Paint Schoodic

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Completed portfolio: Zeyuan Chen

Zeyuan Chen is 17 and will graduate from Brighton High School in June with three APs and a GPA of around 3.7. Ze emigrated from Kunming Prefecture at age 9. Her native language is Mandarin but she speaks flawless English. Ze’s father is a professor in China and her mother trained as a mathematician but works as a waitress here. (She completed this portfolio while maintaining excellent grades at one of the top 100 public high schools in the US.)
Ze started studying with me in Fall 2007, although I've known her for much longer than that. She has studied Chinese calligraphy and painting, which is evident in the delicate brush work of her piece, Qing Yi, which is a setting of a friend's poem.

Self-portrait, graphite, approx. 18X24, 2007

Sandy’s parents’ restaurant interior, graphite, approx. 18X24, 2008

Gail as Isabella with the pot of Basil, oil on canvas, approx. 18X24, 2008
Four bananas, colored pencil, approx. 18X24 overall, 2007

Peonies life drawing, graphite, approx. 18X24, 2007
My shoe, graphite, approx. 18X24, 2007
Qing Yi, colored pencil and ink calligraphy, approx. 18X24, 2007
Skeleton life drawing, graphite, approx. 18X24, 2008
Sock, graphite, approx. 18X24, 2008
Pile of shoes, marking pen on newsprint, approx. 18X18, 2006
Foot, graphite, approx. 9X12, 2008
Shoes, colored pencil and marking pen, approx. 18X24, 2005
Classroom window molding, graphite, approx. 18X24,
10-minute figure sketch, marking pen, approx. 18X24, 2005
Mary as John the Baptist (unfinished), acrylic on canvas, approx. 18X24, 2007


Paul said...

This is also awesome! Well done - Ze! I like the kitchen, the bananas and the oil painting is really fantastic. Reminds me of a painting I once saw from Salvador Dali - his wife Gala seen from the back (I googled it just now and it's a different painting - but it has the same mysterious atmosphere). Love this work - keep it up! You are doing great!

Gwendolyn said...


I didn't get to watch as much of your working time as I did Sandy's. You must be more of a night owl.

I love the picture of the kitchen in Sandy's parents' restaurant, Gail as Isabella and Qing Yi!

Congratulations! No one would guess from this portfolio that you are SO YOUNG!

Keep it up!

John said...


I promise to return early next week and comment on your remarkable work. My brain can only process so much at one time and your good friend Sandy got my first shot. I will say my first impressions are that I like the bananas (why the arrangement of various phases?). The kitchen fairly rattles with the sound of cooking. And I too find myself wandering off to look at the ceiling for no good reason (thanks for redeeming that exercise for me :-)!) Back Monday!

John said...


So I'm unfashionably late. I am sorry for the delay. Life just keeps getting in the way of the things I want to do.

Here are a few of my thoughts....

I love the kitchen scene. It appears that the storm has passed, dinner is over and the kitchen staff is sitting down to a well deserved dinner somewhere in the now quiet restaurant. Your detail here is remarkable.

The bananas are probably my favorite. Maybe because I love bananas? I could almost imagine you deciding to draw them and as you got involved in the picture you simply had to have a bite...well, one thing led to another and instead of a banana you had four pictures of the same banana. Brilliant!

I am intrigued by Qing Yi. I wish I could read Chineese script - what does it say? Does the beautiful calligraphy give me a clue about the mysterious figure in the picture? Man or woman? Getting dressed or undressed? Turning away or turning toward some other person out of the picture? You've captured me! Please, oh please, tell me the rest of the story!

I cannot help but comment on the window molding. Again I thank you for redeeming this activity for me. In fact, many of my moments of inspiration occur whilst looking at just this sort of arrangement in the corner of my office. Perhaps I need a print copy of this master work to put near me to inspire me!

Oh yes, What about Mary as John the Baptist? The conflation of biblical names has me looking for more. Did you have a model named Mary poise as John the Baptist, complete with camel hair and crickets? Or is there some underlying message I should look and find?

Ze, as I told your compadre, I know NOTHING about art. I simply know that I enjoy seeing the marvel of someone like you creating beauty from a blank canvas/paper. Thank you for sharing your gift with us!