Julia Painting Diary                                     Return to HOME


Picasso said: "Give me a museum and I'll fill it."  Somehow I feel the same way.  Of course, I am not Picasso, nor I want to be, and I don't know if I will ever be given a museum.    Besides, why wait?  I am going to build one, here and now,  opening to the whole world !! 


It is not a physical museum.  So what?  It would be even better.  There is no limit as to how big the virtue building will be.  I can organize and reorganize the exhibit without moving hundreds of paintings physically, can add a floor or room with a click, and run my museum at my desk. It will open 24 hour a day and 7 days a week. 


It may take a while to put everything in place.  I have decided to start today.


I have been experimenting in several things: 

1. Painting oil on acetate, which are my new glass substitute.  Of course nothing can really replace glass, but acetate sheets are pretty close.  The best thing about them is that they do not break and are easy to store.  I can put 1000 sheets on one shelf.  Now I can paint as many as I want and never have to worry about space again. :-)  


2. Painting ink/watercolor on mulberry paper.  It is pure fun!  The mulberry paper is much more durable than rice paper and has intrigue pattern. 


3. Painting ink/gouache on transparency film, which is intended for laser printer.  Unlike acetate sheet, the transparency film can be written on with a ink pen. This is my new adventure. I am still testing its potentials.


I do not like routines and cannot bear endless repetition.  Fortunately, there are so many things I can try.



If I paint the same subject or paint in same way for a while, I would get bored.  I need experiment with different subjects, color schemes, mediums, techniques or surfaces.  This is my new fun --- abstract landscape painting with limited palette. 




My friend Suzanna, a dance teacher has moved to Great Junction.   I did this painting for her as a gift.

   Suzanna, Oil, 18x24"


I have painted 174 Denver Impressions.   http://www.juliapainting.com/2012ART/denverimpression.html

Also, did a set of Green Symphony.   I d' like to paint one series for every color!  :-)




Gosh, I haven't written a word since last fall.  Time flies.  One day in last October, I went to see Van Gogh's exhibit, Becoming Van Gogh, and was impressed and inspired. 

Van Gogh painted something he was familiar with, and surrounded by.  I should do the same.  Starting with the flowers, the trees, park, streets, houses, etc I see here, in Denver, paint my way to Le Louvre. :-)

I started painting my Denver Impressions in November, 2012.  Now, 7 months and 200 paintings later, I am still working on it. 

This is the first part,  Denver Botanic Garden Impressions ,  a  4 minute video of  Garden Paintings ---------

Denver Botanic Garden Impressions   





     I did this painting for a musician/artist  friend, Fred.   From his comment "this is one of your best paintings",  I know he like it.  

     Even though I thought about painting more people, almost everyday I end up with paintings of water, land , trees or flowers.  

     Anyway, I have put a short version of the DVD of my recent long painting of Chinese landscape on this site under Julia Video.



After painting on canvas for months, I had chance to paint on glass again.  This time I appreciate the surface even more.  Since nothing can be absorbed by glass, all my brush strokes and knife marks remain their vitality. 

Enjoying painting on glass so much, I covered all 10 pieces of glass and mirror in a couple of days. 

This waterlily painting is one of my favorites.   Since the first time I saw Monet's paintings, I have been wanting to create my own signature waterlily paintings---- expressive, loose, beautiful and absolutely unique.

So far, this one is closer to my ideal than all other warerlily paintings that I have tried.  Of course, at any moment, my better one is always the next :-)

Neil has started to work on the video of my Chinese landscape painting on a 93 yard roll.  Hopefully I can post it on this site soon.




Oh, gosh, I haven't written for so long!   I had been working on my long painting for several months and almost forgotten about anything else. 

I painted China's landscape.   It is not today's China, but the landscape of China in my memory, which has been filtered by time and emotion, and imagination, which is far beyond the reality.

The painting is 93 yard long and 2 feet wide on a 60 pound canvas roll.   Neil is going to make a film to show the whole roll.

A few photos



      I always love painting nature, because whenever I close my eyes I see the sea waves, snow mountains, trees, and flowers.  Lately, I see something else ---- birds, horses, and people.

     The expression and movements of people and animals inspire me to paint them.

     I wanted to capture the essence and spirit of my subjects in minimum loose brush strokes.  It is fun when you not get tangled with details.  I treated human face as any other subject, focusing on the variations of  shape, value and color. 

