Thursday, August 8, 2013


"Beauty is altogether in the eyes of the beholder" - Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

A GREEN PALETTE Of all the the desert plants, I find cactus very interesting subject to paint. The bigger they are, the wider my imagination goes. It's true that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I might see beauty is huge saguaros but to you it might look dull. That's okay, because we all have different perceptions and perspectives on things we view. And many artists like to paint different things. Some artists like to paint candies, floral, or landscape. Others paint only what collectors would like to buy. They cater to what others like, not what they like. I like to paint subjects that's are dear to my heart. My choice has to do with many personal experiences. During many trips to the Southwest specially Arizona, I was inspired and fascinated by the beauty of cactus. I have done lots of studies on cactus and painted many of them.

SIZE: 18" x 24"
MEDIUM: Oil on Canvas
I have many cactus oil paintings at home and this is one of my favorites. This is one of my best cactus paintings. It is realistically done and copied from an Arizona travel magazine. I am an artist who couldn't paint and rely on my memory. I need a live model or a good photo, or a page from a magazine or calendar to work from. This method works for me. Some artist have different ways. Whatever we choose to work with we are free to do whatever we feel works. There is no absolute rules for artists. Sometimes experimenting and doing things differently work like magic. I meticulously painted the thistles on this cactus painting. My right hand got numbed from hundreds of tiny brush strokes. Some thinks that painting is like playing but it's hard work too. It like being pricked with some actual thistles. Some of you might think this is just an ordinary painting or not original. But I am okay with that. I painted this cactus for myself and my family. This painting brings lots of pleasures and good memories of the happy trips we had in the Southwest (New Mexico, Arizona and Texas). This painting matches my Southwest theme and color at home.
LIVING ROOM This is our living room where my favorite cactus oil paintings are on display. The "Cactus With Flowers" is on the right side. Our home's theme color is sage, peach and purple. For me these colors are beautiful and alive. Others may not be fond of it but liked classical colors like blue and green. I like green too. Sage is the green shade for Southwest theme. Whatever color you choose to live with or paint, what matters is that you're happy with your colors. Green is beautiful but if you don't like it, that's still OKAY!


CLOSE TO OUR HEARTS: Every time my husband and I took a trip up to San Francisco, we always stopped by the Harris Ranch Restaurant for lunch. It's located on Fwy#5 going up north. This ranch got a restaurant and hotel. The restaurant was famous for it's excellent steak and other delicious beef menu. It had a cattle ranch nearby.
The HRR had a Southwest architecture and decorations. I loved looking at the many cactus's oil paintings on display in the lobby, hallways and private rooms. The particular painting above was one of my favorites. The artwork was painted by a woman artist but I couldn't remember her name. I took a photo of this painting and did my own version below.
SIZE: 20" x 24"
MEDIUM: Oil On Canvas

My oil painting was inspired by the painting shown above. This was my version of the original painting. Copying some body's painting was frown by others but I did not  see anything wrong with it. In old times, many artists copied art works by the masters. It was often encouraged. I thought that if one could copy well, that's a great talent. To be a good artist one needed to practice, study and copy over and over again. It's not a crime learning from others artists who came before us. Studying their style and technique was very helpful.

This trio of cactus was a beautiful painting that I was happy and proud to display in our living room. Painting the same subject over and over again, never bored me. Whenever I look... ..meaning.... really looking..... with admiration and appreciation with my whole heart..... the paintings and the world becomes a more fascinating, inspiring and COLORFUL place to live in. Try it!

Monday, August 5, 2013


"Seeing is an art that can be learned by all of us." - Alexandra Stoddard
ART OF SEEING: According to Alexandra few really know how to see and as a result are unaware of the majesty and beauty around them. But seeing can be learned, and those who learn to see well, the world becomes an entirely different place. Life is suddenly rich with promise, full of light, color, texture and harmony. I agreed with her 100 %.

SIZE: 16" x 20"
MEDIUM: Oil On Canvas

 One of my Southwest oil paintings hanging in our home. Seeing a field of cactus was an ordinary setting but if viewed from a painted window and arranged in attractive composition, it's more inviting. A window, an ordinary subject. But when you add an area rug, pot of cactus, skulls and red chili's hanging from the ceiling it became more attractive. This window invited us to look beyond the ordinary. On the horizon was a field of cactus with yellow flower plus blue sky. There were many numerous things painted here but  surely unnoticed by most viewer. Why? Seeing as they said was an art. We have to learn how to be more receptive and appreciative of the beauty around us.


Sunday, August 4, 2013


"When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself." – Isak Dinesen

SIZE: 16" x 20"
MEDIUM: Oil On Canvas

The above painting was the first cactus oil painting I did during my Art Class at the Sr. Center. Surprisingly, it came out good and realistically look like a cactus. With constant practice, my oil painting started looking more beautiful and professionally done.

I love cactus. Our house and backyard were filled w/ them. So easy to take care. As I struggled w/ my challenging hearing loss, I compared my life to a cactus. Like the cactus, I thrived despite of my difficult and dry life on a dessert highways called "Hearing Loss (oops...I meant Lane.") 
My blue days were many. To fill up my those long and lonely days while my husband was at work and my children were at school, I practiced and painted more and more each day. Painting became my outlet. Painting made me alive and happy. Luckily, I thrived on solitude like a beautiful “Solitaire.”
Progressively, I became a serious artist, sharpening my artistic skill once again. I eagerly looked forward to my once a week class at the Sr. Center. At the same time, I enrolled at the International Correspondence School to update my rusting knowledge about fine arts. Most art homework where done at home.
Although I worked for TV Fanfare for a decade, my paste-up job didn't give me lots of room for creativity and artistic skill. It's a very mechanical job.


 "I think the American West really attracts me because it's romantic. The dessert, the empty space, and the drama." - Ang Lee (Movie director)
In the late 1980's to mid-1990's,  I experienced a decade of very devastating, progressive and severe profound bilateral hearing loss. I could no longer hear and understand the TV, phone, movies, answering machine, etc. It was scary that I could no longer understand some people. Most of them sounded mumbling or eating some words. It  was the most challenging and difficult problem I ever faced in life. I tried to withdraw from noisy crowds. Conversations were very confusing in the dense noise. A scary experience. 

SIZE: 16" x 20"
MEDIUM: Oil On Canvas
Artist Collection

To help myself from getting depressed w/ my hearing problem, I enrolled at an Art class at the
Senior Center nearby. I also loss my job at TV Fanfare. I went back to my first love and passion ( painting). Although I had been painting before, I got rusty w/ painting. Sadly, I haven't hold my artist brushes for over a decade.

Above was my first oil painting at  the Senior Center Art Class. My first realistic oil painting I did. I copied a canvas for the class to paint. This was my version. Not bad a comeback artist.

What initially became a tragedy, became a blessing and artistic opportunity for me. I always wanted to pursue doing oil paint full-time after retiring at the age of 65. But retirement came to me early at mid-life. I was still young and healthy with many more years to live and paint. My only problem was my difficult hearing loss. It's not life threatening but could knock me down easily when feeling blue.  NO need to HEAR well when painting. What I needed was solitude and a skillful hand.