Sunday, June 9, 2013

Zhaoming Wu Workshop

The studio at Atlantis framing was the venue for two, back to back Zhaoming Wu workshops (read more about him here). I attended the second session, May 31st, June 1st and 2nd.  Workshop coordinator, Tami Hort Lathwellworked exceptionally hard, for over three years, to bring this amazing painter to Calgary. I signed up as soon as I heard he was booked to come!

The first morning we watched, in silent awe, as Zhaoming painted a portrait

You might think it would be boring to watch someone paint for close to three hours. On the contrary it was fascinating to see him proceed from start to finish. I marveled at his amazing mark making and deliberate brush strokes. He made it look so easy!

His famous technique of "lost and found" edges was awesome to witness. I understood every principle he spoke about and I really did try to employ his methods, but I soon realised just how difficult it is to apply his style of painting when my own is so deeply ingrained in me. 

Zhaoming's finished portrait of Kassi

In the afternoon seventeen participants were split into two groups, poised around to paint portraits of two two different models. To keep me humble, I show you my portrait of Paulina. My excuse is: I am rusty with oils and with the figure. The exercise was valuable but the painting has little hope and I won't finish it ...

Paulina, lovely model, but  there isn't much hope for this portrait!

On day two Tami's daughter, Alysia, modeled for another almost three hour session of watching Zhaoming paint her draped figure.

The resulting painting is sensational, Tami had to own it!

Once again we split into two groups clustered around two models. The painting below looks like every other painting I've ever attempted. Now don't be so easily discouraged, Alice!  It will take some doing, but I will give it my best shot, to make my edges on it softer ...

On day three Zhaoming didn't paint, instead he primed us with a slide presentation of his work, showing us many progressive images of paintings as they developed under his hand. For the remainder of the day we had the models hold the same pose.

I think I may be catching on to the soft edges: this painting has potential!

The happy participants pose, with our illustrious leader, for a group shot  

It was a fabulous long weekend. I came home exhausted, brain dead and thrilled that I had used myself up learning from someone so accomplished. I know his approach will distill in me, and in time, slip out of my own hand.

Many thanks to Tami and her hard working crew for what went into making the epic week the success it was. And then there was the added bonus of the constant array of food they


  1. Wow, the workshop looks fabulous, and I love the progression of your paintings, Alice - I can see the edges softening in the second, and by the third the change is brush strokes is really visible. Can't WAIT to see the third one finished!

  2. Awesome Alice. You are right on the money I would say.

    1. Many thanks for reading and commenting, Judy!