Blog

Springtime in North Carolina, American Landscape Painting


Springtime in North Carolina

 

Warm weather and springtime flowers welcomed me in Western North Carolina last week.  Hills and streets around the Asheville/Hendersonville area are dotted with fruit trees like cherry, pear, peach with fast-blooming flowers.  And lovely tulips, daffodills and many other flowers add delightful colors to the landscape.

 

Blessed with the gorgeous weather each day, my plein-air workshop students and I were happy campers and we enjoyed a wonderful week painting at Kanuga, a beautiful lake-side conference center near Hendersonville.

 

Here's one of my demos of a very tall weeping cherry tree that was just in front of my workshop room.  Pinkish white flowers hanging from this magnificent tree, against the blue sky and a deep green cabin, were so pretty.  It was a perfect subject to convey the joy brought on by the arrival of much-awaited spring.

 

 

 

 

Springtime in North Carolina

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Mexico City Paintings


Mexico City, Mexico I

 

I heard that Mexico City is huge.  But it is really convincing when your airplane flies over this densely-populated city for what it seemed like an eternity and you see just houses upon houses as far as your eyes could see all the way to the horizon.  You have to see it to believe it.

 

During my workshop week in Mexico City recently, my host and her family showed me many corners of this megalopolis that 20+ million people call home.  No matter where you go, chances are that you spend a considerable amount of time in a car in this city, given its sheer size and population.  Well, that part didn't bother me much as that is not too different from how I live in California.  Or even better because I was able to enjoy looking out my car window (my friend drove), and I also enjoyed a conversation with those riding with me. 

 

Here are some paintings I made of the Mexican capital that reflect slices of their daily life.  Notice many cars?

 

Mexico City, Mexico II

 

Mexico City, Mexico III

 

 

Mexico City, Mexico I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Mexico City Workshop


Bosque de Chapultepec III

 

So I was going to do an outdoor workshop in Mexico City, one of the world's biggest cities.  I have to confess, though, prior to my arrival, I had no idea at all what I could find to paint there.  But I was more excited than worried and I was pleasantly suprised to discover serene beauty inside this megalopolis.

 

Following my demos, my workshop attendees painted varied sights - beautiful lakes, a panoramic view from the hilltop castle, and a street vendor in a park, etc.  The focus throughout the week, however, was on how to paint water and everyone worked very hard trying to nail those elusive reflections.  It was a real pleasure to get to know these artists who came not only from Mexico City but also from other towns.  I would like to thank everyone who helped make my visit to Mexico City such a wonderful experience!

 

 

 

Demo at Chapultepec Castle

 

A lagoon painted from a boat at Xochimilco

 

 

Last demo at Casa del Lago, Bosque de Chapultepec

 

 

Bosque de Chapultepec, Mexico City III

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 19 x 13 inches (48 x 33 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

Xochimilco, Mexico I

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Private Collection

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

From Plein-Air Sketch to Studio Painting


En plein air (Photo by J. Villain)

 

About nine years ago, I started out both as a plein-air painter and as a studio artist.  As a watercolorist who paints in both environments, I have come to realize that there are unique qualities in each type of work.

 

A painting done on location is my direct response to the landscape.  I attempt to capture the whole experience of being there.  For that purpose, I need to concentrate intensely to work fast.  I so enjoy getting absorbed in the environment when the inspiration cannot be any fresher.  As a result, the painting may look looser, more simplified or sketchy, and perhaps more impressionistic.

 

Sometimes I may not completely finish the work outdoors because I feel it's already served a purpose.  Or sometimes I just have to quit because of unexpected elements such as a sudden change of weather.  Certain challenges and limitations that come with working in the great outdoors may make the end result rather hit-or-miss.  Regardless, any work I do outside has certain qualities that I really like.  The atmosphere and energy of the place is captured in the raw if I may put it that way.

 

En plein air, I like to use the paper size smaller than 18x24 inches (46x61cm) and spend less than an hour to complete a piece.  The format of a studio painting, on the other hand, can be larger so the work tends to be a bit more controlled and detailed.  In the studio, especially when there's no time contraints, I can take time to plan my approach to the subject.  I can even make some preliminary compositional work to think out my process and try to eliminate, if any, potential problems beforehand.  I can say there is probably a bit more room for creativity to be explored in the studio while the plein-air work is more direct and intuitive.

