Blog

Aug 2019

I have works on exhibit at La Sorella di Mangia, 2215 Marine Dr, West Vancouver.

Starting Aug 21 for a month, I'll have works displayed at Delany's Coffee House in Park Royal, West Vancouver.

 

May 2019

For a couple months this past spring, I painted murals at a local school library.  I took photos of the forest surrounding the school and two photos were chosen to be the scenes for the murals.  Walls were my canvas, ladders replaced my easel.  What a great way to enliven the space and bring the beauty of the woods into the school for students and teachers to enjoy.

I am grateful for Ms. Toms, the librarian, for her vision, support and managing of the project.  I'm also thankful for the Carisbrooke PAC and community for their support in funding the project.  Lastly, I wish to thank Opus Art Supplies for their support.

 Both Murals

Forest Glow at an angle

Big Cedar at an angle

Jun 2018

I'm happy to announce that my painting "Wild Lupines" was juried into the "Creatively Local" show which will take place at the Ferry Building Gallery in West Van July 17 - 29, 2018.  Just 21 works were accepted from a field of 165.

The opening reception will be Tue July 17, 6-8 PM.  Wine and snacks will be served.  Hope to see you then!

"Wild Lupines" by Caroline Chao

April 2018

"So amazing!  Best gift ever!"  Those were the words of the young lady who received this painting as a birthday gift.

"Daphne" by Caroline Chao

Mar 2018

Thanks to everyone who dropped by my studio during the North Shore Art Crawl.  I am thankful that many of my paintings found new homes.

The winner of the draw was S. Smith.  Congratulations!

"Edgemont Candy Canes" by Caroline Chao

Mar 2018

One of the challenges in preparing for the North Shore Art Crawl is figuring out how best to display all my paintings in my house.  I was thinking to group paintings by subject matter but to also put "bargains" in the basement.  Then there's the problem of matching the paintings to the wall colour...

Spacer

Feb 2018

I love snow!  I love the way snow increases the tonal contrast in the landscape.  I love the shadows cast by the trees.  I love the way the snow defines the tree boughs and branches.

"Winter Chorus" by Caroline Chao

Dec 2017

My client had a vision of a painting of her dog with the Lions (Vancouver's iconic mountains) in the background.  So, I took several photos of her dog at Cleveland Park.  

She selected her favourite pose of her dog.

Casey and the Lions

She selected her favourite background.

Casey and the Lions

I put the two together in a lovely painting.  

I told her she couldn't have the painting; I was keeping it.
(Just joking.) 

"Casey and the Lions" by Caroline Chao

Nov 2017

My work will be in a number of shows this season.  There are back-to-back receptions:  Nov 16 at Cityscape and Nov 17 at Lynn Valley Library.  Then on the weekend of Nov 25 & 26, there are two shows in close proximity:  the Annual Art Show at the Pipe Shop and Brushstrokes Gallery in the Quay.  On Nov 18, Nov 26 and Dec 2, I'll be painting at Brushstrokes from 12-3 PM.  Hope to see you at some of the receptions or shows. See Upcoming Shows for more details.

Oct 2017

I've been working on a steady stream of commissioned portraits.  Because each of them is a Christmas gift, I won't post any photos until after Christmas.

 

Aug 2017

Congratulations to KL and RL, winners of a painting, through the draw I held at the Harmony Arts Festival.

Draw Winner

July 2017

I'm very happy to announce that I'll be participating in the Harmony Arts Festival in West Van.  I'll have a tent in the Art Market the second weekend of the festival.

Fri Aug 11 *   2 - 9
Sat Aug 12 * 11 - 9
Sun Aug 13 * 11 - 9

Come by for a visit and see my latest work!

"Enchanted Evening" by Caroline Chao

June 2017

My painting "Dog Mountain Powder" will be featured in the NVCAC's "You are Here" calendar on the February page!  Calendars are $20 and available at Cityscape Gallery in North Van.  Sale proceeds go to support the North Shore Cultural Mapping project.

