Monthly Archives: August 2017

‘Albino Pirate:Process Video I’

This is the first live-stream Instagram video I made for documenting my artistic process on mixed media painting, ‘Albino Pirate.’ Unfortunately, my second video is too long to be saved and has been lost somewhere in my Instagram history section. 🙁 Does anyone know how to recover past recorded live videos that are about an hour long?

‘Albino Pirate:(in process) I’

Unlike my ‘Nymph of the Petal Tears’ I began this mixed media (acrylic-oil painting) artwork with a concept already in mind. I intended of depicting both a strong female character and overlooked racism.

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As usual, I began the first few layers using only acrylic paint: I wanted to blend and experiment with colors and tones using a medium that would dry quickly. In my original sketch I had a full room, a pet fox, and several smaller trinkets that did not make the final cut.

The issue that I decided to place a spotlight under is a well kept dark secret in Africa; in fact, it’s probably the reason that elephants being massacred for their ivory tusks dominate the news in order to conceal this bitter pill. It is the matter of Albino hunting.

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African Albinos are seen as outcasts in their native society; many don’t live to see their twelfth birthday since they are usually either sold by their families to a hoodoo cult or kidnapped by a witch doctor.

albino pir 3      The albino maiden that is the focus of this painting, Maaike (translates to ‘rebellious woman’) is a pirate captain (of my imagination) who escaped murder at the hands of a witch doc with the help of her childhood friends (one of whom is standing behind her in the composition).

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Originally, I titled this painting as ‘White Feather,’ not just because of the large, posh ostrich feather attached to Maaike’s Victorian era ‘Lady Diane’ hat. I was inspired by the name of one of the characters from Chinese movie House of the Flying Daggers/飞刀门/fei dao men. The name, Sui Feng (随风), means ‘As the wind moves.’ He comes and goes following the wind patterns, much like pirates do. However, as the painting progressed and I discussed it with a few friends, we mutually agreed that ‘Albino Pirate’ described this artwork more effectively.
albino pir 4        I  may be painting one of the final layers, but it doesn’t mean I am replacing every inch of acrylic painting details with oil paint. The feather cloak for example, I am only adding a few dynamic strokes to the composition, to refine it a bit more.

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I did mess up the facial composition a bit, but I will tweak it in my next #WIP post on my Instagram page (@xi_wen_c).

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I will also post my available Instagram art process videos in the next few ‘diary entries.’

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Instead of painting some badass lace-up doc-martens or thigh high leather boots for Maaike to wear, I decided to give her the same type of shoes that a lady of her noble birth would wear on a ‘normal day’-pin heels. It’s a subtle reminder that her infamous title/profession wasn’t really a choice, but a decision she made out of necessity.

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I didn’t introduce an exotic black and white owl into the background just to fill space; they are an iconic symbol for intelligence/mystery. Both qualities I hope to invoke within ‘Albino Pirate.’                                                                                                                                   Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll continue to read/comment on my blog. Please leave a follow on this blog/my Instagram page.

~Xi Wen Chen

‘Madame C: Journal Entry II

As you may have heard through my recent Instagram posts (@xi_wen_c) I created this original acrylic painting, Madame C, using a close friend as the model. I am not revealing her name/identity out of respect for her wishes, but I will speak a bit more over the process and story behind this creation.

I was approached by the real Madame C about creating a personalized commission in early July, about a month before moving into Brooklyn Pratt Institute. I asked her to send me a high-quality photograph of herself in a pose that she would like to be painted in, requested color scheme, and to select a background beach scene that she’d like to be portrayed in. The images below are from google images (no copyright infringement intended!):

 

       (She chose the last scene with the full moon and complex emotional waves, by the way!)

      What I enjoyed the most about creating this painting is the challenging composition with the body structure and epic waves.

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My signature is a bit faded looking in the misty sky backdrop; I guess that’s what happens when you write with a black gel pen over thick layers of acrylic paint (>_<+)

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My signature is this: my name in pingyin (Xi Wen Chen). Beneath my name is the date that I ‘officially’ completed the artwork: 19 Aug 2017. The day before move-in day.
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I also really enjoyed painting the enigmatic moon; it’s amazing how each culture, no matter if they’re deeply religious or not, have their own spin on a moon legend. I based the name ‘Celestial’ off of strong female moon goddesses including Hecate and Artemis, to strengthen Madame C.