 

When I work in the studio, sometimes I use my plein-air sketch as a source of reference.  It can be supported by photos or memory but to me a plein-air sketch probably works best to remember the feel of the place.  In fact, it is really the initial idea or inspiration captured in the plein-air work that is important.  Starting from there, I can think more about overall composition and relationships of colors, values and shapes to retell an original story, hopefully, in a more refined manner.

 

Read related posts: here (Bucharest, Romania) and here (Venice, Italy) and look at some of the examples from Italy below.  If you're interested in painting in the beautiful region of Tuscany, Italy, why don't you join me there in May?  My watercolor painting workshop at the Watermill was fully booked but has just recently one spot opened up.  I look forward to meeting you there!

 

 

"Firenze, Italy I" (29x21 cm) - plein air

 

"Firenze, Italy IX" (55x36 cm) - studio

 

"Cortona VIII" (29x39 cm) - plein air

 

"Cortona, Italy X" (55x75 cm) - studio

 

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Workshop: Painting Light and Atmosphere of California Landscape


 

I love being with other artists.  I love sharing my creative passion.  I love painting California landscape.  In the workshop I just finished in Orange County, California, I got to do all these things for three days.

 

For a full house of 18 students, I did 2 demos each day in a room filled with enthusiasm.  Painting light and atmosphere of California landscape being the theme of the workshop, we did a harbor scene, a downtown street , an outdoor café, a mission and a desertscape.  Everyone worked so hard and we felt like we had just finished a whirlwind tour of California by the end of the course.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who attended my workshop!

 

 

 

Sunset Beach, California I (sold)

 

 

Alamitos Bay, California II (sold)

 

 

 

Sunset at Alamitos Bay, California I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 17 x 23 inches (43 x 58 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell.

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Judging the San Diego Watercolor Society Member Show


"Light and Delight" (poster)

 

I was honored to serve as a juror for the February Member Exhibition of the San Diego Watercolor Society, "Light and Delight."

 

So many beautiful entries did not make it easy for me to choose less than half of what was submitted.  Bravo to all who got in the show and congratulations to award-winners!

 

The SDWS created a wonderful poster for the show with my painting Flamenco Dancer III.  If you are in the San Diego area, be sure to visit their gallery to see the show (runs until February 28).

 

 

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell.

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Recent Magazine Features


Bucharest, Romania I

 

I am deeply honored to have my work featured in the 2014 March issue of Artists & Illustrators (published by Chelsea Magazine Co., Ltd., United Kingdom).  Ms. Jenny White gave me an interview for my article.  She asked me a lot of great questions about my thoughts on painting watercolor as well as teaching it.  I hope you will enjoy reading it if you have a chance.

 

Thanks to the article, one of my street scene paintings included in it "Bucharest, Romania I (2012)" saw the light of day.  This work reminds me of my visit to this delightful city where I just walked around, sketched, took some photos without any itinerary to speak of.  When I was in the historic center and saw this view of a street with a domed building in the back, I knew I'd paint it.  Here are some sketches and a photo of the street.

 

 

 

From my travel sketchbook

 

 

(photo) Historic center of Bucharest

 

 

In December 2013, I was one of the watercolor painters featured in Pratique des Arts, Hors série aquarelle (published by CapElitis Groupe, France).  An 8-page article written by Ms. Stéphanie Portal who interviewed me includes a step-by-step demo of a painting of Ine, a small fishing village of Kyoto, Japan.  For this article, too, I was asked some thought-provoking questions.  I also gave some practical tips on plein-air painting.  I am hugely honored for the recognition.

