My artistic background was developed during my college years at the Catholic University of America where I got my Bachelor and Master degrees in Architecture. Inspired by my sophomore year studio teacher, Professor Dundin, a well-known watercolor architectural renderer, I began to hone my sketching and presentation skills on a variety of media including pen & ink, charcoal, color pencils, pastels, gouache, acrylic, watercolor and even crayons. As I stepped into my early professional architectural career after college, I also moonlighted as a freelance renderer drawing 3D perspectives of buildings and houses for builders and other local architects. Unfortunately as I moved up in my career getting more and more involved in the operations and management side of the business, my availability to do artistic activities continued to diminish.
My initial exposure to the Chinese Brush Painting and Calligraphy happened one day at the Montgomery Mall where I watched the demonstrations for the Chinese New Year celebration by Bertrand Mao and Amy Quach. I decided then that I would spend my retirement years pursuing these ancient arts without the knowledge of what Sumi-e was at the time. To my delightful revelation, the technique of controlling brushwork, ink and water on Xuan paper became the next step for an artistic challenge I was looking for in a new chapter of my life. Thanks to both of my teachers, Mr. Mao and Ms. Quach, I was taught not to be afraid to see what happened when the paintbrush loaded with ink or watercolor came to contact with a blank sheet of paper. As one meaningful reminder always came to mind when I inquired them about how to gauge a better painting from other good paintings, the answer always was – “You won’t know until you have gone through the experience of painting them”.