Use backlight to enhance still life paintings

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A lot of photographers use backlight to enhance their photographs. It can add real depth and character to still lifes. As an artist, I love to dabble with the backlight effect in my still life paintings as well. Something magical happens when you see an object lit brightly from behind.

Decorative Plates

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I recently painted some decorative plates for my friends as a gift. The first one I used double-ended art markers I bought from Japan which I am very comfortable with. The colors are quite vibrant – a good turnout. However, the only concern here is that each stroke must be absolutely accurate as there are no way to rectify any mistakes.

The second plate I tried using acrylic, but colors didn’t show up as well as it would have on canvas. #gqart

Marking the Valley Art Exhibition and Reception

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SAVE THE DATE: Monday, September 29, 2014

Join us for A Juried Art Exhibition and Reception

Visual Arts Alberta ~ CARFAC has partnered with the River Valley Alliance to showcase the Capital Region River Valley through artwork!

We are pleased to report  that dozens of artists were inspired by our beautiful river valley and submitted artworks for the juried exhibition Marking the Valley. Artworks have now been selected and 28 artists will be featured in the exhibition, which opens August 28, 2014 at the Kaasa Gallery at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

Chris Carson, Executive Director of Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC, says the river valley really was the muse and inspiration for the artists. They used paint on canvas and paper, charcoal, pen and ink, mixed media, stained glass—and even felting—to depict aspects of the river valley.

The exhibition represents parts of the river valley from Devon to Fort Saskatchewan, the stretch of municipalities that encompass the River Valley Alliance. Some artists worked realistically, looking at the valley from a distance, while others focused on objects and detritus they found on walks in the river valley. Several artists were intrigued with the concept of what a river means, while others abstracted meaning they found in nature.

The artworks reflect the beauty of the river valley and what it contributes to the region—connecting communities and improving the quality of life for everyone in the region.

Marking the Valley  will be at the Kaasa Gallery, Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium until mid-October 2014. It will then move to the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium from mid-October until late November 2014.

Marking the Valley is an initiative of the River Valley Alliance and Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC.

The artists featured in Marking the Valley are:

Debra Bachman
Carroll Charest
Patricia Coulter
Susan Diebel
Father Douglas
Gerald Faulder
Lori Frank
Elaine Funnell
Wendy Gervais
Shane Golby
Nicole Hiebert
Lesley Lambert
Rosalette Mandryk
Tracey Mardon
Byron McBride
Anne McCormick
Leona Olausen
Jozé Olvera
Deltra Powney
Nina Robertson
Helen Rogers
Leanne Schnierer
Elisa Sereno-Janz
Alison Service
Gerald St. Maur
Natasa Vretenar
David Yowney
GuoQuan Zheng

See the original article from the River Valley Alliance here


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GuoQuan Zheng was born in Shanghai and now resides in Edmonton. The desire to create works of art was instilled in him when he was still a child. At an early age, he learned calligraphy, classical Chinese and Western-style painting.

He obtained his degree from the Department of Fine Arts, Shanghai Theater Academy, which is nationally recognized for its training in classical European-style landscape paintings. After graduation, he continued to study and mature in his art. He taught Fine Arts at the China Textile University in Shanghai and worked as a professional artist in China.

GuoQuan’s painting has been exhibited in a numerous major nationwide exhibitions in China. His works are in private and corporate collections throughout Canada, United States, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

For more than thirty years of his career, GuoQuan has been devoted to art as the highest form of expression. He brings stunning vitality, depth, and emotion to his paintings. He is accomplished in classical techniques, but brings an oriental approach with his own unique style. His use of light and color achieves a subtle harmony that speaks of the mastery of his medium. GuoQuan’s paintings show great variety, including landscapes, still-lifes, and abstracts. For him, the beauty of nature and the diversity of everyday life are constant sources of inspiration for his paintings.

My sketches from Squamish and Maple Ridge, BC

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I visited Squamish and Maple Ridge, BC, Canada last year. I couldn’t resist from the breathtaking scenery around me, so I had to do some quick sketches.

British Columbia is one of the most beautiful place I have been to and I would go back in a heartbeat. I like to thank Nan and Michelle for hosting me while I visited BC. #gqart

East meets West in eyecatching Art Beat show

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He’s the last on the list of the alphabetical painters represented at Art Beat Gallery, and one of the newest to grace its walls. GuoQuan Zheng was born in Shanghai but seems to have come from a long line of Old Masters to bring his European-influenced works with a soul from the Far East all the way to St. Albert. What local gallery goers will get is the best of all worlds.

“He told me that when he took art lessons, everything was about realism,” offered Brigitte Barrantes, gallery owner. “He could make a realistic painting in a perfect way but once you live the lessons, he has to find his own style, he has to find his own colours and his own flavours.”

The flavours that he has found are pastel pink and blue candy floss sunset skies, fiery forests in the fall and pristine azure blue waters of some ridiculously beautiful lakes, rivers and other waterways.

Those other waterways include some canals, complete with gondolas. Yes indeed, there are a lot of European Romantic images side by side with some unmistakable Albertan picturesque landscape scenes. All are dreamlike in a way, and can easily lead to flights of fancy.

“He loves Impressionism which is what he follows. He loves his pink skies, greens and turquoise … anything but Realism.”

He knows his way around shadows and textures, bringing some great depth to river bends and forest groves. He is also adept at composing tricky street scenes, capturing just the right amount of shadows and reflected light in what is otherwise a pathway immersed in murky darkness. It’s not a small skill, something he has certainly continued to develop over decades of dedication to his craft.

After his formal education ended, he taught fine arts and graphic design at Shanghai’s China Textile University. Now, he’s teaching us how he sees the world.

“It’s not something we see a lot of here especially in this gallery. It was the point to bring somebody different and to appreciate a different style of painting. They’re exquisite like Matisse. You do see a lot of the Eastern influence. They could be really simple landscapes but when he puts it on canvas, there’s a real richness and depth to it. You can see it. There’s a lot of Romanticism in his paintings.”

“Obviously this is not what he sees but he interprets it completely different. His point isn’t to copy. It’s to find what he loves in his own style, which he believes is the purpose of any artist.”

See the original article from the St. Albert Gazette here by Scott Hayes.

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