“Times Square Traffic” 14×18, Oil on Board. Winner of the Third Place Award at the 2018 NOAPS Best of America SMALL PAINTING Exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee. Collection of the Artist.
The first thing that the viewer notices in “Times Square Traffic” by Jian Wu is the sense of movement in the painting. The waving flags, the active brush strokes and the light that streaks from the cars and across the canvas tell us this is not a static scene. To add to the feeling the colors are bright and seemingly chaotic; but the linear elements of the painting hold the composition together. A difficult feat indeed.
“Color of the Fall”, 16×20, Oil on Canvas. Collection of the artist.
The artist began his artistic career in China, where in middle school his first exploration began on a blackboard with a version of a class newsletter. Later, his art career began to take form after meeting Mr. Wang Naizhuang, a well know artist in China. Mr. Naizhuang became Jian’s mentor, teaching him drawing and painting. Jian went on to attend the prestigious Central Art And Crafts College of China (now known as Art College of Qing Hua University) where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art.
“The Dream”, 24×32, Oil on Board, Winner of an Award of Exceptional Merit from the Portrait Society of America’s 2015 International Portrait Competition. Collection of the artist.
Today, Jian’s work may be considered impressionistic realism. He paints in oil, but also works in pastel, acrylic, watercolor and marker pens. In his development as an artist, masters such as Sargent and Picasso (particularly the cubism) and contemporary artist Richard Schmid have been influences. But he has developed his own style over the years, and his ability to capture light, and his loose brush work are hallmarks of his paintings.
“San Francisco Bay View”, 48×24, Oil on Canvas. Collection of the Artist.
Inspiration, as we artists know, can come from many sources. For Jian, it is everyday life: people, landscapes, cityscapes, or “just a shadow on the floor”. His inspiration for “Days of Her Life” (juried into the 2018 NOAPS Best of America Exhibition) was the old woman, her living conditions, and the “heart aching but honest” story of her life.
“Days of Her Life”, 30×24, Oil. Collection of the Artist.
In the studio, Jian works with both live models and from photo reference. He begins with a burnt umber underdrawing, sketching out the basic value patterns. He then begins to apply color, first the shadow areas, then the middle tones, the lighter areas, and finally the highlights. He assesses for final adjustments at the last. For his landscapes, he goes directly to color, but makes sure the value contrasts are established. His brushes consist of bristle brushes, both brights and filberts, along with the occasional large house brush and palette knife. His colors include: titanium white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, burnt umber, permanent rose, magenta, ultramarine blue, cerulean blue, phthalo green (yellow shade), phthalo green (blue shade), and ivory black.
“Still”, 20×16, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection
Jian Wu has had many accomplishments in his career: he is a Master Artist with NOAPS, has won two Exceptional Merit Awards from the International Portrait Competition; NOAPS awards including a Best of Show, Third Place, Best Use of Light and Color (twice) and Best Portrait Award. He has also won accolades for his pastel work, winning First, Second, and Third place awards in the Pastel Journal ‘Pastel 100 Competition’. But for Jian, his most prized accomplishment has been the development of his own personal style of painting.
Jian leaves us with a quote from Winston Churchill: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” To relate to painting, Jian says: “I believe that those of us who play with colors can paint our way out of any ‘hell’ if we persist”.
Jian Wu is the Judge of Awards for the 2019 Best of America National Juried Exhibition, to be held at the Montgomery Lee Fine Art Gallery in Park City, Utah. Jian will also be teaching an exciting 3 day workshop prior to the opening weekend. Please check www.noaps.org for information. To view more of Jian’s work, visit his website at: www.jwstudio.net.
Written by Patricia Tribastone, NOAPS Blog Director