Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Hsin-Yao Tseng workshop reminder


Dear Artist Friends, I just want to remind you that Master artist Hsin-Yao Tseng will come to Austin and conduct a 4-day cityscape painting workshop. We have only 3 seats left. If you are interested in learning from Hsin-Yao. Please visit: Thanks.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Metals and Tea


I did this one in 2014, and it makes me feel nostalgic of the time when my art was young. We are surviving through the super hot summer in Texas. Thank God I have teaching opportunities and escaped the heat for a few days.

I have been slowing down and I have not posting on social media as often as before. There are so many fake short videos overwriting meaningful information. I long for the good old days.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Figure Demo


This is my demo on my figure painting workshop in Cloudcroft NM. This was my very first teaching figurative art. You know I don't do figure very often. This demo turned out better than I thought. Maybe I should do more.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Morning Light

This is my quick draw painting at PAE. It earned me the 3rd place award. It seems I felt the energy of photons bombarded on the morning flowers and generated electric charges and turned into dazzling  colors. Do you know Albert Einstein got the Nobel Prize was not for his theory of Relativity, but he discovered the law of photo-electric effect.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Monday, July 24, 2023

Color of Water


Plein air Easton has just ended. This is one of paintings I did. Painting in the rain was fun.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Demo 3 at SLC: Morro Beach


The last demo on my SLC workshop. Again, I had a quite amount of touch-ups on it. I have painted this painting before, a few times, but I still see room for improvement. This experience of refurbishing old paintings really gives me confidence that I still can get better. I am happy to see that I did not overwork the painting. I think a lot when I re-work on a painting. I did see the refurbished painting get tighter. I hope my future work can get looser. So please wish me luck.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Workshop in Huntsville AL


I will teach a 3-day figurative painting workshop at the Fine Art Museum of Huntsville, Alabama. I will share with you my approaches to suggest human forms within a landscape setting. Figurative painting is exciting but relatively difficult to manage, especially for beginner artists. On this workshop, I want to show how to paint figures when we haven't had enough training in drawing and lack of knowledge of human anatomy, I will share computer tools which help us to manage proportion and color. We still have openings for this workshop. If you are interested in learning my painting techniques, please check the workshop webpage and sign up.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Demo 2 at SLC


The 2nd demo at SLC. I have worked more on it. I only have about 2 hours of demo time each day on a workshop. It is rather difficult to take care of all the issues. I am glad I have time to work on old paintings to give them a new look. Recently, I often ask myself: what will make a landscape painting look better. Working on old paintings really has advantages than starting a painting from scratch. All the elements have been established. I have more time and energy to re-think and re-do the composition, color, and mark making. I have a big inventory of semi finished paintings generated from passed plein air competitions. So I have a great potential.  It is different from refurbishing a cell phone or computer, re-touch a painting will make the quality and value of the painting exponentially. I am wondering why I have not thought about this method before. 

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Demo 1 in Salt Lake City


I just came back from teaching a workshop at Salt Lake City. This was my 1st demo. I have touched up some today to bring the demo painting to a finish look. I have been painting landscape for a while, but I know in my bones that I am not a good landscape painter intuitively. To improve my landscape paintings, I have to rely on my left brain to analyze what is going on. I have told my students during the workshop: we are not gifted enough to be good in art naturally. If you want to be good, you will do 3 things. 1. practice a lot. 2. use whatever tools you can access to. 3. Go quantitative instead of qualitative. 

