Sunday, December 31, 2006

New from Ivan Chan Studio! From Persia with Love

From Persia with Love, oil on canvas, 12" x 16"
Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to bring this piece home with you.
Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sneakier Preview! Golden flowers part 2

Why do I ever think I'm done with a painting?

I would have replaced the image in the last preview, but a fellow artist (the very talented Michelle of MW-ARTCO--please check out her blog via the links to your right) had commented on it and I didn't think it fair to sneak this new reworking of the painting in as if this were the one she thought looked nice.

I'll leave it to your very capable eyes to discern the differences, obvious and not so obvious between the paintings. Originally, I had even put in a strange dream creature (actually, two) at the top, but I decided to remove them (the joy of working with oil paint). These flowers which are not flowers but an image of flowers, shall have to stand alone, then.

Take care,

I.

Sneak Preview! Golden flowers

I'm not certain, but this may be the last purely floral painting I do for a while. Thanks for bearing with my meanderings, at least on subject matter.

There's always a connection throughout my work, even if I'm not working on one series doggedly. (I don't know about you, but I get bored at galleries and exhibits when there's only one theme presented by the artist.)

I like to see a diversity of subjects, techniques, interests, etc. when I look at an artist's work. That's why I prefer Open Studios or similar events. It's not that I don't have an attention span, I just like spice in my life: variety.

Sure, a theme can be played out in a fascinating number of ways in a series. I love Iron Chef for that reason--because they can have one theme ingredient, two chefs, and all of a sudden (well, within an hour), they have upwards of twenty different dishes. Wow.

However, unless I'm on Iron Chef for the novelty of eating one item cooked many different ways (hm, now that would be an interesting position to be in), I'm going to seek out a restaurant (or my own kitchen) for different flavors and ingredients I can have in one meal.

In the end, though, I ask people to step back and look at the constant evolution of my work. Yes, I'm painting flowers. But look at the colors.

Still my favorites. Still me. Just a bigger theme.

Take care,

I.

Friday, December 29, 2006

New from Ivan Chan Studio! Floating Vase of Oriental Poppies with Fluttering Koi on Golden Pond SOLD

Floating Vase of Oriental Poppies with Fluttering Koi on Golden Pond
mixed media on canvas, 12" x 16"

This original painting is sold, but a highly limited edition print (2 plus 1 artist's proof) is still available. Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to purchase the last of this collector's item!

Sneak Preview! On golden pond

So this is what I do instead of sleeping.

I've got both a natural resistance and attraction towards the surreal and abstract. I think that's why I enjoy fantasy and calico cats. Really, it makes sense if you think about it.

Since exploring flowers in The Butterfly Effect, The Butterfly Effect: Parallel, and The Longest Kiss Good Night, I have been aching to do a vase of flowers. A clutch, a bouquet, a cloud of wildflowers or cultivated flowers that holds our emotions in their petals and stamens.

I wondered about the vase in this painting. Should my flowers be cut, and contained? Should they be realistic, or real? Shall I add butterflies or koi? I chose koi, as you can see. They're the calicos of the domesticated fishes.

So here I have my cake and I'm eating it, too. If you say that can't happen, then you're thinking too much. (Believe me, I've been there. In fact, I have a summer home there.) I think the title is going to be Floating Vase of Oriental Poppies and Butterfly Koi on Golden Pond. A mouthful, but it's kind of fun.

Isn't sleep a grand idea? I have so many emails to reply to that it's ridiculous, and if anybody's reading this to whom I owe an email, please know that I am obsessively and guiltily thinking of you even as I whittle the night away with my brush.

The 12" x 16" painting above is mixed media--acrylic (where my left hand condescended to use brushes) and iridescent oil paint (I love the Asian connotations of heavenliness with gold).

I'll list this later in the day, so as to have a reasonable end time for the auction.

Best wishes for the coming year--

I.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Almost there!

The interim web site is up!

