This is the first time I chose to create a self portrait; this wasn’t any sort of assignment for a studio class or even a prompt for an art contest.
I believe that the most difficult aspect of this original painting was the placement and structure of the foxes; in order to keep the flow of the work consistent I added another fox (lower left hand corner)
I have seen another contemporary artist, Kelly Denato,’s paintings which possessed a glowing effect despite no iridescent shimmer paints. In order to achieve that same effect I used a tiny brush and pastel paints to dip dots all over the backdrop, almost like fluttering flower petals and snowflakes.
This will more than likely end up in my ‘Best of 2017’ post upon January 1, 2018. Thanks as always for viewing. Merry we meet and merry we part.
~Xi Wen Chen
I haven’t been doing many digital paintings with Adobe Illustrator lately…until recently that is. I am inspired by the various cats that occupy my chosen college, Pratt Institute: Brooklyn Campus
This is the reference photo:
I decided to emphasize on the peridot green eyes and various shades almost naked to the eye in the pitch black ebony fur.
The shaggy mane reminds me a bit of a lion’s mane; so pearly and silky!
I chose not to add more highlights or shadows upon the splotches of shadows in order to fully sharpen up the images of the rosy border.
The star shaped blended backdrop is meant to bring out the other parts of the scenery and complement my chosen colors for my typed signature:
My ears are pointy and twitching; eagerly anticipating some unique commissions for door signs/posters. I just need to set up my payment info…..
This original acrylic painting, 14 X 11 inch framed ‘Thinking of Love’, is a combination of my newfound affections for a certain classmate/friend, while unloading the emotional baggage of my two ex-boyfriends.
The primary symbols of this Hindu goddess akin to Kali are the seven chakras of the chakra ladder. For those of you who don’t know, according to Hinduism, the body is broken up into seven symbols, a.k.a., chakras. It begins with the red root chakra, orange sacral, yellow solar plexus, green heart (repurposed as a carrier owl with a keyhole), ultramarine blue throat, and purple third eye that resembles a crown. The crown chakra is invisible.
Fun fact: Indian woman typically have their left nostril pierced and connected by a nose ring to their left pierced ears. The size of the nose ring indicates the wealth of her in-laws, so, better check your reflection right before crossing the altar.
This is a close up of my owl, water lily pond, and parts of the vintage silver frame.
I love the stylized purple of the body and red root plus orange sacral chakras. I would have added a sexy belly piercing ring, but I have a stigma against exposed naval piercings:they are for prostitutes and/or strip dancers.
The creamy Taj Mahal is composed of creamy yellow ochre, yellow cadinum dark, cobalt blue, and ultramarine blue. I believe that there is some mars black and dark cadinum red mixed in as well.
The eerie yet poetic blood moon represents all the moon deities transcending time and countries. Some include: Chang’E, Selene, Luna, Hecate, Kaguya, Artemis, Diana, and Maya.
I’m inspired completely by past/present love plus Arden Cho’s unique, unforgettable song: Memory.
May love be well with ya; I swore it off for most of my high school career which in hindsight was well worth it. I have a large scholarship to Pratt Institute, no serious health issues/STDs, or physical attachments.
All be well with thee.
~Xi Wen Chen 陈睎文
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
I will also post my available Instagram art process videos in the next few ‘diary entries.’
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.
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
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.