A Dozen on Display

A Dozen on Display

A dozen of my paintings just went up on display at
The Church at Charlotte’s Matthews Campus.
And just last month,
I did my Whimsical exhibit at the church’s South Park Campus.

I am so thankful to my church for offering me these opportunities to share my art.

Chances are, you’re not schlepping to the Matthews Campus to see these paintings.
So here are images of all twelve for you to peruse.


“Green Vase”

“Indigo” and “Another Dozen”

“View from Morning Coffee” and “Drop”

“The Green 1” and “The Green 2”

“En Route”

“Sherbet Plain” and “Water”

“Hydrangea in Red”

I think some of these paintings were quite successful.
I already know where I’m hanging my favorites when this exhibit is over.
Though recently,
the paintings I’ve intended to keep for my home have sold…
But that’s a good thing, right?

My results on a few of them were abysmal.
I wish I could have painted over those.

I’m learning the rhythm of being an artist.
There sure is a lot of alone time in the studio.
I might be in the mood to paint or draw each day.
Or I might not be.
But it doesn’t matter because the discipline is to keep creating.
Even if it’s just a little bit each day.
It’s important to stay alert.
To keep building that body of work.
To be ready.
Because when the opportunity pops up to show my art,
I’ve either been producing or I haven’t…
  I either have art to show or I don’t.
The idea of course, is that I’ve been chipping away at my art.
And when the query comes about whether or not I can be ready to hang an exhibit,
  my answer is an emphatic “yes!”







The Fair & the Fowl

The Fair & the Fowl

“Oh Rooster” (oil on 8×10 inch canvas)

I’ve been remiss keeping up with my blog posts.
Things have been a little nutty recently.
I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Speaking of chickens,
I’m once again in the mood to paint them.
For the record,
I don’t like real chickens.
I think they are freaky and stupid.
I just like the idea of chickens… and chicken art.

In the middle of painting this chicken,
the words “the fair and the fowl” suddenly popped into my head.
It’s completely cheesy,
but it made me laugh out loud.

“The Fair and the Fowl.”
It’d be a room full of beautiful landscape and flower paintings.
And crazy chicken paintings popping up here and there between all the pretty.
You may not find it amusing.
But I’m completely entertained by the thought of it.
I just might have to do it…



Artist milestone:  My first solo exhibit.
by Val Chan.
(I’m still giddy over the thought.)

On display now in the art gallery at Church at Charlotte South Park through Easter.
Then moving to the art gallery at the church’s Matthews campus.

How lucky am I that my church asked me to share my work in their space.
I can’t begin to express my gratitude.
I embraced the opportunity.
Busted my behind to create enough art to fill out the space.
  Installed it.
Then invited my community and friends to come take a look.

The art reception happened yesterday.
I worried obsessively that I would run out of food and drinks for everyone.
When I wasn’t fussing over the possibility of running out of food,
I worried about no one showing up and then being stuck with all the snacks I’d ordered.
(Yes, I am a total dork)

The fantastic, amazing reality?
LOTS of folks showed up.
And there were plenty of snacks and drinks for everyone.
What a lovely afternoon.

My heart near bursted with joy that so many friends celebrated this milestone with me.

Painting and Repainting

Painting and Repainting

What do I do with my completed paintings?
Some have sold (yay!).
Some are hanging in my home studio and at my C3 Lab studio.
Two are currently on display on the student wall at Charlotte Fine Art Gallery.
And a whole bunch of them are on the “repaint” pile.

Is it hard paint over a “finished” painting?
That first brush stroke to start everything all over again is the toughest.
  Especially since I was fully immersed in the process of that painting the first time around.
But process doesn’t guarantee a successful product.
If a painting doesn’t work,
I’d rather paint over it than keep it around as is or put it in the trash.

Here’s the story of one piece that I’ve really struggled with.