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The sky was a lot of fun to experiment with: I went a bit crazy attempting to blend a ‘never before seen shade of purple.’ I used dark crimson red, cadmium red, phthalo blue, and cobalt Golden paints. I later used a thin Sapphire blue paint brush to embellish certain sections and add some more of a goddess ‘feel.’

madame C

Originally, I began with a light lavender color upon the loose fitting nightshirt, but as the layers piled on, the color intensity thickened as well. It ended up being a hybrid blend of cadmium red, phthalo blue, and metallic silver!

madame C
The g-string from the private reference photo was originally a plain ebony black, but I decided to ‘spice it up’ a bit with crimson red and phthalo blue blended together and layered.

madame Cmadame C  These two panel close-ups are of the epic waves that flow spiritually/dangerously during the approaching high tide. I chose to depict them as vivid and strong as possible; all in an effort to strengthen the likeness of goddesses Artemis, Hecate, and Chang’E into ‘Madame C.’

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I plan to also turn this original painting into a high quality open edition print collection for sale at a later (TBD) date.

Thank you, to my blog readers & Instagram followers, for embracing my art and patiently following my #WIP (work-in-progress) art posts. I hope to continue producing premium quality original art that inspires fellow creative minds and beckons out emotions.

~Xi Wen Chen

 

 

‘Madame C:Journal Ent I’

   I am not able to upload the process videos yet, but I will at the first chance I receive. This is one of the most special acrylic personalized portraits that I’ve had the privilege of being approached first to create.

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I’ve been inspired by watching process art videos on other amazing artists’ Instagram and business websites, which is why I have chosen to make my own live stream. None of my art process has been edited/tampered in any shape or form. I choose from a wide variety of music to listen to as I weave with my magic, and to entertain my local/global audience.

My playlist for this series of live journals are:

  1. ‘Fight ’til the End’ by Jack Savoretti
  2. ‘I Found’ by Amber Run
  3. ‘Dollhouse’ by Melanie Martinez
  4. ‘Chillin’ like a Villain’ by Adam Schmalholz, Tom Sturges, Antonina Armato, Tim James
  5. ‘Ways to be Wicked’ by Sam Hollander
  6. ‘If Only’ by Adam Anders
  7. ‘Playdate’ by Melanie Martinez
  8. ‘Big Girls don’t Cry’ by Fergie & Toby Gad
  9. ‘How to Save a Life’ by the Fray
  10. ‘Game of Survival’ by Ruelle
  11. ‘Cut the Cord’ by Shinedown
  12. ‘Sound of Madness’ by Shinedown
  13. ‘Enemies’ by Shinedown
  14. ‘Adrenaline’ by Shinedown
  15. ‘Call Me’ by Shinedown
  16. ‘If You Only Knew’ by Shinedown
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I’m really hoping my close friend will appreciate this personalized portrait of her, as much as I loved working on it (after I had set up the foundation layers, of course!)

 

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The First Layer is just dabbing on paint, some color contrast, and vivid strokes of water.
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Beginning to define my friend with glowing pastels against the dark, murky moon adorned sky and silky glowing waters.
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After contacting the real ‘Madame C’ via DM on Instagram, I altered her formerly pale peach nightshirt and hunter green panties to a glossy lavender and darker underwear.

I’m very excited to show the completed version of ‘Madame C’ very soon. I also have several other ideas that I’m looking forward to working on outside of the thumbnails. Think of them as profound throwbacks to my childhood as a selective mute, introvert (still am), and old soul (I feel as though I’m at least 1,000 years of age, lmao!) Enjoy your Friday night everyone!

 

‘Story behind the Nymph of Petal Tears’

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First order of business: I’d like to thank you for clicking on this image; it proves that you aren’t sick of viewing this original surreal acrylic painting….yet. I figured that with all the available space on this personal website, I might as well get personal with my art in a positive manner. I am constantly being inspired by music, whether as a lullaby soothing me as I brew my tea in the looong morning hours, or awakening the artistic side of my brain while painting/typing this. I usually choose one or two emotionally connecting songs to listen to on loop mode. It brings out the raw elements of the lyrics and soundtrack.

I made the falling flower petals a tasteful substitute for the imagery of tears and blood, since that is a main detail in the Chinese song: ‘Painting Face (花心).’ The song focuses upon two close sisters who set fire to their former friendship when they realize that both of them have fallen in love with the same man. I interpret the haunting song as the two of them reminiscing over all they have lost in the name of jealousy, betrayal, spite, lust, and revenge. Was it all worth it? Wrecking years of friendship/sismance for a taste of love?

Here are the lyrics, credited to  http://echowillow.livejournal.com/18834.html?mode=reply . I made a few edits as I saw appropriate, no copyright infrigment intended. Please make your own judgements/ideas about the ballard’s message.