 

 

 

Covers of two magazines where my work was featured recently

 

 

 

Bucharest, Romania I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 21.5 x 14.25 inches (54.5 x 36 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Chasing the Light in Palm Desert, California Landscape Painting


Palm Desert, California I

 

I often find myself heading out to paint during the golden hour to capture soft, warm sunlight.  The quality of light is what I'm after and it is just fantastic especially for a lovely atmospheric painting.  But, if you have ever attempted doing this, you know how rapidly the golden-hour light changes it can make the whole landscape look totally diferent within a matter of minutes.  If only we could keep the beautiful light as long as we need to finish our painting!

 

To deal with that elusiveness, I try to remember the first impression and work with it throughout the end.  This visualization is important.  Our eyes may keep chasing the light but our mind's eye should see something that's fixed.  Otherwise, the end result of our painting will be utterly confusing.

 

I had an opportunity to paint recently in Palm Desert, California on a balmy afternoon.  Take a look at the photos below (sorry they are so small) and focus on the lighted area in the back.  It all happened within an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Desert, California I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Plein-Air Demo at the Bernardo Winery, California Landscape Painting


Bernardo Winery, San Diego II

 

For plein-air painters, especially those who work in watercolor, the weather is the most crucial factor for a pleasant experience.  Too often, it is too hot, too cold, too windy, too dry, too wet, etc... well, we had none of those complaints on the day of the Saturday paint-out because the weather was perfect in every sense.

 

I was happy to be invited as a demonstrator for a plein-air painters' group from the San Diego Watercolor Society.  The location chosen for their January get-together was Bernardo Winery.  I really liked the rustic feel of the place and found it quite interesting that is actually located in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  For my demo, I painted a view of the vineyard with the mountain in the background.  Then everyone chose their subjects and spent the rest of the morning painting.   I couldn't resist making another painting of a different corner of the winery  - and why not paint the painters? - I included some of them in the piece (See "Saturday Pain-Out").

 

Click here to read about the paint-out on the blog of the San Diego Watercolor Society.

 

 

Saturday Paint-Out, Bernardo Winery

 

 

Saturday Paint-Out, Bernardo Winery

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Purchase: Sold

 

 

 

 

Bernardo Winery, San Diego, California II

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 17 x 23 inches (43 x 58 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Away From Home - Daily Paintworks Weekly Challenge


Li River, China III

 

As a host for the Daily Paintworks (DPW) Weekly Challenge, I have chosen the theme "Away from Home" (please read a brief description below).  I thought this topic is a timely one as many of us have a chance to spend some time away from home around this time of the year.

 

Daily painters out there, or occasional painters or anyone who loves to give this challenge a try, let's have fun with it.  To participate, please visit DPW website for more information.  The challenge starts on Saturday, December 21.

 

 

"Away from Home" Challenge:

 

Many people travel at this time of the year.  Some of us visit families and friends for the holiday celebrations while others may get away just to spend some quiet time alone or with someone special.  Whatever the reason, the change of place gives us opportunities to discover many new things or rediscover things we forgot about.  Why don't we take a moment to find inspiration in a place away from home and paint it?  It could be a snowy landscape, a portrait of a grandpa, a house decorated with lights, a beach in the South Pacific, or an imaginary place you think is perfect for your ideal holiday.  I just came back from China where I attended the opening of an international watercolor exhibition.  This is one of the paintings I did over there.  I know we are all busy with a million things to do in preparation for the holidays, but taking a little time for a painting may be something we just need to relax.  Best wishes for a happy New Year!

 

 

 

Li River, China III

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.


Click here to see other Chinese landscapes on my blog.

 

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Shenzhen Watercolour Biennial


Yangshuo Sunset, China II

 

In response to the call to the artists worldwide, 2,825 entries had poured in from 54 different countries from all corners of the globe for the First International Watercolour Biennial.  After the final round of judging by an international panel of renowned jurors, about 200 pieces of watermedia works were selected to be on display at the Shenzhen Art Museum in Guangdong Province in southern China.  December the 10th, 2013 marked the official opening of the exhibition, and I was deeply honored to attend the opening ceremony together with some of the exhibiting artists who traveled there.

 

I am pleased that "Sunset, Florence, Italy I" was juried into this prestigious show, which runs until January 10, 2014 at the same venue.  Selected paintings are scheduled to tour inside China in the following year at eight different locations.

