Thursday, April 30, 2009

Italian Flavor

"Tuscan View" - oil on canvas, 30 x 24 in

Wouldn't it be nice to have a glass of wine looking down the vineyards of Tuscany? Or ...

How about a gondola ride in Venice?

"Venice-scape" - oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sometimes you just want to run.

"Freedom" - Watercolor, 20 x 30 in

Sometimes you just want to run.
Just run and keep on running.
And visualize yourself turning into one of those horses - free and wild - dashing on the vast meadows.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Still Life with a Tea Pot

Tea Pot and Flowers, oil on canvas, 24 x 18 in

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Still Life with a Toothbrush (Day 5)

Finally I painted the rest - the toothbrush and toothpaste (almost empty now). Here is the finished painting.

"Squeezed Out One More Time" - oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Still Life with a Toothbrush (Day 4)

This is where I left yesterday.

Today I painted the faucet and the sink plug. I struggled all day trying to create that silver, metallic look of the chrome. And here is the result.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Still Life with a Toothbrush (Day 3)

Here is yesterday's painting.

Today I painted the sink as well as shadows cast on it. Also I lightened up the wall little bit. It was quite a challenge to make the porcelain look like porcelain. I think I need to come back and add stronger highlights on it - too wet to do it now. Here is what I've got today.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Still Life with a Toothbrush (Day 2)

Here is the still life from yesterday.

Today I started painting local colors in oil. First I worked on the sink top and the wall around it. I think the underpainting helps keep warm feelings on the cold marble top. For the shadows on the sink top, I applied thin layers of oil making purple underpaint appear through them. Here is the result so far.

Someone asked me why I applied underpainting. I have two main reasons: a functional reason and a psychological one. Functionally it contributes to balance the color temperatures. I usually choose the underpainting color whose temperature is opposite to that of the local color to keep them in balance. Psychologically the underpainting helps me get the "feel" of the overall painting. When underpainted, it seems more manageable and less intimidating, especially for large paintings. Underpainting in acylic works better for me because I don't have patience to wait a week or so before I could start painting in oil.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Still Life with a Toothbrush (Day 1)

Here are models for this week's still life project - my toothbrush and an almost empty toothpaste sitting around my bathroom sink.

First, I sketched out on my 16 x 20 inch canvas with a china marker. I like using the china marker because it gives bold, clear lines and doesn't leave much powdery stuff unlike a charcoal.

Then I applied acrylic underpainting. I chose acrylic for this task because it dries fast allowing multiple layers in one day!

I continued to underpaint warm colors for the sink and the wall.

Then I started underpainting cool colors on the metal faucet, some spots on the toothbrush and the toothpaste.

Finally I added purplish blue on the shadows and some red lines around the objects. Here is the finished underpainting waiting for a "nice oil treatment", which will start mañana.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Still Life with Three Lemons and a Mug (Day 5)

Today I put final touches on my painting - highlights on the lemons and a little more details to create more realistic texture. Also, I adjusted colors on some books. And here is the finished painting.

"My Favorite Coffee Mug" - oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Still Life with Three Lemons and a Mug (Day 4)

This is fourth day on this painting. Here is yesterday's painting.

Today I painted more details on the books and little more shadings on the lemons. Also, I added reflections on the shelf and touched it up more. Here is what I've got so far.

I think I need one more day to finish up.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Still Life with Three Lemons and a Mug (Day 3)

Today is the third day that I'm working on this still life painting. Here are pictures from Day 1 and Day 2. Please see earlier posts for detail descriptions.

My model for the painting - three lemons and my favorite coffee mug

Day 1: Acrylic underpaint

Day 2: First oil layer of local colors

Today I painted more details on the lemons and the mug. And I started applying more colors to the books. I decided to keep their colors dark and forms more abstract so that my main objects would stand out. Here is the result. Tomorrow I'm going to spend more time on the books. Meanwhile, they are too wet, and I have to WAIT AGAIN!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Onyx and Sebastian

"Onyx and Sebastian" - watercolor, 13x16 in

The orange cat is Sebastian. He was a feral cat and didn't want to be tamed. Finally he went back to the wild.
The black one is Onyx. He is sweet and affectionate.

Still Life with Three Lemons and a Mug (Day 2)

Today is second day I'm working on this painting.
I started applying oil paints of local colors. I'm not using any medium other than the Eco-House (the non-toxic, odorless, eco-friendly solvent that I use in lieu of turpentine. It's made of orange peel.)
If you look close, you might be able to see the acrylic underpaint through the oil layers, which I intentionally left that way.
I still don't know what to do with books on the background, and decided to cover with ultramarine blue for now, which appears to be dark brown because of the cadmium red underpaint.

Now I have to wait until the surface gets dry enough, so I can paint more details. For me, this is the hardest part in oil painting - waiting - it really takes patience. (And I'm sure there are many out there agreeing with me.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Still Life with Three Lemons and a Mug (Day 1)

Today I'm starting on a new painting.
This time I'm experimenting a new approach, and it might turn out to be a different style. For the whole process of painting, I will follow my intuition. I'm little scared but also excited at the same time. Will see how it goes.
Here is my model - three lemons and my favorite coffee mug sitting on the front edge of my bookcase.

I sketched out the objects on my canvas and applied first layer of underpainting with acrylic. I chose to paint it with acrylic at this stage since it dries fast and will be ready for next layer. I picked the colors based on their temperatures (warm vs. cool).

Then I applied second layer of underpainting with same acrylic colors to make it more solid and be ready for oil.

I think this is a good time to take a break. The underpainting need to be thoroughly dry, and tomorrow I will start applying oil layers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Practice, Practice and more Practice

Ballerina - oil on canvas, 28x22 in

She is a ballet dancer.
It's early morning, and there is no one else in the studio - only her reflection on the mirror.
She is preparing herself to be on a center stage.
She knows that there is no shortcut to this.
Just practice, practice and more practice.
Sometimes she is frustrated, disappointed and discouraged.
Then she takes a deep breath. And stand on her toe tips again.
She knows that someday she will become the best ballerina.
Until then, she will practice and practice and ...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Grandpa's Dream

"Grandpa's Dream" - oil on canvas, 24x18 in

It's a nice, warm, lazy afternoon. Grandpa is staring at his grand daughter playing with waterlilies in the park. Next to him is his Golden Retriever enjoying the spring sunshine. I painted this scene inspired by a statue in the Laguna Beach area (see the photo below).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Let's go to Paris!

"Wet Afternoon in Paris" - watercolor, 15x19 in
What's more romantic than a rainy day in Paris? How about some flowers for your lover? In return, she/he might give you a kiss - yes, I mean French kiss.

"Seine River" - watercolor, 15x19 in
Have you walked along the Seine River in Paris? I have. Many times in my paintings. Would you like to walk with me?

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Soloist

She plays violin in front of a cafe. No one really pays attention to her. Sometimes she looks tired. Sometimes she seems a little resentful. But most of time she enjoys herself being in her own zone, I think. I don't know her name or where she lives. I never attempt to ask her any question because I'm afraid I might break the spell.