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Science of Warm and Cool


In painting, color temperature is such an ambiguous concept. For example: orange vs yellow, which one is warmer? Ultramarine vs phthalo blue, which one is cooler? Artists do not want to quantify their color temperature. Their argument is: color is so relative. We only see a color warmer or cooler with respect to another color. This fuzzy ambiguity bothers my engineering mind. So I went to the field of photography. Lo and behold! I found their concept of color temperature is so crispy clear. They quantified the color temperature using K or Kelvin. The "warm" colors have lower K, while "cool" ones higher K. Therefore: orange is warmer than yellow, violet is cooler than turquoise (so ultra is cooler than phthalo). I found a photographer's temperature scale online, and measured 11 color samples. I plot those samples on the CIELuv (pls ignore this nomenclature except the color scientists) color wheel. I was shocked by what I have found. Ah-ha!! Now I know. (1) For very warm colors (red to yellow, or 1 to 4) the temperature varies with the HUE change. Similarly for very cool colors (turquoise to violet, or 8 to 11). This finding reminds me the "prismatic palette" some artists talked about. They follow the rainbow when they paint. (2) For the moderate warm and cool colors (from yellow to blue, or 4 to 8), the temperature varies with the CHROMA change, then flip the hue at the center of the color wheel to the complementary. I feel this understanding can help us to paint better: when you deal with very warm colors like sunset, you can change temperature by hue shifting. However when you deal with grey and subtle colors, you change temperature by chroma variation. Voila!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Untamed Beauty


I have participated a plein air paint out last Sunday near Johnson City, Texas. It was a hot day (98F). I have learned from this painting was that my lightest value was actually rather dark. However, it appeared quite bright, feeling the hot Texas sun shined right on the concrete sidewalk. I don't have to use a lot of white to make something look bright, because we view color (and value) relatively. I painted the blue sky relatively dark, so the roof and sidewalk appeared brighter. I want to thank Carla Bosch, the Adams Galleries, and Untamed Wine Estates for making this event possible. I really appreciate they gave me the First Place award.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Shadow color study


This a small plein air study I did when was at Wayne PA. As a personal growth in painting, I have realized two major changes are happening. 1) I am no longer emphasize on the value. I tend to reduce my value range by brightened the shadow. This way the colors have more playing space. 2. I pay more attention to light colors rather than the local colors. This painting show more color play in the shadows, and the colors were generated mainly by light sources and reflections. The houses themselves do not have much local colors, but on the painting, they are really colorful. I know the color relationships on this one is still clumsy. My skills still need more time to improve. Hey, this was plein air. I felt very lucky I didn't get hit by a car when I paint this. I was too close to the busy traffic there.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Color of Colorless


"Color of Colorless" is a small study I did today. I put a white cube on a white board to make sure no local color got involved. I set two lights, one cool and one warm. The temperature contrast of the light sources produced all the colors for this painting. This study maybe the simplest way to demonstrate the warm and cool colors. Most people think the colors "belong" to objects, such as a lemon is yellow, a lime is green, and this cube is white. This "object color" understanding does not help a painter. We paint "perceived colors", which is the interaction among the light source colors, the object color reflectance, and environmental color contributions. If we can see the color (we often not), and be able to mix it, we can paint. 

Monday, June 5, 2023

Derek Penix Workshop


I am very happy to announce that Derek Penix will come back to Austin and teach a 3-day painting workshop on February 23 - 25, 2024. Derek is a contemporary master painter of using abstract design to present almost realistic subjects. His workshop "Loosen Up" is very popular and it will sold be out very quickly. I am not kidding. If you want to learn for this young master, please take action right now. Please check: for information and registration.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Wayne Hotel


Another plein air painting during the Wayne competition. It was a beautiful morning and I liked the angle I painted the iconic Wayne Hotel. The narrow piece of sunshine on the building establish the focal point. I was under the sun completely. So everything was so bright. I tried my best to adjusted the shadow colors, but they are still too dark. I should have use the umbrellas, but I got lazy. A lesson has been learned. 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Albert Handell Painting Workshops


I am very happy to announce my art activities for the coming 2024. Now the pandemic is off the way, We have resumed our invited artists' workshop programs. I am excited to let you know that the pastel and oil painting master Albert Handell will come to Austin and teaches two workshops. I admire Albert's art for a long time. I really like his way of showing subtle greys. I love his harmonious color designs. Albert Handell is a master on both pastel and oil painting. We have planned two workshops in 2024 for him. In January workshop, Albert will demo in pastels, and in March workshop, he will demo with oil. However, students can use either pastel or oil. If you are interested in learning from Albert Handell, please check: to get detailed information and sign up.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Afternoon at Androssan Farm