    This is the portrait of Lisa, a girl I met last fall.  I mo not sure if she would like the painting, though.  

    I will continue to learn portrait painting by painting, painting and painting.  Picasso created 93000 paintings in his life time.  I have a long long way to go. 




     This was the Mount Yellow (Huangshan) I saw in my dream.  Huangshan is a mountain range in eastern China, known for its sunrises, odd-shaped peaks, pine trees and views of cloud floating between the peaks. 

     When the mountain is covered with snow, it becomes even more magnificent.

                                      Click to continue ----




    Even though I was from China, I discovered the beauty of Chinese abstract ink painting in US.  It was here, in Denver, I saw the work of a great Chinese painter in person for the first time. 

    Inspired by the ink painting, I have been experimenting with round painting brushes, which look like those that Chinese painters use for their ink painting.  

    This painting was entirely "written" with one round brush.  The paint I used was Genesis artist oil colors, which I have been experimenting for months.  I enjoy their unique qualities --- non toxic, stay wet and dry on demand.

     Using non toxic paints, I do not have to worry too much about harming myself or others, or feel guilty because putting more toxic things on Earth.  Since the paints stay in wet, no cleaning palette or brushes is necessary --- saving so much time and energy!  And the paints dry on demand!  It means that I do not have to constantly looking for places to store wet paintings.  Simply putting the finished painting in oven or grabbing my heat gun, I can dry a medium size painting in minutes.



    Last Saturday, we visited the exhibition of a famous Chinese painter, Xu Bei Hong, at Denver Art Museum.  I like his abstract ink paintings, especially the landscape painting.  Unfortunately, there were only one at the show.

    Inspired by the ink painting, I did this snow mountain with brush and knife. It was an exciting event.  I can feel the energy flow through my arm and hand --- I had to paint to let it out!

    I like the abstract quality of the painting.  I was never crazy about over finished paintings or paintings having too much details or just like a photo or works that do not have much personality.  I like the paintings full of originality and creative energy and covered with expressive brush strokes and in pleasant colors.  And that is I will try to paint!



A few months ago, when we drove more than 1000 miles to pick up Erfie and Chloe, the Westie twins,my husband was convinced that they were the rebirth of our old rescue dogs, Erfie and Chloe.  I was skeptical.

Now I can see it.   Chloe exhibits a unique personality which is distinct from Erfie's, but similar to old Chloe's.  Erfie seems like his old self, too.  Both of them love to look at my paintings, especially the ones on the floor. 

   Old Erfie, 2010

Erfie and Chloe, 2011


  Old Erfie, 2010


     I know that the block-in has been taught in art school as a necessary phase in creating an oil painting.  Since I did not go to art school, I do not have to follow this rule or any other rule. :-) 

    I love the white negative space. It makes the subject more pronounced, increases the value range, and leaves room for the viewer's imagination.

    I tried a few different versions of this painting and I like this one much better.



     I began to sketch with watercolor/ink on rice paper a few months ago when I was preparing my summer exhibition in a local gallery.  It has become one of my favorite things to do in the evening while listening music or watch film. 

     Now this kind of  sketches are everywhere in my house. I am thinking about to put some of my favorites on the website in near future. 

    I love sailing boats and have sketched many of them.  This is one of them I did this evening.




Bicycles, original oil painting


I had never painted bicycles until two days ago when a few bicycle in our back yard caught my attention.  The morning light passed the bicycles and threw intrigue shadow on the grass, giving ordinary bicycles a magic makeover.



Most time I paint oil with a palette knife.  This morning I wanted to use brush because I want to capture the contour of pears more accurately.  I put all my pears on a table in our backyard under the morning sun and tried to choose three for an autumn color study.  It is hard to decide because they are all different in shape, color, and personality.  So I painted each of them.  In the company of all others, of course.

It is wonderful experience.  Perhaps painting with knife make brush painting a relaxing exercise.  I truly enjoyed the process and like the result, too.



This summer, there were  more flowers in Denver Botanic Garden’s waterlily pods then ever.  Since we walked there almost every day, I decided to paint a series of summer waterlilies.  Before I completed my series, however, the flowers were almost all gone.   I caught some of their last dance this morning.  Even though fading away, waterlilies still remain their grace and beauty.  This is one of the paintings I did today.