画心/huà xīn/Painting heart

作曲(Composter):      藤原育郎/Ikurou Fujiwara

作词(Lyricist):            陈少琪/ Keith Chen

歌手(Singer):           张靓颖/Zhang Liang Ying
看不穿是你失落的魂魄

kàn bú chuān shì nǐ shī luò de hún pò

Oblivious to your distracted, aloof soul,  

猜不透是你瞳孔的颜色,

cāi bú tòu shì nǐ tóng kǒng de yán sè,

Ignorant to the fact that it was in the colour of your pupils,

一阵风, 一场梦

yī zhèn fēng , yī chǎng mèng

One gust of wind; one waking dream,  

爱如生命般莫测  (爱是生命的莫测)

ài rú shēng mìng bān mò cè  (ài shì shēng mìng de mò cè)

Love, like life, ever so full of mysteries  (Love is life’s deepest mysteries).

你的心,到底被什么蛊惑?

nǐ de xīn,  dào dǐ bèi shí me gǔ huò?

Your heart, what has bewitched it so?

你的轮廓在黑夜之中淹没

nǐ de lún kuò zài hēi yè zhī zhōng yān méi

Your outline fades before vanishing into the dark, unforgiving night.

看桃花,开出怎样的结果

kàn táo huā,  kāi chū zěn yàng de jié guǒ

Examining the peach blossoms, what results will occur?

看着你,抱着我

kàn zhe nǐ bào zhe wǒ

I watch you embrace me, 

目光似月色寂寞  (目光比月色寂寞)

mù guāng sì yuè sè jì mò  (mù guāng bǐ yuè sè jì mò)

With eyes as lonely as the moonlight,  (With eyes lonelier than Chang’E)

就让你在别人怀里快乐

jiù ràng nǐ  zài bié rén huái lǐ kuài lè

It’s time to let you go; seek happiness in the arms of another.

爱着你, 像心跳难触摸。

ài zhe nǐ  xiàng xīn tiào nán chù mō。

Loving you has become intangible like a heartbeat.  

画着你 ,画不出你的骨骼。

huà zhe nǐ , huà bú chū nǐ de gǔ gé。

I’m unable to construct your skeleton as I paint you.

记着你的脸色, 是我等你的执着。

jì zhe nǐ de liǎn sè , shì wǒ děng nǐ de zhí zhuo。

To remember your expression is my stubborn way of wishing for your return.

你是我 一首唱不完的歌。

nǐ shì wǒ  yī shǒu chàng bú wán de gē。

You are my endless song,

你的轮廓在黑夜之中,淹没。

nǐ de lún kuò zài hēi yè zhī zhōng ,yān méi。

But your defined silhouette still fades into the dark, lonely night.

看桃花,开出怎样的结果?

kàn táo huā,  kāi chū zěn yàng de jié guǒ?

Watch the fluttering peach blossoms, what fruits will they bear?

看着你,抱着我,

kàn zhe nǐ ,bào zhe wǒ,

I watch you embrace me,    

目光比月色寂寞,

mù guāng bǐ yuè sè jì mò,

With eyes lonelier than the solemn moonlight.

就让你, 在别人怀里快乐,

jiù ràng nǐ  ,zài bié rén huái lǐ kuài lè,

It’s time to let you seek happiness , in the arms of another,

爱着你, 像心跳难触摸。

ài zhe nǐ , xiàng xīn tiào nán chù mō。

My love for you, is throbbing within my heartbeat.    

画着你, 画不出你的骨骼。

huà zhe nǐ , huà bú chū nǐ de gǔ gé。

I’m unable to create your skeleton, as I paint you

记着你的脸色, 是我等你的执着

jì zhe nǐ ,de liǎn sè,  shì wǒ děng nǐ de zhí zhuo。

To remember your expression, is my stubborn way of waiting for you.   

我的心, 只愿为你而割舍。

wǒ de xīn,  zhī yuàn wéi nǐ ér gē shě。

My heart sheds, only for you.

(完/End)

If this song doesn’t make you shed a tear, then you’re either a pragmatic or a psychopath. Pick one.

Thanks for supporting me. If you have any questions, comments, etc., please drop a comment below.

谢谢/Thank you.

 

‘Decorative Flower for the Neck’

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I’ve always been a fan of beautiful necklaces, whether they are simple rose gold chains bearing open heart pendants or large elaborate decorations with matching pendants such as this creation. What is your favorite childhood treasure? I used to have a silver locket with a compass dial made of glass stones in colors: red, orange, green, and blue. I think it broke due to my nine-year-old carelessness.

But back to this handmade ‘wearable art’, I made it with the intention of combining past and present. The ‘ling hua’ knot in the center is a flower knot that is a popular entity of past Chinese dynasty art, whether it’s carved into pottery or embroidered upon a courtesan’s dress. charm

What makes this handicraft look ‘modern is the open ‘hui-ling’ knot, or rather, hollow square knot. There is a order and structure, but room to grow and develop.

