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Behind the Scenes | Essays | Sketchbook | Paintings

I Used to Think Non-Digital Pleasures Didn't Exist

When I was a software developer, I thought that I'd always prefer everything to be digital. Even when I first shifted to developing as an artist, I initially attempted to only craft digital pieces. I snubbed pencils and pens for drawing with a tablet. That was over two years ago …

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Effects Are What Matter, Technique Only Supports

Simple sketch of a variant of Ochna integerrima, mai núi.

One of my concerns early on in my art development was the idea that I should always execute technique in standard ways. To tell the truth, it was valuable for me to learn the "proper" way to do things (of course, there really aren't any proper methods bestowed upon us …

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Does Art Need an Audience?

A single iris in oil pastels.

I've spent quite some time thinking about the purpose of art: why one should create art, or conversely, if there's no reason to create art at all. Is the purpose of art to move an audience? Is the purpose of art to change minds? Is art only purposeful if it …

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Ringing in Tết with Đông Hồ Paintings

At the end of this week, Tết, Vietnamese New Year, will arrive. Vietnamese New Year and Chinese New Year often coincide from year to year, with rare minor differences.

I live out my life alone and isolated from the Vietnamese community, having been raised entirely outside it. Often I feel …

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Art and Self-Discovery

Watercolor painting of sugar packets and a creamer.

Lately I've been reinventing myself and moving away from more traditional watercolors—at least, as defined by Western/European standards. It's not that I dislike watercolor's wonderfully semi-chaotic washes—indeed. I view much of watercolor as being about coping with what the water gives you, and that's a fun and …

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Sketch - Young Elk

Sanguine oil pencil sketch of a young elk amidst vegetation.

Look at that vegetation. It's like a coral reef, except on land.

Sanguine oil pencil is my favorite warm-up medium—as well as something I can use on days when I'm too sick to do anything else, but am a bit well enough to do a little art.

In particular …

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