Still working out a bug with the Contact page, so please feel free to contact me through here, eBay, or MySpace.

By next week, the final version of the Ivan Chan Studio web site will be up and gloriously running.

Thanks to the talented designer working with me on this--you've got the patience of a saint!

Best,

I.

Sketch du Jour: Nike ad

I did this sketch completely digitally--using a Wacom graphics tablet and the accompanying stylus, I drew this image in Adobe Photoshop based on a Nike ad I found of an athlete.

(I don't watch sports, so I have no idea who he is, but he had an interesting expression!)

Take care,

I.

Shed the old skin

Back from my trip to visit family and boy, does my back know it! I really should consider flying next time. That, or making massage therapy a regular practice in my daily life!

Regardless, I'm up and running in the studio with new things to unveil for the New Year (and a wee bit before, too). If you notice my web site being down, it'll only be for a few hours (keep your fingers crossed)--a sleeker design is being prepared for upload as I write this, and should be done by early evening (PST).

Thanks for your patience and enthusiasm!

In the meantime, get your Ivan Chan Studio art fix by heading on over to my eBay store or my new online gallery at d'Art (fine-art.com).

Take care,

I.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

New from Ivan Chan Studio! The Longest Kiss Good Night

The Longest Kiss Good Night, oil on canvas, 12" x 30"
Please click on the image to read the description, see close-up pics, and to bid on this marvelous painting.
Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

Sketch du Jour vacation

Hi all,

I just wanted to let you know that I'll be on a mini-vacation to visit family and won't be back in the studio until December 27.

What this means is any artwork purchased while I'm gone won't get shipped until after the 28th (depending on any preparation required--I don't varnish until a painting is sold, to allow me the option of reworking a piece).

Also, there won't be any sketches posted--unless I get around a scanner with my sketchpad and hi-speed Internet access. It could happen.

Warmest holiday wishes,

I.

Sneak Preview! The longest kiss good night


I'm tentatively titling this 12" x 30" piece, Let the Sun Shine. I was working on it last night but didn't quite make the midnight mark to satisfy those of you who checked in for my Winter Solstice painting.

I had a lot of difficulty in making this painting, with that particular theme. Originally, I had planned a painting of Jizo, a bodhisattva guardian of children (past, present, and future), rescuer from hell, and protector of travelers (on this plane and elsewhere). Kind of like a St. Christopher in the Catholic faith.

Oftentimes, Jizo is portrayed with a child in his arms, and I thought that an appropriate image for the passing of the old and the birthing of the new. It's in the longest night of the year that the tides turn and the days begin to gain length. The king is dead, long live the king.

So the painting that fell onto my canvas is about the light that comes out of us, even in our darkest hour.

I think I'm finished.

I may list this after a nice, long, restful sleep--and before I leave for the sojourn down to SoCal to visit relatives and friends--if it still looks done when I wake up.

Good night,

I.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Mo


This is a sketch from a life drawing session that used to be held at this model's home. Several artists would get together and pitch in to pay for a model. Sometimes we couldn't get a model, so one of us would pose for the group.


Invite Beauty,

I.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

UPDATE: Artists' Choice Award 2006!


My gratitude to the ACA Committee and to the artists who nominated me! I've been awarded Honorable Mention in the category of Inspirational/Spiritual/Religious Favorite Overall.

Thanks to everyone for all your support in the last eight months that I've been selling on eBay!

Search eBay with the keyword "ACA" in the Art category to find other artists, past and present, who have won this award!

Best,

I.

Little Beauties Art Cards: Mystical Buddha

Little Beauties Art Cards: Mystical Buddha
Set of ten cards with envelopes

Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to purchase your own set of Mystical Buddha cards from the Little Beauties Art Cards collection.



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New from Ivan Chan Studio! Squiddle

Squiddle, acrylic on canvas panel, 12" x 9"
Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to bid on this fun painting!

