About宗家嘴   Member宗s   投稿Guidelines   Help/FAQ     


The Zongs' family blog

星期五, 五月 27, 2005

Painting Again  

Well, it has been a year since I finished my last painting course. At the time I thought I was going to continue painting on my own. Alas, that was not to be -- I was even less self-motivated than I had thought! At the beginning of this year I signed up for another painting course with Rebecca (my teacher from the last course), so that I could actually paint again.

At the beginning it felt a little like rehabilitation after knee surgery, as I tried to recall how it was to paint again. I started with setting up a still life, with the sole purpose of remembering the painting process. Memories came back pretty quickly, perhaps more so to my hands than to my brain, and I was excited to see the paint I dabbed on canvas bearing a good resemblance to grapes!

My next project was still aimed at remembering -- this time the style I was trying to paint with at the end of last course, somewhat influenced by Georgia O'Keefe. My subjects were three Bosc pears (the kind of pears with the most curvaceous form, in my opinion), which went from totally fresh at the start, to utterly wilted when I was done with them.

Having exhausted with my supply of real things to paint with, I next tuned to photographs. I took some photos of these tulips which I had wanted to paint but did not have time to -- at the time of their blooming I was still preoccupied with the pears, and besides, tulips last a lot shorter than pears. I was still trying to paint in the style of my earlier paintings, with thin paint and analogous colors.

At this point I was ready to try something new -- something other than still life and flowers. Perhaps a portrait? As a child I used to draw nothing but people, or "ghosts", as they were known in my family. And I drew a LOT of "ghosts", all of them female with fancy dresses, now that I think of it (this is starting to sound like material for some psychological analysis). But since I started painting, I had never attempted to paint a single human being, or even an animal, for that matter. Was it because I just lost interest in portraying people? or was I traumatized by having my creations labeled "ghosts"? or maybe, I do not need to draw females in fancy clothes anymore because I can see them in the real world, or at least in magazines? I wonder... In any case, it was time to turn a new leaf! I chose to do a portrait of Emily from a photo of her playing the violin. Having never done a portrait (not counting the "ghosts" from my childhood), I was at a loss as to how to start. Rebecca suggested I do it with the Grisaille method -- glazing color over a monochromatic underpainting, so that I can worry about one thing at a time. It is a good idea; except that glazing is a pretty slow and tedious process, aggravated by the fact that I was painting my very cute niece, which means I want the portrait to not only look good, but actually look like her. Everyone in my class seems to like the portrait and comment on how cute she is, but then, none of them actually know Emily in person (and how cute she REALLY is).

It was said that Rubens would glaze maybe 40 layers of colors on his portraits, but he also had dozens of assistents, and of course, I am a far cry from Rubens. As I was slowly glazing layers of colors on the portrait of Emily, the impatience in my nature started to get hold of me. Besides, with the smooth glazing, the portrait was starting to look more and more like a tinted photograph. What if I paint the background and her clothes in a different, more painterly style? This I tried, but I found that as soon as I put a brushful of colors down on the canvas, I felt the urge to smooth it out like the rest of the painting. Do I just not like the more painterly style, or ... could it be that I do not know how to do it? I guess it is a combination. It is not a good idea to develope a style just because I do not know how to do things otherwise. So for my next painting Rebecca suggested I copy a master whose style is very painterly. Poplars is not one of Monet's chunkiest (for lack of a better word) paintings (like his crusty cathedrals), but it is all about layering brushstrokes. So I put Emily aside for a while (I went back to her from time to time to finish the painting). Copying the poplars was quite liberating -- it seemed so much easier compared to doing a precise portrait. And as I know I was copying Monet, I did not have to think too much. I painted a lot faster and I could stop -- one hard thing for me to do when it comes to my own paintings, I am never quite sure when I should stop messing with them.

I was so glad to find that I could actually paint fast, that I took on two paintings at the same time: beach scenes from photographs I took in Thailand and Kauai. And I tried to apply my newly acquired "broken brushwork" on these paintings, with various degrees of success. I still found myself wanting to smooth out a lot of areas, and still unable to put on really thick paint. But now I am more sure that in general I just prefer to paint more thinly, and that is OK. One thing that Rebecca said really made sense to me -- she said that it took her years to realize that, when she is painting, she is not painting her master piece, but just her next painting. No need to obsess with it too much.

So the course ended. Surprisingly, I did a lot of the things I said that I wanted to do a year ago: still life, portraits, more painterly style... (see my blog entry from last year)except non-representational painting, which I want to try next. There is so much more territory to explore! But will I actually do it on my own (there is no course in the summer and Rebecca is going to teach in London this fall)? I hope unlike last year, I will continue to paint. We shall see...

To see all my new paintings, click here.

星期二, 五月 24, 2005



我们於五月四日到上海,九日到南京,十五日回到北京。 这次出游是由于我的两位同学好友的邀请和安排。
在上海我们住在中学好友韦聚生家。 他本在哈尔滨, 但冬天太冷, 就来上海过冬, 所以他自称为”候鸟”。 他儿子在西雅图REI工作, 每年要来上海几次搞加工订货, 就在这买所房子给父母过冬.。这里的环境很好.。就在沪西苏州河边, 小区绿化和管理很好。 陈杭的姐姐说这里真是”世外桃源”。
小琳和她爸请我们去逛淮海路, 在美心酒家吃饭, 去参观”新天地”, 那是些用上海老”石库门”房子改造的酒吧和咖啡馆, 据说是外地人一到上海首先必去的地方。 然后我们去外滩看夜景。 那晚是宋楚瑜夜游黄浦江, 外滩彩灯齐明, 很多上海人都来看热闹, 游船近岸经过时, 人们鼓掌欢迎。
陈杭答应英国一家出版社为一本手册撰写一章”细香葱”, 所以在上海时还由她同学安排去崇明岛看当地种的细香葱。
饭后我们去访陈杭上过的明德女中。学校现在改成了女子专科学校和幼儿师范。但“明德楼”还在,是按原样重建的。 然后我们去雨花台。兆芳说雨花台已今非昔比。但我上不去,只能坐在下面喝茶。陈杭一直上到顶。雨花石已不准挖。但可以买。十元抓一把。陈杭抓了一把。较好的包装起来,当然较贵。但实际都是外地出的。













星期二, 五月 17, 2005

I have moved back Toronto  

I am currently looking for a job here!

Address: 25 Bamburgh Circle, Suite 638
Scarborough,Ontario, Canada M1W 3W2

Tel: (416)640-0889 (working after May 20)

星期二, 五月 03, 2005


Here are pictures of Ward and RuJing.

Ward at home, Claremont LA
Ward at work, Microcosm, El Segundo, LA

Ward is using computer program winding fuel tank

RuJing at home, Pasadena

RuJing in the garden, Pasadena

RuJing & Ward in Pasadena