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Repainting the Green House with the Pier


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.

Lobster Co-op and Oil Tanks


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.

Painting my Hometown

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.