Sunday, July 31, 2022

Sunset at a campground


It is the last day of July today. I am so grateful that I have had a full month of painting time. It was so much fun to be lost in the wilderness and painting something that I don't have much experience with. I feel the last sentence of my previous post might have been misleading. I don't mean I want to destroy art or give up painting.  I was trying to say that the process of creating art is actually impersonal. I should not label that I (Capitalized) created that painting. As a matter of fact, every time I stepped into my studio, I really don't know how that painting will turn out. The best approach is simply going with the flow. I often feel surprised when the painting happens. That is right: "Happening" is the word I am looking for. If you are an artist, have you had similar experience? 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

The last piece of sunshine

I am still wandering in the Texas wilderness. With this painting I played the game of two light sources, one warm and one cool. Many people who have seen my recent paintings made this general comment: "Qiang, that does not look like your paintings any more". I agree absolutely. It is what I mean that I have lost my identity. I often ask myself why I paint. The reason is very simple: I want to be recognized. I feel good if I have got recognized. I feel I have accomplished something. That makes my life meaningful. Painting is the second face of mine, and the paint on it is the makeup. I want to my paintings look good so I can hide my weakness in other part of my life. However, I have understood now that my ego is the biggest trap of my life. I have lost my freedom with it, and I feel the hesitation to come out of my comfort zoon. I am suffering because of all the limitations I have. I have made my art. Now it is the time to destroy it.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Two Trees

 After I give up my identity, I feel I am lost in the woods. The senses of freedom and lack of security combined, my art path has led me to the big unknown. I suddenly realized I genuinely know nothing. Having a brain is a serious disease. If you let it go, you will get it.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Hot Summer in Palo Duro Canyon

 The purpose of this painting was for me to learn and practice on how to paint shrubbery and grass. I used to use random brush works to hide my lack of knowhows when encountering brushy and grassy area. Then I will say I just want the area abstract so it will not compete with the center of focus. This time is different. I selected a ref photo which has a large area of shrubbery and I spent about 7 days on this painting and most of the time I have worked on those green areas. I will not say I have got those shrubs nailed, but I have gained some experiences. This is a relatively large painting. My green colors are still a little boring. As a piece for learning, I feel content. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Workshop Reminder


I will teach a 3-day still life painting workshop at Salt Lake City, Utah from August 26 to August 28.  This workshop is almost full, but we still have 3 openings. If you are interested in the way I paint, Please check: for information and sign up.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

"Rock Solid"


This is a painting I created recently. You might have noticed from my recent paintings that I have gradually lost my style and even identity. The painterly brush works and the dramatical ways of using light are disappearing.

Here is the reason. I reviewed my art career and found that I have been spending more time as a teacher than as a student. I have found that so many things in art I don't know. The month of July is very special for me. I have not arranged any outside activities. The only thing I want to do is to paint and learn. You have seen I painted so many new things the first time recently: lotus, detailed trees, aspens, and rocks. I will keep on trying new things.

Since my sickness, I have realized that all things related to my ego, like reputation and so called "success" are actually meaningless. Moreover, It is not only meaningless, but a stronger ego is more harmful. Because the ego is the source of all suffering. Most of us live our lives based on a false belief that we are individuals separated from each other, and have a limited time on this planet. We are not perfect, so we need to work hard to improve ourselves. So our ego grows day-by-day. We feel that is the major motivation and that is the meaning of our lives. Now I don't believe this anymore.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Cool Breeze Through Aspen


First time painting aspen. I have enjoyed it very much. The photo was taken last year in Utah. It was a cloudy day after a storm. The color temperature distribution had cooler light and warmer shadow. I like the color purple. It reminds me the cool weather in the parks. Austin was 107 F yesterday. It will be similar today. It is just another hot day in Texas.

Saturday, July 9, 2022



Did another boat painting. The scene was at Lake Martin, Alabama. I did a plein air demo at the site. Now at home, I used a photo and did a studio one. I enjoyed painting the water. It reflects so many colors. 

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Nature's Way


Painting a tree in detail is my first time. I usually paint trees as background to support a center of focus, but this time I just want to do a tree painting. I thought painting a tree is not as interesting as painting a building or a figure, but the result makes me want to paint more trees. The scene was at the Lake Summerville State Park in Texas.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Afternoon at Tilghman Island


Happy 4th of July to all of you. The month of July is the time of Plein Air Easton, which is the event marked the starting point of my plein air painting journey a few years ago. Unfortunately, I am not attending Plein Air Easton this year. I did this small boat painting based on a photo I took from one of the previous Easton events. I really enjoy painting boats. The graceful curvatures, the color echoing of the water reflections, the illusive foreshortening of the perspective, and the vertical and horizontal rhythms of masts, posts, and the horizontal structure in the far field, are a few aesthetical elements of the marine paintings.