I have a solo show this month at Galatea Fine Art in Boston, from July 2nd to August 1. The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, July 2, 6-8 pm.
I have a solo show this month at Galatea Fine Art in Boston, from June 5 to June 30. The opening reception is scheduled for Friday June 7, 6-8 pm.
I tried out instagram last July. It has a wonderful artist community and I have been enjoying the vast amount of visual information it provides. I have been active in that platform since then. Most of the progress work are now listed there. Check it out.
I started to paint the green house and the pier on a foggy day. The interweaving of light and dark under the pier, reflection, different lines and shapes, and muted colors motivated me to paint this view. However, the view did not translate well into the painting.
Repeated small shapes and muted colors made the painting dull. The light cerulean blue top was an attempt to introduce cooler tone to otherwise gray and warm surroundings. It somewhat helped the painting but that was not enough. After painting into the evening, most of the issues were still not resolved.
I revisited the painting a day later with a fresher look. Inspired by the sun, I decided to warm the gray to match the surrounding. The busy pier was simplified. The right-hand side house was changed to a darker color. The deck was removed to get rid of the problematic diagonal. Fish totes were redrawn as larger shapes. The foreground was updated with more details and a few lines to make it interesting.
The painting is getting better than a few days ago but I thought it still needed a strong line somewhere. I found a solution from a Stuart Davis’s work “The Blue Cafe“. It has a few lines and a musical note on the sky. It was a floating shape but without it, the sky would have been void. I took the inspiration from this musical note and created 2 short dark horizontal wires with different heights below the top wire. I was happy with this ending.
The third day, I was painting the green house and the pier but I was struggling to keep it interesting. I decided to paint a few hours in the evening to fix it but I failed. The next day I decided to leave the architecture painting alone and paint something unrelated.
I went back to where I painted the boat but the boat was gone so I decided to paint the rock wall. I looked at two paintings to get inspiration for my work. Nicolas De Stael’s “Composition” from the Metropolitan museum and Egon Schiele’s “Schiele’s Room in Neulengbach”
These two paintings gave me ideas on simplifying my composition of the rock wall and the color scheme. I enlarged one of the rock and built everything around it as supporting shapes. Two vertical pillars were kept to offset many rectangles shapes in the painting. Most of the colors were gray, therefore I borrowed a red line from the nearby building and put it on the top of the rocks. A thin yellow line was added on the top to connect the top and the bottom. Finally, a creamy white surrounding frame was added to open the confined space around this clustered structure.
A green boat under repair anchored between the rocks caught my attention. I spent a few hours drawing it. When I was in the spot to paint the boat the next day, the boat has already moved from the tide and now it was facing the opposite direction. I decided to stay with the drawing and make minor changes based on the current observation.
The misty fog and the pale ground inspired me to introduce blue color. However, boat’s green color and the rock’s blue color were clashing. I have recently visited Marsden Hartley’s Maine Exhibition at the Colby Museum of Art. His colors are bold and dark and he often uses blue, white and black.
Hartley’s colors inspired me to introduce these colors into my painting. I used the dark green and black to replace the problematic green color in the boat. The background was changed to pure white with the black border at the bottom. A few lines in the foreground was introduced to connect it to the boat. One of the lines was changed to orange color to complement the blue and I called this painting done. I was very happy to have worked with white and black inspired by Marsden Hartley’s work.
It was a foggy morning; the fog keeps on lifting for a short period only to return again. I sat on the rocks close to the Ferry building looking across the water towards a red building and a few oil tanks. I have painted this view in 2009. However, it looks different with the newly finished red building.
With the fog rolling in and out and silver gray oil tanks against the gray sky, this was not visually interesting. I decided to change the oil tanks to a dark green color. This changed the tank shape to be a large dense block, therefore a horizontal line opening was needed to keep the space breathing. A cooler toned staircase was also added to divide the large tank shape.
It has been my dream to paint my hometown, again.
I am a long way from Kathmandu, my hometown and my visits are usually short and far apart to have much time for painting. Although I have always enjoyed painting on site, I finally decided to try a different route since I was staying at home for a week to recuperate.
I have collected many pictures from my hometown during my visits. When I visited home after the earthquake in 2015, it was an emotional one. I brought many pictures of the places I used to visit growing up, most of the temples were either destructed or being repaired.
It was hard to choose a picture to paint. My usual subject temples in Durbar Square are either gone or being repaired. I decided to choose a set of nontraditional buildings nearby. Instead of starting the painting in a clean state, I decided to reuse the painting from Northampton which was not working.