 

 

 

Yangshuo Sunset, China I

 

 

Yangshuo Sunset, China I

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

 

Yangshuo Sunset, China II

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 9 x 13 inches (23 x 33 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

On the Road (6) - China, Chinese Landscape Paintings


Yangshuo, China II

 

Traveling somewhere with plein-air painting as a primary purpose requires an itinerary definitely different from a typical sightseeing trip.  For one thing, in a totally new environment in a foreign country, it normally takes a day or two just to know the ropes.  So something as simple as finding a good place to paint that's safe and convenient to get to can be a big task.  After spending some time scouting for such a place and managing a painting or two, chances are that a good part of a day is already gone and perhaps you're too tired to go sightseeing or shopping.

 

In Yangshuo County, a popular destination in the northeast Guangxi Province in China, I stayed for some time just to paint.  That is, no rock climbing or cave tours for me, but I had a blast painting to my heart's content.  I painted from a balcony of my hotel room, by the river, on the street.  I even rented a bike to go deep into the coutryside for really marvelous rural landscapes. 

 

 

Painting from a hotel balcony

 

Yangshuo, China I

 

 

Yangshuo, China I

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 19 x 13 inches (48 x 33 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

Yangshuo, China II

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Dim Sum, Hong Kong III, Interior Painting


Dim Sum, HK III

 

Eating with a family or friends means sharing some time together over a meal but in some cultures it is literally sharing the same dishes among those present.  In Chinese culture, people normally sit at a round table and put several dishes in the center.  In each dish there is a different kind of food - stir-fried meat and vegetables, steamed fish, roasted chicken, dumplings, soup, for example.  There may be a pair of communal chopsticks for serving but it's quite common that they use their own chopsticks to take whatever they want.  This way everyone sees each other and both chopsticks and words busily bounce across the table throughout a meal time.

 

 

Dim Sum, Hong Kong III

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Li River, Chinese Landscape Paintings


Li River, China I

 

Stunning, dramatic, surreal... I don't know if any words can describe the amazing landscapes of karst terrains near Guilin.  Some of the peaks look like animals while others look like giant cacti or jagged teeth.  And these towering mountains are evreywhere - some stand alone right in the middle of a town and others out in the countryside.

 

Between Guilin and Yangshuo, boats take visitors on a cruise on the Li River which meanders through these mountains.  To see this very unique landscape, people come here not just from all over China but from all over the world as well.  Yangshuo receives about 20 million visitors each year.

 

Artists immediately respond to such a magical landscape combined with the often misty atmosphere and very rustic scenery in the surroundings.  Needless to say, this region has attracted artists for centuries.  I met a Chinese woman who told me that some lucky Chinese artists rent a place to stay for a month just to paint the sceneries around here.  A month would be a dream for me but even just once an experience of painting in the nature in a place like this is truly unforgettable.

 

Painting by the Li River

 

 

Li River, China II (14"x20")

 

 

Li River, China I

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

On the Road (5) - China, Chinese Landscape Painting


Guilin, China I

 

Painting en plein air is a great way to learn how to capture the sense of place and its atmosphere quickly.  It is also a great way to take a quick look at life of the people who live there.  I don't know about other plein-air painters but to me, personally, similarities or differences in people's lives that I observe and find in a foreign place are quite intriguing.

 

In China, one thing that I noticed is that more people than in other places I've been to are quite interested in watching me paint.  Some even want to take a photo together with me.  And many of them are young people.  I don't recall such an open display of enthusiasm among the young in other places.  I wonder if this means that watercolor is more commonly practiced or better recognized in this country.  That I don't know but it is very encouraging that the medium attracts the younger generation.  During my painting session by one of the beautiful lakes in Guilin, I had at least a dozen young people who stood by my side to watch.

 

 

Guilin, China

 

Guilin, China I

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (33 x 48 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Northen Guangxi Province, Chinese Landscape Paintings


Street, Chengyang-Dazhai

 

In Sanjiang County in the northern part of Guangxi Province, I spent some time learning about culture and traditions of some of China's minority groups.  Predominantly inhabited by the Dong minority people, this region seems a bit different from the other parts of China.  Perhaps because the Dong speak their own language or perhaps because of their traditional wooden architecture that still exists such as drum towers and wind and rain bridges.  Most people in small villages are farmers and they were friendly to a foreigner like me.  Today's painting is some of my small studies done in this region.

