Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everybody!

As my Chinese origin, Christmas to me was all about young people getting together for a  perfect excuse to party and have fun. It was so different from here, that every store is closed, people is home with family, gifts under the tree... It's how Christmas is meant to be. 

My 5-year-old got so excited because she claimed she's the 1st one getting up in the morning so she has the privilege of opening every single box and hand out to who it's supposed to go. She got a lot of toys and painting supplies. And me, a full Roz box of Unison Pastels! An overwhelming 136 colors set, from my dear husband. 

The year 2015 is meant to be another creative year!

Today's painting is not done today. It was done at summer time this year. It has an odd composition and it got an “unfinished" touch. I just love it to be a little "undone" that it leaves the viewer much space to mentally fill up the missing part in their own way.

"Last Bite"       Pastel on Paper    12x16"

Experimenting with home-made surface for pastels

I've seen a lot of artist making their own support and I always want to make my own. I have a huge pile of Canson Mi-teintes paper that's enough to fill a store inventory. I got them in a clearance I believe it was 30 cents a piece. I was lucky to get them in such a great price but they also make me lazy to try other options.
In a matter of fact, the smooth size of the Canson suits my subject and technique pretty nicely. But sometimes I do want to get loose and play with textures. I finally put my ambition to work and made some pastel surface of my own. I mounted the same Canson paper with paper cement (link here). Once dried, I rolled Golden brand pastel ground on it. That's it! Simple!
I am a little scared of the rough surface. It seems to eat up pastels really fast and hard to get to details. Hey, but again, I am try the rough surface to avoid too much details, am I?
I did three 4x6" mini landscapes with it and I start to love it! It surely takes a lot of layers and it let layer underneath showing through in a beautiful way.
One of the painting went to a white elephant game at our neighbor's pre-Christmas party. People went to the tree and picked the biggest present. My little painting was laying under the tree till the last minute. Nobody would want a little flat gift. When it was opened as the last gift, everybody wowed! Now my gift was stolen and stolen. It became the most wanted gift in the party!

"Afternoon Outing"
Pastel on board, 4x6"

                          Pastel on Board, 4x6" 

"the Long Waiting"
Pastel on Board, 4x6"


First time pastel painter and her work.

That is, my daughter Angelina, 5. She has been working on her art right next to me for a while now. She plays with her crayons and color pencils for the most part, watercolors sometimes. 

Today she did her first attempt with pastel. She has been watching me working on pastel ever since she remembers things. She's such a good girl that follow our deciplines of only touch materials of our own. Today I cut my pastel support to the wrong size, so I offered her the scrap paper and a half-full box of my spare pastels.

And this is what she came up with: 

"Winter is Here"  6"x6" pastel on paper 
Angelina Xie, 5 

I just love it! I love the light purple she chose for the background, and the way she work lightly to let the color of the paper show through. I also like how she did the foliage. It's such a fearless and liberal way to suggest leaves instead of being stuck to details. And do you see the flying snow she made with a scraper?

I am so happy that she's like me, she gonna growing up with an art-loving heart. I am even happier that she's not like me, too detail-oriented but more expressive and liberal. 

I think I need to get her a complete pastel set for Christmas.

A new painting to welcome my 40th Birthday.

      I didn't realize I am officially a mid-aged woman until yesterday. Time surely flies!

      I've done a few square paintings by now. There is something about the square format, that is centered, united and tightly hold-together, that interest me to work on it again and again. Hopefully they will make a tiled-wall kind of visual appearance to give a intense impression.

"Still Life with Landscape Background"
12x12"  Pastel on Paper

Original Painting Available $299

Portraits made for Fallen Heroes Foundation

     It's my greatest honor for having been working for Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation since 2005.  These two portraits are for the "Unmatched", 2015 Annual Memorial Tribute, which will take place Sept.26th, 2015. The portraits will be a gift from the foundation to the family of the fallen heroes.  
     Thanks to my long time friend director Mike Mastroni for the trust and honor. And my great admiration goes to the young men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice to the nation. 

 Portrait of Marine Lcpl. Tylor O.Griffin 
pastel on paper, 11x14" 

Portrait of Pfc. Thomas Donavon
Pastel on paper, 11x14"

"Delicate Whisper"

      I've done this identical painting before. It was sold at Ridgewater Art Festival in Chicago this September. It was one of those piece that I miss so much because I don't have digital files of them. 
      I was surely very happy with the out-come and got too excited that I forgot to take a picture before my husband did his fantastic framing job for it.
     Once the framing is done, it is impossible to take a picture of it because reflection of the glass. Once it is sold, it becomes my fate that I miss it too hard to stop thinking about repaint it. 
     So here it comes, the new edition of the old "Delicate Whisper".

"Delicate Whisper"  
pastel on paper   12x12"  2014

Original Painting Available  $299

details of strokes

The year 2014 has been an incredibly  busy year. It's my first year in the art show business and I've learned a lot. 

My works also benefit from exposure to other artists, art lovers and the general public. I am astonished how I am an actual social person. I love talking to people from all over the place!
Winter days are all about being cozy and producing more works for the next year!

This piece is done yesterday. I love the simplicity of these plums. I decided capture the shapes and value with mostly charcoal. I found the charcoal black is sometimes more intense than pastel black, and charcoal actually gets along with pastels so well. Playful colors are then added to the most interesting area where light and shadow conflicts. 

"Plums", 12x12" Pastel on Paper

Original painting and Giclee prints available

Welcome to my new work. Moody as I always tried to achieve, I tried to get loose at the background and secondary objects. It is the light and shadow, and the forms and shapes they created, that interested me from the beginning of the painting, and throughout the whole process. 