"Dog Mtn Powder" by Caroline Chao

Feb 2017

I'm participating in the North Shore Art Crawl, Sat March 4 and Sun March 5, 10-5 pm.  Come check out my studio and art.

"Dappled Light" by Caroline Chao

My painting "Exotic" is available for rent or purchase through the Art Rental program at the North Van Community Arts Council.

You're invited to the Art Rental Show!
Jan 13 - Feb 4, 2017
Opening Reception:  Thursday, Jan 12, 7-9 PM.

"Exotic" by Caroline Chao

Dec 2016

I've opened up shop on Etsy!  My shop on Etsy enables me to take orders for commission paintings online.  Customers are able to pay online using a credit card or Paypal.  Click here to visit my shop.

Nov 2016

Each year I have the image of one of my paintings printed into art cards.  
This year's image is Blackberry Wild 2.  The cards are blank inside so 
that you can craft your own message.  Let me know if you are interested 
in a set of cards.

10 cards for $20

 

Blackberry Wild 2 card 

Oct 2016

PUMPKINFEST COMPETITION RESULTS

Thank you to the judges Susan Cowan and Tatiana Popiviki who selected my painting "Country Road" for the "Best in Show" award.  
And, a big thank you to all the visitors who came to the show and voted for my painting "Sunset Dining" which won the People's
Choice award!  I am honoured.

Sep 2016

Come see two of my latest paintings at the PumpkinFest Competition and Show.

Sun Oct 2 * 10-3
West Van Seniors' Centre

Sunset Dining

June 2016

My latest portrait "JT".
Oil on canvas.
11" x 14"

Justin Spacer

May 2016

I'm pleased to announce that my painting "Alder Woods" has been accepted into the show "Boldest, Brightest, Best" at the Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver!  The show runs from Jun 21 - Jul 3, 2016.  Hope to see you at the Opening Reception Tue Jun 21, 6-8 pm.

   "Alder Woods" by Caroline Chao 

April 2016

Thanks to everyone who came to my art show at the Hycroft Gallery!  And a bigger thank you to those who purchased art.  Your support and encouragement keeps me painting!

  "Where the Air is Rarefied" by Caroline Chao

Dec 2015

I will be having a solo exhibition for the month of March 2016:

Hycroft Gallery
Univeristy Women's Club of Vancouver
1489 McRae Ave
Vancouver

Opening Reception:  Mar 2, 2016, 6:30-8:00 PM

You're invited!

 

Hycroft Manor

Nov 2015

I'm participating in the Anonymous Art Show at the Cityscape Gallery, 335 Lonsdale Ave.
Nov 20 - Dec 19, 2015.
All artwork is $100.  The artist remains a mystery until the art is purchased.

Opening Reception:  Thu Nov 19, 2015, 7-9:30 PM

Oct 2015

I had an enjoyable time painting at PumpkinFest.  It was great to talk to so many people and to see all the little ones at the event.

Here is the painting that I had started at PumpkinFest.  I think it's just about finished.

 

"Juju" by Caroline Chao

Apr 2015

Recently I have been painting portraits.  

Who is your "beloved"?  Would you like a painting of him or her?  A work of art near you to make your heart light?  Let me know if you're interested in a commissioned painting.

Mar 2015

So much of painting and creating depends on ones mood.  If ones mood is foul, it then depends on discipline.  Some days I have to will myself to paint.  Painting requires a lot of brain power; it's a lot of concentration and decision making.  Sometimes it's sufficient to be a distraction from ones life.

Feb 2015

I recently completed my first self-portrait!  It's on my homepage(http://nsartists.ca/carolinechao).  It's also my first painting in oil, as opposed to acrylics.

Jan 2015

Globe and Mail Jan 17, 2015

Quoting Jonathan Adler, designer (who has collaborated with Starburcks, Lacoste and Garmin):  "Most of what I do actually starts off pretty neutral and then I just add pops of colour.  A lot of my stuff will be in tones of white and grey and beige and then [I'll add] a little dash or orange."

