Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Under the Autumn Sky - 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge, Round 3, Ready, Set, Go!...

Under the Autumn Sky, 
Watercolor on Fabriano Artistico #140 Cold Press Paper, 9"h x 12"w, 2014 #1

Bid at My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $75) 

OK, call me crazy but yes, after much struggle with myself I've decided to take up Leslie Saeta's "30 Paintings in 30 Days" challenge yet again! Needless to say, last year after doing this challenge in September, my blog postings have become sporadic, and I've not finished many paintings since. There is definitely a possibility of "burning out" for a slow painter like me to take up such a challenge. (In fact I got very sick toward the end of the year, possibly because of the pressure I put myself through doing all the holiday shows, and the school work in the Atelier... :-() But my new year's resolution is to try painting more landscapes in a looser style (yes, you've probably heard me saying this on my various blog posts a couple of times if you have me visiting this blog for a while -- on my defense I did try really hard each time! But being "loose" is such an elusive goal for me -- it is the final product that has to evoke such sense, yet in each of the step toward creating a looser, freer, more atmospheric painting a painter has to be very deliberate and really know what he/she is doing! I have to admit I am struggling here...), so I've decided to take up this challenge with that goal in mind. 

In the following weeks of January, I will try to do a little landscape painting each day, and each week there would be a slightly different focus: sky, water, mountains and foliage (trees, brushes and grassland). This first one, "Under the Autumn Sky", is a sky-focused painting. My main goal here is to capture the fleeting sense of light near sunset on a slightly overcast day, and emulate the beautiful cloud shapes that changes every second you look without getting fixated on being "exact". It has started as a Plein-Air Sketch in the Palo Alto Bayland Marsh last fall (yes, during the last 30/30 challenge =_=b...), but I was not quite sure what I was trying to say in the piece, and had to put it aside for a while until I could see it in my mind's eye. In the end I had to revisit the lessons I've learned from landscape master Sterling Edwards and Carl Purcell's workshop, and revise the composition to emphasize the sky area, making sure the foreground marsh and tree line in the middle ground are not too busy as to detract from this center of focus.

A good lesson I have learned from doing this painting is to try to say one thing, and one thing only in one small painting like this. Since I was initially attracted by the sky when started this painting, I decided to stick with it. The other equally interesting shapes and textures, the lovely distant tree line, for example, is better explored in detail in another painting! (That's the beauty of doing such challenges -- you know you'll have another painting to do just the next day! lol...)

In the mean time, if you have an image of a beautiful landscape, or a flower you like, or anything you might want to see painted, please email them to me at I will paint them and post them here. From every 10 paintings I make from them, there would be a random drawing, and the lucky winner get to take a original back home for free! Interested? Then send me your photo!

You can now buy high quality Giclee prints of many of my sold paintings, both on paper and canvas, as well as some note cards with my paintings here:


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