Thursday, June 12, 2014

Some New Directions -- Divergence from Florals!

Low Tide - Plein Air at Muir Beach, 
Watercolor on Richeson Zoltan Szabo #140 Cold Press Paper, 7"h x 11"w, WIP 1

I've taken a sabbatical from my floral watercolors lately to explore other directions, and I thought maybe I should be sharing some of them with you here. I was a bit hesitant since I have no idea how they would turn out -- it's both scary and exhilarating to explore new territories! Oh well, you, my blog friends have been very kind and supportive to me throughout, so maybe my worries are unfounded! Here they are:

The first one is another little plein air watercolor I did recently at Muir Beach. It's painted on Richeson Zoltan Szabo #140 Cold Press paper and the size is 7"h x 11"w. The sky was over cast that day, therefore all the colors are more saturated without being bleached by the all powerful sun, and I really wanted to accentuate this in my painting. I liked the result in the field and thought it was finished. However, after going back home and giving it a second look, I noticed that the center of interest - the dark rock - is almost smacked dead in the center of the painting -- a compositional NO-NO. I also think the dark shapes of the wet sand can be improved a little more as well... So, back to the drawing board it goes! I will post the modified version in a couple of days...

In Between, Watercolor on Lanaquarelle #140 Cold Press Paper, 15"h x 11"w, WIP 1

The second project is a found still life. Now, if you have followed my blog for a while, you probably have noticed that my florals are often very high in chroma, and seeing flowers in sunlight often make me feel inspired to work, but light is the first painter that reveals beauty in a lot of commonplace objects, even neglected corners. I found this dried leaflet and branch perched in between pebbles on the roadside while taking a walk in the neighbourhood a couple of years back -- and when the sunlight was cast upon it, the pattern of light and shadow is absolutely beautiful. When I pulled the photo out of a dusted drawer during spring cleaning (yes, even I occasionally do this!...) it inspired me to try a subject that is unfamiliar to me. The reference image is low in color saturation so it will be interesting to try different approaches -- increase the chroma or emphasize the value difference in low saturation -- and see which one I like best! (I am even thinking of starting a new series of still life paintings with the theme "Everyday Beauty". If you have reference photos of objects that often do not catch the eye of most people, but you find very beautiful and inspiring, please share with me by posting it here or email me at!)

The Gossiping Ladies, Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 6"h x 9"w, WIP 1

The last one of my newest projects is really a step out of my comfort zone and something I've rarely tackled before: animals. This image of two parrots perched on mossy branch in bright tropical sunlight has caught my eyes a while ago and I've finally decided to tackle it after gathering my courage for a while. I love the bright plumage colors of these birds, and their expression really reminded me of some of my relatives gossiping about family matters while resting in the traditional front yard after a day's work -- a scene so common back in the days when the large, extended family still lived together in the countryside, but more and more rare these days with the younger generation moving away into towns and cities and forming their own nuclear family... My main focus of this painting is trying to depict the texture of the fur and feather without painting them one by one, as well as capture the individual personality of these cute little critters! I am a bit nervous about how they would turn out. Please feel free to give some critiques and suggestions!

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:


  1. Your work is so incredibly gorgeous!!! I love the top painting, even though you have misgivings about the center placement... it doesn't make the piece unappealing being centered like that. Maybe just creating darker shadows on the right would pull it off-center a bit. But I like it the way it is! The rocks in the second piece are especially breathtaking! Oh my gosh! I love those! There is so much in this post and all of it just stunning!

  2. Like you still life concept...always good to try something new. I have to admire how saturated you get your colors without muddying them...I find that difficult to do and always am concerned about getting to thick with the paint. I build layers quite slowly...need to "go for it" as you do. Keep up the good work!

  3. "Ten Thousand Square Inches of Canvas" has been included in our Arlynda Lea's Sites to See #5. We hope this helps to call attention to your efforts.

  4. "Arena Shaw" has been included in the fourth edition of our Thinking of Christmas Gifts in July 2014 series. Be assured that we hope this helps to point many new customers in your direction.


Thank you so much for taking time visiting and commenting on my blog! Your feedback and encouragements are things that keep me going with I am feeling down or frustrated... I will try my best to reply to every comment ASAP but sometimes life gets in the way and I am a bit slow in my response. I would like to apologize if that happens...

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