Responding to DWP”s value challenge, I did two value studies a few days ago and learned a lot in the process.  Value, perhaps more than anything else, makes a painting stand out.  I must pay more attention to value contrast when I design my future paintings.

Original Oil Painting  Before kissing the Land, Oil on Acetate


Once upon a time


I was never crazy about routines and had hard time to keep doing anything regularly. Of course, except sleeping, eating and painting.  Blogging daily is a challenge for me.  I started a blog site about a month ago, but gave up after a few posts.  Now with this site, I intend to keep writing — at least a few times a week.

I began to paint sketches on rice paper with watercolor and Chinese ink about three months ago when a friend suggested that I should prepared some simple painting or drawing for the visitors to my local summer exhibition.  It was so much fun!  I have been doing watercolor/ink sketches on rice paper ever since.  Some sketches serve as draft for my oils.

When I was facing the DPW challenge posted last Saturday, I decided to do a simple watercolor painting on rice paper.  I did not want to painting in oil because I paint oil with a palette knife and my spontaneous and direct approach  is very different from the drawing then filling method the challenger instructed.

I like the soft edges of the flower and the natural  color variations created by the unexpected mingle of the watercolor paints and water.

Roses in Blue Vase

Roses in Blue Vase, Watercolor on Rice Paper







I have been working on figure studies.  I know in art history, the beauty and grace of female body has inspired many master piece.   According to Aristotle, beauty has tree levels --- beautiful body, the beauty of the body, and the beauty of the soul,  I believe that only if you paint the essence of the subject and capture the beauty of the soul, your figure studies can make sense. 

I am considering updating my website to add my new work and to reselect the old.


        My last entry was two months ago.  I have been busy to experiment with different medium and supports, or borrow my husband's words 'play all day with paints".   It is every creative painter's desire to find her or his own unique style.   To me, the process of finding my own style is the continuum of learning, experimenting and creating.  It will last a life time of Julia as a painter.  My style is not a fixed thing that once established would last forever.  My style has been and will always be changing and evolving.

       I do no want to copy others or repeat myself.  I want to try anything that has been tried by other painters and those that have not been attempted by anyone yet.  These are a few of my latest experimental paintings: Water Soluble Oil and Chinese Ink on Canvas.   Since both can be wash out with water, I can use brush, which create different feelings than palette knife does.    


       Came back from Canada about two weeks ago, impressed and inspired.  What a beautiful country! What are friendly people!

       My first impression of Canada was its spectacular colors --- blue water, snowy mountain, pastel buildings, white boats, green meadow, and pink cherry blossom.



I like Einstein's theorem: "The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives."   French novelist Victor Hugo made a similar statement more than 200 years ago: "A great artist is a great man in a great child."

All children are original artists because they haven't learned how to not be themselves yet.  Once we grow up we conform to rule, code, or conventions.  We care about how others see us. 

As adults we tend to conform.  We repress creative thoughts when they do not match popular beliefs.  We question our actions when they do not follow the long familiar pattern of others. 

By the time we pick up a paintbrush as a grownup to create something original we have already forgotten how to be our true selves.  Our creativity has been blocked by all the rules and methods and "don'ts" we learned in school and in life.

To be a true artist we have to leave the grown up world and be a child again.  It is not easy. As Picasso told us, "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."

Of course to be a child, in Einstein or Picasso's sense, does not mean to be irresponsible or indulgent with ice cream or chocolate.  That would be delicious, but it would also give us a stomach ache.  To be a child is to be curious about how things are and how the world is.  It is to continuously learn, explore, and experiment. It is to discover and to invent each day.  To be a child is to enjoy every moment of this life and live at the present, not in mourning of the past or in concern of the future. 

To be a child is to be amazed by natural beauty. A child cannot wait to see the splendid sunrise each morning, to play on the sandy beach, or to climb the big rock in the park.   To be a child is to live with unbounded potential and endless possibility. 

 To be a child is to be you in seeing the world and in pursuing truth and beauty.


Painting from another dimension also means to paint from your imagination.

More than knowledge or skill, imagination makes creating an original painting possible.   Imagination allows us to form mental images, sensations and concepts, which are not received through our five senses at that moment.  Without these images, sensations and concepts created in our inner picture screen located inside our forehead, it is impossible for us to create original images on the canvas.

Most of the time I make representational paintings.  To me, to represent is not to imitate but to recreate the object as I image it.  To represent is to grasp the essence of the object, but not to copy its all indiscriminate details.   It does not make too much sense to me to copy anything exactly, because that's what a camera for.  

