Wednesday, December 26, 2012

By the Port

Painting this picture I took years ago helped bring back lots of precious memory of that Europe trip. In the cold and rainy winter, I am gracious to be able to stay warm and indoor to paint this large scale landscape using the photo reference. I have all the time to plan, arrange, and perfecting my painting, quite different from the spontaneous plein air.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last Light

This is another landscape painting I did during the middle of the 4 months intensive figure drawing class. Painting subject like this is like tasting a delicious dessert while I try to digest the main course of academic entree. I enjoy this experience very much.

Changing Season

I took a break from the busy figure drawing class and did this small landscape painting. After weeks of tackling the difficult human figures, it is very rewarding to go back to my familiar landscape subject. What a fun to play with the colors, and how wonderful it is to freely change the tree height and mountain angle as I like (which are big "No" for human figure).

Final Live Drawings

I finished my figure drawing class on Monday. The two drawings I'm posting here are the final in-class drawing and final homework. Each took me about 9-10 hours to finish them. Looking back, I am so happy that I made the decision to venture into the academic arena. It's the vigorous training and practicing provided over there make me a better artist.

Live Drawings

I am posting a couple of drawings I did at the drawing class at AAU. It's been such a mind-boggling and fulfilling experience to learn art at Academy of Art. I started from a figurative novice, struggled and embarrassed week after week to become a much more skilled artist who can draw human figures with great confidence. It's was a unbelievable journey.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Another one... feel more comfortable to draw figure than a few weeks ago.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Self Portrait

My self portrait ! With a graphite pencil I found so many details on my face that I didn't know of. What a fun experience, and I will do self portrait more often.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Portrait - 1

This is my first portrait with charcoal. It was a great experience to drawing from real model, and I really enjoyed the learning process taught by the academy style. This charcoal drawing was done in 2 and half hours, not bad for the first try :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Figure - 2

I did this drawing quicker than the previous one. I'm thinking since these are the small drawings on the 11x14 paper and my goal is to make sure the proportion and gesture are right, but not focus on the details. So I think my strategy is right, I am more loose this time and I see some improvement from the previous drawing :)


As I studied figure drawing every week at Academy, I realized how much I need to improve my drawing skill. Here is the drawing I did at home based on the picture a model posted for me a while ago. I went back and forth several times to get the right proportion and gesture. I am very green in figure, but I will keep practicing until I feel comfortable to add figures in my landscape paintings.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I have not been proactively updating my blog or do any paintings for a few months because of the busy summer schedule. Now my son Daniel has moved to Seattle so it's time for me to catch up my art work now..... Well the news is - with the encouragement from my artist friend Qiang Huang, I am now enrolled in the AAU's MFA program and I am taking the figure drawing class once a week. Going back to school is quite exciting. I like the structured approach and intensive pace set by the school, and I am working very hard to hone my drawing skills. I will post some of my finished work later.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Distant field

There were several thoughts going through my mind when I painted this painting. Should I focus on painting the space, what is my focal point, how about the colors, etc. In the end, I chose to focus on creating the ample space from the viewers in this painting - layers of greens, distance away. This was an unique thought process and I enjoyed it very much.

CAC "Summer Escapes" Exhibition

My Painting "French Quarter" is currently exhibited at the "Summer Escapes" exhibition organized by California Art Club. This is a fantastic exhibition at the Altadena Town and Country Club in southern California, from May 18 to September 11. I am very excited to be juried into this show. If you happen to travel to LA this summer, please stop by Altadena and view the show.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Lady of the Camellias - 2

Here is the drawing from the same cast - the Lady of Camelias, but from different angle. I really enjoyed cast drawing, it's like playing treasure hunt, hunting for details with patience. It is really addictive to do cast drawing :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Lady of the Camellias

Recently I have been doing a lot of drawings. Like all the master artists said - drawing skill is the foundation of everything in art. I've learned so much from going back to draw - the size, the proportions, the angles, the perspectives, all rendered by a pencil on paper. It is the training to observe things with patience. I feel more comfortable to draw now than a few months ago and I will continue drawing until who knows when.................. Here I am sharing with you one of my cast drawings - The Lady of the Camellias. I enjoy drawing her very much, and hope you like it too.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Late Afternoon Light

I tried not to use the umber colors, instead I used blue and green directly for the dark. I hope this approach has resulted a cleaner painting.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I was trying to capture the atmosphere of the warm morning sun in this painting, and restrained the use of the umber color series for the dark.

Spring blossom

I've always liked to include some architectures in my painting, and I found this Victorian style house perfectly situated in the scene with a blossom apricot tree and lots of small bushes thrived around it. It's a rather ambitious attempt to include so much information in this painting but not lost the focus of what I wanted to express.... I think I learned a lot from painting this painting.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mustard Field

This is the typical California spring scenery with rolling hills and yellow mustard field -- after the rain, of course :) Although this kind of scenery has been captured by many artists and photographers, I still don't mind painting it as this is my memory of spring 2012.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring Field

I was experiencing the ways of handling edges and brush strokes to create the space. The green bushes have the harder edges and bigger brush strokes as they are closer to the viewers compare to the distant mountain and hill. This is a good practice and I will try to use it to my future painting.


I tried to capture the light effect in this painting - the bright bright sun shined on the horse and dry field. Also I tried to model the horse and the trailer but not over do it. I think it turned out fine :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hazy Morning

This is the painting emphasized on the atmosphere -- the hazy morning sun in a dry day. The light was so bright that nobody could stare directly to the scene. I really had fun painting this one as it was really a challenge to my sense of color. I would love to try more of this kind of painting in the future.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


This is another angle of the rolling hills (from the previous post). I especially like the tall Eucalyptus tree in the field. It created an interesting layers of subjects in this landscape painting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Looking up

In the middle of my paintout session last summer, this group of horseback riders stroll into my scene. That was one of the most magical moments for a plein air painter.

Monday, January 9, 2012

One Sunny Day - French Quarter

I did this painting at the end of December when I didn't have to worry about the work. There are so many details in this painting, like the flower pots, the chairs, windows, doors. It's quite different from the plein air painting I used to paint. Rendering those details needs a lot of patience. I also had a good practice of using the green colors. It's a good experience to try something new.