That dash of orange can be a painting.  My painting "Exotic" is perfect for a dark hallway.  And "Blackberry Beauty", a little painting of mine, is great as a punch of colour in a small neutral-coloured bathroom.

Jan 2015

What is your favourite place on earth?  The place that makes your heart smile.  Provide me with a photo of that place and I can turn it into a beautiful painting which you can hang on your wall so you will smile each time you see it!

Dec 2014

If the bristles on my paint brush get shorter as I paint, from all the abrasion, where do the bristles go to?

Dec 2014

My latest painting is Forum Lake.  It's located in the SE corner of BC in Akimina-Kishinena Provincial Park.

A question I'm commonly asked is "Do I paint on site?"  No.  It takes me too long to paint like this -realistically - on site.  My paint dries too quickly; the lighting changes; and the weather conditions are generally not conducive to painting outside.  This painting took me 60+ hours to complete.

 

  "Forum Lake" by Caroline Chao

Nov 2014

Annual Fine Art Sale
Parkgate Community Centre, Gym
Sun Dec 7, 10 - 5

I will be taking down three paintings from my
walls to put in the upcoming Annual Fine Art 
Sale.  They are Autumn Joy (right), Exuberance (bottom left) and Exotic (bottom right).  All are
in warm vibrant tones.

  "Autumn Joy" by Caroline Chao

"Exuberance" by Caroline Chao

  "Exotic" by Caroline Chao

Oct 2014                                                       

I recently completed a 16"x16" painting of tiny woodland flowers called Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis) although I may call the painting "Tiny Dancers".  The flowers were only 3" high and they were swaying in the gentle breeze when I was trying to take their photo.  Because of their diminuitive stature, they are easily overlooked yet they are elegant and lovely.

  "Twinflowers" by Caroline Chao

Sep 2014

Being an artist means more than painting.  This month I had the challenge of making a frame fit my canvas.  I stretched the canvas myself.  After purchasing a frame for it and trying the frame on, I discovered that my canvas was not a rectangle!  The height dimension was fine in the corners but not in the middle.  I guess the stretched canvas had warped the stretcher bars!  (And I thought I hadn't done a good job stretching.)  I needed a brace in the middle of the stretcher bar to keep the bars from collapsing inward.  A gentleman at Dick's Lumber was very kind and helped me cut a suitable piece from scrap wood and he did it for free!  I had to remove the canvas (staples out!) before inserting the brace; I didn't want to risk ripping my canvas.  Then restaple the canvas back on.  I also had to touch up the bottom of the painting too as now more of the canvas was showing.  I could write a whole paragraph about removing varnish (I felt llike a conservator) but I won't. Carpentry skills (and chopsticks) are indispensible to artists.

July 2014

There's me in the North Shore News photo, advertising our upcoming show, happening this weekend.

NS News Ar Under the Arbor advert

June 2014

I'll be participating in a show entitled Art Under the Arbor at Park & Tilford Gardens, July 12 & 13, 11 - 5 pm. I'll be on site both days. Hope to see you!

May 2014

The Spring Art Sale is the last day of the month, May 31, 10-5 at the West Van Rec Centre.  We have an online gallery of some of the paintings.  You can take a sneak peek or make a purchase. Click on Upcoming Shows to see three of my paintings that are in the show.

 April 2014

I've been working on a large floral of warm coloured flowers.  It's a bouquet I received a few years ago for Mother's Day.  The most challenging are those flowers with many little petals.  It will be lovely once I'm done.

 Feb 2014

If you repeat the same motion over and over again, a LOT, eventually the body objects.  This is true even for painters.  My massage therapist friend says I should set a timer and change positions every hour.  Sit for an hour, stand for an hour.  Sitting cross-legged is a no-no.  Sitting on a hard chair is a no-no.  Painting with your arm outstretched is a no-no.  I used to think that my exercising kept the physiotherapists busy; now I think my painting is.  

