Wednesday, December 30, 2015

En Plein Air: Someone's Drive (Oil, 12 x 9)

The sky was leaden with overcast today, but it was not very cold. I decided to paint in the afternoon. I didn't go very far, just in the neighborhood. I saw a house surrounded with pine trees. The owner seemed to use them as a fence for privacy from his/her neighbors. Good fence makes good neighbors I guess as Robert Frost says.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tired Santa

On my way to the grocery store to get some milk this afternoon, I came across this tired Santa who made me laugh. So I took this picture.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

En Plein Air: Puritan Ave. (Oil, 12 x 9)

I didn't go out to paint yesterday because it rained the whole day. Today I was thinking of going out but it intermittently sprinkled again in the morning. After lunch I told myself that I needed to take a chance, so I pulled my kit across the street. I didn't go far before I noticed two houses on hillside. They were very different in style. I set up on the sidewalk not far from the corner of Shorthill Rd. The drizzle began to fall shortly, but like in the morning, it was on and off. My sweater was not wet through. I simply ignored it even though my painting was covered with raindrops and there was water in my paintbox and easel. the situation only made me rush. The whole thing took not quite an hour and a half.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sketch: Four Bald-Headed Noisy Poker Players at the Library Reading Area

This afternoon I believe I could manage the walk to and from the local library with my sore legs, so I went there and checked out some new books. To my surprise, the chess and poker players, whom the library staff had kicked out of the reading area because people complained about the noise they made, were back in the reading area again. They played their games as they did before and were as rowdy, too. They were all Russian-speaking, newly immigrated from former republics of the Soviet Union. When I was done with my checkout, I did a quick sketch of the four of them at a table next to me.

Monday, December 21, 2015

En Plein Air: An Overcast Wintry Afternoon (Oil, 12 x 9)

Officially it was the first day of winter. It happened to be pretty cloudy. I went, again, this afternoon to the spot where I painted the sunny Burns St. yesterday. However, I looked at a right angle of Burns St. today, down Ascan Ave. from the street corner, with the community congregational Church-in-the Gardens in the background.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

En Plein Air: Almost Overshadowed (Oil, 9 x 12)

It was freezing cold this morning. The temperature came down to around 30+ F. Too cold to paint outside. I was deciding whether or where I should go today when out of the window I saw my neighbors' houses across from us were half shadowed by the buildings on our side. I was so impressed by the contrast in value that I wanted to paint it. So I set up by the window and started working on it. Well, even though it was done indoors, I still considered it a plein-air painting.

Friday, December 18, 2015

En Plein Air: The Empty Pedestal on Queens Blvd (Oil, 9 x 12)

It was raining the whole day yesterday, so I just stayed home and didn't go out to paint. When I woke up this morning, I noticed the ground was still wet but the rain had stopped. The sky was overcast. I could see a grayish yellow line over the horizon. Traditionally, we believe it is a sign that heralds snowfalls. Anyway, the weather didn't look good and the temperature had come down quite a bit, to around 40 F.

I pulled my kit all the way to Queens Blvd. It was much windier there. I saw the pedestal standing across the street against the sky over the Grand Central Parkway. There used to be a beautiful statue on top of the pedestal. I saw it several years ago. I had no idea why it had been removed and left behind an empty pedestal for so long. I could not afford the time to day dream, so I set up on the safety island in the middle of the road and began to paint. In a half hour I felt some rain droplets on my arms and it started sprinkling. Soon it stopped. Before I could pat my back to tell myself how lucky I was, it began to rain again. This time it would not stop. I had to pack up my stuff and hit the road. Fortunately it was not very far from home. I was not soaking wet when I got home.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

En Plein Air: A Busy Corner (Oil, 9 x 12)

Yesterday when I saw Queens Blvd. in the setting sun, I told myself that I must paint it. So I waited till 2 PM today before I left home for Queens Blvd. It was really a busy corner where Queens Blvd. and Kew Gardens Rd. forked in different directions. Besides Union Turnpike happened to cut across Queens Blvd, not quite a hundred yards away. You could feel the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. This is really an authentic sketch which took only an hour and ten minutes. I set up behind a huge plant pot in front of the federal building, that is why the building doormen didn't see me till an hour later. When he saw me, he came over and told me that he would be in trouble with the building security if he let me stay there. I said I understood what he said and asked him for ten more minutes to wrap up. I like the sketch myself. I don't know why but all my good works are always completed in a time-pressing situation.

