Zhaoming Wu is a consummate painter with the skill and bravura of the 19th and 20th century masters.
Educated in China, he immigrated to the United States where he paints and teaches at the Art Academy in San Francisco, training a new generation of painters in classical methods.
This painting is a study in painting the brilliance of sunlight falling through a window on a model posed indoors.
The amount of light that he is able to create on the canvas is astounding and it is a lesson not to be missed.
Working from photographs and images on his laptop computer, Wu is able to recreate a sense of mystery and dynamism that would seem impossible for some. His control of values and temperature are the secret to painting a light that seems to vibrate through the space on the canvas. Being able to watch a master of this caliber paint the subject from start to finish is worth the price of the video.
For the past two decades, many of the finest artists to enter the American art scene hail from China. The period of modernism held no influence over Chinese art schools, whose mentors were the Russian schools set up in the first half of the 20th Century. Ironically, the beauty and power of late 19th Century, western, realist art was saved by the Communist regime of the Soviet Union when it banned all modern art from its schools and Universities.
Despite great suppression of artistic experimentation, Western representative art was sanctioned and encouraged, and used to spread communist propaganda through the images of happy, working class figurative art to a people who could understand the painted images these paintings represented.
While our Western art culture disintegrated into abstraction and paint thrown on canvases with no content, the Russians and Chinese continued the study and practice of classical painting. With the easing of tensions between China and the West, many of the Chinese, trained in the classical style practiced by the Russians, immigrated to the United States and brought their long-lost expertise to America.
Zhaoming Wu is one of those artists, whose knowledge and talents merge into a convoluted path from the Nineteenth Century Masters down to us, today. He is currently one of the most valued faculty members of the San Francisco Academy of Art, and he instructs and mentors artists in the graduate program in representative painting and drawing.
We had the great privilege of filming him in his home studio painting a lovely model swathed in cascading folds of material, a subject for which he is becoming known as a master painter. This is the first of three video programs we filmed during our sessions, and one you won't want to miss. Wu uniquely articulates what makes a painting, how he approaches the process, and how he works from the live model, the photo, and computer references in his gallery work.