Sneak Preview: Of Squid and Stucco

I woke up this morning and found this lil' guy looking at me from the textured ceiling.

He was a bit more amorphous, of course, like a rabbit in the moon or a holy man on a shroud, but the mind's prepared to see what it's prepared to see.

What is it, I can't say. A baby squid? Sure (and yes, I know this is far from a biologically exact rendition). A space cephalopod? Why not. I used to have a fear--or maybe a fascination, who can tell the difference--with deep sea life. They're quite amazing, and the squid species is one of many who routinely live and dive into depths we haven't been able to reach. The ocean makes up 90% of the biosphere. Makes you wonder who and where the dominant species really is, doesn't it?

This is one of my few pieces made with brush and acrylic, and it's on a 12" x 9" canvas panel. I started using canvas panels because I noticed many of the masters painted on boards of one sort or another, and modern masters pretty much painted on anything they could find, with anything they felt like (Jackson Pollock used house paint). Canvas panels are also less expensive to ship, easy to frame, and doesn't use wood stretcher bars (poor trees). So everybody wins.

Take care,

I.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merman Series: "Rest," limited edition print, 11" x 8.5"

Rest, limited edition print, 11" x 18"

Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to purchase this sensuous piece from the Merman Series.

Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

If you right click and you're happy, donate to charity!

I know some artists that are very concerned, and spend much of their time being concerned, about people stealing their work.

They don't mean forgery. They also don't mean paying uncredited homage. The former is plain illegal and the second is rude at worst and flattery at best.

What they're talking about is right-clicking. You know, when you see a pic of something you like, you right click on it (or hold down your mouse button on an Apple) to pull up a menu that allows you to download the image. Click! It's yours. It's your new desktop background or, if you're enterprising, you'll collect a whole bunch of images and create your very own screensaver. Nice. And you didn't have to pay a dime for it. It was on the Internet, after all, and what's with a little sharing, eh?

I don't mind this. I know it's akin to downloading music without paying for it (sh'yeah, like I never taped songs off the radio when I was a kid?), and that with the Internet, this "stealing" of music is reaching epic proportions. We've gone from bootleg to what essentially is an industry.

When I was a kid, my parents would take my brother and me to the movies. The Chinese movies. We had to drive almost two hours to Los Angeles to get to a theater that showed some great stuff I'll never forget.

The sad thing is, as DVD and its precursors came out, and now with downloadable media, it destroyed the theater business. The movie theater I went to showed all kinds of movies, but then became an adult movie theater, and eventually even that failed. The place closed down and the last I saw of it several years ago, it was boarded up, graffiti'd, and looked like a forgotten but once beloved (and stylish) grandparent in a nursing home.

Anyway, enough of Memory Lane. I'm writing this post because I know that there will be people who will pay for my work and let others know that I'm the one who made it or came up with it. I also know there are a lot of people out there who will right click and not think twice about it, and really, I'm okay with that. I'm not one of those artists who are concerned with this activity. Of course, if I resort to drawing the equivalent of "adult movies" to make ends meet, y'all better cough up!

What I would like to propose is this: if you'd like to download my art for free, please consider also clicking on (and bookmark, for goodness' sake) The Hungersite.com (www.thehungersite.com). For a click, you get to donate food at no cost to you but the time it takes to go to the site and press your mouse button. Even better, The Hungersite.com is linked with other sites that are tabbed at the top of their web page, and also in the middle of the "thank you" page. With a few more clicks, you could be saving the rainforest, supporting breast cancer research, donating books, and helping abused animals. Free.

I would consider this a fair exchange, and you have my gratitude in advance.

Best,

I.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sketch du Jour (really): Laughing Raven

Okay, I'm changing the name of these daily posts after this one to "Art du Jour" because I don't always want to post sketches, but also finished paintings that may never get highlighted because they're commissions.

Or, they've got an interesting story.

This is a dear painting of mine, and the background was made with acrylic paint.

