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.