Artist Zhaoming Wu grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution. At the age of 8 the government closed the schools and he had to leave. He spent his days copying comic books and studying Chinese brush painting from a book. When he was 12, his mother, a doctor, recognizing his talent asked a patient, a professor at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, to train her son. Today, Zhaoming’s paintings are exhibited around the world.
Whidbey Island FineArt Studio has the privilege of hosting a “Luminous Figure” workshop by Zhaoming. By helping his students focus on the basics and not get lost in the details and particulars, Zhaoming helps others create spectacular figure paintings.
Wu's design principles derive from traditional Chinese painting. He begins composing a new image by determining what he calls points, masses, and lines. While a painting can be built on two or even just one of these three elements, Zhaoming prefers to build his compositions on a mixture of all three. “I use points, masses, and lines the way a composer uses notes to write a song,” he explains.
In his work and teaching, Zhaoming also gives a lot of consideration to the transition between light and shadow. He teaches the following about painting with his techniques:
“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.”
“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.”
We hope that you will join us this August 2013 for Zhaoming’s figure workshop.