I've already said I don't use brushes in my work, but I had tried to use one on this canvas, painting and repainting a tree, and then a raven. None of it was coming out right, and I couldn't get the handle of acrylic (the quick drying time still befuddles me).

So I decided to get all Pollocky and drip and flick my paint onto the canvas. It started looking great and I stood up to pat myself on the back--but then stared in horror at the two finished and drying canvases a few feet away from this new painting. They were completely splattered, and ruined, by the red acrylic paint.

I was mortified, but there was nothing to do (well, I tried to repair the paintings--one was destroyed and the other one I salvaged, but just barely). And when I looked at the canvas I had intended to paint on, a brilliant green raven appeared in my imagination, and that's what I painted with iridescent oil paint sticks.

The raven, as I've written in my description (check out my gallery), is a cosmic trickster, and his laughing isn't always spiteful--it's in the good humor of, "See whatcha learned? HA!"

We should always be so lucky to be able to laugh at ourselves, eh?

I.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sketch du Jour: "The Butterfly Effect: Parallel"

The Butterfly Effect: Parallel, mixed media on canvas, 18" x 18"
Again, this isn't exactly a sketch, but I was busy painting this commission, based on The Butterfly Effect, and wanted to share. (I also finished this painting on December 19, but I was working so hard I forgot to post a Sketch du Jour, so this is the sketch for this day "in spirit." You buyin' it yet? Okay, okay, I'm sorry and will be more diligent about the daily dose of art!)
Anyway, the same thoughts and wishes for the first painting goes with this one, which you can read in my gallery.
Warm fuzzies knowing that both the paintings will be with sisters, given to them for Christmas by their grandmother, one of the sweetest customers with whom I've had the good fortune to connect.
Warmth,
I.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Mynah Escapes print, 13" x 19"

The Mynah Escapes, print, 13" x 19"
Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to bid on this limited edition print.
Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

Sketch du Jour: Pansy without a net

A watercolor sketch without the safety net of a pencil drawing underneath! A little nerve-wracking, but it didn't turn out too badly.

I painted this on a card made of watercolor paper (cold press) and sent it off to a friend a couple of years ago.

There are times I miss working with brushes. All my paintings (except for Burning Monk) were painted with my fingers.

Makes ya take a second look, eh?

Best,

I.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rapture, giclee on stretched canvas, 16" x 16" x 1.5" SOLD OUT

Rapture, giclee on stretched canvas, 16" x 16" x 1.5"
A beautiful, high quality print on stretched canvas (with deep, 1.5" blue sides), only three of these were printed in this limited edition.
Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to bid on this piece.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Tom Byrne (after a photo in the Vancouver Courier)

Here's a quickie I did of Tom Byrne from The Vancouver Courier. I forget who he is--possibly an Irish immigrant who's also a musician?

I was enchanted by his face and the beauty of the photograph (it was on the cover of the newspaper).

Take care,

I.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Green light!

I'm thrilled to anounce that I'm one of seven artists chosen by the Scotts Valley Arts Commission (in Santa Cruz County, California) to have their work displayed on the traffic light boxes lining the main thoroughfare, Mount Hermon Road!

See and You Shall Find, which is available in my shop, was chosen from submissions from all across Santa Cruz County (known for its thriving arts community).

The image will be transferred onto vinyl and affixed to the traffic light box at the intersection of Mount Hermon Road and Whispering Pines (Scotts Valley Drive). I picked that location as my top choice because I see it as the last intersection before commuters begin to leave or enter the city. For this reason, I wanted my artwork, which is about peace and self-knowledge (seeing deeper), to be a welcome or farewell--an aloha blessing--to travelers at this crossroad.

I'm just full of symbolism, aren't I?

More updates soon. Near the beginning of next year there will be an official ceremony with the city council, and when the actual image is up, I'll post a pic and better yet, Mapquest directions!

Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics and if the beauty moves you, to invite it home.

