Saturday, December 30, 2023

Painting Retreat in Sicily


At this New Year time, I want to announce a new event in 2024. Artist Suzanne Dougherty and I have organized a Painting Retreat in Sicily, Italy in the fall of 2024. It will refresh your spirit, mind, and body. Participating this retreat will be a great new year's resolution you can have. Please get detailed information at: Since we can only have 14 people to participate this event, please register as soon as possible. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Step back to good old days


This is another painting I did during the holiday down-time. I followed patiently the steps of the painting wanted to take. No matter how slow and how far it goes, I stayed with it, witnessing the painting revealed itself gradually. The experience was amazing. I have heard whispering in my heart, which gave me guidance of what to do.

I wanted to paint the guts of radios for a long time. Making radios was my early year's obsession. I made a crystal radio when I was in 3rd grade. I still remembered the excitement when a voice came out of the headphone the first time. Later on, the magic of radio enticed me into the field of engineering and physics.

Similar to painting my previous still life, all the parts of this old radio do not have much of local color. The warm and cool light sources made the color play. The variations of the color temperature and value created the illusion of 3D forms of tubes, transformers, knobs, and so on. If the color relationships are right, the forms looked solid. Whether a painting works or not, the form solidity plays a very important role.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Albert Handell's Workshops


I hope all of you are enjoying this holiday season. Time flies. Soon the brand new 2024 will come. We all try to set up new goals at this New Year time. I really want to improve my art even more in 2024. What about you? If you are like me, I want to share an opportunity with you: The famous artist and teacher Albert Handel will come to Austin and teach two workshops, one in January and one in March. We still have openings for both workshops. If you are interested in learning from the master, please check and for detailed information and sign up.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Color of Achromats


I have been enjoying my holiday down-time for about a month now. I have done 4 paintings so far. I used to paint alla prima and try not to overwork, but this time is different. I allow the painting take the lead. I just follow my heart and simply provide whatever the painting needs. I did not set any time limit. On and off, this painting took weeks to this stage. I have posted it last time, but I have noticed afterward the perspective and color were still having issues. If a painting allows you keep on working without showing a down-turn, it is a good sign. Knowing your heart and sincerely following it. That is a holy moment. Through this moment, you touch the eternity. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Color Sophistication


Having done the "white on white" and "black on black" still lives, I decided to combine white, black and gray objects together into a single setup. I minimized the local colors so all the colors were generated only by the light sources, one warm and one cool. I vaguely knew, but realized strongly this time, we are practically colorblind when we just start to block-in colors on the painting. The reason is very simple: we make our color judgement by comparison with other colors, but we just did our composition drawing or wash we do have the reference we can tell the color. Developed artists have their experiences or formula, but I want to be accurate as much as possible. That is why measuring color numerically, and developing a color mixing mechanism to obtain the matched color will be helpful to demystify all the color mix gimmicks. I am working on a few methods to overcome the color ambiguity at early painting stages, and my recent paintings are my experiments to find a scientific approach. The problem is so gooey, it will takes me a while to get a sound solution. I will keep on trying, and share with you in my future teachings.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Is the camera black?


I have shown my "white object on white background" experiment two days ago, and this image is my "black object on black background" experiment. Now the question is: what makes us believe that the camera in this painting is black? The value range is not the answer, because I can zap the camera object with a super bright light and paint a very high key painting. Let me know your thought.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Warm/Cool Still Life


I like this holiday season. I finally can paint without any business motivations. I submerged myself into the color study again. The image shows my "paint a white object on a white background" project. I used two light sources, one warm and one cool to generate schemes of "warm light cool shadow" and "cool light warm shadow". I am experimenting a color mixing method, which I may call "numerical color matching". With this method, I can accurately achieve a good color solidity, and reduce the color muddiness.  I hope someday artists can use science and mathematics to go beyond their experiences to obtain unambiguous understanding and control in their creative processes.

Monday, November 27, 2023

2024 Painting Calendar


It is the holiday season now. As usual, I have made a desk calendar for the coming 2024. Please visit my website: then click the "Store" tab, you may see the 13 painting images I have selected for this calendar. I know quite many my artist friends collect my painting calendars. At this Thanksgiving time, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of you. Thank you so much for your generosity that makes my art possible. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Colors in the Water


For this year's EPAT, I set a theme for myself: I want to paint nonstructural organic forms. This is a way of saving time because I don't need manage proportions. I can concentrate on designs, colors, and texture. I am glad this strategy works well for plein air painting events.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Blooming Colors


Another plein air piece during EPAT. It was raining and windy, but I had a blast.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Goat Trap Brush Pile


The judge for this year's EPAT is an art historian. He made a comment I really like. I don't remember exactly his words, but it was something like: You artists are not the source of the art. You are just the conduit through which the art comes through. I agree 100% and believe the beauty is one of God's properties.  The biggest barrier to stagnate our art conduit is the ego.

Monday, October 30, 2023

The Rain Comes Finally


EPAT has ended. I did 9 paintings. Texas has been dry, buy when we set up our easels, the rain comes right away. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Small Beauty


What is my motivation of doing art? At the beginning, I just think about myself. Having found that I have the above average ability to create images. I told myself: I would use this ability to tell the world that I am so great...I want to be a great artist. Oh boy. I was so wrong. If you think, or someone told you, you are talented. Have you wondered where your talent really comes from?

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Life is eternal


I bought some pink roses from a local grocery store. They looked OK when I got them, but they all wilted within 24 hours. I managed to do this painting in this life/death situation. I was amazed how quickly life can change right in front of our eyes. Recently, I reviewed my own life, as a scientist and artist, as a Chinese and American. It is felt like a TV show, episode after episode. They entice us to continue watching. However when the show reaches its end, we often feel a little disappointed. Is that it? Can it be a little better? Nevertheless, we usually wake up from the story rather quickly, knowing it is just a show, not real. My art show is still playing, but it is just a show as well. It has more episodes to continue, but I know I should not take it that seriously. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Xiamen and Keelung

 I just came back for a one month visit of Taiwan and the mainland China. The upper image is the city of Xiamen in Fujian Province and the one below is Keelung in Taiwan. Both places are located on either side of the Taiwan Strait. Peaceful and beautiful. I have wonderful times in both places. If you want to know the truth, go there and see.

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).