 Jan 2014

Happy New Year!

I've nearly completed another commissioned portrait.  I work from photos which can be challenging when the photos are faded, too high in contrast or too low in contrast.  Thankfully anything can be done in the painting to make up for the photo's shortcomings.

 Nov 2013

I've been remiss in blogging.

I had an interesting conversation with a fellow artist who paints abstract primarily.  She paints and paints.  Sometimes nothing decent will emerge but other times,something will.  She said her abstract paintings are the result of emotion; whereas mine are the result of a lot of thinking.  It's true.  It takes a lot of concentration and thought to paint realistically.  I have a feeling though, even if I were to paint abstract, it would be the result of a lot of thought.

Sep 2013

Do you like trying new things out?  I do.  Depending on what one is trying, it may take some courage or at least a willingness to give up what you're comfortable with.  In science, that's called experimentation; in art, that might be called creativity.  You might be asking what have I, a realistic painter, experimented with!  For one:  mediums, i.e. glazing gel, acrylic medium, retarder.  Mediums are a great way to alter the drying time, fluidity and transparency of acrylic paint.  I can not imagine painting without them.  They really make my life a lot easier.

 Aug 2013

Hey!  Summer has flown by!  I was working on a large landscape of the Crowfoot Glacier in Banff before I received a commission which has since become my priority.  I also had some vacation time which is always an opportunity to find new subject matter for my paintings.

 

 Jun 2013

There's something REALLY satisfying about completing a task that is challenging.  I took some friends hiking over the weekend.  It was no walk in the park.  There was some serious elevation gain over a short distance:  heart -pounding-out-of-the-chest type.  Midway, I had my doubts that we would complete the hike.  Then, the last third of the hike involved  some scrambling (gentle rock climbing).  In the end, we made it.  And, despite the heavy physical exertion, everyone was really happy with the hike. 

I get that same sense of satisfaction when I tackle a difficult painting.  The process is not usually fun, but with perseverance comes the eventual completion of the painting and a tremendous sense of satisfaction.  I love challenges.

 

 May 2013

Edges.  I used to paint just hard edges but I am starting to get the hang of painting soft edges.  For some time, I've seen the beauty of soft edges.  They help convey the notion of an object in the distance, an object that is moving or an object away from the centre of attention.  With acrylic paint, it's fairly easy to produce hard edges but more difficult to produce soft edges.  With oil paint which takes a long time to dry, it's not difficult to have adjacent colours gently mix with each other. 

I like the background of my painting "Bramble"; I think I managed to make the background soft and loose.

 

 April 2013

To show or not to show - that is the question.  The Guild is hosting/sponsoring a number of shows this spring.  What a great opportunity to display (and possibly sell) ones art.  It does mean interrupting the painting process to take some time to consider what to show, how to price, and whether/how to frame.  I've found that shows have revealed in me all sorts of insecurities as an artist.  Ignore the competition, ignore what viewers say about my paintings.  Don't take personally the rejection of a work from a juried show.  Believe in yourself!

 

 March 2013

Do you have a favourite paint brush?  In the early days of painting, my favourite was a 0 round.  I used it until the bristles were splayed and shortened to about 1/2 their original length.  My current favourite is a 0 filbert.  It too is starting to look a little short and stubby.  I have a few decapitated 000 round brushes - I pulled too hard on the bristles when I washed them.  It maybe time for some new brushes.

 

Jan 2013

It was foggy today.  While I waited for a friend to pick me up, I stood outside so I could look around to see what the fog was doing to my neighbourhood.  It's soooo cool the way it hides buildings, trees and even mountains.  It adds atmosphere.  It simplifies landscapes.  It made the tree near me stand out from the background.  I love the fog.

 

 Dec 2012

Have you been to Brushstrokes Gallery in Lonsdale Quay?  I have a few pieces there from Dec 13 to Jan 13.  I'm really pleased with the gallery; there's proper lighting illuminating the artwork so one can see the subtly in tones.  Lighting is so important to art.  The gallery is on the second floor, west side of the Quay.  I'll be working there a few times over the coming month.  Hope to see you there!