Take care,

Ivan

Sketch du Jour: Sketch for Dreaming Boy

This is a from my pocket sketchpad (which I actually keep in my jacket pocket, or my hip bag) (no, it's not a man purse, jeez!).

It's the basis for one of my favorite paintings, Dreaming Boy.

Take care,

I.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Camellia

Vancouver, B.C. is one of the wonderfullest cities on Earth!

I took a botanical illustration workshop while I lived there for a couple of months (during that time I flirted with suspect sketching as a career; it's very satisfying for me and therapeutic for the witness. I wouldn't mind volunteering my services again, or being in the employ of a law enforcement agency if they'd take this skill seriously) and this watercolor sketch is the result of one of the exercises.

The instructor demonstrated a technique on my pencil underdrawing of this camellia, and got confused with which petals belonged to which flower! So it's a little distorted (I'm probably the only one who can see it).

She was nice and very accomplished, but I've made it a point since I was a kid never to draw on a student's work. It's not that everybody minds (some students have tried to get me to draw the entire exercise for them!), but I mind: art is deeply personal, from the learning aspect to the expressing aspect.

I choose to honor that. The etymology of "educate" is "educare," which in Latin means, "to draw forth." Teaching is not about shoving in.

Take care,

I.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Yoda: Du Jour Sketch

This is one of my heroes.

Yes, he's a puppet, a computer graphic, a fictional character--but he's based on the Old Wise Man archetype found in Asian stories (hello, his name is Yoda, after all--haven't you noticed the Japanese clothing and fighting styles of the Jedi?).

You can see other incarnations of this archetype in kung fu movies (even The Karate Kid), and he has a place in Western stories, too, but for obvious reasons, this muppet has a special place in my heart. Even if Star Wars (and Star Trek and Firefly) has a dearth of actual Asian characters while appropriating Asian culture into its look and mythos.

Anyway, this is a quick sketch I did for a kid around the time Revenge of the Sith came out and Yoda was all the rage. I was surprised--I thought the other characters would be more popular.

There's no accounting for timelessness in taste!

I.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

David up in blue

Whew! I finished reworking David, before Goliath earlier today and I'm tuckered. I started last night and couldn't quite stop until exhaustion took over in the wee hours of the morning. Flossing was quite a challenge before beddy-byes.

However, I finished this morning and in a break from the pouring rain, I took the painting outside to photograph in the natural light (what fleeting rays there were).

The colors are much richer than before--more golden in tone for the skin, which is what I've discovered I like when painting mythical scenes. This goes back to the East Asian artistic convention of using gold to denote a heavenly realm or state of being (notice Meow and Zen in a previous post), and has less to do with race or idealization than it has to do with the imagination--it's part of my escape plan from reality, or rather, slavish imitation of reality. There's more than one way to paint a cat (and I prefer to paint them blue).

If you're familiar with the original state of David, before Goliath, you'll notice that the landscape has disappeared and the sky has deepened. I wanted David to float in blue; maybe I had Magritte on my mind or something, but I wanted to express the idea of a character from a story (even history) walking in the freedom of the imagination--not limited by ground or sky, but to exist abstractly, in a place where no shape is permanent, and heroes have a thousand faces.

Take care,

I.


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New from Ivan Chan Studio! David, before Goliath SOLD

David, before Goliath, oil on canvas, 20" x 60" SOLD

This Original Finger Painting is sold, but you can still enjoy the description and a larger image in my gallery.

To see available Original Finger Paintings, please visit my shop.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

New from Ivan Chan Studio! Meow and Zen

Meow and Zen, oil on canvas, 18" x 36"
Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to purchase this entrancing Original Finger Painting.
Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty



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Friday, December 08, 2006

Sneak Preview! Meow and again

Although I enjoyed the minimalism of Meow and Zen's original appearance, the painting (and I) did succumb to reworking. I think it's because of my recent reworking of The Butterfly Effect that's allowing me to paint in this vein--that is, more emotionally, abstractly, expressively, and intuitively.

