Thursday, June 30, 2016

En Plein Air: Mother, Child, and Dog (Oil, 9 x 12)

It was pretty cool this morning. I pulled my kit to the Forest Park. There was a corner in the park where dog lovers gather together on a daily basis. They were pretty much acquainted with each other, so they would usually stand there and have a casual chat while letting their dogs play and be friends with each other, too. When I arrived there, someone from the group hollered to me friendly, "Hey, you are back! Welcome back." I responded appreciatively with a smile even though I didn't know her name. I remembered I painted them last summer and they might know I was a snowbird. So I told myself why not paint them.

When I opened my brush box, "Holy shit!" There were only a few brushes in it. All my favorite brushes were not there. Now I recalled that my son and his wife came to see us and I forgot to wash the brushes before I went to bed. They were still soaked in the soapy water at home. With only a few brushes, I decided to paint a group of figures using the dog lovers as my subjects. By the time, I finished processing the background with paper towel, they moved out of the shade and came into the sun. That totally changed my plan because I wanted to paint them like silhouettes against a bright background. Fortunately, a mother with her baby in a stroller and a dog sat nearby on a bench. I switched to paint them instead. It took about 45 minutes and I liked the effect. Gosh, in art, less is more again! I think among all the paintings I have done, the ones I like best are often those which I did either in a situation of being pressed for time or something unexpected happened. Strange, isn't it?

In the afternoon, I needed to check in and out books, so I went to the Forest Hills Public Library. After I was done with checking out books, I grabbed two sketches at the reading area.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

En Plein Air: Jamaica Avenue Under the Metro Subway (Oil, 9 x 12)

The scene is the intersection of Jamaica Ave. and 111 St. Richmond Hill. Right over the spot where I stood doing this painting was the Subway Station of 111 St. Every few minutes, a train would be thundering past over my head and making the steel railroad structure rumble and rattle with it. I even felt the vibration of the air under it. The painting took longer than I expected because of the various trivial parts that comprised the scene. It was not an affluent area and the streets could be cleaner. I remembered I was commissioned last year to paint the office of a charity organization which was located not far from the place.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

En Plein Air: Merging (Oil, 12 x 9)

I meant to paint another Catholic church in Richmond Hill this morning. Somehow there was a problem with Bus Q37. I waited for quite a long time at the stop on 80th Rd. There was no time schedule for the bus on the pole. It was the case, sometimes, so I didn't give it much thought. However, I saw at least three Q37 buses pass by without stopping and there was no passengers on any of them. I didn't want to waitany longer or try to figure out what went wrong. Instead, I pulled my kit to the Forest Park. I went onto the top of the Overlook Point and saw Forest Park Dr. and Union Turnpike down below, even though they were not on the same level. I didn't want to waste more time searching for subjects and decided just to paint the view.

Monday, June 27, 2016

En Plein Air: Church of Holly Child Jesus Palish (Oil, 12 x 9)

It is a Roman Catholic church located at the street corner of 86th Ave. and 111 St. Richmond Hill, NY.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

En Plein Air: Central Synagogue on Lexington Blvd. (oil, 12 x 9)

Central Synagogue was built in 1872 in the Moorish Revival architectural style, consciously copying Budapest’s Dohany Street Synagogue. I went there this morning when there was little traffic. On the subway to and back from there, I also did some sketches.

Friday, June 24, 2016

En Plein Air: Municipal Hall in Downtown Manhattan (Oil, 12 x 9)

This afternoon, I went to see my friend Karl in downtown Manhattan. Karl lives on 27th floor of a high-rise building by the Brooklyn Bridge. As I had told him before, I wanted to paint Manhattan from his balcony. It took around an hour and a half between 4 and 6 PM. Mainly I was inspired by British artist Andrew Gifford. Anyway, it was a good experiment.

