Monday, June 30, 2014

En Plein Air: Morning Sun (Church-in-the-Gardens, Forest Hills, NY. Oil 12 x 9)

I went to the community congregational church again. It was back to the sun in the morning. The sun light had subtle effect on everything, The reflected light complicated the shaded side and even influenced the edges of the building in the sun. It was a total experiment to me. As a matter of fact, it was a tug of war between my rational understanding and my eyes which automatically tried to adapt to the darkness. When I finished painting and got home, I didn't think either of them won. Still fresh from what I learned from Bato Dugarzhapov, I quickly redo the painting in an hour. I learned to mainly use palette knife and was thrilled by the effect I noticed. The second time, since I didn't have the scene in front of my eyes, I tried to modify based on my rational interpretation. I am sure you can tell which one I did on spot and which one I did at home.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sketches on Subway and Introduction to a Contemporary Russian Impressionist Bato Dubarzhapov

I went to South St. Seaport Latin American music concert this afternoon. On my way to and back from there I grabbed a few sketches. Here are three of them.

The following are a few links related the the young contemporary Russian Impressionist Bato Dubarzhapov. To me, his paintings have subverted the traditional way of interpreting artistic simplification. He made me rethink how to approach plein air painting. You may trace his roots to French Impressionism but obviously there is something he may call his own creativity. He is from Siberia and, judging by the video clip, he is evidently a Russian minority. Maybe he has Mongolian or Tartan background.

En Plein Air: Entrance to Forest Park (Oil 9 x 12)

I tried to express the effect of morning sunlight on the leaves.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

En Plein Air: Big-Roof Country Villa Style House (Oil 9 x 12)

This morning I went to Forest Hills Gardens to paint. I like those big-roof old country villa houses. The house was on Greenway North. It is now on the market for sale. The asking price is $ 2,100,000. I made the picture in case some of you, my friends, are interested in buying.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Alla Prima: Enjoying the Sunshine (Oil 9 x 12)

When I was about to go out to paint this morning, it began to sprinkle. To be safe, I stayed home. So, from my morgue, I found a picture I took the other day at Central Park of a guy sun bathing on grass. I used the picture to practice color and value relationships because I felt if I was able to accurately put a color on canvas in its right value for the first time, it would not only make my stroke work more natural and beautiful but also greatly speed up the whole process of painting. Only for that purpose, I would practice at studio with photos as a vehicle.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

En Plein Air: The Flower Vendor on Street Corner (Oil 12 x 9)

Today it was the hottest day so far in Nw York this year. The highest was 87 degrees. My friends in Florida would be happy to have this temperature for summer. That is why when some nice people stopped to ask me whether I felt hot standing in the sun, I always responded with a smile, "I am from Florida. And it isn't bad at all compared with the hottest days there." In spite of that, it was extremely windy. I set up at the other corner of Ascan St. When the wind blew around the corner, I had to hold even the small porchade easel to prevent it from being blown off the ground. What made me feel embarrassed was that the wind somehow unrolled the paper towel from the portable rack and the paper stream flew and flapped in the wind like an invisible person doing ribbon dance. Eventually it broke in the air and wrapped itself around the tree trunk ten yards behind me. Warm-hearted people helped go and collect the paper towels and gave them back to me. I had to thrust the paper into my backpack. The wind also blew brushes off my portable tool box attached to the tripod. Fortunately they didn't dirty my clothes this time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Plein Air Portrait of Tai Chi Master Zhang Haoshen and Sketches of Loco

Two days ago when I walked by the street park on Queens Blvd., Tai Chi Master Zhang Haoshen asked me if I could make a portrait for him, so today I took my kit with me and went to the park again. After he was finished with his Tai Chi class, Zhang sat for me for two hours. I knew I was pressed for time because we didn't start till after 10 AM. Fortunately, I was done by noon.

Oil 20 x 16

It happened that Loco, a regular Armenian Greek park goer whom I painted an oil sketch last time, was sitting nearby. While I was waiting for Master Zhang, I did two sketches of Loco who was fumbling with books or CDs from the bag he always carried with him anywhere he went. 