A good painting should be able to stimulate the imagination of its viewer. A literal imitation of any object leaves no room for imagination.  Only a painting which is created via the painter's imagination can inspire the viewer to feel and imagine. 

Of course, one viewer's imagination is different from another and may be entirely different from the painter's. So what? That's the beauty of human imagination.  Only pre-programmed robots may see exactly the same images when they face the same painting.             

Imagination allows you to see what your physical eyes cannot see. Imagination allows you to be somewhere your physical body cannot be.  Imagination gives you wings which helps you fly as high as you want to.  Without imagination, there would be no true art.

In your imagination you can travel anywhere instantaneously. I grew up in a seaside city where my parents' house was 25 minutes from the beach.  My summer memories are all related to sea, sunset, boats and beach.   These are my favorite subjects of painting.  Now, while seeing snow from October to April in Denver, my imagination carries me back to the sunny beach.  When walking on the street and seeing cars and trucks passing through, I imagine they are sailing boats moving on the waving sea. 

Imagination is not limited only to seeing images in your mind.  You can also imagine sound, taste, smell, sensation or feeling.  When you imagine a rose, you can see its delicate shape on your mental screen, smell its fragrance, sense its beauty and feel its movement in the wind.  When you imagine a sunset beach, you can see many colors in the sky and water, the fishing boats near the horizon, and the children playing on the beach.  You can hear the sound of the wave, the wind and the children.  You can smell the sea.

People's imagination can be so different.  Thousands of years ago when a Chinese poet saw a round cake being cut at reunion festival, he imagined that it was the moon going through various phrases, from full to crest.  He named the cake "moon cake".   A few decades ago an American song writer saw the moon, he imagined that it was like a piece of pie, and created that famous song which you can still hear on the radio today.   From cake to moon, from an earthly object to a heavenly planet, the imagination is poetic and abstract.  From moon to a piece of pie, the imagination is concrete and sensual. 

Like anything else on earth, your imagination reflects your spirit, taste and style. 

In any case, imagination is crucial in both creation and appreciation of art.

            Long live, our wild unconventional imagination!!!


If you have visited my studio or my online gallery, you may wonder: Painting from another dimension?  What does it mean? 

          A few days ago, a visitor to my website was puzzled and asked:  "This art is not from out there.   It’s not different. Where is the art from out there you talk about?" Out where?  Heaven? Space ship? Deep Space Nine?   Of course not.

I am painting here, in my little studio on earth. I do not paint Angels or aliens or any religious prophecy or science fantasy.  Instead, I paint the shape, color, value and texture I see on land and in water. I am trying to call people's attention to beauty in this world.

Einstein's universe is 4 dimensional. In some modern physicists' universe, there are 11 dimensions. Most people, however, only experience and understand three dimensional space. Several years ago, I began to have extraordinary experiences, which carried me to a new dimension I had never dreamed of before and  have changed my perception of the universe and my understanding of consciousness. I did not visit heaven, see the white light, or talk to aliens. I simply traveled more than 7000 miles to visit my hometown and saw things, which later were verified, while dreaming in the bed.

After that dream, when I closed my eyes, sometimes I saw images as if there were a TV screen inside my forehead. I did not see religious figures or ETs, but breathtaking scenery and beautiful flowers and animals.

To me, Another Dimension is the dimension I am in when I am dreaming or in trance,  

When I am not confined by this 3D physical space,

When I am totally free of trivial things or daily stress or ego or fear,

When my brain is supercharged and set on the fontal lobes mode,

When my perception is crystal clear, when I can see the image in my head.

Painting From Another Dimension means painting the images from my dream, in my head spontaneously, trusting my intuition and without thinking.

Painting From Another Dimension means total freedom in creation:

There is no limit as to what to paint.  I do not have to limit my subject to one kind of landscape or portrait or still life.

There is no limit as to how to paint. I am not following any particular movement, ancient or modern, nor searching for a formula or mechanical procedure to follow. Instead, I am learning from all masters, past, present and future. I am continuously experiment, explore and invent.

There is no limit as to what medium to use. Ink? Silk dye? Why not? Coffee? Tea?  Soy Sauce? Why not?

There is no limit as to what surface to paint on. Glass? Plexiglas? Acetate sheet?  Why not? Rice paper? Silk? Why not? Transparency Film? Why not?

