Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Inner Figure - Ross Bowns and Hsaun-Chi Chen

A show coming in January at 625 Gallery.

My wife, Hsuan-Chi Chen and I have a two person show titled "The Inner Figure" at 625 Gallery featuring our figurative works.

Opening Reception:
Thursday evening, January 7
th, 2010, 5:30-7:30

January 1st - January 28
th, 2010

Gallery Location:
Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94102, Phone: 415.618.3700

Gallery Hours:
Open Daily 8am-5pm; Saturday until 10am-5pm, (Please call to confirm; holiday hours may be in effect)

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I did not do much painting this week, but here are a couple of sketches from my sketchbook. I hope everybody enjoyed the thanksgiving week.

Friday, November 20, 2009


I have been working on some larger pieces again. The two shown above are pieces I had started on back in September but had stopped working on as I was unsure of where to go after working on them for some time. They have been sitting waiting for me to pick up again and last week I thought I would do just that.

When I began these paintings I was thinking of the figures in the work as static figures, resting figures, and was trying to portray these as such. The model looked very relaxed as she sat in each pose. I used that sense of relaxed stillness she portrayed as my starting point to develop the emotional dialog between viewer and figure. I worked to a point where I felt I could not work on the paintings anymore, I felt they were successful at conveying this stillness but something felt terribly wrong. I think that it was this desire to portray this stillness that was my problem.

Though these two figures are siting in positions that seem calm, or reflective, I decided that how I view and understand these two paintings is not. There has been a tension between me and the paintings and I have felt it as I work on them. I don't really know why this tension is there, but I feel it each time I approach these two. I decided that this tension is part of these paintings and I need to convey this in the work. Currently, I am inserting the friction that I feel into the work by breaking away from my normal anchors I key in on to add some more anxious and chaotic elements.


Both paintings are oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Working On

Some paintings I am currently working on, in various stages of completion.

New Painting

I decided to show a little more of the form in this one. I felt that the anatomy of the torso was important to highlight.

Reach, oil on canvas, 18 X 24 inches

Friday, October 30, 2009


Couple I finished yesterday.
I am still working with obscuring body, burying it in the dark hiding what should be seen.

I am also playing with the silhouette. I need to work out a way to hide the form of the torso better. The flat field still gives to much information.

Both are oil on dura-lar, 25 x 16 inches


Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Painting

I am still working on paintings looking at the figure from the back, this one is of a pose I like to work with. The gesture of it allows for a certain level of emotional drama, while obscuring anything that might hint at what she might be thinking or feeling.

Oil on Dura-lar, 16 x 13 inches


Sunday, October 25, 2009


I am very excited for a good friend of mine, Jemmy Chu. He has just opened an art school in his home city, Kaohsiung Taiwan, and is opening up to the public the weekend. I know he will do well.

Jemmy, congratulations on the new school!

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Couple of Drawings

I did some drawings from life the other day. Here are a few of the ones I liked.
I went to group drawing session and each pose was twenty minutes long. I like to draw at a pace much slower than short poses allow. These, then, are exercises in getting the important stuff down quickly.


Monday, October 5, 2009

My work is now showing at Geras Tousignant Gallery. Take a look.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Works in Progress

Here are some of the paintings I have been working on this past week.

The first one is a small study on Dura-lar. The next two are 18 x 24 inches on canvas. The last two are 30 x 40 inches on canvas.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Little Portrait

Every now and then I like to paint little portraits. This one is of my wife.
I have been interested in painting the back for awhile.

Here are a couple of paintings I have been working on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I have recently updated my website. Really I just cleaned it up a bit, removed some of the old stuff, updated some information, and added a mailing list form.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Question of Style

Every artist faces the question of style, of what the look or feel of their work is or should be. I have had to ask myself questions about my stylistic choices many times. Yet, choosing a style in itself really is not as important as it may seem. Focusing on a style can even be a distraction to an artist as he develops and builds his art. What becomes important regarding artistic style is the question of what those stylistic choices support.

I have seen artists approach the question of style in many ways. To some the decision of what style to use is as important as the decisions of what subjects or themes to include in their work. Others relegate the style to a more subordinate position, only allowing their stylistic choices to be determined by other aspects of their work they deem to be more important, the opinion that I subscribe to. Others view it as something to consider after the act of creation, allowing style to be considered only on reflection on the work, as a tool used to understand the art. This concern is often weighed against other concerns and seen as in competition with other concerns.