The rock, tree, and gold background are inspired by traditional East Asian brush paintings and conventions of depiction. A challenge to do with my fingers and in oil paint instead of actual brushes and watercolor, but we do choose our own challenges, eh?

It's funny--to be influenced by my Eastern culture and creating in a Western medium, it's like the 19th century in France all over again. Well, that never did stop, did it? Or start with Japanese prints and French Impressionists. The cross-pollination of ideas, I mean.

That's been around for quite a while. No wonder some people are afraid of art.

Take care,

I.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Pig (after David McPhail)

I love pigs!

And so does this phenomenal artist, David McPhail.

I drew this from an autobiography about Mr. McPhail called In Flight with David McPhail. I was researching the children's book illustration market (still very enchanted with it, tell you more about that another time, along with my work in children's book writing) and a very knowledgeable bookseller at an independent bookstore (I prefer not to shop at chains) handed his book to me (along with a few others).

There is magic in art (as we all know), and it's the kind we don't need to believe in--it just is. What's sad is that so much of it is missed, because of what we believe--like this is "fine art" and that is "illustration," or training creates validity, or that only some of us are allowed to make art.

Sing in the shower. Doodle in the margins. Dance in your car. I'm not giving you permission--I am exhorting you to use your birthright as a human being to be creative.

Dream big,

I.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

New from Ivan Chan Studio! On the Wing

On the Wing, oil on canvas, 16" x 16"

Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to bid on this work.

Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty



Sneak Preview! Hawk of my heart


I think I said I wasn't going to touch my painting of Desire's Broken Heart anymore, but I just couldn't resist (I worked on this while a friend was over, working on his own stuff, so I forgot to post a Sketch du Jour for Monday, but it's eleven minutes past midnight as I write this, and this sneak preview will have to do for the Sketch du Jour for yesterday, and today I'll have a new one unless I list this new painting. Confused yet?)

To tell you the truth, all along I've resisted painting wings on this figure. Wings--or rather, feathers--are difficult, and since I paint with my fingers, fine lines are a time-consuming challenge.

Yet, it's been nagging me to paint feathered wings on Desire, more than I did in its past incarnations. I was almost satisfied, but then showing my work to my brother and my friend who came over, I became convinced from their feedback that I needed to give this painting more detail. Show it some love, ironically.

I based the wings on a raptor's--a mix of a hawk and an eagle (with a little owl thrown in). It made sense to me to do so, because Desire is predatory--it seeks, hunts, wants, and craves. This isn't all bad (or all good, for that matter). There are great things to thirst for, and terrible things to strive for.

The background bears the scars of each transformation this piece has gone through. There are flecks of gold, of pink and red, blues, and all the colors in between. I find it beautiful, and didn't change it--I don't think I could do something better on purpose!

Thanks for sharing this journey with me with this painting. It's evolved along with my self-understanding, and it's nice to share this process.

Take care,

I.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

New from Ivan Chan Studio! The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect, oil on canvas, 18" x 18"

Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to bid on this wondrous piece.

Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty


Get your palm read for the New Year!


I'm highlighting my Manifest Destiny art card since the year's coming to an end--and a new one's about to start. It's time to make choices about your path.

Please click the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to purchase your own inspiring set.

Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

Sketch du Jour: Sadhu

I did this quick watercolor sketch based on a photograph of an Indian sadhu (holy man) in The Illustrated World's Religions by Huston Smith (one of my favorite books).

I had trouble uploading this sketch yesterday for the Sketch du Jour (right after I posted the sneak preview of The Butterfly Effect's makeover). I don't know why, but that's technology fer ya.

Regardless, I've decided that when there's a preview or a new listing, I won't do a Sketch du Jour that day. I guess that makes it a non-daily sketch, but it's still mostly a daily sketch. Heh.

Thanks for reading!