 

 

 

Studies, Sanjiang County, China

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 17 x 23 inches (43 x 53 cm)

Purchase: Sold

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong I, Interior Painting


Man Mo Temple, HK I

 

Life in Hong Kong is fast-paced.  In the downtown financial district it is even more so.  Not far from this busiest part of Hong Kong, Man Mo Temple stands among high-rises.  But the inside is a world apart from the outside.

 

It is a quiet place of worship for people who come here to pray to the Gods of literature and of war.  Large cone-shaped coils of incense are hung everywhere with people's wishes written inside.  Smoke from these coils slowly escapes from the opening on the ceiling as the light filtered through smoke comes in to add mystical ambiance.

 

 

Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong I

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Aberdeen I, Hong Kong Landscape Painting


Aberdeen, HK I

 

After enjoying a beautiful day painting at Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island, I traveled to the New Territories to visit my artist friend and respected teacher Harvey Chan.  His students gathered that night in Harvey's studio to watch my demonstration he organized for me.  I also had the pleasure of having some of my former workshop students and my art collector friend join us.  I had a wonderful time sharing my work and talking about watercolor and more.  I would like to thank everyone who was there for me!

 

 

painting en plein air in Aberdeen, HK

 

     

With Harvey Chan and his students, Hong Kong

 

"Tai-O Fishing Village" (18"x24") - demo

 

 

 

Aberdeen, Hong Kong I

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Sam Mun Tsai I, Hong Kong Landscape Painting


Sam Mun Tsai, HK I

 

In Sam Mun Tsai Fishing Village, local fishermen breed fish in cages.  There are several stations floating on the calm water inside the bay, and I loved the serenity and timeless beauty of the scene as I watched fishing boats come and go.  But the number of such floating stations is dwindling.  I even heard (and I hope I was wrong) that the remaining ones may be removed eventually - just like old houses and shops tucked in between high-rises of Hong Kong.

 

I looked up toward one end of the bay to find an enormous luxurious housing development, named the Beverly Hills.  That in and of itself resembles a massive concrete hill.  If I were living in one of those fancy apartments, I'd be so delighted to have a picturesque view of traditional fishing boats outside my windows.  I would just love to see the Old and the New Hong Kong co-exist nicely.

 

 

Sam Mun Tsai, Hong Kong I

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

On the Road (4) - France, Interior Paintings


Café des Arts I (sold)

 

Recently I wrote a blog post about my workshop experience in southern Spain - how a lunchtime is taken rather seriously over there.  Another country where lunch is enjoyed with vigor is France.  I have taught quite a number of workshops in this country.  I have found the time they take for lunch may not as long as in Spain but on many occasions lunch is a sit-down ritual, starting with a serious look at the menu and ending with a plate of various kinds of cheeses and/or incredible sweets.  Bottles of wine are also a common sight on the table.  Even if we don't go to a restaurant, we picnic or have a potluck with the same level of intensity.

 

I did this painting as a workshop demo at the Bandouille in France after I saw this lady in red, sipping coffee in the corner of a café, when my students and I had lunch there.  The café was aptly named Café des Arts, and I absolutely loved the atmosphere inside.  I often call my workshop "Capture Light and Atmosphere in Watercolor" as a general theme.  As it implies, to me, what is more important to capture in my work is a particular visual concept such as the passage of light and a certain mood.

 

Next summer, July 27 - August 2, I am happy to be returning to the Bandouille, a renovated monastery/farm house in a small village of Chiche (Poitou-Charentes), France, to teach a 5-day workshop.  For more details and registration, please visit France Painting Holiday.  If I get lucky, we may have a chance to go to this café once again.

