Wednesday 6 February 2013

Bei-An CAO

This is another of the artists I first became aware of in Kees van Aalst's popular book `Realistic Abstracts` (Search Press 2010). Apart from his portraits, which are more impressionistic, most of his other work is of an abstract nature with small areas of realism - which is why Kees van Aalst featured him in the book. Although watercolour seems to be his major medium he also uses pastels and acrylics. Many of the details that follow are from the literature that accompanied his 2013 workshop at the Moulin de Perrot Academy of Fine Arts at Gilhac-et Bruzac France. This is where Viktoria Prischedko also holds workshops.

Bei-An Cao was born in Shanghai in 1957. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Shanghai and subsequently held a number of  academic posts in several art institutions.  He moved to Brussels, Belgium to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts from where he graduated in 1998. He also attended other faculties and currently teaches at the Watercolour School at Namur.

Many of his works are in collections of professional painting in numerous countries including China, the U.S., Japan and various European countries. He has won many awards in both Europe and China.

For the course at MD Perrot his recommended materials included Arches 300gm (140lb) paper. He uses a variety of round and flat brushes and sells them on his courses. This probably means many are of Chinese origin as he admires Chinese calligraphers  and major Asian painters. He is a friend and disciple of the artist Zao Wou ki.. 

His choice of colours is interesting as he recommends either tubes or a Winsor & Newton box with some additional tubes. The colours given are Lemon Yellow, Gamboge, Orange Yellow, Vermillion Red, Cadmium Red, Permanent Rose, Red Ochre, Alazarin Crimson, Perylene Violet, Dark Violet, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Phalo Blue, Cobalt Blue, Light Green, Dark Green, Burnt Umber, Dark Brown, Ivory Black and white gouache. I don't know if these are all Winsor & Newton as the descriptions- Dark Green, Dark Violet etc - don't exactly match current W & N paints. nevertheless you get the idea -  20 paints in all. It strikes me that the `limited' palette is not in vogue with an increasing number of artists, principally - but not always - those who paint a range of subjects.

Following are a number of examples of his work. He does portraits which are impressionistic rather than abstract. His other work epitomises the `realistic abstract ' type of painting described and  well illustrated in the van Aalst book. This isn't to everyone's taste but I like it very much.

I think him a terrific artist and he has a large following. His website is  where you will find a much larger selection of his paintings. Google his name and  more comes up. There is one video of his paintings on Youtube, more a catalogue of paintings rather than a demo.


artist said...

I agree with you. I like his style very much.

Thanks for always sharing such interesting finds.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks you very much for commenting Delilah. I appreciate that very much.