Monday, December 14, 2015

En Plein Air: A Murky Day (Oil, 9 x 12)

It was a murky day this morning. Visibility was not good and everything looked blurred in fog. When I walked out of the building, my face felt the moisture of the misty air. In the middle of painting at Forest Hills Gardens, a thin drizzle began to fall. Fortunately it was not heavy.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

En Plein Air: Forest Hills Gardens (Oil, 9 x 12)

Forest Hills Gardens is an affluent neighborhood in this area, where you may find a great number of old stylish million-dollar houses. It used to be an exclusive neighborhood. An old Jewish lady once told me that according to her parents, the neighborhood would not allow Jewish families to move into it no matter how wealthy they were when she was a child. Things have changed greatly ever since.

Friday, December 11, 2015

En Plein Air: Hilly Street (Grenfell St. Queens, Oil 12 x 9)

I am pretty lucky recently. The temperature this week has been hovering around 60 F and I don't feel cold wearing my vinyl gloves only while painting outside. I didn't think much of what to paint this morning. After I dropped something in the mailbox on Grenfell St., I simply walked down toward Lefferts Blvd. and the street began to dip. As I came to the intersection of 82 Ave. it went up steeply instead. I just stopped there and set up to paint the street.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

En Plein Air: Before Christmas (Oil, 12 x 9)

It was cloudy today. I pulled my kit down Greenway North in Forest Hills Gardens when I noticed a red car at the end of the line of parked cars along a narrow side street. At the same time, something else caught my eyes. The patches of green grass on the sidewalk, the light-colored sycamore trees against the red-brownish bare boughs, yellow leaves. etc., all reminded me that Christmas was around the corner. I immediately stopped and set up on the street corner to paint the scene.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

En Plein Air: A Crispy Morning in Late Fall (Oil, 9 x 12)

I finished painting just a minute ago at the Overlook Point of Forest Park. The whole process went pretty smooth.

Monday, December 7, 2015

En Plein Air: Deciding (oil, 12 x 9)

I didn't dare to go too far as sciatica constantly reminded me of its need of my attention with the numbness and tingling in the left leg with each step I took. Therefore, I simply walked a minute or two along the sidewalk till I came to the spot I picked a few days ago by the park near Hampton Court Apartment building. I felt the view was a typical late fall scenery with its seasonal colors.

Monday, November 30, 2015

En Plein Air: A Bend in Union Turnpike (Oil, 9 x 12)

Due to my sciatica, I am unable to walk far without feeling pain. It was kind of warming up in temperature this afternoon, in upper 40s. Therefore, I limped about 10 minutes and stopped at a curve of the Union Turnpike. The sketch took two hours. Even with my long johns on, I still felt numb in legs but not too bad.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

En Plein Air: Scientific Christian Church (Oil, 12 x 9)

It was the first time since my sciatica flared up to go out to paint this morning. I still felt numb and tingling in my left leg, all the way down to the toes, but I could not stay home anymore. So I simply walked across the street to the Forest Hills Gardens. It was the third time that I painted this church, which has been out of "business" for quite sometime and its property has been on the market ever since. Maybe the location is not right for this kind of church. I don't know.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Walking across the street is the only distance I could handle, so this afternoon, I walked to the park playground to make some sketches.

Chess Players

Watching Kids Playing



Monday, November 16, 2015

Drawings at the Park

I simply could not sit home and do nothing, so I limped to the park and did some drawings this afternoon. The following are some of them.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sick Leave

I got piriformis syndrome and my sciatica has flared up. I have to take a break.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

20-Minute Oil Sketch: Between two Showers (9 x 12)

The day before, I went to the River Haven Farm. Right after I set up, it began to rain. When the sky cleared up, I finally got down to paint, but only for twenty minutes. It was really an interesting experience. Because as the second shower was moving in my direction, I first heard from behind the splashing noise the rain made on the Carloosahatchee River. I turned around and saw something I never witnessed before. The river surface was clearly divided into two parts. The farther side of the river was like boiling water full of bubbles while the water around me was still clam without even a ripple. I knew my time was up and lost no time packing things into the trunk of my car.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

En Plein Air: Polly Dorisa from Mississippi (Oil, 12 x 9)

I went to Fort Myers Beach this morning and meant to collect material for one of my formal studies, but didn't expect that it happened to be the last day of FMBAA's Paint the Beach activity. There were artists painting everywhere on the Time Square, young and old, male and female. I didn't want to confuse people and cause inconvenience, so I drove to Main Street and paint the shrimp boats from the ramp. The shrimp boat's name is Polly Dorisa.

The following are some of the artists working for the "Quick Draw" competition around the Time Square: