ONE YEAR

Today marks me and Eric's one year anniversary. It feels like it was only yesterday that I was walking towards Eric in my wedding dress, looking into his eyes and saying my vows. And while nothing has really changed, on the outside since we've been married, I feel like things have shifted for me on the inside. There's a kind of comfort in knowing that Eric is always there to hold my hand, through all the triumphs and sorrows in life. It really is true when people say that love will grow deeper with each passing day.

I saved this blog post that I wrote a while back about our wedding for today. It feels right to share my memories of that day on our first anniversary. So here's to the memories of that amazing, magical day one year ago when I got to marry my best friend...

When me and Eric first got engaged, we struggled with the size of the wedding that we really wanted. In fact, it was when we considered eloping that I stumbled on this beautiful Tuscan villa, La Poggiolaia, in Italy! We wanted the day to be one to call our own so that when we looked back, we will remember it as a day that was relaxing and stress-free. And so, when the big day finally came, it was exactly what we had hoped for but also much, much more... It was incredibly small and intimate. Looking back, I am amazed at how easy and smoothly everything came together. Of course, having a wonderfully talented wedding planner doesn't hurt either! Laura from Trendinozze gave us the afternoon hours to breathe, relax and take our time before the ceremony. I got to spend a few hours in our room by myself, quietly reflecting on stepping into this new chapter of our lives. I truly treasured those hours that afternoon.

The first time that I really emotionally understood the significance of that day was when I saw my bouquet. Out of nowhere, my eyes welled up with tears and my heart skipped a beat. The flood and range of emotions that I felt at that moment is indescribable, though I'm sure every bride on their wedding day know what I'm talking about. The next time I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest was when I saw Eric standing under that olive tree. My baby sister played Canon in D on the keyboard, my eyes welled up, my mouth quivered, and my bridesmaids literally had to pull my dress to stop me from running towards him. Walking towards him with my father next to me, I knew this day will always mean something significant. Our first words to each other was, naturally, "Hi". 

The ceremony was so beautiful, the afternoon light flooded the tree that we stood under. With our family and friends standing all around us, I felt so loved, so proud, so happy to be marrying this man! We wrote and said our own vows to each other that day. They were touching and from the heart. I'm glad the very talented Lisa and Gianluca from Lisa Poggi Photography was there to capture all of our moments because there were so many that were worth keeping. As for the wedding decor, I tried to add my watercolor designs where I could- and within reason as Eric refused to drag a giant suitcase of DIY goods through Italy! The sketch of my late grandfather was an important centerpiece. I designed a label for the olive oils that were made at the villa for our guests. The silk pouch was a small collaboration with my mother, who sewed the silk print that I designed together. It carried both of our rings during the ceremony where it was passed around to each guest. Everyone held them for a moment to give us their blessings, it's one of the greatest treasures from that day!

The reception was held under an awning on the level above where the ceremony took place. Laura, the florists and caterer all helped set up these beautiful tables for us! I love how simple and rustic it feels, it created just the right mood for the setting. I designed a custom menu and wrote the calligraphy for our place cards and food tags. And after a 5 or 6 course meal, (honestly, who's keeping count when you are eating handmade raviolis and Tuscan grilled steaks?) we ended the night with a traditional Italian wedding cake that was filled with custard and fruit. I think everyone nearly fell over in their chairs when they tasted the cake! We were sad that the day was ending, but so grateful for all of the toasts, tears and laughter that we all shared together that night. 

Cheers,

Yao

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GALLERY NIGHT- JUNE 27, 2015

Hello!

I wanted to share with you guys a Gallery Night that I will be hosting along with Wild Goose Creative on June 27th from 6-10pm. Wild Goose Creative is a gallery/creative space here in Columbus, Ohio, and they approached me a few months ago about doing a solo exhibit of my work. Of course, I was delighted, as this is really the first time I've shown my work in a gallery! The show includes current & new watercolors that range from abstracts to florals. Seeing my work all hung together is pretty neat, it provides me with perspective on the progression of my work, not to mention how colorful my work really is.

The event will be from 6-10pm that night and I will be there for a meet & greet. You can check out the Facebook event here. We will also have a little pop-up shop during the event where I'll have some of my products there for sale. So, if you are in town, hope you will stop on by and say hello!

Have a great weekend, folks!
Yao

REFLECTIONS ON MY PAINTING PROCESS

©2015 Yao Cheng Design

©2015 Yao Cheng Design

Hello! I took some time this week to update my website with some new prints and I realized it was time for a revisit on my blog as well. Work takes me away from my blog for months at a time, but, I love being able to share my thoughts on my creative process and work progress with you guys.

In the last month, I managed to carve out weeks of time to devote just to painting. How I was able to do this in the first place is beyond me, except to say that it felt imperative that I start painting again. And when I say painting, I mean for more than 3 hours at a time. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't able to do this vigilantly for the entire time, but, when I could spend an entire day painting, it felt great to allow my creative mind to run off on its own. While I was working on my process page today, I realized that there's so much more to this than what I can fit into a few short paragraphs. 

