Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jaw surgery and all

I've had upper and lower jaw surgery. It will be 4 weeks by Turkey day. I still can't chew--have to be on a non-chew diet for six weeks. So no turkey for me, only mashed potatoes and mushy soup. It's hard--can you imagine not being able to eat? And I like crisp and crunchy food. Going through things like this makes one develop new appreciation for simple things that are taken for granted before--that the texture of a food really matters (when you put everything in a blender, it just doesn't taste like that thing anymore), and that being able to chew, eat and not think about it is wonderful. I'm reduced to browsing mouth-watering photos of gourmet food on the Internet. My hubby said why do you torture yourself? I said I can't help it. I foresee a prolonged period of binge eating when I can finally chew.

Going through a surgery is never fun, especially this jaw operation. The first week is terrible, the second week a little better, and then I get a little better each week. The progress is slow although noticeable. I have not resumed painting yet--just recuperating, reading, and doing whatever feels fun at the moment, that is, between my frequent small meals every two hours.

And before I log off--Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

McBride Gallery Show

I will be in a large group show in the McBride Gallery in Annapolis from October 25 to November 15. The Show is called Autumn Celebration of Art. Artist reception is on Sunday, October 25 from 1pm to 4pm. The link to the show is here: McBride Gallery Autumn Art Show.

I just dropped off my paintings to McBride yesterday. The gallery is a very nice one, a big house with seven rooms full of wonderful art, right on the top of Main street. I got kind of busy lately, taking care of personal business and getting ready for a medical procedure...I'll be down for a while but will pick up painting as soon as I can!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Third place winner!

Down to the water, 11 x 14, oil on linen

Went to the preview party/show opening of the Third annual Havre de Grace plein air painting competition this afternoon with hubby. The above painting won me the third place! The judge said he likes the simplicity of it. This is my first time to be in any plein air painting competitions, so I'm very happy about that.

Havre de Grace is really a nice small town to visit. It's quiet and charming. Got many old victorian houses and, of course, the water, bridges, boats, and boatyards. It's a very friendly town, and parking is easy and mostly free. It has a really nice atmosphere. And for us painters, lots of things to paint.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Havre de Grace Plein Air Competition

Been painting in Havre de Grace for the plein air competition for three days. Here are what I got:

Early morning boats, 14 x 11

Down to the water, 12 x 16

Havre de Grace morning, 16 x 20

Drydock sunset, 11 x 14

Red sail, 12 x 16

This is the first time I'm in a plein air competition. It's a very good experience! It's also good to see what other artists did with the same place, same subjects available. Everybody paints so differently! The show opens tomorrow.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I'm experimenting with a different palette and an approach. I had been using a cool and warm version of each primary color plus titanium white. These two 8 x 10 sketches are done with 5 colors: yellow ochre pale, cadmium red medium, burnt sienna, mars violet deep, and indigo, plus white. So I get new color combinations and a new look to the paintings. Also I want to see how much detail I can take out--how much I can simplify. I still see too much, and try to put in too much detail--I still try to paint too literally. But making a painting is a different thing. It's almost like the reality is just a departure point. I enjoyed using the five muted colors--usually my paintings are more colorful. But once in a while I want a change. The cadmium red medium wasn't supposed to be in this palette initially, but for that big red sofa I had to have it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

2 paintings today

Looking out, 12 x 16. Redid this one from a study and photo reference. The sky could be better though.

Busy serving, 9 x 12. I'm trying to get myself to use more paint--I mean really thick paint. This one is a start. It's the Mason's restaurant in Easton. I took the photo in July during the Plein Air Easton event.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More paintings

Two larger paintings I just did:

Navy and gray, 22 x 28 inches. Somehow the painting looks a little darker in the photo. But the image is what I got.

Teton reflections, 16 x 20.

And a small one:

Eastport boat, 9 x 12.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recent awards

I submitted this painting to the MAPAPA (Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association) member show--part of the Paint Annapolis event, and won 2nd place! Happy about that.

Also the above painting of Bermuda made me one of the 12 finalists in Raymar Art Contest for last month, August 2009. Pretty exciting to see my painting on their website, together with some great paintings done by some big name artists! The grand prize, $10,000, by the end of a year (August 2010), selected from 144 finalists (12 each month) is a big draw. Every artist, starving or non-starving, could use that kind of money! But being a finalist is already good in itself. So I'm happy.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Into the mountains

Here is a painting I did two days ago from a photo I took on the Teton trip.

Into the Mountains, 16 x 20, oil on linen. It's a Fredrix linen board. The linen surface feels really good to paint on!

Here is another small study.