There is no limit as to what painting tool to use. Palette Knife? Why not? Dinner Knife? Spoon? Fork? Why not? Wood sticks? Twigs? Why not?

Painting From Another Dimension means painting as yourself, from your heart and true to your soul. I sell paintings, but I am NOT painting for sale. I do not make commercial art, even though I know that's the market wants. I am not interested in "wall paper paintings", even though I know they sell well.

I love to share my paintings, which carry my vision, energy and emotion, with other, but I am NOT paint to please others. I paint what I like. If you happen to like it, great! If you don't, so what?  We simply have different tastes. There are millions of other paintings you may enjoy.

Each of my paintings is made with my signature knife marks or brush strokes which no one else has exactly the same on this earth. My painting process is so spontaneous and messy and so different each time that it is impossible to copy my painting exactly. If you have a painting of mine, it would be the only one exactly like that in the whole world.

I see life as a continuum of learning, exploring, creating and sharing. Inspired by great masters like Rembrandt, Monet, Matisse and many others, who never stopped leaning and experimenting during their painting career,  I spend most of my time studying, drawing, experimenting and exploring. I actually paint only when I am in the flow, or in another dimension.


I watched The Secrete yesterday. I heard about it before, but this was the first time I actually saw the DVD.

I was shocked by some presenters’ concept of universe. It is ridiculous.  They see the universe as a large shopping mall, huge warehouse of merchandize, or a super sized mail order catalog. They are the smart shoppers who know the secrete promotional code which give them unlimited access to all the free goods which everyone want. With this secret code, they can go shopping for anything simply by asking the warehouse or catalog. How god fits this picture?  My guess is he would be the CEO of the warehouse.

In the movie, some people mentioned love, relationship, but the most examples are money or merchandize. You want a car? Simply ask and visualize.  Want a house, do the same.

I wonder where the car or house coming from.  I can imagine that if a young man in one of stories told in the movie wanted a car, he can buy one with the money he made or ask his father who happens to have fund to buy one for him. But before anyone can buy a car or house, there must be engineers and workers who designed and made the car, or architect and construction workers who designed and built the house. If all of us on this planet, including the engineers, architects and automobile and construction workers, begin to sit around to ask the manager of the warehouse for everything we desire in the warehouse, who is going to make the cars, build the house and supply the merchandize? 

A universe filled with wanters and askers who do not design or make anything other than words cannot sustain very long, even if they inherited a huge warehouse.



I just realized that perhaps I am addicted to it. Painting has pushed everything else, including writing notes, out of the way.

My editor is ready to work on the draft of a book I am writing, but I haven’t finished yet. Every morning I wake up with a plan: I will write a few pages and then paint. But somehow, painting always gets moved to the first, and I end up with painting the whole day. Anything else hardly has a chance to get my attention.

The following is my answer to some of the questions the collectors have asked.

Q & A


Why do you paint?

It is for fun mostly.

Plus the other 99 reasons I listed in my book, 100 Reasons To Paint. 


Why do you sell your paintings?

If I don’t sell them, my house would quickly run out of room for anything else,

and I wouldn’t even be able to find my cat.

Beyond that, I love to share my work with others.  

I  believe that sharing creative energy and spirit would

bring good karma to both giver and receiver.


Why you sell on eBay?

 To share my work with more people and

to find understanding and appreciative homes for my paintings.


How to you price your paintings?

I believe that really enjoyable paintings should be available and

affordable to anyone who loves and wants it.

Owning original art should not be the privilege of a few.

Beautiful paintings are not luxuries, but necessary wall pieces for every home.

 They are essential to people’s health and wellbeing. 


When do you paint?

I paint when I can feel my energy flowing spontaneously.

I don’t force myself to work because I know

that my best efforts come about as a natural expression.

 I may paint at any time and do not follow a particular schedule.


How do you decide what to paint?


I paint all kinds of subjects, but often I recollect the subject of my dreams,

which can be from the night before, or visions or daydreams

I may have in the middle of the day.

In this way, my paintings truly represent my travels to other dimensions.


Who are your art teachers?

All the great painters before me, and the painters who have yet to come.


What is your style called?

 I don’t believe anyone who is truly original can be categorized easily.

Some people call my work neo-impressionist,

but my friends have called it Expressive Impressionism.

My husband calls it Messy Impressionism.