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I had fun connecting the ‘chunky’ ceramic beads, since it was a struggle to try and keep the two halves of a half moon with an arc together. Finally, I just gave up, and taped the two rebels together. You’re bonding in the same room, like it or not.

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The clasp of this unique necklace was a bit of a struggle to create as well, since I am low on both jump-links and clasps, but I managed to create something unique, with a touch of tradition and innovation.

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I appreciate whomever took the time to read through the ‘crafter’s process’ if you will. If you are wishing to see how all these close-up photos relate to one another, but are unwilling to scroll back up since you think it’ll crush your scrollbar somehow, a combo picture lies right below this sentence.

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‘Nymph of the Petal Tears’

Originally I did not have a set concept for this acrylic painting; rather it was based off several reference photos I found in a few Bazaar magazines. Although the subject matter is a made-up nymph, I chose not to paint her wings and left them up to the viewer to decide whether they were large or small, insect like or resembling leaves.

nymph painting

What I love the most about painting this besides the vintage jewelry is painting her skin tone; contrary to popular belief skin color isn’t just one color, but a mix of hues ranging from subtle green to vermillion red. It took me many layers to achieve the desired stylized blend of colors in the final layer.

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I believe that while tiny details add an incredible amount of depth to any illustration or design they should be used sparingly in order to avoid clogging the message or concept. As Louisa May Alcott put it in her renowned novel, Little Women, “It is the same as wearing all your dresses, hair ribbons, and jewelry all at once, just to let people know you have them!”

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I enjoy painting noses and hands, but eyes are a real nightmare to me. I usually struggle with figuring out where to place the eyes and the proportions when compared to the chin, ears, and jaw.

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First Layer
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Final Layer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do find it shocking that people find classic nude art ‘offensive’ when our pop media is filled with celebrities wearing scant bits of clothing and f-bombs filling rap songs. Instagram even deleted carefully composed paintings because they depicted the female body unclothed! That is the same as prohibiting leggings to be worn on school grounds but allowing spaghetti tops and short shorts.

nymph's bare breasts

It is not just in art that I have witnessed this discrimination, but in real life as well. Random creeps will preach ‘Breast is best!’ to random pregnant women, but act disgusted at the sight of a woman feeding her infant in public. What are they planning to resort to? A hamburger for a toothless child? Oh wait, with every half-truth and blatant lie that plagues the media from authority figures we shouldn’t be so surprised.

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I sincerely hope that my art can reflect the thin line people tread on when it comes to denial and taking offense. We shouldn’t be focusing on whatever foolishness is being broadcasted from Twitter, but on graver concerns, including the environment, discrimination, and senseless religious fear. Remember this: a Versace purse may be someone’s first love, but it does not suit everyone. Religion is the same in that aspect. Thank you for reading, and all be well with thee.

The Classy Locket

The saying “Every woman should have a string of pearls in her jewelry box” applies to an elegant locket as well. While on my family vacation to Taiwan last month, my mom and I took the opportunity to visit the weekend Jade Market, located underneath the Jianguo Elevated Road in the Da’an District of Taipei City. What I love about shopping at open air marketplaces is that there are so many unique items for sale, such as coral necklaces and name chops versus the generic styles commonly found in malls. Many different items caught my attention such as hairsticks and ivory sculptures but the pendant that is the focal center of this post is my personal favorite find.gate door

The three pairs of silver acrylic beads I used for the ‘chain’ part of this creation aren’t from a set I purchased while in Taiwan but from Joann Fabrics and Crafts. The cord I use most often for knotting is this shiny nylon cord dubbed ‘rattail.’ It’s silky, attractive, and extremely affordable; I’ve bought them before in a bulk for about twenty bucks on Amazon. With the main rattail, a chunky dark green, I made the ‘body’ of the necklace after stringing the locket pendant through and placing it in the center.

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The knot patterns I made (from bottom to top) are Ru Yi (an extension of the 3-leaf clover knot), X-knot (it holds these attractive knots in place) Round Brocade, X-knot, and 3-leaf clover.
locket.png I found that while the dark green complemented the silver of the pendant it failed to bring out the shine of the moonstone on it. I chose two different colored thinner rattail cords, a lavender and a raspberry pink, with the intention of weaving it through the center portions of the knots. The first thing I did was burn two of the ends together at the stove, it forms a solid glue with minimal risk.

I then used a needle (with the sharp part covered in masking tape) to weave the cord in and out around the centers of the knots, it was a bit difficult yet fun at the same time. I decided to end it with a half-cobra knot pattern on the ‘chain’ portion and strung the acrylic beads on. The ‘clasp’ is actually a cobra knot bead that slides up and down.locket1.png