Saturday, September 29, 2012
Friday, September 28, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
We have an interesting assignment for homework this week: Line over Ink Wash and Ink Wash over Line. Also we'll start to draw full-length costumed figure next week.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Originally I planned to go to La Belle this morning to paint its old courthouse which was what the locals called Spanish Revival. I drove by it a couple of years ago on my way to Orlando. Its architectural style was pretty impressive. At that time I only felt it had a whiff of Mediterranean flavor with its square clock tower but didn't know it was Spanish style. When I hit SR 80 (Palm Beach Blvd.), I noticed the old barn, which was plain but, together with the van, trailer, organge grove, etc., they made a harmonic variety of objects giving me a peaceful feeling in spite of the noise on the road. I had already passed the spot, so I made a U-turn, left my car on the road shoulder, and started to paint the barn. Before long, one of the owners of the house came out to see me paint. Mrs. Howard was very friendly and told me the story behind the barn. It was obviously not utilized these days, but long ago, her grandfather used the barn and the red shack next to it for chicken business.
For the 8 x11 piece, I spent only an hour and a half in addition to setup and cleaning toward the end of painting. As you may tell, I used the palette knives more often than usual and I found the use very effective. Hope you like it.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
The instructor required each of us make a three-tone soft pastel drawing of a figure "in environment". Usually I can do a single-tone drawing pretty quick. For myltiple tones, if possible I always try to avoid including black because it may kill the tone color if it doesn' t go with the color. Therefore, I ended up making a soft pastel painting instead of a drawing. As you can tell, I used quite a number of colors. Hope you like it.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves and wiser people so full of doubts."
Today I came across a very good article which shows sort of Chinese side of tolerance. I can never trust Google translating software to do the job. Maybe it works well in translating within the linguistically Germanic family or even between Germanic and Latin language families. However, I don't think technology has developed to such a sophisticated level as to be able to translate Chinese into English without causing errors which would make you laugh till you hold your sides. One of my friends once shared with me what he got from Google translation. Believe me, those errors are good raw material for late night talk show. So I took the time to translate the article. I include its original version, too. This is part of my bridging work.
Recently Hong Huang appeared and commented in the documentary film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.
Friday, September 14, 2012
This morning after I was done with Florence's protrait, I went to Alico Road to paint Highway Metro Extension Bridge. I planned to paint this scene a week ago when I saw it driving on Alico. I was impressed by the magnitude of the bridge size, especially it curves its way in the air over Alico. There was very little traffic on Alico. The cars and trucks under the bridge were the construction workers vehicles.
I exited Alico into a small winding road and circled around, inadverdently arriving at one end of the space under the bridge with some huge lifters and mobile bathrooms. I liked the contrast between the shaded gound under the bridge and the strong sunshine out in the open. Line and shape play an important role in its composition. I liked its balanc in value with the large messes of darkness. Hope you like it, too.
What do you see nurses? . . . .. . What do you see?
What are you thinking . . . . . When you’re looking at me?
A crabby old man . . . . . Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit . . . . . With faraway eyes?
When you say in a loud voice . . . . . ‘I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . . . . The things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . A sock or shoe?
With bathing and feeding . . . . . The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking? . . . . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . . . You’re not looking at me.
As I do at your bidding, . . . . . As I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . . . . . With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters . . . . . Who love one another.
Dreaming that soon now . . . . . A lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . . . My heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . . . That I promised to keep.
Who need me to guide . . . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . . . With ties that should last.
But my woman’s beside me . . . . . To see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . . My loved one and me.
I look at the future . . . . . Shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . . . Young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . . . And the love that I’ve known.
Tis jest to make old age. . . .. . Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles. . . . . Grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone. .. . . Where I once had a heart.
And now and again . . . . . My battered heart swells.
I remember the joys . . . . . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . Life over again.
And accept the stark fact . . . . That nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . . . Open and see.
Not a crabby old man . . . Look closer . . . See ME!!
It is a very inspirational story in spite of the confusion now floating online. I did a little research. There are different versions of the poem and story. As a matter of fact, the story is finctional and the poem was written by English writer Phyllis McCormack. Read the following:
researching attitudes to the poem 3 (Bornat, 2004) was a cutting from the Daily Mail
newspaper in which the son of Phyllis McCormack, whose name is often linked with
the poem as its discoverer, explained:
she was a nurse at Sunnyside Hospital in Montrose.
Originally entitled Look Closer Nurse, the poem was written for a small
magazine for Sunnyside only Phyllis was very shy and submitted her work
A copy of the magazine was lent to a patient at Ashludie Hospital, Dundee,
who copied it in her own handwriting and kept it in her bedside locker. When
she died, the copy was found and submitted to the Sunday Post newspaper,
attributed to the Ashludie patient.
Since my mother’s death in 1994 her work has travelled all over the world...
(Daily Mail, 12 March 1998).
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
This morning, I suddenly felt an urge to paint. Even though It's alomst 10 AM. I put the painting kit in the trunk and hit the road. I drove down Palm Beach Blvd. (SR 80). I made a right turn into a small lane named Sunset trail simply to try my luck. There was very little traffic. I passed a country gravel road which was blocked by a cow farm door. I was impressed by the gravel road, shaded by heavy foilage of oak trees from the September sunlight. Also, I saw a long fence that skirted along the road as far as my eye could reach. I liked the way the fence went a zigzag line following the topological surface of the ground. So I backed up my car and set up my easel on the roadside.
Whenever I saw fences, I always thought of Robert Frost's Mending Wall. I believe he was talking metaphorically about the prejudicial or even xenophobic wall in human minds:
...We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence...
Talking about walls, I think Chinese are well-known for their passion for walls. An English writer calls Beijing "a city of walls within wall." This obssession doesn't mean Chinese are very particular about privacy. Personally, I guess they are meant to be the line of demarcation between your jurisdiction and mine. In other words, if behind the walls I am torturing or even killing my slaves, servants, etc. that is within the sphere of my power. Maybe that's why today's Chinese government keeps accusing this country and the Western world of interfering their internal affairs when we protested against persecution of pro-democratic advocates like Liu Xiaopo and Ai Weiwei. Like the perspective of the farmer in the poem, Chinese government thinks it is your fault not to be a good neighbor. Humanitarianism is just a fashionable facade. Who's going to take it seriously? Deng Xiaoping killed so many students in Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. Did that stop Western businessmen from coming to invest in China or to exploit the cheap slave labor?
I still remember an experience more than 30 years ago when China began to open its door to the world and I was a junior faculty member at one of China's universities. Our university invited, for the first time, a group of college professors from different Western countries to teach. One American professor asked a Communist official on campus an interesting question: "Why do Chinese have so many walls? You have walls around every house, every school or university, every factory and government building." The official thought for a little while and then, in order to make an effort to show how fair and objective he was in discussing social issues, he replied, "We call our country a socialist nation, not a Communist one. On this socialist stage, there are still crimes. However, when our society enters the stage of Communism, there will be no classes in the society and there will be no crimes. By then, if you come to our country again, there will be no walls because there is no need for them."
Later when the professor saw me, he told me that he regretted that he forgot to respond to the official by saying that in America almost all houses, schools, government buildings, etc. have no walls even now and he would like to know how the official would respond.
Well, today, nearly 30 years since I became an American, I have noticed that more and more Americans began to have a passion for walls like the Chinese. Is it true?
Tuesday, September 11, 2012