Featured Painting – Wafting

Despite some success of my 2015 painting Waft, which was recently published by Pomona Valley Review (Volume 11, Summer 2017), I clearly saw rooms for improvement, and recently I made a new version of the painting, titled Wafting — much darker and more dramatic, with additional whimsicality and humor, lent by the black flakes, resembling playful butterflies, darting above the little girl, who was, as in the 2015 version, running away from the viewer, holding strings tied to floating human balloons, all in the shape of young women dressed in pure white, against much darker and more ominous background, as if in the process of awakening or drowning. I believe that the latter effort was psychologically more penetrating and indeed a big improvement.

Wafting / 飄 / Wandernd
Wafting
Oil on Canvas
30″ x 24″
Completed in 2017

Featured Painting – Waft

My 2015 painting Waft features, against an empty and nondescript landscape, a very small girl in the lower right corner of the vertical canvas, running away from the viewers, while holding strings tied to floating human balloons, all in the shape of young women dressed in pure white, in postures of awakening or drowning. Was it a hopeful dream, or a potentially nightmare? It is up to the viewers to decide. Perhaps, what I captured was the the hope and trepidation of a very young person at that cusp of growing into herself, while facing a future unknown.

Waft / 漂移 / Wabern
Waft
Oil on Canvas
30″ x 24″
Completed in 2015

This painting was chosen as cover art and as a featured piece on page 19 by Pomona Valley Review (Volume 11), published by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, in July 2017.

Featured Painting – A Young Frechman

Painting human faces and figures, not as means to document, rather, as means to probe and investigate, is hugely challenging and exciting, and thankfully, such is also a the validity of portraiture painting in selfie age.

One of my successful attempts was a portrait of a young man, whom I saw near Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and I was intrigued by his serious and even severe countenance, and his chiseled features, intelligent, graceful, vulnerable yet vigorous, an enthralling concoction led to my 2001 painting, A Young Frenchman, which managed to capture many of these engaging characteristics.

A Young Frenchman / 一位法國青年 / Ein junger Franzose
A Young Frenchman
Oil on Canvas
24″ x 20″
Completed in 2001

Someone once wondered about the “Frenchman” in the title; I was fairly confident that the young man was a french national, because not only I saw him in France, also to me, he was the epitome of Gaullic attributes and attraction.

Featured Painting – Autumn Impression

The inspiration of my 2017 oil painting, Autumns Impression was a photo I chance encountered – a room of eerie green light, resembling electric currents, against a background of a irregular pattern of wavering pink tiles. Besides the striking color palette, I was also intrigued by the shifting spatial relationship between the light and the background, thus moved to commit my appreciation to canvas.

Naturally, I would not ape the photograph; rather, the photo served as a springboard for me to “record” my vision. The painting soon departed from the electric glow, and morphed into an impressionistic abstract landscape, and reached a state that I could stop and consider the project complete, though the painting was not truly satisfying.

With layers of additional paints applied to the canvas, it moved further away from the inspiration and my initial attempt. Now, the colors of painting somewhat recalled what I saw in Yosemite National Park I visited last fall, therefore, a new resolution presented itself and I happily complied.

I managed to find the good balance of recalling the spirit of a slightly unhinged forest or meadow, softened by some darting patches of rather joyous colors, without being slavishly realistic. It’s a recollection of memories and emotions. The spatial relationship of many elements and colors of the painting, though not the same as the photograph, was also similarly intriguing.

Autumn Impression / 秋季印象 / Herbst Impression
Autumn Impression
Oil on Canvas
36”x18”
Completed in 2017

Featured Painting – The Wash

My first oil painting completed in 2017, The Wash, continued to explore and express spatial relationship and (ir)regular patterns. This landscape was inspired by some haunting though dimming images crossed path with me a long while ago, of some laundered white sheets, blown wildly by strong wind, struggling to remain on the laundry lines. The rhythmic movements of those flapping sheets generated an atmosphere of both orderly and unruly, and such sense of drama was heightened by the stark contrasts between the blindingly bright sheets and the dark soil and sky, which foretold a menacing storm, poising to ruin the pristine cleanness of those vulnerable sheets.

The Wash / 晒衣物 / Die Wasch
The Wash
Oil on Canvas
22”x28”
Completed in 2017

Featured Painting – Cascades

Inspired by the lush fall colors in the valleys, and rushing cascades in the mountains of Yosemite, which I recently visited, I made a gouache painting, titled Cascade, trying to capture the spirits and impression of the marvel, instead of literal shapes and shades.

Cascades / 瀑布 / Kaskaden
Cascade
Gouache on Paper
12”x8”
Completed in 2017

A simple and heart-warming souvenir.

Featured Painting – Origin

The first painting I completed in 2017, Origin, was an abstract gouache painting, with yellow dusts scattered on a very dark background — red and blue streaks intermingled with swirling thin layer of black paint. A striking contrast and beautiful presentation, perhaps depicting the beginning, or end of the time.

Origin / 起源 / Ursprung
Origin
Gouache on Paper
10”x8”
Completed in 2017

The inception of this piece was a strange one. It was inspired by my aged, multiple-layered, and simultaneously muddied and rich-hued palette. A small vision triggered a larger one.

Featured Painting “Apprehend”

As if I had anticipated a gloomy election season to conclude this year, back in late January, I worked on and finished a painting titled Apprehend, featuring a lonely bird, enclosed in a disorienting and confused space, sketchily defined by indistinct horizontal and vertical stripes of various thickness and shades of blue, black and yellow.

Apprehend, Oil on Canvas, 20x24, 2016
Apprehend
Oil on Canvas
20”x24”
Completed in 2016

The bird, in cautions pose, peers into the uncertain distance, seemingly full of expectation and comprehension, an apt metaphor of people in this traumatic post-election time.

Featured Painting – One Fine Day

My 2007 oil painting One Fine Day soon will conclude its five-month long exhibition at at McGuire Real Estate Gallery in Elmwood District, Berkeley. This painting, in somewhat sickly moon light tone (pale Prussian blue), depicted a school of agitated and thrashing fish, tightly packed in confining space, bulging eyes telegraphing anguish, straining to escape of a deadly trap they had unfortunately fallen into.

The ironic title I chose, perhaps ought to be ascribed to some lucky fishermen. And that spoke the volume of the relationship of mankind and the unfortunate nature.

One Fine Day / 美好的一天 / Ein schöner Tag
One Fine Day
Oil on Canvas
22″ x 28″
Completed in 2007

Featured Painting – Birches

Nurtured by many Russian novels while growing up, I developed a special feeling towards the omnipresent birches, which not only aptly set the scenes and evoke the particular melancholy especially associated with Russia and Russian people, and finally, I made effort in 2006 to try to capture such feelings with a painting titled Birches, which is currently showing at the McGuire Real Estate gallery in Berkeley as part of the “Crowded by Beauty” exhibit.

I love the slender shapes of the trees, the softness of the finely-layered birch barks and their eerie silver color, and above all, the eye-shaped knobs imprinted on the trunks from bottom to top, as if birches were meant to be the chosen observers from silent world, so as to judge humankind.

Birches / 樺樹 / Birken
Birches
Oil on Canvas
22″ x 28″
Completed in 2006

That painting is also a play of optical illusion – amongst the eyes on the trunks, there was a singular eye floating in the space, unattached, between two indifferent birches. Inundated by so many eyes, this oddity was not immediately obvious; once detected, one might ask, if this is a most determined birch eye, the eye of an invisible human, or just a wandering independent eye belong to nothing and no one.