Friday, September 30, 2016

Moonrise, Eucalyptus Grove - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Moonrise, Eucaplyptus Grove,
 Oil Monochromatic Wash on Claessen #13 Douple Oil Primed Linen Canvas, 6"h x 8"w, 2016 #15


This is a little monochromatic oil wash painting I have done in Kevin Courter's nocturnal painting workshop. the dark passages are completely transparent (no white used), and value variations are done through thick and thin of paintings. I worked a lot to try to create interesting edges and overall shape of the eucalyptus trees, and varying the colors subtly by using a bit more red or green in creating the dark color mixture used here. Trying to convey a quiet, subtle mood and had a lot of fun doing this... 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Evergreen Notes - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Evergreen Notes, Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 7"h x 12"w, 2016 #13

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $65)

Playing with limited palette and want to create the illusion of fog in the background. To add warmth in the foreground I used a muted yellow-brown which compliments the overall blue-purple color scheme of the painting. The painting was done from a quick 30-minute study on site when hiking in the high sierras. The way those tall mountain hemlock and silver fir trees dance in the wind left such a strong impression on my mind, that even now I can still just close my eyes and see it...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ode to Spring - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Ode to Spring,
 Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 8"h x 8"w, 2016 #10

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $65)

My most recent obsession is to have combine the portrait of a single flower -- not the glamorous rose or peony, but those often only seen in clusters, such as tulip or cosmos, and a large, abstract background, playing with amorphous shapes and textures contrasting the sharply defined focal point... I think there would be a few more to come in this series as I am working on several of them at the same time. These take a lot of staring and only gradually come into being after many layering and being putting away for a while, as the imagery come largely from my head, instead of from a defined reference photo. It is a new diversion for me, and I like how it prompt me to react to what's happening on the paper while wet colors are dropped in. I am listening to watercolor more now, instead of always trying to cajole it into what I have initially planned it to be. I guess it's all part of coming into peace with this challenging medium...

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sentinel - 30/30 Challenge 2016

 Watercolor on Richeson Szabo #140 Cold Press Paper, 7"h x 11"w, 2016 #9

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $100)

100% of the sale of this painting would be donated to the cause of trisomy in ​honor of the lost child of my amazing artist friend and fellow painter, Brienne Brown. She is so brave and kind and strong in sharing her struggle and contribute to the cause!

I have wanted to do this for a while but some personal circumstances have delayed it. I wanted to paint a painting with the symbol of life, revival, resilience embedded in it, in honor of the life that is lost too young yet would never be forgotten by her loved ones. It is not a lot but I want to contribute my little bit. Every little bit helps in the fight against this formidable rare disease, which has not gotten the attention it deserves in the medical and pharmaceutical society, probably because it is rare and not a lot of profit there is to be made. Imagine the impact a cure would have on the families with a loved ones diagnosed... I can't help but hope that day would come sooner...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Where the Eagle Flies - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Where the Eagle Flies - Portrait of the Colorado Plateau I,
 Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 8"h x 8"w, 2016 #8

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $65)

Recently I am having these almost obsessive fixation on the high Colorado Plateau, and seeing the somber, severe landscape whenever I close my eyes. The almost barren, treeless bajadas, the grey-blue granite cliffs and baked red-buff sandstone monoliths, the lone red-shouldered hawk soaring below the low-hanging clouds... I had to paint it. I would probably come back to this series a few times in the next couple of days. I know I have not exhausted it in this little study...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Eclectic II - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Eclectic II, Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 8"h x 8"w, 2016 #7

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $75)

This is my second take on yesterday's subject - a good thing that often comes from the daily-painting challenge. Often, you don't get to obsess over a project because of the time limit, but the "what-if"s that spring from it can germinate the next day, or the day after into a creature of its own. I wanted to play with the abstract background a bit more and make color and paint application (granulation, wet-in-wet shapes, etc.) the dominant factor instead of strong value patterns that dominates in yesterday's version. Instead of changing the last painting and trying to realize this goal, I just took another go of it. The result is today's painting -- less electric, more dreamy in its atmosphere. It is fun to look at the two pieces side-by-side and think how much a variation painting can take from its source material. Often painting from my own painting brings a great sense of freedom, as well as springboards my imagination. Staring at the shapes gradually emerging from the interaction of paint, water and paper surface often leads to such unexpected directions. All I need is to listen, instead of trying to beat the painting into the mold I had in my head before putting brush on paper...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Eclectic - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Eclectic, Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 6"h x 6"w, 2016 #6