I.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Sneak Preview! Out of the pupa


Breaking with tradition, I'm posting a large sneak preview in high resolution of my latest (reworked) painting.

Originally a very simple image of a girl doing yoga (in the butterfly pose), I focused on luminosity--I wanted the painting to glow with rich yellows against a subtler background of blues and pinks. I enjoyed the image and never thought twice about reworking it, but lately, I've been feeling more adventurous.

If you've been following along, you know that abstracts are more difficult for me--I tend to paint more realistically and, if I weren't painting with my fingers, I'd probably get a realistic image (part of my quest to be more "fuzzy" instead of rigid) like I used to when I worked with watercolors and focused on science illustration.

However, I admire abstract and surreal painters greatly, and probably Odilon Redon the most, although most people have never heard of him. He's considered the grandfather of surrealism and symbolism (I wrote about him a few months ago when I discussed my influences), and his work is magic to me. We're talking aesthetic arrest when I see his paintings, and I plan to make a pilgrimage to France one day to see some of his work in person.

Anyway, I understand that what we admire in others we have within ourselves, too. It's just a matter of acknowledgement (and then practice with discipline). So I've created a few abstracts and with this piece, I wanted to pay direct homage to Redon's art.

When he painted portraits, there would be clouds of beautiful flowers around his figures. In one book I read about his work, the flowers symbolized the spiritual thoughts of the sitter. This sparked something in me.

The reworking of The Butterfly Effect is the result of that spark. A lot of the imagery was inspired from Redon's two panels in the FontFroide Abbey's library, entitled Day and Night. I needed a map of sorts, since this is completely unknown territory for me.

I was completely stressed out when I first started the project. Any reworking is essentially an ending of the first piece and the beginning of a new one--with the threat of total ruin just around the bend--but after a while, I came to enjoy myself. It's fun painting random flowers, colors, and shapes to express what cannot be literally expressed. (Duh.)

I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I enjoyed making it. I'll make it available within the next couple of days, probably, depending on how I feel about it and how fast it dries (wet paint tends to show glare when photographed).

Invite Beauty,

I.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Buddha

UPDATE: Artists' Choice Award 2006!

I just found out that I'm one of the finalists in eBay's Artists' Choice Awards, Spiritual/Inspirational category!

Wow.

Only artists who sell work on eBay are allowed to vote, so this is really a compliment from the community.

I'm overwhelmed, regardless of how I place (they don't have the information yet, but guess where I'll be posting it as soon as I know?). It's an honor merely to be nominated!

Best to all the nominees and thanks to my supporters!

I.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Pine cone


Ah, this pine cone.

Nearly drove me insane! It was extremely difficult and time-consuming but as with all difficult (and tedious) activities, I found it meditative. Drawing it also put me in a contemplative mood.

I believe it was in drawing this pine cone (hardly a sketch--more of a finished drawing in this version) that I had the defining "religious experience" that made me realize my heart had always been in art.

As I drew it, I felt as if--and this is hard to explain--I saw the face of God. Not a personal god, or a god with a flowing white beard, or a kitchen god, or a rub-his-tummy-for-luck kind of god.

It was what the universe in its entirety looked like. It was, like Blake wrote, "eternity in a grain of sand." The part was the whole and the whole was the part.

Really, I shouldn't even bother describing it. By its nature, the experience is ineffable, but being an artist and wordsmith, my baser instinct is to clothe it in image and text for you, and for my mind.

However, if I were to speak from my heart, it would be silence.

Enjoy the pine cone.

Invite Beauty,

I.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sketch du Jour: The Coming Storm

I usually paint with my fingers and with oil paint sticks, but with the above sketch, I used brushes and acrylic paint. Different effects, for sure, and an earlier dip into abstraction.

I.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Oyster shell

Oyster shell from Point Grey, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
An oyster shell I found on Point Grey Beach in Vancouver, Canada.

I miss that city.

