Taiwanese Halloween Sisters
size:  12″x 16″
price:  $675 USD
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Over the course of nine days, I went on a little painting journey in many parts that were unknown to me. I’ve never painted multiple figures in one painting before, or came up with a background that was suitable for the figures. Backgrounds can be tricky. Either they push the painting into flight beyond your imagination or it can be invasive and distract from the figures. I knew I wanted to keep the background simple. Much of Chinese art have very simple and clean backgrounds, and I wanted to have that element in my work.

These are my Taiwanese students. Jade and Nell (with her dog Pluto). That dog was always with her and felt it was important to include the dog. It helps add life to their already wonderful story. The background was all my own. I’ve experimented with a moon, with just a pink background, and just organically, I came up with a tree that resembles what you would find in Taiwan. I also used textures and scraping the paint for raw, primal effects. The hardest part was getting the expressions right. I always felt like I could do the hair and eyes the best. They’re my favorite part. But the facial features, you have to get certain marks right or they’ll look like someone else. It’s very tedious. But when you finally get it, you just know it. My dad asked me the other night “How do you know when it’s done?” I think the painting’s done when you really can’t think of anything else to improve on it. I would rather underwork it a bit than overwork. Overworking it will squeeze the life out of it quickly. So you have to learn to hold back.

filling in the main patches of color.

This piece was also amazing due to the fact that I could see many influences throughout the painting. I’m not a purist, except that I go for authenticity and emotion. I want to feel something special when it’s done, as if the children are communicating something to you. That’s the real power of painting. Evoking emotions where other things in life just blind or distract you. We are bombarded by thousands of images each day. I believe our mind is like junk mail, in that we’re so used to getting useless stuff, we easily can filter out anything. But in our fast, modern world, we tend to become desensitized to help protect us from visual overload.

adding more layers to the painting, including background.

One of the great things with art is that it’s like a reset button for the senses. It helps us bring us back to what’s real, what’s important in life. I guess that’s one of many reasons why I still do it. The fire’s still there, and I wanted to push my own boundaries into the unknown, to come up with something special. Because that’s what I enjoy doing. I love to see my work grow. I love to see progress. And I love to see people really touched by what I’ve done. It’s a great thing to provide to a chaotic world.