At the recent Wayne Plein Air Competition, My painting "Afternoon at Androssan Farm" won the "Best Barns, Bridges & Backroad Award". This painting has many different greys. The interplay among the light source, reflected, and material local colors formed a subtle and rich color composition, which I really worked on recently on my landscape paintings. What should I do to make a shadow look like a shadow? What is the difference between grey and mud? How to make color play on a landscape painting more interesting? Those are a few questions I constantly ask myself.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Salt Lake City Workshop


I will teach a studio landscape painting workshop in Salt Lake City in June. I will apply my recent gained knowledge of the science based color understanding into this teaching. Many artists think that painting is a right brain dominated work, but my feeling is different. To achieve a good balance, we need both sides of our brain. If you are interested in my unique painting method, please take this opportunity. Please visit: to get more info and sign up.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Old Time


This is a demo painting on the Dahlonega workshop. I like the combination of a well designed mechanical device and organic shapes. There is one type of contrast I always apply to the painting, but it is very difficult to express in English. Very vaguely I can say: it is solidness vs. non-solidness. In Chinese we call "Xu" (虚)vs. "Shi" (实). If someone good at linguistics, please help me translate these two terms. The clock is "Shi" but the pot of flowers is "Xu". I think you know what I mean.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Radnor Train Station


Plein Air at Radnor train station. Painting a believable light and shadow relationship is the topic I am working on. Paint light-n-shadow is not a simply value variation. It is also inadequate if we only notice the temperature difference between light and shadow. The chroma relationship of light-n-shadow is also very important. I have learned recently: light and shadow should have the same color saturation, but varying chroma. Please be noted: color saturation and chroma are two totally different concept in color science. I have not fully figure out the light-n-shadow relationship yet, but I know if we get the light-n-shadow color right, the object under the light looks very solid. To achieve color solidity is the goal I am pursuing currently. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Happy Peonies


It was a happy plein air day at the Chanticleer Garden. The temperature was just right. I was painting under the sun, but it is not too hot. I did 3 painting that day. It was my record. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Wayne Plein Air Competition (Part 1)


I have been plein air painting a few days for the Wayne Plein Air Competition. I did 8 paintings so far. Today is the last painting day. I have turn all my paintings in. I am so tired, and have no energy to write. Please enjoy the images.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Light on Druid Hills


I consider this the best painting I did during the Olmsted Invitational. After doing color research so long, I got really sensitive to the color relationship between light and shadow. A good representational painting should present good color solidity. I think this one does.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Hsin-Yao Tseng painting workshop


I am very happy to announce that the master artist Hsin-Yao Tseng will come to Austin and teach a 4-day workshop on November 11 - 14, 2023. Hsin-Yao is from Taiwan. We became good friends when we were attending the Academy of Art University of San Francisco in 2012. More than a decade has passed, Hsin-Yao has become a real master of cityscape, figurative, floral, and painting in general. Please check Hsin-Yao's website to see his beautiful paintings. His work is romantic and expressive. If you are interested in attending Hsin-Yao's  Austin workshop, please check: for detailed information and sign up. I am looking forward to seeing you, and learning from the master.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Sunday, April 23, 2023

The Gold Dome


Olmsted Plein Air Invitational ended today. I did well. I got one award, and sold a few paintings. I am tired and happy.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Blue Bonnets at Wild Flower Center


This is another blue bonnet painting. I consider it is mediocre. I must admit that I have not generated much of good paintings lately. I know exactly why this has been happening: because I am re-learning many things in art. These a couple of months, I am learning the science-based color theory like drinking from the firehose. You might have viewed some of my short video demonstrating interesting color phenomenon. That was just the tip of an iceberg. I was so involved of searching information online, and doing my own color studies. I wish I can show the progress on my paintings right now, but it takes time to find the right directions, and gain the right knowledge, then practice and develop new skills and experiences. Eventually, I should be able to show good effects on my paintings. I am progressing in baby steps. Please be patient with me. I will catch up. Please believe: old dogs are still able to learn new tricks.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Blue Bonnet at Anderson Mill