 Dec 2012

There's nothing like a goal or deadline to make one work hard.  The only trouble with painting for long periods of time is that the neck and shoulder start to complain.  Deadline passed:  relax, recover.

 Nov 2012

I did not enter any pieces in the last couple of NSAG shows though I felt incredible pressure to do so.  This time, I've decided to enter some small pieces including the following:

Hydrangea Triptych

Hopefully they find new homes.  The Annual Fine Arts Sale is Sun, Dec 9, 2012 at Parkgate Community Centre, 10am - 5pm.

 Oct 2012

A whole essay could be written on titling paintings.  I usually prefer the straightforward "Name It" method over "What's the Message" or "What's the Feeling".  Of course, if you paint the same subject more than once, then using the name again doesn't work unless you modify the name slightly or resort to adding a count after the name but that seems a little too mechanical for me.  "What's the Message" might work for you the artist but unless carefully thought-out, it might lead to confusion for the viewer.  Besides, sometimes it's best to let the viewer figure it out and make his own interpretation.  "What's the Feeling" may work for the artist and viewer but I sometimes forget the title because it's somewhat nebulous.  No one method works all the time.  I use a combination of the various methods.

Sep 2012

Like many painters, I paint primarily from photos but unlike most, I consider myself a painter and a photographer.  I use my photographic skills to develop ideas for my paintings.  For example, I once used my digitial camera to take a photo of a dull old print.  I performed some creative processing and voila!  The resulting photo became the subject of a painting.

 Jul 2012

I spent several afternoons working on a mural on the exterior of the Heywood Park Salmon Hatchery.  Heywood Park is located in North Vancouver, north of Marine Drive, west of Hamilton Ave and west of Mackay Ave.  Mackay Creek runs through Heywood Park.  There is access to the park on Hamilton Ave, just behind the parking lot of the former Rogers Video store.  The project,  spear-headed by artist Ron den Daas, involved numerous people from the community and Carson Graham School art students.  The mural is a cheerful depiction the woods, plants and animals of Mackay Creek.  Drop by to have a look.

Pileated Woodpecker

 Jun 2012

I will have one or two paintings in a little art show:

  Sun., Jun 24, 2012
  9:00 am - 12:30 pm
  North Shore Alliance Church
  201 East 23rd St.
  North Vancouver, BC
  (corner of St. Georges and E. 23rd)
 
Everyone is welcome to attend.

 May 2012

OK, I admit it.  I'm a perfectionist.  I kept saying to myself, "If it doesn't look like her (Erica), then what's the point."  So, I was driven to make the portrait an accurate likeness of her.  I've started another portrait.  A fellow painter said to me, "You like to torture yourself, don't you?"

 May 2012

The grass is greener on the other side of the ...easel.  

I'm trying to find my niche.  I'm trying to determine what type of subject I paint best.  Since I love detail, I thought I'd try my hand at a portrait.  I'm in the midst of a portrait now.  I'm finding it a real test of my power of observation.  I think I may go back to landscapes after this.

Apr 2012

I've just finished a commissioned painting.  My client had a photo that she wanted reproduced as a painting.  She gave me lots of leeway, allowing me to change the composition and tweak the colour.  She absolutely trusted me which was great.  I think the painting turned out nicely.

Mar 2012

My painting chant:  It's OK; keep going; don't worry about it; you can always redo it if it's not quite right.  I have to remind myself too that it takes many layers of paint to make a painting.  In the early stages, the painting looks down right ugly.  It's only in the final stage that it starts to look decent.

         

 Feb 2012

I recently completed "Two Sentinels", a landscape painting featuring two worn old trees on the side of the Juniper Trail in Kootenay National Park.  One tree is a Douglas Fir.  The other, I'm not as sure about but I think it is a Lodgepole Pine that has been infested by Mountain Pine Beetle and drilled through by woodpeckers.  I love the lichen dripping down from the branches.  It reminds me of a veil falling gently over a bride's face.