"Moon Beam"
Pastel on paper, 13x19"

A Little bit out of my comfort zoom.

As I often define myself as a realistic painter, I sometimes feel too much tension in my details. I want that loose and effortless feel, ideally, comes together with time-consuming details. 

I like the freshness and moody application of colors on the first few layers. They seem to varnish after hours, or days of detailed work. So this time I tried to work fast and not to be too tied up with too much details. 

It looks unfinished, though I will leave it as is. It could be a nice approach to drag me out of craftsmanship and look at other lovely aspects as forms, shapes, and color.

"Cherry Blossom"
 8"x12" pastel

A Little story behind the Blue & White Porcelain paintings.

This is a blog I wrote about two years ago. I copy and paste it there so I can continue document this story.

After moving into our new home in IN from CT, we practically had nothing in the empty space, even just a chair to sit. We've been world travelers. Months staying here and another half a year staying there. So it wasn't been a major issue for us to pretty up the house in a matter of a few  weeks, or, years.

But gradually we've been making progress. Firstly, my husband decided the new carpet the previous owners put just for the sale, was not ideal for a family like us, especially with a crawling baby. So he managed to put down nice-looking bamboo flooring on the 1st floor, all by himself! Not to mention that we had a major water-leak last year that the bamboo floor had to be destroyed to reach that leaking pipe under the ground! Thus he did it again, bamboo floor came back!

The picture was taken when we put down the floor the first time. Angie had just managed crawling!

Last year my dear husband decided on getting these navy blue coaches. I am not crazy about the color blue, especially when it comes to home deco. But since this is his handsfull times of choosing a home item, I will let them in. LoL. 

So it's my job to work out a theme around these blue coaches. This is how it looks now a days. 

That Christmas tree seems being there forever. We left the house after New Year 2011 and thus it has being there ever since then! ^0^

The mirror on the mantle is from an old dresser I found at goodwill. I refinished it and it looks like it is meant to be there!  I painted two sides of the walls a pale blue-ish gray, while leaving the window side white. This wall is leading to the dining room and kitchen where the blue color theme wouldn't be continued. So I decided to coordinate the blue with a blue & white curtain. Seems like it works.

Then I feel it looks kinda cold during winter time, so I added a little pop of red. The 3 tiny paintings are my works from about 10 years ago. Abstract botanical. I didn't go that direction for long so now it is a piece of history of me. 

Now it comes the real story. My Blue & white Porcelain paintings.

There is a popular show in China that people brought their collections of acient good to the expert to evaluate. It always comes out that a single tea pot cost millions of RMB. It's not their market value that desires me, but the shapes,  patterns, and the colors that our ancestors had created. And I felt our living room is the perfect enviroment to show my appreciation.

I am by no means have access to any of those valuable pieces. All the images I work from are from the internet. Thanks to modern technology!

So this is the first piece I did.

It turned out nothing like what I had in mind. I want it something
 calm, quite and timeless that's showing through these truly stunning shapes and patterns, while this one I did is just the opposite. I hadn't been working on still life for years after my "portrait period".  It surprised me that I didn't even catch such a simple shape of a bowl. The left and right don't go together.  I am also not satisfied with the strokes and patterns as well, they are too busy and "noisy", yelling for attention on a bowl with hundred of years of history? No no...

It's been another half a year until I started my 2nd Blue & White Porcelain paintings. This time around I  sat down with a lot patience and allowed me a lot of time ( 2 whole days for a 8"x10"). It is a lot better from the last one that it started to show a little "atmosphere".  But it's too time-consuming to work through the endless patterns and I felt like I was doing needle work. No this is not what makes my an artist. ^0^ I also want to show more depth and perspective. The object looks too flat from the front to the back to my liking.

Ok, here comes the 3rd one. I feel a little more in control when it come to where to show and where to hide, where to be solid and where blur. I started to feel the fun!

I become more and more appreciated of the beautiful patterns our ancestors made. They are like being poured into the ceramic, flawlessly and smoothly. Anytime I tried to be lazy and not watching the original carefully and tried to rely on my own imagination and creativity, I failed. It looked like the flow has been stuck! It's that dramatic! So here is the one after the bowl:

And the one next:

Now I really enjoy working on these time-less pieces! These patterns opens a window for me to appreciate the negative image. It's often said that a negative image is vital to a good painting. But one have to really work something out to understand. It's that important!

Timewise, I am paint more faster than before. Once I figure out a way to deal with the patterns, it will "attach" rather than being obstacles. This following piece, I finished it in about 2 hours, from 12pm-2pm today.

Initially I decided to work on the series to match our living-room deco. I will update a picture after I putting them on the wall! But after doing a few piece, I feel that I felt in love with these pots and bottles. I fell I should produce more!

Last Bite

Happy Thanksgiving!
This piece is all about simplicity.
Blue and White porcelains as I love, I've done a whole series of them which match my living room deco. Or should I say, that I arrange my living around those pieces?
I will continue use blue and white porcelains as a major subject in my still life paintings. So much fun working out those pattern and shades!

 "Last Bite"    pastel on paper,  11"x14"   $350

Frame size: 16"x20"

Long Time No See!

It's been two years since my last post and I've finally decided to be dedicated to blogging again.
One post a day? Maybe one a week? Anyway, I would be a wonderful way to document my works and hopefully build a virtual library as I progress.

Here please welcome "Orange fever", my attempt of mixing regular still life with abstract patterns.

12"x 16", done on Canson Mi-tient pastel paper, 16" x 20" framed.

Available for purchase. $449 
Prints start from $20

Here is how it look when framed.