I did a few plein air blue bonnet paintings. I tested my recent understanding of CYM limited palette, and it worked. I used quin red, hansa yellow, and phthalo blue, and white. It was a little hard to mix grey with this palette, but for high chroma blue and green, it works well. My theoretical understanding does give me correct guidance. So now I painted more scientifically, instead of using experience (or intuitively).

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Blue and Yellow are Complementary


So far I have found at least 4 types of color mixing mechanisms: 

1. Additive, which applies to mixing colored lights. Blue and yellow gets white.

2. Subtractive, which applies to mixing transparent pigments or filters. Blue and yellow gets black.

3. Average additive, which is shown in this video. Blue and yellow gets grey.

4. Paint mixing, which applies to mixing opaque pigments. Blue and yellow gets green.

Isn't the color world amazing?!

Friday, March 31, 2023

Workshop reminder: Dahlonega GA


I will teach a still life painting workshop in Dahlonega, GA from 4/26 to 4/28. The week before this workshop I will attend the Olmsted Plein Air Invitational painting competition. During the Olmsted event, I will do a painting demo in Atlanta. If you are an artist in or near Atlanta, you are more than welcome to come and see the demo. If you are interested in attend my painting workshop, please check Artloft workshops for more info and sign up. Thanks,

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

 I have posted a new video today to touch the foundation of our color understanding. Most of us have been taught that red, yellow, and blue are primary colors, and they can not be mixed from other colors. However, the traditional color teaching has misled the art community for so many years, and this misinformation still continues. From experiments, we can see the dogma is not true. If you want mix the largest range of colors from 3 colors, please consider cyan, yellow, and magenta. In terms of pigments, please try cobalt teal, cad yellow, and quinacridone magenta. If you think teal is too light, you may try phthalo blue or turquoise instead. I will explain why CYM gamut is larger than RYB one in my future post.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Eric's backyard


I have attended a plein air event organized by the Plein Air Convention team at Eric Rhoads's property. I painted his backyard. I want thank Eric and Plein Air Convention for this opportunity. This was the first plein air painting event I have attended since the pandemic. I was so excited seeing so many old friends and meeting a few new friends. It was like a family reunion. So many friends I haven't seen for quite a few years. I was very happy. I did a small oil sketch. I hope you like it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Chat with a color expert


A few days ago I was interviewed by Peter Donahue, a very knowledgeable color expert and teacher. Peter teaches a science based color theory, and he uses Tiktok, YouTube, and Instagram to teach. We artists have been taught the wrong color theory from the very beginning. Nowadays, there are still quite a mount of books and media are spreading the wrong color teaching. I have learned the hard way. Peter has wealth amount of information about color on his channels. Please check:

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Green study


In this green color study, I used sap green and quin magenta for the darks and sap green and permanent orange for the mid value. I really like the harmony of this one.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Home, Sweet Home 2


This painting was a plein air piece I did last year at the quick-paint competition of the Olmsted Plein Air Festival. I modified it recently based on a photo I took. Whether or not it had been improved artistically, I am not sure, but I am sure the green colors are more accurate. It was spring time like now. All the greens were fresh and intense. I used what I have learned about color lately and mixed the green colors really close to those on the ref photo. Greens are so rich in content, but we are short of words to describe them, I feel so grateful that we have numerical way to present them and we can pin-point their locations on the color wheel. The two images here demonstrates the difference between a scientific approach and a way of pure intuition. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Limited Palette Mixing Capacity