On my way there, I drew some sketches on subway as usual. Unfortunately, after three sketches, my pen was out of ink, so there was no more drawing for the rest of ride or on my way home.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

En Plein Air: Red Vehicle (Oil, 12 x 9)

The house is on Norden Rd, at Forest Hills Gardens. I was first impressed by the English villa style house hidden in the dark woods. Then I noticed the red car  which formed a reddish color scheme together with the house roof and flowers. In reality, the car was out of my picture. I simply moved it backward a little.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

En Plein Air: Tommy's Food Truck (Oil, 9 x 12)

Early this morning I was pulling my kit and walked down Queens Blvd, searching for subjects to paint when I saw a food truck parked on roadside near the entrance to the Borough Court House. I went up to him and asked how long he would stay there. The vendor told me that he would not leave till after 1 PM. Therefore, I set up under a big tree to paint him. His name was Tommy and he told me that he had been selling food at the spot for 38 years. No wonder everyone passing by knew his name. Besides, he got an advertisement board on the nose of his truck, which promoted not food but, surprisingly, legal help. It said "Criminal Cases: "

I got some shade from the big tree all right. However, I didn't expect there were all kinds of bugs there, especially ants and tiny spiders. I felt they came to my neck and under my shirt. Then they crawl on my legs. Sometimes, I had to scratch but forgot how dirty my hands were. I ended up having my legs looking like native American totem poles. When I got home, I noticed there was paint even on my face.

The spot also made out of me an information desk. I don't remember how many people stopped by asking me where the court house was. Once while I was using the thinnest brush and carefully drawing an exquisite line, an Indian or Pakistani woman leaned over and asked me in one breath three consecutive times: "Where is the court house, sir? Wheres... Where...?" I really wanted to yell aloud, "For God's sake, can you wait?" but I didn't. For one thing, I didn't want my body to move, even a bit. On the other hand, I guess she must be in a hurry or even have lost her head for the legal case she was involved in. What an experience!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

En Plein Air: Roadside Tree (Oil, 12 x 9)

I went to the Forest Park this morning. Painting the tree was for the purpose of practice.

Monday, June 20, 2016

En Plein Air: AirTrain to JFK (Oil, 12 x 9)

I did some chores in the morning so right after lunch, I pulled my kit and walked toward Queens Blvd. Like many other times, I didn't know where to go and what to paint. By the time I came to Caffe Bene and saw its open-air deck, I remembered that was the place where, some time ago, David, Ariel and I sat and sketched the people standing in front of us waiting for Bus Q60. Impulsively, I got a crazy idea. I told myself, why not simply hop on the bus and let it take me to wherever it would, just for a change? 

The bus was headed for Jamaica Center. I knew it was not an affluent area. So what? I am not a royal family court artist. I'd like to mingle with down-to-earth people and depict their life. I sat on the bus with eyes searching out of the window for interesting things to paint so that I had sufficient time to get off the bus. When the bus turned right onto Sutphin Ave. from Jamaica Blvd., the street got really busy with lots of people on the sidewalk. I hopped off the bus and it happened to be the AirTrain Station to JFK.  I set up on a street corner of the station. During the process of painting, I had to move and make room for the window cleaner to wash the glass wall. In spite of the crowd, overall, it went smoothly.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

En Plein Air: Forest Hills Gardens in Early Morning Sun (Oil, 9 x 12)

This morning when I was pulling my kit along Markwood Rd in Forest hills Gardens, not knowing where or what to paint, something caught my eyes from the right-hand side across the "Valley", which was in fact a big dip in the land between Markwood Rd and Deepdene Rd. I always liked to call it the Valley because it was way below the road surface level and people liked to play with their children or dogs there. And that something was the first sun ray on the "meadow" in contrast to the dark background. I felt a strong urge to express it. Therefore, I sat down and set up to paint it.

There was a concert this afternoon at Forest Hills Library. The title of the concert was Jazz Meets Opera with Jazz pianist Lafayette Harris Jr. and soprano Karen Parks performing together. It was great. I made a couple of sketches with one of a fan in wheelchair. Above are three of them.

