

"Downtown Austin"

Today is the Day 8 I have been on this project. I decide to stop now. You must also be tired of seeing me posting the same painting again and again. Stopping the project does not mean I feel satisfied with the painting. As a matter of fact I see more and more problems and issues, but I have no solutions for them. It was a good exercise. I have learned a lot, and start to gain experience on painting large. I have touched bases of many aspects of painting and I have thoroughly documented what I have encountered. I am pretty sure the next one will be better than this one. Soon I will be on my way teaching again. I am glad I did not waste my days between workshops. This is my only way of learning seriously.

I guess the most disappointment I had with this painting is that It shows drying spots after I would say 5 days after I started. Then the painting shows inconsistent value and color, and lost the integrity. I tried to fix it by spring retouch varnish, but it seems not help much. This problem happens almost every time when I do long term paintings. You know I am mainly an Ala Prima painter, and don't have much experience on this problem. If you are an artist who paint mostly large and multi days, could you help me out?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Workshop reminder

Dear Artist Friends,

I plan to teach a workshop at Hood Rive, OR on April 10 - 12 and another one at Lowell, MI on April 17 - 19. Currently we still have a few openings for both of these workshops. If you are interested in attending, please visit my 2015 workshop webpage, and find the corresponding workshops you are interested in, and contact the organization to sign up. I am looking forward to seeing you. Thanks.

"Downtown Austin (Day 5)"

Friday the 13th is a normal day for me. I am continuing on my large painting project. I have introduced more structures like the building next to the capital building. I have not touched the capital building. I need to be very careful when dealing with political structures. I will let the politicians to figure out things, while I planted more trees, and mainly worked on the road surface. I spent significant amount of time to the abstract patterns on the pavement. There are at least three layer of different value and colors. I really don't know how many more days I needed to finish this project. At this moment I still see progress.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

“Downtown Austin (Day 3)"

It has been the third day of this big project. I have repaired the canvas. I have abandoned the easel and mount the canvas directly on the wall. It worked, and life goes on. Yesterday I got the main color scheme, and today I started model the details. The progress is painstakingly slow, and I am starting to get sick of it. It feels that I am building the real city piece by piece. Is this project really doable? I start to get frustrated. I see so many things need to be done. Yesterday I have built the high-rises and today I have made the cars. Now I am tired, but I still need to build the capital of Texas, and make several people. Well let's do them tomorrow. Now I am really appreciate artists who paints big paintings like this.

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Downtown Austin (Day 1)"

After teaching two workshops in a row, I am back to Austin. I have about two weeks before my next trip. So I decided to do more new stuff.

This painting is by far the largest I have ever done. It is a 40" x 40". This morning I went to Jerry's Artarama in the pouring rain. Austin has not raining hard like this for a long long time, but when I try to squeeze this large canvas into my small Honda, it just dumped ton of water on me. Dragged this giant into my garage, I found I don't even have a proper easel to hold it. I have an old "Mirage" easel that barely hold this canvas, but it keeps moving and turning. Under this clumsy condition, I have managed putting the dark paints on to create the underpainting, but suddenly the big &%#$ canvas came off the easel and fell right on my face. I pushed, it collapse on my palette, and knock it over. Before I can do anything, the sharp corner of the palette has poked a hole right at the center of the canvas.... Well, that is the first day of my largest painting.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Demo at Panama City 2015 3" --- Sold

The third demo is about flowers, and I also discussed about high key vs low key. Having re-examined my concept about the value design, I found that I have not done any real "high" key paintings. To be more exact, the painting of this demo should be considered "mid" key. As a matter of fact, the terminology is not that important. What is important is that we need to have a system to organize our knowledge about our art. We not only need to communicate with other people, but also need to communicate with ourselves. We need to establish our own vocabulary base to describe and analyze  our art.

I usually demo painting floral with only one or two flowers, but this time I painted so many. I have practiced more what I have learned from Richard Schmid. In fact, this demo is not really about painting flowers per se, it was more on how to design of abstract patterns to imply abundance.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"Demo at Panama City 2015 2" --- Sold

This second demo I guided students step-by-step. At the meantime, I involved some new aspects for my own exploration. Painting translucent vase is new to me. I want to show the different texture of transparency and translucency. I think it worked well.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Demo at Panama City 2015 1" --- Sold

Came back from the Bahamas, stayed in Austin only one night, I have arrived at Panama City, FL. This is a very special workshop. I want to give a special tribute to the organizer of this workshop: Billie Bassette. Billie and I met in China two years ago, At that time she just completed her chemotherapy on pancreatic cancer. After returned to the States, she attended two more of my workshops, in Austin and Montgomery, then she invited me to Panama City to teach. She devoted all her energy to help other people to learn, but she herself did not make it for this workshop. She passed away last November.

I want to thank Joan Burnett for continuing Billie's work and making this workshop successful, and thanks to all the artists for coming and painting with me. This is my first demonstration. I just love that porcelain hen. She tries to hatch all the grapes. It may work. Anything can happen in art, you know.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Demo at Hope Town 2015 4"

This is the last demo painting I did at Hope Town, The Bahamas. I think it is my second time painting sea shells, and it is appropriate for workshops by the ocean. It takes me some thinking to figure out the lighting for this demo. It is a good exercise for me on painting irregular shape objects and makes it believable. Since my workshop teaching takes a major chunk of my time, I have to combining teaching and learning together with my demonstrations. There is highly possible I will make fool of myself in front of the crowd if I paint something I have never painted before, but the life is full of challenges, Often we have no choice. We have to bite the bullet.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

"My First Solo Show"

I am excited to tell you that my first solo show will be at the Trailside Gallery at Scottsdale from March 2 to 15. If you are in the Scottsdale area, you can go and see quite a few of my paintings. At the meantime, on the March issue of American Art Collectors magazine, there is an article about my art this is show. I am so honored for this opportunity. It is a major milestone for my art. I also feel very humbled that I know a very little for art. I need to learn really fast to get to the next step.