Jan 2012

On the morning of Sun., Feb. 26, some of my paintings will be exhibited at

    North Shore Alliance Church
    201 East 23rd St.
    North Vancouver
    (corner of St. George and East 23rd)

The exhibit "All Things Bright and Beautiful" will run from 10 am - 1:00 pm (following the 9:00 and 11:00 services).  It will provide a glimpse into how my faith and art are interrelated.  Everyone is welcome.

 

 Dec 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

As an artist, what do i want to accomplish this coming year?  Should I strive to produce x number of paintings?  Maybe I should try my hand at a portrait?  Maybe I should have some FUN and mimic different styles of painting?  Try to complete a painting in one sitting?  Or a painting-a-day for a month?  I have so many ideas.  Maybe I shouldn't think and just paint.

 Nov 2011

What is your favourite colour?  As a child, my favourite colour was green - lush grass lawns, stately conifers, rustling leaves, swaying trees.  In my early adulthood, red became my favourite.  Joyful, exuberant, alive.  As a painter, one is introduced to an array of paint pigments.  Other than white, the colour I use most often is Payne's Grey.  My favourite pigment is currently Burnt Sienna, a warm brown.

 Sep 2011

I listen to a variety of music:  hip-hop, rap, pop, rock, jazz, and classical.  Hip-hop and rap - because my kids listen to it.  Pop and rock - because that's what I grew up with.  Jazz is mellow.  Classical is rich and layered.  If I were to classify my art in terms of music genres, I would call it classical.

 Jun 2011

My painting output has slowed recently.  I've been focused on our basement renovation.  Having lots of flexibility timewise as a painter can be both a pro and a con.

May 2011

For a school project, my son took the photo of me in the garden.  Didn't he do a splendid job!

 Apr 16, 2011

Painting can be a lonely pursuit - especially if you spend a lot of time painting by yourself in your studio.  For this (and other reasons) I look forward to the comaraderie of my weekly studio class.  On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes the socializing gets in the way of the painting but it makes painting more fun.

Mar 18, 2011

I know a number of fellow artists who, like myself, paint realistically, yet try to paint more loosely or "painterly", but fail time and time again.  We inevitably end up painting realistically.  Perhaps it is because we are attracted to what we are not (impressionistic and loose) that we try to paint that way - something like why we choose a mate with complementary character traits.  Maybe we should simply embrace what we do naturally (paint realistically) and stop trying to fight it.  One thing though, I would like to paint faster.

 

Feb 15, 2011

I like artist Ross Penhall's statement:  Passion, Persistence and Patience.  There are days when I don't feel like painting (perhaps I'm having difficulty with a particular bit of my painting) but I put on the apron, sit down in front of the easel, squeeze out the paint and eventually it clicks.  Painting teaches perseverance (or persistence).  Painting is a slow process.  Contrast it to photography.  Especially with a large canvas, it's easy to lose heart when one sees how much there is left to be done.  Painting teaches patience.  Painting is not easy but the passion for something beautiful to materialize from bits of paint and canvas drives me.

 

Jan 11 - Feb 6, 2011

My painting "Peugeot 202" will be at the Seymour Art Gallery for DisCOVEry 2011:  a juried exhibition.  The theme is "reinvent".  www.seymourartgallery.com/next_show.php

"Melancholy Morning" by Caroline Chao

Dec 2010

My husband asked "Would a painting of a gloomy scene  appeal to anyone?"  Well, it appeals to me; otherwise I wouldn't have painted it.  Is there not hope in the midst of sadness, beauty in the midst of gloom.   (From Isaiah 61:3, "oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair").  In music, whether it be classical, jazz or modern, there's a great deal of melancholy music.  The perfect pairing for this painting is Marjan Mozetich's "Postcards from the Sky".