 

A workshop demo, Café des Arts, Thouars, France

 

A workshop demo, Café Joviac, Rochemaure, France (19"x13")

 

 

 

Café des Arts I

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 15.5 inches (29 x 39 cm)

Purchase: Sold

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

On the Road (3) - Spain, Interior Paintings


 

It is interesting to note how we spend a lunchtime differs from culture to culture.  In the workshops I do in the U.S. and Japan, for instance, we take a fairly quick lunch.  And it is not unusual to see some students painting, while nibbling a sandwich, throughout a lunch break, which lasts one hour or less.

 

I went to Seville in southern Spain earlier this year to teach 2 workshops for local watercolor artists.  Over there a lunchtime seemed to be taken a bit more seriously.

 

In the morning, we worked from 10am to 1pm.  Then, we had lunch.  For one hour?  No.  For two hours?  No.  Our afternoon session began at 4pm and finished at 7pm, so it was a 3-hour lunch break.  Of course we were not eating the whole time (so stuffed, we'd have fallen asleep in the afternoon!).  It was a combination of lunch, coffee, conversation, some chores, if any, and maybe a little snooze if they wanted.  Anyway, thanks to siesta, everyone was full of energy in my afternoon class.

 

 

 

Doing a demo inside restaurant MariscCo Reial, Barcelona, Spain

before a lunch crowd arrived.

 

 

 

Seville Bar, Spain III

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 14.25 x 21.5 inches (36 x 54.5 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

On the Road (2) - the South, American Landscape Paintings


Benson's, Bonita Springs, Florida I

 

To me, traveling for a workshop often means arriving there just in time, getting the job done, and packing up to go home.  Especially in the U.S., I rarely have extra time to do anything else.  However, my workshop organizers and participants alike sometimes go out of their way to show me around their neighborhoods.  In the region called the American South, I have done several workshops in the past few years.  And in each place I was a happy recipient of the Southern Hospitality from people I worked with.

 

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the gallery staff took me straight to the Philbrook Museum of Art that's housed in a historic villa, after a busy day of painting.  A student from the same Tulsa workshop then showed me around the downtown Tulsa just before the sun set.  In Dallas, Texas, a student came from Louisiana with a lot of photos of  her favorite spots in her state.  Her vivid description and visual images of one particular spot moved me so much I asked her to let me do a demo from her photos as reference.  In Bonita Springs, Florida, an old male student, a long-time resident of the area, spent lunch time each day telling me about the history, geography, and life in general that he knew so well.  He also knew that I wanted to see the real life of the people there.  He strongly recommended I visit a town of migrant workers.  I'm glad I did.  These short glimpses into their personal lives make my workshop-related travels so special.

 

 

Immokalee, Florida I (11.5"x15.5")

 

 

"Tulsa, Oklahoma I" (21.5"x14.25")

 

 

"Thibodaux, Louisiana I" (13"x19")

 

 

 

Benson's, Bonita Springs, Florida I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 15.5 x 11.5 inches (39 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

On the Road (1) - U.S., Interior Paintings


Sunday Afternoon, Key West (sold)

 

I spend a considerable amount of time on the road as I travel to different locations to teach a workshop.  This means I always have a new group of people to work with and, most of the time, I meet them for the first time in class.  For me, it amounts to at least a couple of hundreds of them a year.

 

It is expected to speak out in America.  Perhaps because of that reason, sometimes I hear from a student beforehand, telling me he's nervous.  Sometimes, on my arrival, a student comes up to me and says she's worried if she's good enough.  Although they are a minority, their apprehensiveness is completely understandable because I would be lying if I said I'm not nervous or worried if everything would go well.

 

Allow me to generalize: American people are open and chatty (not in a negative way).  Before a workshop begins, my students are busy introducing themselves to each other.  By the time we come back from lunch on the first day, most everybody is talking as if they knew each other for a long time.  They love to joke.  They laugh.  The friendly atmosphere created quickly in a workshop room helps us to relax.  More importantly, it gives such positive energy to all of us working together, so even those a bit apprehensive in the beginning are not tense any more.

 

At the end of workshop, I often get invited to a cozy café or a restaurant for a little socializing with organizers and my students.  Today's paintings are some of those nice memories.