“Jagged” (Oil on 12×12 inch canvas, Summer 2017)

Last summer, I started experimenting with abstract painting.
I enjoyed creating “Jagged.”
In the moment, I liked the play of green and red and the upward movement of the shapes.
I liked it enough to enter it in the student art show at Charlotte Fine Art Gallery.

Then an interesting thing happened.
Once I saw the painting hanging on the wall,
My feelings about it did a complete 180.
Quite frankly, I thought it was hideous.
I couldn’t wait for it to come off the wall.

For a split second in November,
I thought it’d be amusing to fill a whole wall with paintings done only in red and green.
(In honor of Christmas, of course).
I completed two successful red & green paintings.
Then I reached for “Jagged” to see what I could do it with it.

“Jagged” morphed into the start of a landscape.
Then once again, I decided it wasn’t working.
I set aside the idea of the wall of red and green.
And was tempted to throw this canvas into the trash.
But instead, it landed back on the “repaint” pile.

I recently read and have been much inspired by Soraya French’s
“Contemporary Landscapes in Mixed Media.”
Til now, I have not been a fan of landscapes.
But when I saw the colors in the Soraya French landscapes,
I had a complete change of heart.

Being inspired by someone’s work and actually trying to emulate it are two totally different things.
I had such a frustrating time with this painting.

“Purple Hills” (Oil on 12×12 inch canvas, Winter 2018)

It’s called “Purple Hills.”
The blunt truth is,
I think it’s still a hideous painting.
But it’s a step in the direction I’m wanting to go with a new series of paintings.
So at least there’s that, right?

Santa and the Snowman

Santa and the Snowman

Here are my two most recent paintings:

“Santa” (Oil on 12×12 inch canvas)

My friend, Loretta, suggested Santa as the next subject for our oil painting class.
The class embraced the idea and dove into the project.
  We enjoyed ourselves AND learned quite a bit about portraiture.
The most important tip I want to remember:
In portraiture, it is good to do a complete underpainting in viridian.
(Viridian is gorgeous blue-green color).
I think it’s counter intuitive because we don’t look at faces and think “green.”
But that viridian underpainting helps to create depth and richness in the finished piece.

“The Snowman” (Oil on 12×12 inch canvas)

Right smack in the middle of working on Santa,
I decided he needed a buddy.
So I painted “The Snowman” to keep “Santa” company.
I’m tickled to add these two pieces to my collection of Christmas crafts and decorations.

Only a week and change to Christmas…
What shall we make next?

Love Those Oil Sticks

Love Those Oil Sticks

“Bright & Brighter 1” (Oil sticks on 10×10 inch gessobord)

Remember those oil sticks I mentioned a few weeks ago?
They are becoming a real distraction for me.
It was 11pm.
I was supposed to be finishing a long list of chores and packing for a road trip.
I was completely engrossed in an impromptu art session.

“Bright & Brighter 2” (Oil sticks on 10×10 inch gessobord)

There’s a term in Chinese pronounced “shong-ying.”
My best translation for it is something tempting or addicting.
One might say eating a favorite food is “shong-ying.”
The more you eat it, the more you want to eat it.

That’s how it’s becoming for me with my R&F pigment sticks.

“Bright & Brighter 3” (Oil sticks on 10×10 inch gessobord)

In the midst of my studio cleanup,
I decided I had time to draw just one little vase of flowers.
(Recall the recent flower painting obsession)

I pulled out one gessobord and my cigar box of oil sticks.
One board became two.
Then three.
Then four.
Suddenly it was 1am.
My studio still a mess.
Suitcase not packed.
Chores not done.
Family road trip just hours away…

I was tempted to do just one more.
Except I was dizzy.
And out of boards.
I reluctantly stopped for the night.
Traveled & played hard all week with my family.
And you know the first thing I did after I came home & unpacked?
Yup, that’s right.
I went right back playing with the oil sticks.

“Bright & Brighter 4” (Oil sticks on 10×10 inch gessobord)