Why do you like to use a palette knife?

I don’t like using chemicals to clean brushes.

A knife is much easier to clean,

and I don’t have to poison myself doing so.

Beyond that, painting with a knife is childlike, bold and expressive,

which suits my spirit perfectly.



I recently tried a new type of oil paint, one that was designed to dry only when heat was applied. The advantage to this type of paint was that the paint would not dry out on my palette, and I would not waste paint. I experimented with this brand, Genesis oil colors and mediums, for a few weeks. I painted on canvas, Plexiglas, glass, and transparency, using brush or palette knife, with or without medium. These are my findings:

The best feature was indeed that the paints stayed wet on the palette. I could paint whenever I wanted to and leave the paints on the palette as long as I wanted.

Staying wet on canvas, on the other hand, is not so great and advantage for me. I didn’t like the heat-set process that much. Since I paint thick impasto, it takes a long time to dry the painting. Even after it is dry, the paint can be taken off with a knife easily.  To dry glass painting or Plexiglas painting is more problematic. If the heat is not completely even, the glass will break and the Plexiglas will be warp.

Additionally, the colors on canvas are not as brilliant as other brands of oil colors I have used. The paintings look dull.  After I put layers of Genesis vanish on a finished painting, it regained some luster.

My experience with Genesis makes me more conscious of health and environmental concern in choosing oil paints. I have decided that I will only use non-toxic paints, which may include, but definitely not limited to Genesis oil colors.



I painted a few oil sketches a few days ago. These are my favorite ones. I remember that I once picked up an art magazine in a book store. Scanning through the pages I was intrigued by an oil sketch and could not stop looking at it. It was a painting done with a few brush strokes, but it said so much. To me, it was the best painting in that magazine, better than all other paintings combined.

It is much easier to cover the entire canvas than make a lively sketch in which no one stroke is unnecessary.



I am thinking of originality and novelty again and I still hold the same view as I stated in my book, 100 reasons to paint:

Originality has been considered as the principle mark of genius. What is originality?  I like the definition by Thomas Carlyle: “The merit of originality is not novelty. It is sincerity.”   Literary giant C. S. Lewis also stated, “In literature or art, if you simply try to tell the truth- without caring two pence how often it has been told before- you will, nine times out of ten become original without ever having noticed it.

To be original is to be you and to be true to yourself.   Mr. Rogers told us, “No one else in this world is exactly just like you. You are special.”   You may have a twin brother or sister, but there is definitely no another you on this planet at this time. Your perception, your impression and your vision are uniquely yours.  If you express them through your art, you are creating original pieces. 

When you put an apple on your table and paint your emotional reaction to THIS apple, you are creating something original.  Yes, there have been millions of apples before this one, but no another apple is exactly just like the apple you are looking at.  There have been thousands of painters who have painted apples before you, but no other painter is exactly just like you and no another painting was made at this time or under this light or from this perspective or with this vision.  When you express your own impression of this apple on your painting, your painting is unique and original.

I like go to City Park because it has my favorite lake and boats, interesting trees in various shapes, colorful buildings, and lovely geese who are the permanent residents there.  No matter how many times I have been there, each time it is new experience. The lake has different moods, the trees change from day to day and season to season, and the geese never dance exactly the same way two days in a row.  I painted many paintings of City Park and each is the expression of my impression of a unique scene at a unique moment under unique light. 

Sometimes I use the same elements for my flower arrangement, but each time I am facing a unique new relationship of the elements, at a unique space-time, and from a unique perspective. My subjective brain changes continually.  So my universe changes perpetually, even if the objects outside my brain may stay the same objectively.

Being original does not mean you always have to paint something that no one has ever painted before, no matter how ugly it is. More often it means you are creating a piece of art that would NEVER exist otherwise.  No one else has painted the same subject in same way as you do.  You are special, and if you are true to yourself, every painting you paint is original and unique.



A few days ago, Molly, Sheila's dog (Sheila is Neil's mom) suddenly died, after coming back from hospital where the doctor examined her and told us that they could not find any abnormal heart beat or anything else that may led to heart failure. Neil and I stayed in Sheila's house for a couple of nights to comfort her. It has been very difficult for her to accept the passing of her beloved companion and adjust to life without Molly.

