Zhou Gang, was born in Shanxi, China in 1961. He graduated from The China Academy of Art and is currently a professor and director of the water-based painting department. Throughout my blog, I would like to introduce various Chinese artists and so I would like to first introduce Zhou Gang to you because he is the advisor for my Master's program at The China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China. Throughout my first year at the China Academy of Art I have learned more than I could ever imagine learning in one year. Not only have I grown as a watercolor artists but as a scholar and learner thanks to my advisor, Zhou Gang. I admire him greatly for the advice and encouragement he has given me over the last year, and at the same time how much he has pushed me to work hard and achieve my goals. Below I would like to share some of my favorite artwork created by Zhou Gang.
First, I would like to share my favorite series of his with you. A series of watercolor paintings of West Lake in Hangzhou, China.
My second favorite is a watercolor series of construction workers in China.
Some of my favorite qualities of Zhou Gang's works are that he uses bright bold colors, and paints the human body in such an interesting and different way in which I am used to seeing. Below are some of my favorite paintings he does of different female models.
Some of Zhou Gang's watercolor landscape paintings are more abstract, but his attention to color, detail, line, and space are phenomenally executed.
I also enjoy the way he captures people in their everyday environment, and the way he expresses their emotions.
Last but not least, I would like to share with you some of my favorite pencil and watercolor paintings by Zhou Gang.
This is just a small collection of my favorite watercolor paintings done by Zhou Gang, my advisor. If you would like to hear more about my time in China studying for my masters, see more artwork done by Zhou Gang, or simply chat about art, feel free to email me at HGreene@friendsnet.org or find me on Facebook or Instagram.
Until next time,
Chen Jian 陈坚
Painting done by professor Chen Jian
In 2019, our trip to Qingdao was led by our professor Chen Qian who is originally from this beautiful city. Chen Jian was born 1959 in the province of Shandong, China and came from a family of electrical engineers. He is a professor at The China Academy of Art but has also been a guest professor at The Guangzhou Academy of Fine arts and the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts. He is also the director of The China Artists Association and the Watercolor Art Committee. Below are some of his watercolor paintings.
During one of our critique sessions, our professor pulled out some prints of his watercolor landscape paintings.
I absolutely adore his use of color and brushstrokes in each and everyone of his watercolor paintings. They create such an amazing setting for the mood intended.
First Day in Qingdao, China （2019）
In my last post, I briefly introduced my experience in Qingdao. Our first night, we received a variety of new art supplies and materials for our time during Qingdao. Our school intended for us to spend everyday out of the two weeks painting outdoors, and our professor who happened to grow up in Qingdao took us to many inspirational places to paint. The first full day in Qingdao we spent touring the city, trying to find the perfect place to paint.
St. Michael's Cathedral, Qingdao (Chinese: 圣弥爱尔大教堂)
Photo of our departments graduate student group
Group photo in front of an art gallery at St. Michael's Cathedral (Graduate and Undergraduate Students)
Watercolor set we received from our department. Each color was handpicked by our professor, Chen Jian.
At the beginning of Day 2 (due to the fact that it was raining outside), we spent the morning in a lecture given to us by our professor. He showed us many of his paintings done in Qingdao to give us inspiration and an idea of what and how to paint outdoors. This is one of my favorite paintings done by our professor and the picture I took of the site at which he painted when I went exploring on day 3.
We spent a few hours each week giving each other critique. My favorite critique was when we all gathered around and our professor took one students painting and helped point out some changes that could be made to make it better.
Another fun critique happened for us graduate students late one night. As seen in the picture on the left is one of my paintings and on the right is one of my professors paintings. He put them up next to each other to show what I could do to improve my painting. Can you take a guess at what he was pointing out to me?
He suggested that I have more separation between the sky and water in my paintings as well and a clear foreground, middle ground, and back ground to help my painting have a better expression of space. (Head over to the gallery on my website to see more of my paintings during my time in Qingdao. You can find this one there too.)
Photo of our department with professor Chen Jian sitting in the front
Overall, I had a wonderful experience in Qingdao and I wanted to take some time to thank my professor who arranged everything that made this trip so very special. I was able to spend every day outdoors and in nature doing the very thing that I enjoy the most, painting. It was such a new experience being able to do this with a group of classmates, painting side by side with each other. I woke up every morning excited to go outside with my classmates and paint. As an foreigner whose main language is not Chinese, I was a little nervous about how this trip would go. I thought it would be hard to communicate with my classmates and I had a million different things going on in my head that could go wrong. But, it was the most wonderful experience of my life and in the end I was able to use the Chinese I know to communicate and have so much fun on this trip. I hope you enjoyed learning about another Chinese artist as well as about my time in Qingdao.
Until next time,
During my first week at school, the school art museum was exhibiting art works created by two very talented Japanese graphic designers Ikko Tanaka and Shigeo Fukuda. Witnessing the talent of these two graphic designers was something I will never forget and would like to share with you.
Ikko Tanaka Japanese, 1930-2002
Ikko Tanaka was a talented graphic designer. As I toured the exhibition the bottom two pictures stood out to me the most for their color, shape, and representation of Japanese culture.
