Zhaoming Wu Demo

Chinese master Zhaoming Wu did a two-hour figure painting demo in oil yesterday at the Plein Air convention in Monterey, California. Here are a few notes:

"I start with three values. At the beginning I keep the treatment of shadows flat, with almost no form, but I keep lots of color. After working on the shadows I begin working on the light side."

"I start with a 2D approach, thinking first of shape, then of value, and then color. First comes 2D—shapes and angles; then 3D—form, volume, and structure."

"Once the shadow shapes are clear, I establish halftones and value ranges in the light side. There should be some temperature contrast from light to shadow. Normally I like natural studio north light, with warm shadows and cool light."

"I use thicker paint on the light side to give texture. Some touches of the brush are very delicate, and some are more scumbling. At the final stages, edge control is very important. There should be a lost and found quality to the edges in order to show atmosphere and depth."

Zhaoming Wu gave a lot of consideration to the transition areas between light and shadow. He brushed along, but also across, the forms, alternately softening and defining edges all the way from start to finish.

He stood evenly on both feet, holding the brush well back from the ferrule, and considering each stroke carefully, flicking the brush upward after each stroke was completed. The small accents of the dress and the hair came at the very last.

New book: Selected Oil Paintings by Wu Zhaoming: Oversea Chinese Oil Painters (Chinese Edition)
Zhaoming Wu website
Plein Air convention
YouTube video of Zhaoming Wu
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