The painting process is something I have come to value more and more. As I gain more confidence in myself as an artist, I've become to appreciate the process of painting a lot. When I was in college, there was a lot of emphasis on the "process", but I never really understood what that meant. It felt more important to finish the class project and get an A instead. But now, I find myself more relaxed in my work if I focus more on the process of arriving at the final painting than to tell myself I need 3 amazing pieces by end of the day. What I mean by this is I try very hard not to put any expectations on a painting before I even begin. Staring at a blank "canvas", I still feel a lot of uncertainty every time I begin painting. It's equal parts a thrilling and an uneasy prospect for me. "Will this be the next best-seller?" But then before I can psych myself out of it, I pick up my brush and go with it. And once I start painting, everything is a reaction, a conversation, from one stroke to the next...I cannot stop myself from falling into this world where colors and shapes come to life. It's a completely different head space for me. All cluttering thoughts stop here, I am not aware of anything else in my surrounding except the painting in front of me. This type of focus is amazing, it's addicting and freeing for me. I can only describe it as meditative, because painting allows me to escape to a place where I do not need to think about anything else except for what I am painting. I suppose this is what it means to be truly present.

And being present is what painting, especially with watercolor, is all about. Yes, the final piece captures that entire process, all of those layers of movement, rhythm and expression. But, it's only an imprint of those moments where colors meet and blend, and where translucent shapes are layered on top of each other. It feels so final, so flat. The painting doesn't capture in real-time what it's like to see all of that unfolding in front of you. The true painting, as I've come to find more and more, is in the process itself. It's about the gestural movements of my hand, the accidental colors that touch and blend, and the strokes that speak volumes about how I feel. I never feel like I can fully capture this in my final piece, maybe that's why I always feel a little unsatisfied at the end of a painting. But the best part of my process is that I can start over with the next painting. This is why I never place too much expectation on this one being the "it" piece. Because I never know which ones will become a final painting, and that's never really the point anyway. 

That's all that I have for today, hope you all will enjoy a wonderful summer weekend!

Cheers,
Yao

Watercolor Tutorial with Creativebug

Image courtesy of Creativebug

Image courtesy of Creativebug

Image courtesy of Creativebug

Image courtesy of Creativebug

Hello there!

Wow it's been months since I've had a moment to sit down and write a proper blog post! It's been a really busy last 3 months, I'm still trying to figure out how to allocate enough time for different aspects of my business, which includes blogging! I've missed many moments of wonderful accomplishments in sharing on the blog with you all, but at the moment I'm most up-to-date via Instagram

Anyway, enough about me rambling...I want to share something that has been in the works for months now! Introducing a whole video series on the way I create watercolors, the beginner's class is now available through Creativebug. About 3 or 4 months ago, I was approached by them to partner up and create some online tutorials on how to paint with watercolor. The timing couldn't have been more perfect, since I have been trying to figure out how to put some online classes together myself! I receive lots of requests from readers and customers to create an online tutorial on a daily basis, and it was time to capture why I love watercolor as much as I do through video! 

I flew down to San Francisco end of January for an entire week to shoot the videos. The process was so interesting, so eye-opening, and so daunting. The main goal I wanted to communicate across was how enjoyable and fun painting with watercolor can be. I wanted viewers to not feels so afraid to pick up that brush and start painting. It is a very simple task, right? But, and even I feel this way 80% of the time that I paint, it's so scary to stare at a blank piece of paper. There's so much expectation to be placed on a sheet of paper. "Will it be the most amazing painting ever"? "Am I going to witness the next Van Gogh"? I know I'm exaggerating a little, but really, thoughts similar to that crosses my mind and I start to freeze. Because how in the world will I know? Which is precisely why I don't sketch in pencil beforehand. I take the jump, vanquish all of those fears, and just start painting...It doesn't have to be the best of piece I'm going to ever create. Really, it's probably going to draft 1 of 5 before I get something really great. And that's totally OK! No expectations, no restraints. Let's just enjoy the process of painting, and watch watercolor dance and blend its way through all the colors, shall we? 

This is the main goal I wanted to communicate across. Everything beyond that was going to be a bonus! Now that a month as passed and I've had some distance from all of the preparation and lesson plans...I have to say I'm really proud of what me and the crew (such amazing, talented people!) at Creativebug did together. I learned a lot about my inner thought process while I'm painting. It's something that's become really innate and intuitive, that it's only ever in my subconscious. But, through these video tutorials, I had to vocalize these thought processes out loud.

The first class focuses on the fundamentals like blending techniques and constructing color palettes. Each week, for 4 weeks, there will be a new class that will be sort of a follow-up to the class before. There are 2 beginners classes, including this one, and 2 intermediate ones where I dive a little deeper into complex shapes and compositions. One of the intermediate classes is entirely devoted to florals! This is how much I love painting with flowers, I can go on for hours talking about it!

I hope you guys will pop on over and check it out! They offer monthly subscriptions that are very affordable where you can take as many classes as you'd like. In addition, follow me on Instagram for prices and giveaways through these 4 weeks! 

Happy painting everyone!

Yao