 

 

"Café, San Pedro, California I" (11.5"x 8.25")

 

 

"Amadeus, Ann Arbor, Michigan I" (12"x11")

 

 

 

Sunday Afternoon, Key West, Florida I

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 15.5 inches (29 x 39 cm)

Purchase: Sold

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy


Santa Maria della Salute V

 

One of my favorite paintings is John Singer Sargent's piece that depicted the façade of the Salute.  Rather, this painting is much more than just "favorite."  Early on in my career as a watercolor painter, I was simply in awe when I saw it for the first time.  I would even call that a life-changing experience.

 

 

Almost anything my eyes see in Venice can be a painting.  At least that's how I feel.  But scenes involving Santa Maria della Salute are especially magnificent...

 

 

 

 

 

"Santa Maria della Salute, Venice III" (10"x29") - available

 

 

 

"Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy IV" (19"x13") - sold

 

 

 

"Venetian Sunset VII" (8.25"x11.5") - available

 

 

 

 

Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy V

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Painting Figures


Flamenco Dancer XIV

 

Being primarily a landscape painter, I have treated figures mostly as a small element in a landscape or a cityscape.  Figures not only add more interest but also create a certain appeal that tells a story in a scene.  I love putting them in my work and thinking about the role they can play in a painting.

 

In the last year or so, I have been practicing figures as a main painting subject rather seriously.  As a subject matter, it seemed so different from landcapes and I was a bit lost in the beginning, but I immediately found myself really enjoying doing it.  Being self-taught, it's been a trial and error for me.  However, the more I paint figures, the more convinced I become that the important components to a strong figure painting are the same that I've been striving to incorporate in my landscape work - understanding of tonal values, relationship of shapes, light/dark, passage of light, good design, etc, on top of a solid drawing skill.

 

Some of the recent works are flamenco dancers that I saw in Spain earlier this year.  What is challenging is to capture the movement and emotions of these dancers.  See some of the examples below.

 

On my website I have created a separate portofolio for my paintings of figures as I intend to do more of this sort of work.  Click here to see the current collection.  I hope you will enjoy it.

 

 

"Flamenco Dancer II" (19"x13")

 

"Flamenco Dancer V" (19"x13")

 

"Flamenco Dancer IX" (19"x13")

 

"Flamenco Dancer X" (19"x13")

 

 

 

Flamenco Dancer XIV (detail)

 

Flamenco Dancer XIV

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size:19 x 9 inches (48 x 23 cm)

Purchase: Not for sale

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Working Out a Composition


Small studies of an outdoor market

 

One of the key factors to make a painting that has an impact is a good composition.  Whether I work outdoors in the nature or in my studio using a photo reference, it is very rare to see a perfect arrangement of all shapes in a scene that I'm painting.  So a composition needs to be worked out to be a strong one.

 

Of course it is essential to work out a composition before you start painting.  I have found it helpful to do several small studies on a big sheet of paper divided with a masking tape to see which composition would work better.

 

Today's painting is various studies of an outdoor market that I did in my recent workshop.  There's also a similar demo of a barn in Michigan (below) done in a monochromatic manner.  Quick and fun to do.  Doing this, I can also give consideration to different formats and tonal values.

 

 

A barn in Michigan (18"x24")

- Different design ideas from a single source of reference

 

 

 

Design Ideas - Outdoor Market

 

A larger digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 17 x 23 inches (43 x 58 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Painting En Plein Air in Michigan


Autumn, Michigan, USA III

 

Last week I spent a gorgeous autumn day painting en plein air in Michigan.  The weather was just perfect and the day was one of the most productive I ever had.  I did 3 paintings and several studies while traveling across the southern part of the state.

 

I've been told by my workshop students and my painter friends that I paint quite fast.  Looking back, I think this is how it has been with me almost from the beginning of my painting career.  Some have asked me how and why I do it.

 

I can say that the kind of style I work in allows me to do it.  I also keep my materials simple enough to move fast - not a whole lot of paints and brushes to fiddle with - and they can be packed up quickly.  For the "why" question, I must say first the speed is not the most important aspect if it compromises the quality of one's work.  However, especially in watercolor, I believe the speed does matter, to some degree, especially in keeping freshness and luminosity of paints.