Two days ago, I posted my experimental result of RGB vs CYM limited palettes. Today I expanded my experiment including Zorn and RYB palettes. First of all, I want apologize that I should not label my result with simple minded "good" or "bad". All palettes have their own suitable applications. The purpose of this experiment is to demonstrate which 3-color limited palette has the highest mixing capacity, i.e. it can produce the widest range of colors. Please note color harmony and whether it can generate the best painting are not my current intention. I may address those issues in our future discussions. On today's presentation, the colored area are all the colors mixable with the given 3-color palette. Specifically, the Zorn palette was consist of cad red light, yellow ochre, and ivory black; RYB palette: cad red, cad yellow deep, and ultramarine blue. RGB and CYM palette have been described previously. The result is pure experimental. I conducted real paint mixing, and performed the measurements with my home made computer app "Color Analyzer" (located on my website, it is free for anyone to use). I hope this understanding helps you paint better.

Friday, March 10, 2023

RGB vs CYM limited palette

 To form a limited painting palette, we often use 3 primary colors. This experiment demonstrates the different mixing power of using RGB vs. CYM. For RGB primaries, I used cadmium red light, cadmium green, and ultramarine blue. On the color wheel, we can see the color gamut is rather small, means the colors can be mixed by the 3 selected primaries are rather limited. For CYM primaries, I used quinacridone magenta, cadmium yellow deep, and cobalt teal. on the contrary, we can see the color gamut is significant large, the 3 selected colors can mix much more colors than the RGB case. It is so obvious we can see the secondary colors mixed by RGB are quite dull (low chroma), while the secondary produced by  CYM are much more intense (higher chroma). Therefore, we conclude the CYM forms the best limited palette, while the RGB is not a so good choice for a limited palette.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Blue + Yellow = ?


My color research continues. Now I am working on mixing greens with blues and yellows. From our experiences, we all know blue mixed with yellow producing green, but on the computer color wheel, blue and yellow are complementary. It has been shown that mixing blue and yellow lights produces white light (additive), and overlapping blue and yellow transparencies, or mix blue and yellow ink, produces black (subtractive). So I mixed blue and yellow oil paints (manganese blue hue and cadmium yellow deep) as an experiment, and tracked the mixing path on the color wheel. I have seen that the mixing path does not go straight, but follows a curved path going through the green zone. This is why blue and yellow mix green. The curved mixing path is so important, but most artists do not know this including myself until this experiment. I have searched online to see if there is any theoretical explanations. I have found something called "Kubelka - Munk" equation. The K - M equation also explains the tinting induced color shift as I experienced earlier as well. If anyone have played with the K - M equation, please let me know. I want to learn more.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Workshop at Dahlonega, GA


I have planned a workshop at the Art Loft in Dahlonega, GA. It will be 3-day still life painting. If you are interested in learning my painting techniques, please check: for more information and signing up. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Higashiyama Kaii

 This is my version of Higashiyama Kaii. I love the way he handles the green colors. Green is a very hard color. I have learned a lot by copy the masters. 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Morning at Ruffini Chapel


I did this painting as a commission piece for a collector. I have used two ref photos for this project. The first photo gave me the perspective, but it did not give me good light and value. The second photo has good color but with totally different perspective. I really like the colors of the pavement in front of the church. My recent color study helped me tremendously. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

New Video on Color Tinting Analysis


My color mixing experiments continued. A couple of days ago, I posted my observation of mixing ultramarine blue with white (tinting). I have noticed that the blue color has not only got lighter, but also has a hue shifting toward turquoise. Now I want to show this "tinting induced hue shift" occurs commonly to many tube colors. This short video shows what happen when I tinted 5 more colors. I noticed that 4 colors out of 5 have had the hue shift. Among these 4 colors, the most significant hue shift happens to transparent orange. We can see it changes from red to orange then even yellow during tinting. Of course, the color of the illumination source and the camera white balance may contribute to the hue shift, but this contribution is small. I also noticed the hue shift does not occur to all the colors. Yellow ochre in the video did not have the hue shift during tinting.  I might have opened a can of worm, but we may be on something. I really appreciate the active discussion after my previous video post, and you all more than welcome to do your own analysis.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Workshop Ad