In a discussion with group of artists, one asked if he should switch styles and go in a new direction. The question was whether he should continue to paint the in the style of traditional realism he had been painting or paint in a more contemporary style. The discussion that followed considered the particular merits of either direction. I did not feel the discussion was particularly fruitful. Mainly because it artificially pits one category against the other in some sort of battle for superiority and the division between the two seemed murky, the boundaries of each category changing only to support the claims of which one is best. Still the artist was presented with the question of style. I sensed he had grown bored with the work he was doing and was looking for something new to try. In a search for something new the question of style came up. My answer to this is that what style one chooses does not really matter all that much, find what interests or inspires you as an artist follow that. Look at what motivates you, what ideas you bring to your work to guide you; the style will evolve from that.

This brings up the question of what do we mean when we are talking about style. There are a couple of directions we can go with this. We could be talking about the different movements or categories of art, such as cubism, impressionism and such, each with a style of their own. Style could also be seen simply as the different techniques employed to create a certain look. Both are valid ways of discussing style, but when artists are exploring their own personal styles I think it is more useful to look at it in terms of individual concepts and techniques used to convey the artists intentions.

To examine and emulate styles is alright to do when learning new ideas and it can be very informative to try out new elements. As a painter I enjoy trying out the visual elements I see in other artist’s works. This is an exercise in expanding my vocabulary, and allows for me to grow as an artist. This exercise is not designed to be something to determine what I should paint, or what style I should follow. Trying out different techniques is a form of learning, not meant to be a form of expression. In the end, the new effects or techniques discovered from this should only be employed if found useful beyond any stylistic dazzle they may create.

Style, then, is not something I specifically address when I paint. I do find that I am concerned about it, but I do not attempt to paint in a style. I sometimes think that I worry about it to much. For example, I make an effort to ensure that my work has some level of consistency and coherency and I sometimes look to stylistic effects to make sure a similarity carries to each of the paintings. My goal is to let style come through in exploring the ideas I am interested in examining when I paint. I am very interested in visual understanding and perception, and I look for techniques and ideas that help explore and express this in my work.

I don’t think one necessarily does need to pursue a style. Looking at varying styles, playing around with techniques, and studying the interests and motivations behind each, all are reasonable things to do. Consider style as part of the vocabulary of painting; not as an end in itself. Focus on what one is trying to convey and pursue that.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Working Again

After taking some time off just relaxing and spending time with my wife, I have moved into a new studio and have started to paint again. Moving and setting things up takes time and I have much more to do before I’ll be completely settled into my new place, but...

It is good to have a new studio and have a place to paint.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

This month

I have enjoyed this month.

My wife and I decided to relax a little after graduating, so we took some time off and did a little traveling. We are poor post-grads so we didn't go far, mostly we visited my family, got out of the house, and just relaxed.

I have studio space arranged (will get set up next week) and I have a few ideas I want to work on. We will see how it goes.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Graduating and moving on

I recently presented my work for review and completed the final review process for the MFA I was working on. I have graduated and am moving on.

I will be looking for new studio space to set up shop. This transition is exciting and I look forward to what is to come.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Did and done

I am done with the final review. I presented my work on Tuesday. I think it went very well. The discussion seemed to me to be positive and the critique of my work went well. We talked about the elements that work or don't work in my paintings, possible things for me to try, what direction I am headed, the influences in my work, and then about some of general attitudes about art.

Here are a couple more of my paintings from my project. If you want to see the rest, I have updated my website with all the images from the project in the figurative painting section.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Two More

Here are two more paintings from my project. The second one is more recent. In this one, I abstracted the figure much more to highlight the physical nature of the body without describing all the details.

I want to avoid painting a particular body, and I believe the second painting is more successful in doing this.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

A little more done

I am preparing for my final review and I am almost done with the project. This weekend I am preparing for the presentation, still I thought I would post something.

Here are a few of the paintings I will be presenting next week.


Thursday, July 23, 2009


I am working on finishing up everything for my final review. I posted images of the paintings I was working on the last week, below. I will post my thoughts on it all next week after I present my project.


Monday, July 20, 2009