Here is the first transformation. The building colors were true to the picture, buildings were colorful and have many modernize windows. I struggle to paint from the picture, but I was very happy to get this started.
Revisiting the painting in a few days, I decided to update unrelated colors to a more muted colors and merged the two buildings into one. I looked through other pictures and found inspiration from a traditional window in Kathmandu called “Sanjhya“, a carved large wooden windows usually, contains 3 or 4 openings. I also introduced right-hand side building to have “falcha” – an open space on the first floor popular in a traditional Newari culture.
As I revisited the painting for the fourth time, I started to think about what used to inspired me to paint when I was growing up in Kathmandu; temples and alleys. I introduced a narrow alley between those buildings based on a few pictures. The buildings and the rooftop of different shape and sizes creates unique lines and shapes creates an interesting space.
This place is starting to look familiar to me, I could relate to it.
I can imagine being there, it is my hometown.
I am very happy with this progress although it took me many revisions and looking through multiple sources. I am looking forward to adding some final touch to complete this picture.
I revisited this painting yesterday which I started this summer. The composition was inspired by Morandi’s work. I thought of these buildings similar to his still life on a table. The structure of these buildings was simplified; many windows, doors, wires, and staircase were eliminated. However, a few shapes remained that I thought were interesting.
The shadow of the spiral staircase in the summer and in the winter are slightly different. The shadows during the winter seemed more elongated than the shadows during the summer. I decided to borrow interesting shapes of the shadow and added it to the yellow building. The staircase was purposefully excluded because it will no longer add any visual impact. I added some light on the darker foreground which was inspired by a streak of lights in the parking lot. I started to see some unresolved areas that need to be addressed during my next visit.
I just came back from my first trip to Paris a few weeks ago.
I loved the fact that there are no high-rise buildings here. I walked most of the days either on the cobblestone path next to the river and in the narrow alleys; from museums to gardens and to other attractions. These narrow alleys reminded me of Kathmandu.
Walking in Paris and finding various restaurants, crepe stands, churches, souvenir stores, and unique shops were very exciting. I felt the atmosphere to be diverse and energetic yet more relaxed compared to New York. People were either walking or enjoying sitting in a café with drinks and food. Nights in Paris were even more enjoyable and beautiful with street lamps and lights on bridges and buildings. It was romantic.
I spent most of my days looking at artworks in different museums. At the Museum of Montmartre, I enjoyed looking at old pictures of the place and artists who lived and worked there in the last century. Louvre was overwhelming with large collections of beautiful pieces from the Renaissance to the early 1900s. I saw more contemporary works at the Museum d’Orsay, Museum l’Orangerie and Museum of Modern Art and was happy to discover a few more French artists that I had barely known in the past such as Maurice Utrillo, Suzanne Valadon, Eugene Carriere, and Andre Derain.
Looking at beautiful artworks in the day and walking in narrow alleys in the evening fueled my energy to paint. I started paying more attention to the buildings around me. They have various tones of beige with decorated black wrought iron balconies. Windows are large and some have their own little balconies and shutters. The restaurants and storefronts on the bottom have colorful doors and signs. However, rooftops are the most exciting part. They are of significant height with dark colors such as brown and green, containing clusters of red chimney tops along with other interesting structures – antenna, small stairs, … etc.
I used to assume the drawings of buildings in Egon Schiele’s work very exaggerated. Now that I have been in Paris, I realized they are much closer to reality. The architecture here takes on a persona; buildings looked as if people wearing beige uniforms with colorful bottoms and cheerful hats with feathers.
A particular structure caught my attention while I was looking for a place to paint – conjoining yellow and green buildings sandwiched between two taller buildings. I faithfully drew the structure capturing the diagonal rooftops and half open windows. At the end I excluded everything around it except for a street lamp. The few watercolors I brought served well for this small painting.
I was lucky to squeeze in one more painting before the trip ended. Although there were many paintable places, I chose an alley with a surrounding open space. Slanted walls, varied heights, and dark red gothic windows made this place more exciting. I simplified some of the architecture. I removed all the windows from the building on the right. I then threw in a window with shutters which reminded me of Bonnard’s painting “Two Dogs in a Deserted Street“. It was slightly open which made it even more interesting.
I wanted to spend some more time editing these work. However, I found watercolor to be less forgiving than oil. Although these work have some illustrative quality, I decided to keep them as they are. In the near future, I am going to paint in oil based on these two watercolors and other inspirations from this trip.