Chinese Painter Zhaoming Wu: Oil Paintings with Unexpected Color

By admin in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

Boxer by Zhaoming WuZhaoming Wu is an incredibly talented Chinese oil painter who was recently brought to my attention over at Greg Kapka’s daily painting blog.

Greg has a good eye for great art, so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed when I visited Wu’s website. His work immediately reminded me of another Chinese painter, Jove Wang, who I reviewed just a short while ago.

Wu’s painting style ranges from soft to hard-edged, but what I love about his work is the cold blues, purples, greens, and yellows that he puts into the shadow areas of his portraits.

It’s almost as though he ignores the actual hue, and simply paints by using values. For whatever the reason, those punches of unexpected color really make his work fascinating to me.

In this next painting, titled Greenwood, Wu uses predominantly warm colors to pull the face forward from the colder blue background—but not entirely.

Greenwood by Zhaoming Wu

He puts some subtle pinks and reds into the background which complement the warm reds in his shadows, while also placing some of that cold blue/green from the background right into the light areas of the face.

The result is a painting that is very cohesive—you can find colors from every part of the canvas everywhere else. There’s also a sense of spontaneity and movement, even though the model is sitting very somberly and still.

Bob by Zhaoming Wu

And, for all of you graphite artists who’ve never picked up a brush,
perhaps Wu’s work will inspire you to finally give it a shot.

Wu’s drawings are fantastic, and show exactly why he can get away with those crazy colors in his paintings.

Basically, this man can see light and dark like nobody’s business!

I absolutely love that his drawings look like graphite paintings. Wu deliberately smudges and pulls his pencils and charcoal marks to create brush-like strokes.

Those fading edges and wispy lines create the same cohesiveness between the figure and the background—just like his paintings—and of course they’re intended to do so.

Pierre by Zhaoming Wu

I’m sure you’ll want to check out the rest of Zhaoming Wu’s work (including his figurative paintings and landscapes) so head on over to his gallery at


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