Sometimes, I would like to do in drawing like German artist Adolph Menzel did by including a few similar postures of the same figure in the same page. That gives you the freedom to restart a new pose if the subject suddenly moved around.

During the time I was painting Master Zhang, Loco came over to chat with me. he said he wanted to give me a book on an artist. After that he suggested to me, "Hey, we can go to the Station together to make some money. How's that?" I simply smiled to him without saying anything, knowing the Spanish meaning of his name.

Monday, June 16, 2014

En Plein Air: Entrance to the Church-in-the-Gardens, Forest Hills, NY

It was a sun-shiny day. I went to the intersection of Greenway Road and Ascan St.  In the street corner stood the age-old church. With the bright sunshine and thick foliage of the trees in the area, it was perfect to study the effect of sunlight. I set up across the street of Ascan and did this painting.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sketches: Sun Bathers at McDonald Park

It was a great Father's Day. The weather was perfect. You needed a jacket in the morning unless sitting in the sun. I made these sketches at the street park.

Lonesome Sun Bather

Be a Good Gentleman -- Don't Advise, Please

Nice Chat

Weight-Watch Sun Bathing

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Plein-Air Painting and Sketches

Yesterday in Forest Hills Gardens I noticed a uniquely beautiful mansion, which, according to some residents in the area, has been used three times as a setting for movies. It has some delicate and interesting features that indicate the architect's thoughtfulness in designing. It was built with a kind of yellow stone with a circular section, possibly for the staircase. It also has a waffle-cone-like dome on its top. The roof , unlike most neighbors, uses a kind of tiles like fish scales in different color. Anyway, I was fascinated by the building and decided to paint it this morning.

When I started to compose the painting, I realized I made a mistake by using too small a canvas paper. By proportion, I was unable to express all the interesting features, so I simply did the painting as an experiment.

In the afternoon I went to Queens Library for a Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert. the band's name was Matuto. They played Brazilian folk music. They called themselves the Brazilian Bluegrass. One of the songs they played was titled Horse Eat Corn, the melody of which reminded me of Turkeys in the Hay. The music was beautiful. I bought one of their CDs. I made three sketches of the front row performers. Honestly, I like my subway sketches better. As I always say, if I have too much time on hand, I am in trouble.

Rob Curto

Clay Ross

Mazz Swift

On my way to and back from the library, I also made some sketches

A South Asian Woman. (Not sure if she is Indian or Pakistan)

Eating on Subway

An Old Passenger

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sketches: Elderly People at DeLury Park and Passengers on Subway

This afternoon I went to Downtown Manhattan to see my old friend Karl. Later we took a walk to the street-corner park named DeLury in his neighborhood near South Port. There were quite a few senior citizens sitting and chatting there in the park. The following are a number of sketches I made at DeLury Park and on subway.

Passenger on Subway

Ladies Chatting

Gentlemen Relaxed

Passenger on Subway

Working on IPad

Buddhist Monk on Subway

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sketches: Portsmouth Harbor and New York Subway

I was just back from a trip to New England, mainly to attend my granddaughter's graduation. we put up at Portsmouth. I got up early and went to the Piscataqua River nearby. I did one sketch only. After we were back from the trip, we needed to do grocery shopping. I made the other two sketches on subway.

Portsmouth Harbor

Reading on Subway

A Young Skinny Girl on Subway

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

En Plein Air: Stone Steps to the Terrace (Oil, 9 x 12)

When I was walking on Greenway Road in Forest Hills Gardens yesterday on my way to have a hair-cut, I noticed the century-old oaks and sycamores on road sides had so thick a foliage that they made shaded road very dark. Also, the shaded and lighted areas made such a striking contrast that invited me to express it with my paint. However, it turned cloudy today. Even though the scene was not so strong in terms of tonal contrast, I tried to paint it anyway. I may paint it again in a sun-shiny day to see the difference. The small tree in the foreground happened to be neither oak or sycamore. I don't know what kind of tree it is, sort of like a birch but not exactly. I included it in the painting in order to enrich a little and also to break the rigid straight line of the walk.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Went shopping this afternoon and these are sketches I did on subway.