Shigeo Fukuda Japanese, 1932-2009.
Shigeo Fukuda was also another talented graphic designer from around the same period as Tanaka. Most of the time I like to go to exhibitions about painting, traditionally watercolor and oil painting, but I would recommended this exhibition to all those not as familiar with graphic design. Both Tanaka and Fukuda are the greatest graphic designers I have ever seen. Fukuda's works stood out to me the most with their creative design and bold colors. As I walked around the exhibition, I spent a whole hour just staring at the brilliance Fukuda had created. See the pictures below.
I hope you enjoyed the pieces I have shared with you. Until next time.
Class Photo: The Department of Water-based Materials at The China Academy of Art (Qingdao, China 2019)
Every year, The China Academy of Art takes two weeks out of the fall semester to send all of its students across China to paint en plein air (or known as painting outside). In Chinese this is known as Xie Sheng ”写生“, and it is a must for all art students in China to spend a part of each year painting outside and in nature.
My department (The department of water-based materials) traveled about 7 hours by trains outside of Hangzhou to spend two weeks in the city of Qingdao, China. It is a major city in the eastern part of China, located in the province of Shandong. It is a city located on the coast of China, by the Yellow Sea. It is a beautiful city with both a beautiful seascape on one side, and gorgeous mountains on the other.
Photo taken of the seaside in Qingdao, China (2019)
Photo taken of Mount Lao in Qingdao, China （2019）
During the 7 hour train ride from Hangzhou to Qingdao, I broke out my new set of watercolor paints by Paul Rubens. It was a nice set sold at the art market near my school. To be honest it has been one of my best purchases as an artist, as it comes with a variety of colors and even after a year of painting I am still using this same set. During the train ride, I painted a few color swatch samples to past the time.
Upon our arrival, we each actually received a bundle of art supplies to use during our time in Qingdao. Our professor picked out each one with us specifically in mind. I would recommend all of these materials if you are interested in watercolor painting, or sketching outside.
One of my favorite things that we received was a big canvas bag to carry our supplies in during our time in Qingdao. The bag had a print of one of our professors paintings as well as his name, Chen Jian. My second favorite material we received was this small sketchbook by Canson. By the end of the trip, I had filled this book with many sketches as well as pictures and certain memories written down about my time in Qingdao. If I ever get back to China (right now I am stuck in America due to the pandemic), I promise to take you on a tour of this sketchbook and show you all of the sketches I did while sitting outdoors painting.
Well, that's all for today. I hoped you enjoyed my short introduction and the first day on my adventure to Qingdao. Look forward to hearing more about my time in Qingdao and seeing all the pictures, memories, and art I created while I was there.
Until next time,
Introducing my classmates from left to right: Ma Huixin (Summer), Ji Qixing, Gao Xiaomin, Yu Chaozhuo (Aria), and our class monitor Ju Yong.
In Hangzhou, my classmates are a huge inspiration to me. We encourage each other, and have grown a lot with each other as well. When ever we go out we like to take a sketchbook and our art supplies with us to paint and sketch with each other. So today I would like to take some of your time to introduce these amazing people to you.
The first day of orientation was a disorientating whirlwind of new faces, new places, and unfamiliarity. I was on my way to the first day of orientation for international students, when I got a call from my adviser asking me where I was. Confused and disorientated I grabbed a taxi from one campus to another campus where my adviser and the department for watercolor majors was having their first meeting of the semester. On my way to campus, one of my classmates (which I had not met yet) called me to make sure I was on my way and to let me know they were all waiting for me. The classmate who called me (Ji Qixing) would later tell me that they were all excited to meet their foreign classmate. They had my contact information and added my wechat (an app used to chat with others in China). My profile picture had many different international friends in it and my name on wechat had my Chinese, English, and Korean name on it, so many of my classmates thought a Korean international student would show up, and surprised when I did!
Later on, I would come to grow strong relationships with my classmates and enjoy each and everyday coming into our studio and classroom. Everyday we would start the morning off by warming up. Warming up consisted mostly of sketching each other and the models as they set up for the morning. I always came into the studio excited to work alongside these talented classmates of mine, and their determination to improve and succeed everyday inspired me as well too.
My classmates are also quite humorous and we like to have fun together as well too. Coincidentally, on two separate days we ended up wearing these three different colors, which we joked looked exactly like a stop and go light.
We also spend a lot of our free time together going to cat cafes and playing with the cute cats they have there.
Besides spending time together at cat cafes or time together sketching or painting, we also like to get together and have a meal together too. This is when my classmate Ji Qixing (on the right), invited us over to her house for hot pot. It was a wonderful time to spend getting to know each other and eating one of my favorite Chinese foods, hotpot!
I am truly thankful to call these people my classmates and friends. In the picture above, we went out on Christmas day because some of classmates were worried I would be lonely on Christmas away from family and celebrations. We decided to go out and eat hotpot since it was a cold and rainy day. No matter where you are in the world, you'll always find people who you will come to love and who will eventually come to touch your heart in ways you never imagined possible.
