Archive for May 16, 2012

Artists working with the face and figure….Zhiwei Tu

The artist and some large murals he has painted.

An interview featuring the artist and his paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts located in Beijing, China.

A website for the artist that educates people who appreciate his art. Not run by the artist directly-

I have seen this artist do some demonstrations and find his impressionistic technique very fluid and painterly. The demonstration I saw was during an Oil Painters of America show in Missoula, Montana.  It took place at the Dana Gallery and people were packed in very tight. In little more than an hour ZhiWei Tu had painted a wonderful portrait of a young man. The lighting on the subject was awesome.

This artist also has done a series on ballerina dancers.  He captures the brightness and shimmering quality of the dancer’s clothes with amazing accuracy. Very vibrant and colorful.  For the demo he used around 6 brushes which he washed 4 times during the painting season.

The artist has one of the most inspirational stories that we see in the art world. The artist was born to a  peasant Chinese family in 1951. Growing up in rural China his jobs were simple, herding sheep and gathering food.   One day a professional artist was to come and paint a portrait for the city of Chairman Mao. Well the first day he came ZhiWei Tu watched the man intensely, it was the first time he saw a painter in action.  After watching the professional ZhiWei thought to himself, I can do that! He then went and purchased paints for his own portrait of Mao.

The next day ZhiWei did a painting also of the Chairman Mao. The village voted and they chose to purchaser ZhiWei Tu’s portrait rather than the professionals. An art legend was born!

He went on to study in China at Guangzhou Institute of Fine Arts in Canton earning a degree in 1975.  He became a teacher but this opportunity fell through during the cultural revolution. He then took time and traveled throughout China visiting historical locations and painted several hundred works of art, perfecting his impressionistic technique.

In 1987 the artist enrolled at Drake University in Iowa. While at the university ZhiWei Tu studied both Art and English.

Served as President of Oil Painters of America.

Online and land based galleries: Southwest Art Gallery in Dallas, Texas.

Dana Gallery in Missoula, Montana.

low price range: $3,500 for a 11 by 14 inch work

high price range: $100,000 for a mural size work

Has books on that sell for $60 to $500.

I hope you are encouraged by the artist to try and paint a portrait in one sitting. Another interesting thing about watching the artist paint. In measuring the face many artists such as Daniel E. Greene split the face into thirds, and use the eyes to line up the face correctly. ZhiWei Tu started with the ear and did his measurements from this. He was painting a man using a three quarters view. He also painted from right to left, despite being right handed.

Happy painting!