Invite Beauty,

I.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Chili pepper

Once a green anaheim (or was it a jalapeno?), I planned to cook with it, but then I procrastinated and it turned red and dried up.

So I sketched it in colored pencil.

Later, it was eaten by field mice that invaded my home when I was away on vacation.

I miss that pepper, but at least I have a sketch of it!

Take care,

I.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Apricot

Apricot

This is one of my all-time favorite sketches, done in watercolor. It's of an apricot I plucked from a tree in Marin County (near Point Reyes Station). I put it on my dashboard and raced against the clock to paint the still life before it wilted.

Invite Beauty,

I.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Andrew

A sample from a life drawing session.

Again with the masochistic pen! This time I used a TomBoy brush pen, I think (it was a little over a year ago that I drew this), which has a thin marker on one end, and a thick marker on the other.

I've got some crazy cross-hatching going. Somebody at the session remarked that I had a "unique style." Funny thing was, I wasn't cultivating a certain style, I was just drawing and doing my best to make an interesting picture! I'd probably draw another way if somebody suggested it. I'm flexible. Well, in certain things.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Mine was full of delicious food and wonderful friends. It seems I spend too much time alone painting and drawing, because being with other people I felt different, afterwards. Rejuvenated. Almost human again, ha! We are social creatures, eh?

My gratitude to Marie, an extraordinarily gifted artist (how she gets those minute details of birds and their nests on cold press paper, I'll never know--even with those eyelash brushes she uses, I don't think I could effect the skill or talent in her right pinky!), for the invitation, and to her delightful neighbor, Lee (boy, did she have some stories I couldn't get enough of--I may take her up on her invitation to dinners in December just to hear more--and she's a brilliant cook, too), for barbecuing the turkey to perfection.

I.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sketch du Jour: Rooster

I was experimenting with watercolor pencils on this sketch of a rooster, based off of a wonderful painting by Bonnie Minardi.

The medium is a little quirky (what medium isn't) and I have to say I prefer traditional watercolors. Still, the pencils were fun to play--laying down color and then wetting it, almost like a paint-by-numbers book (or something like that...where the paint was on the paper already and all you had to do was add water?).

What happened, though, was that I started dabbing the pencils with my brush and painting with the brush directly! So I started to use the pencils as my palette.

There's an old saying that if all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. Hm.

I.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New from Ivan Chan Studio! Found and Lost

Found and Lost, oil on canvas, 16" x 12"

Please click on the image to read the description, see detailed pics, and to bid on this bittersweet, original painting.

Ivan Chan Studio: Invite Beauty

Sketch du Jour: Prairie dog



Okay, so this isn't exactly a sketch, but if life's a work-in-progress, why not art, too? (Like that wasn't obvious by how many times I give my paintings makeovers.)

This li'l cutie is a scratchboard illustration of a prairie dog, based on a photograph on the brochure for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, one of the best natural history museums I've ever been to.

The image started off as a pencil sketch, which was then transferred to scratchboard (a hard board coated with a thin layer of white clay) via carbon paper; the image was then inked with India ink, and finally the details were scratched in. So much fun! I'd probably do more scratchboard if I weren't paranoid about breathing in all the clay dust!

Invite Beauty,

I.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sneak Preview! Found and lost

You saw the pencil sketch, here's a sneak peek at the painting as it dries on my easel!

It's 16" x 12" x 0.5", oil on canvas, and is the latest in my Merman Series.

I haven't settled on the title, but I've got one brewing in my head (Found and Lost). We'll see how I feel about this painting when I'm ready to make it available sometime tomorrow. The paint ain't dried yet!

Invite Beauty,

I.

Sketch du Jour: L.A. Hippo


A hippo from the Los Angeles Zoo, sketched during a field trip with the LA chapter of The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

Drawn again on Canson Mi-Teintes colored paper. The pen is a regular ol' Uni-ball microfine with water soluble ink (until it dries). Great for impromptu ink washes!