On the first day of registration, the school had this poster out welcoming us to The China Academy of Art
On my way to the International Student Department to register, I found this cool staircase with many students taking photographs on it.
Over the next week of orientation and lectures, I strolled the campus grounds discovering many hidden treasures. Our school is made up of a few campus', but this one is famous for it's architecture and design.
There are also many sculptures scattered around this campus, making it have the atmosphere of a school full of art students. Every time I walk around campus I feel inspired and encouraged just by the sculptures and galleries filled with student work.
While exploring the campus during orientation week, I also found the school's exhibition and art museum. Not only is the art inside the museum beautiful, but so is the building itself.
This is the second main campus that I visited during orientation week. This campus is where my studio is and normally have all my classes except Chinese class. It is also a phenomenal campus, situated across from the most famous scenic spot in Hangzhou known as West Lake. Later I'll post about West Lake to show you the beauty it encapsulates.
My good friend Lily from Hangzhou came to visit my campus after class one day. While I was applying to the school, she was a great friend and supported my decision to apply for grad school. She also gave me a lot of encouragement and helped revise my portfolio before I sent in my application to the school.
This campus is also quite beautiful. This is a picture from inside the building our studio is in. Each season brings our school new colors and a different kind of atmosphere.
Follow my Instagram Hanna.Marie.Lin to see more about my school and artwork as well.
Until next time, Hannah
Week one consisted of meeting my advisor and future professors at the China Academy of Art Hangzhou, China. This was the start of the first week out of the future 3 years I will be studying here. In the picture above you can see my advisor Professor Zhou Gang on the left, and my current professor Yu Zhenping to the right of my advisor. During my 3 years here I will be studying water-based materials and painting.
Undergraduate and graduate students gathered around on the first day of school to get to know each other and our future teachers introduced themselves to us as well. This is also what a typical classroom at our school looks like.
First 4 weeks of class were led by our advisor and our class was nude figure drawing with charcoal (The above is a picture of our advisor showing us what the undergraduates were working on and also helping them fix a few errors). For me it was a challenging class because I have not done nude figure drawing since I was in highschool. My mom had taken me to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design a few times for their evening open figure drawing sessions, but I had never actually taken a nude figuring drawing class before. On top of that I had never just used charcoal to draw before, so it was a totally foreign and new experience for me. The first week was really difficult. From Monday to Friday morning we drew for 3 hours with 2, 15 minute breaks. This class lasted 4 weeks total, 2 weeks with male models and 2 weeks with female models. Each pose was held for 5 days. I had quite a lot of difficulties getting used to the materials I was using and also finding the correct form and structure of the body. You can see this in the picture below after day 2.
After 2 days of drawing I felt a little frustrated and compared myself to my other classmates who seemed to be so much more talented than myself. Instead of giving up on just the second day though, I decided to do some smaller sketches, trying to find the correct form and practice drawing the human body some more.
This is a book I would recommend to anyone looking to study more about how to draw the human body. After feeling quite frustrated after days of drawing, I went to the library to check out some books about drawing the human body. I used some of these books to draw small practice sketches.
This was the final master piece after 5 days of working on it. To be honest I still felt very frustrated even just looking at it, but I was really excited for the week to come because that meant I could start over with a new pose and a blank piece of white paper!
This was the second charcoal drawing I did for this course. I felt a lot better practicing and sketching after the first week. Finding the form started to become easier and I could spend more time on shading and the background as well.
Before my professors advice (Picture above)
After my professors advice (Picture below)
After my professors suggestions I decided to lengthen the couch in the background a little bit and also work on the elongating the form on the figure that is standing. After the second week I was already feeling like I had made huge progress from week 1 to week 2
Week 3 we switched from male models to female models. After working on this piece for about an hour, my professor came into our classroom and suggested I erase and start again because the position of the model wasn't quite right. Instead of erasing it with an eraser, he suggested I erase it with my hand to give the drawing more texture and to show the change of the models posture over time.
Day two of this week I worked on finding the correct positioning of the models form and the model in the background as well.
Day 3 and 4 I worked on the highlights and shadows as well as adding some details to their features.
The last day I worked on adding more shadows, but unfortunately I did not get to finish this piece. Although I did not get to finish, again I started to see a hugh improvement from week one till now.
A small break is needed every once in awhile. I took a 10 minute break from the bigger piece I was working on above to draw a simple sketch of one of the models faces.
Week 4 consisted of listening to various lectures from our professor, so this piece was done in one day. My professor came in after about an hour of painting and had me erase and start again. I actually am really thankful he did, because I really like the effect it gave this piece. Even though this was a quicker piece, it's actually one of my favorites from this four week course. I felt 100 times better about the form and also had a lot of fun focusing on shading the stomach and the roughness in the lines of this drawing.
In a blink of an eye, our first four weeks of the semester were over. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to nude figure drawing and using charcoal as a material, but I think I made quite a lot of progress in just four weeks. I look forward to sharing more with you about my progress, the good, the bad, and the ugly, but art is all about the process and that's why it is so much fun, and at the same time very rewarding as well. Until next time.