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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Music of Colors


Waterlily is the most interesting thing I have ever painted. It offers vast amount of flexibility to represent this subject matter and gives the artist the utmost freedom for creativity. Waterlilies have relaxed the accuracy requirement on size, perspective, proportion, local color, and shapes, so I can fully concentrate on the geometrical composition, texture variation, and color design without worrying my painting going too abstract to leave the representational paradigm. The reflections in the water provide mainly the vertical rhythmic structures while the lily pads generate most the horizonal resonance. These two-dimensional periodic patterns interweave together and created endless opportunities for artists to compose astonishing spatial music. I got hooked immediately after I did my first waterlily painting, and it explains why Claude Monet did not touch any other subject matters after he started painting waterlilies.