One of the thing I often get from people I first met is they wish they could live in my Bohemia life. Somehow they must have certain idea of how my life compare to theirs.
My studio is sandwiched between two fashion designers’ workshop. During the weekend there are constant noises of sewing machines, telephones and talking coming from them. After many years in my space I pretty much used to the noises and I deal with it by having a radio on close by my desk to block all those distractions..
This weekend being the Easter holiday, I was surprises both of them are away from their studio. When I arrived to my floor and realized I was the only one on my floor and likely the only one in the building!
The first thing I noticed was how cold it was in my space. My landlord must has turned off the heat and thinking no one coming in on this holiday weekend. Although the weather is start to get warmer and reaching close to 10 degree C but our building is over 100 years old and not well insulated. The first thing I did was to make myself a cup of coffee to stay warm. I kept my scarf and put on two sweaters, later I had to add a light jacket just to keep the chill away. However, I was determining to stay and paint and not to let the cold to stop me. By the end of the yesterday I had finished three small paintings and today I also finished another two.
Lately, I having a wonderful time painting post card size watercolor for my stamps collection. Everyday, I would choose a stamp and used it at my inspiration for my little painting. It is like making my own souvenir postcards for the stamps. Here are a few of my latest postcard paintings.
A pair of Giant Panda is coming to Toronto Zoo. Er Shun and Da Mao are on the way via a special FedEx airplane and will be touching down on Monday. They will made Toronto Zoo their home for the next five years and live in a 8 million dollar home and with a 3 million per year expense account.
For this giant event of our city, I painted this panda souvenir postcard and stamp to commemorates it. This special post card is 4”x6” watercolor on paper.
By the way, if the Toronto metro zoo need an artist in residence to keep the panda with company? I can paint their daily portraits for all to see with a lot less cost than them. Just call me huh!
When I was in my teen I was very interested in painting birds. For about five years, almost everyday after school and on the weekend I would go to the museum and paint birds from their collection. Most of the bird paintings I done that period were sold to staff at the museum, but I kept some I really like for myself.
After I enter Art College and discovered other arts. I some how lost interest in birds and stopped painting them all together.
Recently, I had been thinking to revisit my past love. I painted a kingfisher for the first time in many years. I wanted to compare how much my style of painting has change in all these years. The one on the right is a 40 years old painting and the one on the left is my latest, both are watercolor and about the same size, 9”x10”
I enjoy getting up early. I think my mind is fresh in the morning and ideas come easily for me. My morning commune from home to my studio by the public transit would take more than an hour. I usually spent the travel time reading either the newspaper or books. Often some unimportant information would start a well of inspirations for me.
Today, the first day of spring was the lead in item on all the radios and the newspapers, likely because consider how cold the weather is.
I got this idea to celebrate the first day of spring with a post card painting. I choose the Easter lily because it closes to Easter. And I even found two Easter lily stamps for it.
One of the common complain from artists is the “artist block” especially during the winter. Seasonal affective depression (SAD) or commonly known as winter blues. Often cause artists feel lack of motivation and uninspired to make art. However I am more focus during the winter, I am lot more productive during the cold winter than the rest of the year.
I found when the weather is nice it actually offers too many distractions for me. I would out more with my camera to capture the changes of nature and the many events the city has to offer.
One of my secret of keeping the winter blues away is living plants and flowers. I often visit my local green house which offers a wonderful display of early spring flowers. At home and in my studio I keep a number of orchid plants. Many of them bloom during the winter.
This latest watercolor is form one of my winter blooming orchid, when the flower first open it has this yellowish green color, watercolor on paper 11”x8.5”.
Today is the last day of the week long March break. All week whenever I go are crowed with parents are with their kids enjoying this winter break from schools. My morning trips to my studio were such breezes since most of the students and their parents are not up that early taking the public transit. however in the evening, it is another story, it was packed with them returning from the outings.
All week long I been avoiding all the places I usually go to, like the gardens, museum and the public library. Those seem like the popular places for them and it was very crowded. But the one I fear the most is the shopping mall. It is not unlike Christmas time and not the place I want to spent time in. All week long, I pretty much just keep myself in my studio and working on some paintings. I don’t mind my daily movement being restricted. Since it is still very cold here I might as just stay in as well.
This morning, parts of the subway line were closed for signal upgrade. I got off early and walk and because the next closer subway is at the Eaton centre (a shopping mall) so I end up inside and was surprised to see so many were inside as well. On Sunday, the stores in the mall are not open till 11am however this morning there were a large numbers of parents and their kids waiting for the stores to open. A group of them sat around the fountain waiting to be turn on. Finally, when it turned on and the water shoot up into the air, a big cheer went up with it.
All day I was inside and by the end of the day, I completed three small paintings. Tomorrow the city back to normal.
here is one of my small paintings, dragonfly, watercolor on paper, 8.5″x11.5″
When I was in my youth my hobby was stamps collecting.. I would spend hours studying, arranging and rearranging them. For me, each little piece of paper was like a miniature art work. Some of them really captured my imagination, I would imagine one day I would travel to those courtiers when I grow up. Eventually, my stamp collections grow into half of dozen albums.
I had this idea last year to combine my past hobby with my passion with art. I paint small painting to compliment a stamp. Each one would has some connection with the image of the stamp I used.
Most of these are about post card size around 5”x7”.
When I was in art school, every year for our school trip we would visit museums and galleries in New York City. All my money would spend on postcards from the Museums we visited. Being a poor art student the price of those post cards are great mementos to remember all those great art I seen. Over the years, I had collected a couple of shoes boxes of them, every few years I would take it out to look at the great paintings I admired.
Lately, I had this idea of making smaller paintings which require less time and space for storage. I can finish in one afternoon, compare to the large ones sometime would take days or even weeks to completed.
Today, I made this 5”x7’ post card size painting of a wheel bug. It combined both watercolor painting and paper cut. My idea is if one holds it up and looks through the cut outs and see different image before him.