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $50)

After painting something bright and colorful with warm reds and magentas, I wanted to explore the cool side of the palette and paint something dark and moody, like the neon lights in the night city street. Up till this point my florals are all pretty much natural-colored, and I want to see if I can pull off something with a very artificial-lighting-inspired color scheme and dream-like atmosphere. I am currently doing a second variation of of this painting, which is less value-contrast-dominated and a bit more colorful. It would be fun to compare the achieved effects...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Field of Dreams - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Field of Dreams, Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 12"h x 12"w, 2016 #4

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $195)

I really want to play with the limited palette on this one, and try to see if I could get the soft, dreamy, wet-in-wet like background by painting in thin layers wet-on-dry. I had so much fun... Using a limited primary palette of Vermilion, Aurelion Yellow and Ultramarine Blue, the color harmony was achieved without much conscious effort, which is the largest advantage of using a limited palette... I was a bit worried about color monotony resulted from all the red in the poppies, and really played up the warm vs. cool, saturated vs. muted variation of different reds. In the end I am very pleased with the result -- and I really missed painting flowers!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Red - 30/30 Challenge 2016 (Finally, an OIL Painting from Me...)

Red, Oil Painting on Centurion Acrylic Primed Linen, 8"h x 6"w, 2016 #3

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $85)

Something very different today... This is the first oil painting I've ever listed for sale. I have been studying classical drawing and painting methods in the Golden Gate Atelier for a little more than four years at this point, and have done quite a few projects (both drawing and oil paintings) from life at the atelier. In the past month I decided to test the waters to see if I could work outside school on my own on small projects: still life from life, plein air landscapes, portrait and figures from reference photos, even some animal paintings... In OIL. This is my first attempt. It is a very scary experience for me to try this still unfamiliar medium and let the whole world see my attempts. But it has to start somewhere.

When selecting the reference material to paint a portrait on my own I find myself often drawn toward mystical expressions and strong personality, something that makes it a little uneasy for me to stare for a long time, instead of just sweet beauty. This woman's face, it's slight distant, restrained expression contrast so well with the fiery color of her red hair, I just have to paint it. So here it is, my first oil painting for sale -- more to come!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Purple Dream - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Purple Dream, Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 8"h x 8"w, 2016 #2

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $85)

In the neighborhood I live in there are many lovely old Victorian homes with wisteria leaning onto their front gates, and during the walk one morning I spotted this beautiful butterfly spanning its wings in the morning fog on one of the large flower clusters. The temperature was low in the moist morning air of San Francisco, and large droplets of water were dripping from the wisteria leaves, so I wondered whether the wings of this butterfly was wet and it could not take off. When I sneak closer I realized it was... mating, with its lover hiding in the shadow of the leaflets underneath the first butterfly. I snapped a photo and decide to capture this rare moment with my paintbrush... And every time I look at the painting, I can almost smell the clear, cold, moist air of that morning, and the slight aroma of wisteria... 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Gossiping Ladies - 30/30 Challenge 2016

Gossiping Ladies, Watercolor on Arches #140 Cold Press Paper, 6"h x 9"w, 2016 #1

Bid in My DPW Auction (Starting Bid $95)

I can hardly believe that I have not posted on the blog since the last 30/30 challenge! I have actually been painting (mostly in oil) and having some exciting news to share, including getting included in the Splash and Stroke of Genius books of North Light Publishing, and winning the budding artist category in the Art Muse Contest, as well as being selected as judge's pick this month on Daily Paintworks! I am super excited about every one of these opportunities...

I have plans to paint more smaller oil paintings outside the atelier this year as practice, and try more diverse subjects as well as painting some larger compositions in my watercolor paintings. So for this September's challenge I would try to just do that. Here's the first piece -- an animal subject I have tried to tackle for a while but always felt inadequate at the moment. But the longer I waited, the more I felt that waiting along and think "one day when my skill has reached the level to tackle this subject" is never going to get me there. One can only learn how to tackle an unfamiliar and daunting subject by working on them again and again! So here we go -- these two colorful parakeets (love birds as they are commonly referred to in their native tropical Indonesia) whose body languages and facial expressions just crackle me up every time I look at them.   
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