How to make art teaching more effectively is the topic I have been thinking constantly. Many people believe that you must be gifted to be an good artist. However, I believe there must be a scientific way to make the painting process more manageable, and everyone can obtain the knowledge and skills of painting through an organized procedure. Based on this belief, I design my painting workshops. I have gained more systematic understanding about color and painting process this a couple of years. If you want to demystify painting and progress in art significantly, please join me at the Scottsdale Artists' School in March. Please check: to sign up.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

I did some color research lately. This video shows I mixed ultramarine blue and white together, and then analyzed this "tinting" process with the "Color Analyzer" app. This app is developed by two engineers and myself. It is located on my website: You can access it by clicking the "Apps" tab, then click the button "Color Analyzer". It is free for anyone to use. Via this experiment, I have discovered that adding white to ultramarine has actually changed its hue toward turquoise. This result has violated my theoretical understanding. I thought that tinting should not change the hue of the color but only increases its value and decreases its chroma. In other words: it should be a straight line toward the center of the color wheel. I have found that is not the case. I don't understand why this happens, but I must accept the experimental result from the scientific point of view.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

"The Wrong Color Wheel"


"The Wrong Color Wheel" was an essay I wrote for the Oil Painters of America blog in last October. If you are interested in reading it, please check: It has been a few years that I have been studying color theory. I have found the color phenomenon is so fascinating. There are so many things I did not know, and hope someday I can demystify the color system, so we can manage colors effectively, and understand them correctly. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Workshop Reminder: Painting Landscape from Photos


I will teach a 4-day workshop at the Scottsdale Artists' School on March 20 - 23. This workshop will reveal how to generate dynamic landscape paintings using reference photos. The best way to learn how to paint landscapes is through plein air painting practice. However, in many cases, using reference photos can be the only alternative. I will demonstrate a painterly style in the studio. I will introduce ideas on how to select photo references suitable for painting and using computer tools to enhance the photos. I will go through fundamental skills of drawing by covering perspective, proportional measuring, and compositional principles. I have a few computer apps to guide students on mixing colors to make the painting process easier. In simple English, I will describe color theory and how to use computers for painting. If you are interested in learning my painting approaches, pleases visit: Scottsdale Artists' School to register. 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

New video: My First Birding

 I have started painting again, but I can not show it to you at this moment. It is for the OPA's Mystery Miniature fundraiser. If you attend this year's OPA National show in Charleston, you will see it.

Instead, I'd like to show you a new video I made. It is my first birding experience. We are all connected, but I only know this theoretically for a long time. I paid more attention to my personal development, spending most of my time to accomplish my personal goals. I was motivated to work hard and become a successful artist mainly for myself. Bird watching is different. I am purely an observer, the beauty is created by the nature, which I am a part of it as well. So I see the connection between the birds and me. We are all parts of the one.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

New video: Amelia Island (Part 2)


I am currently experiencing burnout with regards to painting. Since returning from Florida, I have not picked up a brush and instead focused on other pursuits. I have been experimenting with video editing and creating beginner level videos, although my goal is not to become a successful YouTuber. In addition to videos, I have been spending a lot of time at my off-the-grid property, enjoying the connection to nature and the divine. I have also been working on home improvement projects, preparing for tax season, and organizing my garage and studio. While these activities keep me busy, painting has taken a backseat for the time being. I am aware that if I let my artistic side cool down for too long, it may be difficult to regain the momentum for it. However, my resolution for the new year is to live authentically, so for now I am content to simply observe and enjoy the world around me. (Please be noted that the above paragraph was rewritten by the AI of ChatGPT from my original draft.)

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Amelia Island workshop


I have taught a "Landscape painting from photos" 3-day workshop at Amelia Island, Florida. I want to thank Nancy Bartmess for organizing this workshop, and thanks to all the workshop artists for attending. I did 3 demos. After the workshop, Nancy and her husband Richard took us on their boat and gave us a grand tour. We have enjoyed this trip very much.