Sheila kept asking: "How come Molly was all right one moment and died the next?" I tried to answer her question, but nothing seems make too much sense. Perhaps Molly suffered a sudden heart failure, perhaps her major organs just shut down, or perhaps she was just too tired and did not have enough energy to carry on. It does not matter how and why. She has left this world.

Where is Molly now? Where are our love ones who have passed away from this world? When the body dies, does the consciousness dies with it?

I used to believe that consciousness is the function of human brain and when brain, as a part of the body, dies, the consciousness cannot exist anymore. About 10 years ago, I had an extraordinary vivid dream, in which I flew to my hometown in China without my body and saw some objects which I did not know exist. Later, my sister confirmed what I saw. My experience associated with that dream shook my fundamental beliefs about this world, especially the relationship and separatability of body and mind. I wrote my experience in my book, 100 Reasons to Paint.

If our time on this world or this dimension is finite and our consciousness is infinite, then Mahatma Gandhi's advice “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” makes perfect sense. Since we cannot live forever here, we better treasure every moment we have on the world with our family, love ones and friends. But since our consciousness could live forever, we better learn as much as we can in this life and carry the lesson we learned to the next world or next dimension.



Last night, after watched a Sherlock Homes' movie, I had a weird dream. In my dream I was an assistant to a famous detective, named Jack London, who tried to solve a mystery by finding evidence in a snow mountain. I had no clue what he was looking for. He said: "Don't worry. You will know when you see it." I liked my job and happily climbed mountain with Mr. London, but my favorite detective was Sherlock Homes. I kept asking Jack London: "Are you sure your name is Jack London, not Sherlock Homes?"

I told Neil about my dream and asked him if he knew anyone by that name, Jack London. He said that Jack London is a famous American writer and journalist who lived between 1876 to 1916. I did an web search for Jack London. He published so many novels and short stories. I could not figure out why I had that dream. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell me that I should adventure more and write more :-)



A very productive day!  Yesterday, after so many failed paintings with the new paints,  I had a break.   Felt like I could talk to the colors again.  I know it was just the beginning to understand Genesis oil colors.  A great beginning, however equals to 1/2 success! 




A wise man said two thousand years ago that the secret to live a healthy and happy life lies in harmony and balance. 

It is crucial to our health and happiness that we are always in harmony with nature, with our environment, with our family, friends and everyone else in our life, including those whom we accidentally encounter in grocery store or one the street.  Yes, there are people we meet now and then are not very nice, but we should always be nice to others, no matter they are nice or not.  My logic is simple:  you cannot change anyone's behavior unless that person wants to change.  You can, however, inspire him or her to change and bring the best of him or her out. 

It is also crucial to our health and happiness is that we should keep proper balance in our diet, exercise, work and other aspects of daily life. 

My best friend was very sick for a few weeks.  It makes me think lot about health and medicine.

My parents were trained in western medicine.  I grew up on campus of a medical school where my parents taught and we lived.  Living in a country which has more than 5000 years rich tradition in qi gong, acupuncture and herbs, I knew nothing about Chinese medicine until my high school years when an acupuncturist promised to cure my nearsightedness.  My vision was improved, but not totally restored --- I still have to wear glasses now.  The experience, however, led me to a new dimension of healing and prevention of discomfort and unbalance.  

There are fundamental different philosophies behind traditional Chinese medicine and conventional western medicine.  The conventional western medicine treats human body as assembly of various anatomical and physiological parts, which can be targeted and treated as parts.  The traditional Chinese medicine considers human body as an organic whole, in which each organ, tissue or cell is connected to and interacted with all others.

Conventional western medicine assumes disease are cause by invasion of virus or bacteria, or by genes. The treatment is to attack and destroy the intruders or enemy, and if that is impossible then deals with symptoms.  If the weapon used for the attack also hit the healthy organ or tissue, then there are always other medicine to treat them.  And so on so forth.

Eastern medicine believes that the disease is caused by the blockage of the qi and the unbalance of yin and yang in human body.   The healing method is to open the energy channel and restore the healthy balance.  It's assumption is that human body has potential to heal itself and the purpose of medical treatment is to initiate and assist the body to recover. 

The irony is when more and more western doctors begin to embrace some eastern medicine, in China antibiotic and other western medicine and surgery have almost replaced traditional Chinese medicine and become the dominate method to treat illness. 