Friday, June 17, 2016

En Plein Air: Pride of Self-Reliance (Oil, 12 x 9)

I had had a craving for painting figures in environment since I did the one of Austin St. Fair. I remembered a scene I saw a few days ago at a grocery store on Metropolitan Ave. with an old lady walking right out of the store while the sun shed light from behind. I noticed quite a number of elderly doing their own grocery shopping in spite of their health conditions. Therefore, this morning, I decided to paint it. I didn't go out as early as usual because I knew the grocery store would not open till after 8:30 AM. I believe I was inspired by Kim English's works.

In the afternoon, I went to Forest Hills Library. At its reading area, I grabbed a sketch of a reader.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Unfinished Figure Sketch: Juggler Eli (Oil 14 x 11)

It was wet the whole morning. So after lunch when the ground was dry, I pulled my kit across the street to the Forest Park. A young man named Eli was juggling by himself on the terrace of the Overlook Point. I suggested to him that I paint his figure if he could keep practicing for about an hour. Of course, he could stop to take a break anytime. He said yes. However, in 20 minutes, it began to rain again. We had to call it a day and agreed to continue some other time. I regret that I didn't get his face right first.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

En Plein Air: The Curve of Beverly Road (Oil, 9 x 12)

Early this morning, I went to the intersection of Beverly Rd. and Audley St. I set up on the street corner, overlooking the curvy Beverly road. The sun lit up some of the houses and made them really stand out, but the unlit part of the neighborhood was still submerged in a swamp of inky blueness. The scene was very interesting.

As I was painting, people began to stop by. Quite a few of them still remembered me because, I guess, they saw me when I was painting last summer on the same spot, only at a different angle. One lady, as she crossed the street, said to me with a smile, "So you are back?" A guy stood behind me watching me paint. Then he said, "Do you happen to have your cards with you? I misplaced the one you gave me last time." So he and I did have a conversation last summer. Later on, parents with children came, using the situation to have an art educational dialogue with their children. Of course, there were questions for me, too: "Did you teach art?" "Are you taking students?" and when, where, how long did you learn art? So on and so forth. In addition, I never miss people who also wanted to test their Chinese one me.

Monday, June 13, 2016

En Plein Air: Long Island Railway Overhead (Oil, 9 x 12)

This afternoon I went to Ascan Ave. and painted the Long Island Railway Overhead. I focused on the contrast in this sketch. It was not very warm but sometimes, I had to deal with the strong wind.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

En Plein Air: Austin St. Annual Fair (Oil, 9 x 12)

It was the Annual Austin St. Fair today, quite an event for the local business area. As usual, there were a great number of vendors' tents. Vehicles were not allowed between 69th Rd. and 72nd Rd. Food, plants, jewels, music entertainment, etc. there was everything, you name it. I went there this afternoon and set up on the street corner by the wire fence of the Our Queen Lady of Martyrs Catholic Church, which I believe was the east end of the Fair with two wooden horses to block the traffic. It was pretty warm today, but I had to stay in the sun. Fortunately I had on my wide-brim hat. Since everybody was moving around, I had to rush through the process. I really didn't have time to think about how to choose or mix colors. My brush moved instinctively. Figures were added pretty much in an impromptu manner. Altogether, the oil sketch took an hour and a half, including the time I had to deal with a vendor who suddenly left his van right in front of me to block my vision. Finally, a cop came to make him move. Intermittently, there came gusts of strong wind which almost blew my easel off the ground, to say nothing of my shopping cart and small things which I had to chase to get back. Overall, I felt it was worthy of the troubles.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Images at Bryant Park Open-Air Concert

There was an open-air concert at Bryant Park this evening 5-10 PM. I went there but didn't stay till it was over. The music was a great variety. I did quite a few sketches of the audience there. The last two were done on subway.

Bartuque Art Group in Action

David, Isabel and I decided that we met at Overlook Point of Forest park this morning. Ariel was unable to come. I went there earlier and set up to paint before they showed up. There were so many cars on Park Lane at that time that it was bumper to bumper. After I was done with my painting, I drew them each working in the sun.