 

Being outside adds more challenges to what could be an already complicated working process, but it is a great way to learn how to paint fast.  A plein-air painting may not always turn out the way we'd have wanted to but who cares if we have gained a bit more confidence in capturing the moment and sense of place that cannot be replicated in a photo.  The experience is worth the effort no matter what the result.

 

 

On a sunny autumn day in Michigan, I painted

 

on top of an old bridge...

 

"Autumn, Michigan I" (14"x20")

 

 

in a forest...

 

"Autumn, Michigan II" (14"x20")

 

 

and on a farm.

Several small studies (on 18"x24" paper)

 

 

 

Autumn, Michigan, USA III

 

A larger digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Barns of Michigan, American Landscape Paintings


Barn, Michigan, USA I

 

I teach both indoors and outdoors when I do a workshop.  Obviously, both have certain advantages and challenges, and I may focus on slightly different aspects of painting, depending on where we work.  During my recent workshop in Michigan, we were all painting inside, warm and cozy, in downtown Ann Arbor.  The chilly November wind and occasional rain was a bit too much even for the courageous plein-air painter.

 

So one day, I gave everyone one of my photos of a typical Michigan farm with a barn.  What the photo showed was a no-brainer to paint, in fact, but we took it inside our brain to come up with the best design possible to express desirable light and atmosphere.  It was an interesting exercise.  This painting, Barn, Michigan I, is a demo I did in my workshop.

 

 

Barn, Michigan, USA I

 

Click for an enlarged view.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 13 x 19 inches (23 x 33 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

 

Barn, Michigan, USA II

 

 

Barn, Michigan, USA II

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

My Workshop in Michigan


Univ. of Michigan Campus I

 

Even though they told me that it was past peak for fall foliage, colors were stilll amazing to me this past week in southern Michigan.  I felt so lucky that my workshop was scheduled to be in time for me to see it.  Needless to say, I didn't waste time to make as many paintings as possible while I was there.  It was wonderful.

 

I had an equally wonderful group of artists in my workshop, who traveled from different parts of Michigan and neighboring states, to paint with me.  A big thank-you to Debra Zamperla for organizing a sold-out workshop for me in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and my sincere thank-you to everyone who took the time out of their busy lives to study with me.

 

Today's painting is a quick sketch of the University of Michigan campus in the morning sunlight.  It was freezing cold (for someone from California like me) and quite windy so I just did a pencil drawing on site.  Colors were put in from my memory and notes.

 

 

My Ann Arbor, MI workshop

 

 

University of Michigan Campus I

 

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 11.5 x 8.25 inches (29 x 21 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Sold

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Follow me on Twitter.
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>

Al Ponte di Rialto, Venice II, Italian Landscape Painting


Al Ponte di Rialto, Venice II

 

My travel sketchbooks vary in size but my favorites are 8.5"x5.5" or 12"x9".  If my primary purpose of going somewhere is solely to paint, I, of course, carry with me all the plein-air painting gear, a tripod and a watercolor block of much larger size up to 18"x24, " which can be quite a handful.

 

If I want to visit a place first, I like the portability of my small sketchbook just to make quick studies in whenever and wherever I want.  And I do this sometimes with just lines, or sometimes with a few colors.  My 12"x9" is actually a watercolor paper pad, and I make a pencil drawing on it with an intention of painting it there or later.  Today's painting evolved from such a drawing done on site.

 

 

From my sketchbook - always a good reference

 

 

 

Al Ponte di Rialto, Venice, Italy II

 

A large digital file available on request.

Media: Original watercolor on paper

Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 inches (21 x 29 cm)

Frame/Mat: No

Purchase: Please send me an email for details.

 

 

- Join me on Facebook and follow my blog on NetworkedBlogs.

- Follow me on Google+.
- Visit my gallery at Daily Paintworks.
- Follow me on Twitter
- FASO Artist Websites - Easy, Professional Art Websites for Artists who Sell

Comment on or Share this Article >>
« Older Posts    

Facebook  Twitter  Google+ 
Artist Websites by FineArtStudioOnline
Mobile Site | iPhone Site | Regular Site