A few years ago, a famous comedian told a joke about hospital on Chinese national TV. A patient got cold and went to hospital.  he got injection of different antibiotics and other medicine for his symptoms.  The medicine affected his kidney.  He was given another pills and injections to treat kidney problems.  These pills have bad effect on his liver.  Then he was given different pills to treat the liver failure.  The pills harmed his heart.  His heart failed and he eventually died.  Unfortunately, it is not only a joke.



Just realized that perhaps one of the most difficult things to do is to keep doing one thing everyday -- of course unless that things is eating, sleeping or chocolate and ice cream.   Yesterday I missed my note.   When I decided to write down my notes everyday, I thought it would be simple because I have fresh, new or creative ideas everyday.  In reality to keep doing it needs some discipline, which is not my strong point.  

In the last few days, I have tried to paint with Genesis on canvas, glass, Plexiglas and transparency.  The colors on canvas are not that bright, on glass, Plexiglas and transparency are much better.   So far, my favorite one on Plexiglas is a snow scene I did a few days ago (see below).  It is simple, spontaneous,  true to my "messy impressionist" style.

The problem with Plexiglas is that you cannot really heat it up to 280F without damage it.    I decided to leave the painting wet and cover it with a sheet of transparency.  It works so far, and I like the look of a wet painting.  I have to wait for a while to see the final result because the paints interact with the Plexiglas. 



I continued my experiments with Genesis oil colors.  Genesis has its own color system.  I have to try more colors to choose the few I really want.   I made some progress, but still not there yet.





I have been painting with traditional oil paints until about a week ago when I accidentally discovered the revolutionary new paints, Genesis Artist Heat-Set Oil Paints.  They are Non-toxic and odorless! They will never dry on your palette! My dream oil paints!!

I used to spend at least 20 minutes to clean my palette before starting to paint.  Now no cleaning time at all.  The oil paints stay wet on the palette, no matter how long you leave them there.  Fist time in years, my painting table is clean because the paints can be remove from the table with paper towel and water. 

I am still experimenting with them and trying to get used to the different feel of the paints.  I have decided, however, I will use genesis paints whenever I can.   They would not harm my health and the environment --- for this alone I would choose Genesis oil paints over any others.  It  makes me feel good knowing that I am not making messy waste while trying to create beauty.



Last night I fell asleep while watching The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.  Neil insisted that we should finish it. So we did this evening.  I like it because it is full of out of this world images and surprises. 

Actually fantasy world and this physical world are not that far from each other.  We all have experienced crossing over one or more times in our dream at night or when spacing out during the day.   Some of us may have more share of dream world than others.

I remember one night I saw several my favorite painting masters and their muses in my dream while I was painting the sunset on the beach.  They were so close and real.   Next morning I could not get the vivid images out of my mind.  So I painted it.

I always believe that fine art should be more than the copy or recording of the objects or events.  That is what camera and camcorder for.   Without the vision, concept, emotion and imagination of the artist, there would be no art that is extraordinary and inspiring. 



It was the cleaning day for me. Since Neil was pre-occupied in fixing computer, fixing furnace, and a few other bits, I had no choice but working by myself. Cleaning is not one of my favorite things. I believe, however, we can have fun no matter what we do. How? Well, you just get to be creative in finding joy and meaning in an otherwise boring job. I tried and found two my favorite methods to clean floor. 

One is to spray water and vinegar or bleach on the floor first and then throw paper towel or cleaning cloth on the wet floor and ski or dance or stretch while mapping the entire floor. Using this method, I cleaned the kitchen and both room floor in less than 10 minutes and had great fun.  

Another is to mop the floor by hand. It is like the combination of knee walking, Pilates (that brand of exercise) on mat and yoga stretching, in free style of course. It is too complicated to describe. I will show you later.

We were born creative. Creativity can be extended to every dimension and express itself in everything we do.



I began to have rose vision again. At night, when closing my eyes, I see the most beautiful roses ---- in translucent white, yellow, red, blue, pink and purple. So many subtle shades.  I cannot catch the image in my painting, even though I tried and tried.  Just like a couple years ago, when I saw the same transparent roses again and again every night and tried to paint them every day. More than 100 canvases later, I roses were still far from the image I saw. 

Now the images have come back. It is the time to try to paint roses again. I know the roses I paint may never as beautiful and mystical as the ones I see on my mental screen, but I will never stop trying. 

Mahatma Gandhi advised us “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”  I have decided to paint each day as if I paint my last painting in this life and to learn everything about art as if I were to live and paint forever.