April 18, 2014

Painting in Hunan

My painting trip to China has just come to an end. I ended up getting invited to paint in a small village in Hunan where the red army hid out fifty years ago! The area has very characteristic mountain shapes and has been turned into some kind of plein air painters retreat.
I found myself part of a group with 30 university instructors, their students, and several well known painters from Beijing. The group included two of China's most famous contemporary landscape painters Wang KeJu, and Chen HeXi.
One of the nice things about the place was that all the nice painting spots had special shelters built so the painters can shelter from the sun and rain! Now that's what I call an "artist friendly" place!

January 24, 2014

Beijing Street Vendor

I went out painting one night to do a nocturne and forgot my brushes, and so I had some fun with a knife and my fingers doing this abstract painting. It was actually based on the real scene: a street vendor selling some food on a Beijing street at night. Although abstract I followed all the general principles of design: contrast of texture, contrast of thick and thin paint, dark/light/gray, contrast of saturation, notan structure with dominant value, point/line/mass, shape distinction, amongst others. The values of the shapes were also accurate in comparison with the actual scene, even though the shapes were highly abstracted.
Beijing Street Vendor 6" x 8", oil on linen

This is the actual scene that inspired the above painting.

December 19, 2013

Golden light

I just love these autumn colors. The light is so low that the colors in the landscape are very rich during the two hours before sunset. It's great to get out painting again. 

The 2014 dates for my next workshop in Tuscany are now set. See: my Tuscany Workshop blog.

closeup detail showing brushwork

Olive groves

Olive groves above Tellaro. Tellaro is a beautiful little village aouth of the Cinque Terre region in Liguria, Italy.


View of Alpi Apuani mountains

This is view of Alpi Apuani mountains behind Carrara in northern Tuscany. Carrara is where Michaelangelo got his marble from for his sculptures. The painting was done about 2 hours before sunset. The town of Carrara is nestling in the valley below the mountains.

10" x 12" painting, oil on linen, mounted on gatoboard

This is my notan study for the painting.

Here is the photo of the original scene

December 13, 2013

Painting video

Here's a presentation video of some of my paintings I put together for the new Virtual Art Academy 2 website.

September 16, 2013

Weekend in Venice 28/29 September

I will be running a special two-day workshop in Venice on the 28th and 29th of September. The focus of the workshop will be on capturing the mood of the water and on developing interesting compositions. The motif for this workshop will be 'Santa Maria della Salute', one of the most beautiful churches in the world.  We will work on a project to capture the feeling of the Venetian lagoon, painting it from across St Mark's Basin, and explore the compositional possibilities offered by the beautiful setting for this church in order to further develop your compositional and color skills. As part of the workshop, we will study their paintings of JMW Turner and John Singer Sargent to see what can be learned from these great masters regarding composition.

Dates: September 28 and 29, 2013
Cost:  £495 (€595)
Cost includes: tuition
Cost does not include: accommodation, food, transport
Materials required: any media of your choice: drawing materials, watercolors, acrylics, oils, or pastels.
Location: We suggest you find accommodation in the Castello district of Venice, near the Bienalle gardens.
Register now to reserve your spot, by paying a non-refundable €50 deposit (with small processing fee).
We will limit the number of students to 10 in order to keep the group small and personal. Places will be reserved for the first 10 people to register.