Grazing horses, 9 x 12

Dueling brushes

Today is the Dueling Brushes event in Paint Annapolis 2009. We painted in the morning from 9 to 12 noon, and at noon we took the paintings to the city dock for judging and sale. Here is my painting:

Church Circle, 11 x 14

It's not sold but it's okay. Haiou won Third Place, pretty good!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Paint Annapolis

It's the Paint Annapolis week. We were going to paint there yesterday but it rained. Here is what I got today. It was cloudy in the morning, but it cleared up in the afternoon.

Save the bay. 9 x 12. This sailboat belongs to Save the Bay Foundation.

Cloudy morning. 12 x 9.

Sunny afternoon. 12 x 9.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Grand Teton National Park

Went to the Grand Teton National Park for a week, including two days visiting the Yellowstone National Park. Here is what I got back from the trip:

at dawn, oxbow bend

at dawn 2, oxbow bend

moulton barn, late afternoon

sunset at oxbow bend

sunset at oxbow bend 2

the Tetons, early morning

Mt. moran, early morning

string lake

the Tetons

firehole river, Yellowstone

All sketches are 9 x 12 inches.

Jackson Hole is a magical place! It's my first time to be there and the natural beauty of the landscape is a wonder to witness. For the first time in my life I saw moon so big and bright, orange in color, hanging low on the horizon--so eerie I could see the Indians riding horses down the hill slope and conducting their night worship rituals. And for the first time I saw stars so many and so clear, mesmerizing, awe-inspiring, and almost fear-inducing. The night sky was nothing like what we saw in the city, or even in the suburbs.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fells Point

Went to Fells Point this morning with Haiou.

Morning boats, 11 x 14.

The light changed so much in an hour. I was in the shade when I started, but in an hour the sun has moved and I was exposed. Time to stop. The morning sky over the water is really nice though--there is this pretty, almost peachy color near the horizon.

Fells Point rowhouses, 9 x 12. Very busy scene.

Also--night scene!

Full moon, 12 x 9

Went to Canton last night--first time to try to paint a night scene. The biggest difficulty is technical: how to light up the palette, canvas and the gamsol jar so I know what colors I'm mixing, what colors I'm putting on the canvas and how much gamsol I'm dipping into, and at the same time being able to see the scene. I have a headlamp--thought it would solve all the problems, but alas, when I put it on, the lamp was so bright--I could see the canvas and the palette alright, but when I looked up at the scene, my eyes did not have time to adjust, and everything turned so dark. Without the headlamp, I could see the scene, which was so calm and peaceful under the moonlight, but then I couldn't see the canvas and palette. I finally put the small headlamp in the right-hand corner of my palette, and managed to paint. Evening scenes are so different! It's like what I had learned from painting plein air in the day almost don't apply.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

On a farm

Carol's class. A farm on Piney Grove off Butler road.

Farm country, 11 x 14

country path, 9 x 12

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Stayed in Ocean City for 3 nights.

This is what we saw from our balcony on the bay. The morning light was so fresh.

Sunset. Sunsets are hard to paint but I tried. The painting got a little dirty on the trip.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2 studies today

In Carol's class. We were in Shawan Downs.

9 x 12

9 x 12

Sunday, August 23, 2009

2 paintings today

Bermuda sky, 9 x 12

Desert Cafe, 9 x 12

Both are painted from photos. Painting from photos is not necessarily an evil--but we do have to have plenty of plein air painting experiences to back it up. I took these photos myself and I can remember how it was there then...Sometimes a painting from photo references doesn't turn out well, but it's okay. It's just that being able to paint from photos--and make it not look like a photo--tremendously expands your ability as a painter. You know, sometimes it's not always feasible to paint outside from the real thing. Granted, inside the studio, you don't have that urgency, that adrenaline high you experience when you're painting outside, but you gain more ease and more time--which could work for or against you. So--it's almost better if you paint fast!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2 studies today

Went to Eastport. It's really Annapolis. Painted behind the Annapolis Maritime Museum.

After the rain, 11 x 14

Looking out, 12 x 16

My palette at the end of the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2 studies today

Did in Carol's class. I think it was Oakland Heights farm? The second one I did really fast because it was half an hour before class ended and again I was exposed in the sun--Hot!

Monday, August 17, 2009

4 studies today

Two in Thomas Point Park. Disappointed because the Thomas Point lighthouse is half a mile away on the water. Can't really see it and paint it.

Two in Quiet Waters Park. Painted these two in the afternoon in the sun. It was so hot it's unbelievable. And we had to hurry so much because the boat rental people did not want us to block the dock for their customers. So we had to paint very quick and then leave--but then really, we couldn't last that much longer anyway (about an hour). The heat was killing us!