Cathy Liu Ideas for Show at Louis Meager Art Gallery in Fremont

Here are some further thoughts about my work that I’d like to share with the class.  Today I talked about working towards more clarity in my work, so I hope to add some clarity in explaining it.


In addition to distilling my shapes and forms into their most purest and simple selves for the past 16 years, I also want to emphasize that tension and balance play a huge part in every piece. I spoke a little bit about that tension when I talked about starting to play music in my forties.  That challenge causes tension.  Also, even though I listen to NPR while painting, it’s almost like a weight that grounds me as I go into a peaceful, meditative painting state.  Somehow it gives me sense of balance.  It’s similar to the heaviness of working for Mother Jones and my husband’s injury that catapulted me into these happy paintings.  In every one of my paintings there is tension between the shapes––mostly seen as lines and forms that barely touch or are about to touch which is probably easiest to see in the lettering on cards–– as well as with the colors which are on the extreme end of complementary in many cases.

I consider my work abstract organic.  Organisms adapt and evolve.  The organic nature of my paintings are attempting to illustrate that growth, life and development. Though the titles of the paintings will give a hint to the basic idea I was trying to convey, it’s important to remember that an abstract painting is meant to be interpreted by the viewer.  A neighbor of ours was a Jungian psychotherapist and he thought all of the paintings were definitely sexual.  A friend in medicine felt they were all very biological. Several friends who were trying to get pregnant were convinced that they are all about fertility.  You see what you want to see and hopefully it’s something good and inspiring.
When I hear a great song, read a well written story, see a well made movie, or see/hear anything that is done with somebody’s best self, their truest self, I’m always inspired to do better work.  I’m hoping to bring out the playful spirit in viewers of my work. There is a focused flow of positive energy that goes into all the artwork I put out in the world––be it a painting, a rock or a birthday card.  I really want the receiver to feel it. .  The best compliment I get from friends who own my paintings is, “I don’t know why, but just looking at your painting makes me happy.” All personal pieces for friends and family are marked with a “made with aloha” stamp from me.  It’s true that a lot of love goes into everything I put my name on. It’s almost a miracle to me when people I don’t know love my work, which is really what makes gallery shows fun for me.  I figure, making a complete stranger feel happy can only make the world a better place. Some basic Buddhist tenets guide my work: Is it true?  Is it kind?  Is it necessary?

Art inspirations:
Jean Arp
Art inspirations:
Jean Arp
Joan Miro
Isamu Noguchi
Emilio Pucci

Talk to you soon.
Thanks again for this opportunity to share my work.

Hi Kenney,
Thanks again for the opportunity to meet with your students as well as providing lunch for everyone.  I appreciate how easy you've made the process so far.  Now that I've taken a better look at the gallery, I will decide which paintings and objects I'd like to include in the show.  Once I've got a list, I'll send it to you so your students can access just the photos they need to do the catalog and not have to go through everyone of them.  Maybe a page with a couple of cards and a page with rocks and driftwood would also be nice to include.
Talk to you soon.

Cathy Liu


Hi Kenney,
I was thinking more about the catalog and I was wondering what you thought about doing a poster instead.  That way people could hang them up at home.  It could be the standard 8 1/2 x 11 size that folds out and would have the images of the paintings in the show and maybe a few objects.  There could be a smallish bio or statement at the bottom of the poster.  I think this could be really fun to design. We could then keep the actual show pretty simple.
Let me know.
Any ideas about Cathy's proposal?
Do you have any strong feelings on how her art should be show?  
Think about the things we talked about last class.
Do you have any new ideas for showing Cathy's art?

Discussion: How might this image relate to the ideas expressed in Martin Luther’s “An Open Letter to The Christian Nobility” 1520?

How might this image relate to the ideas expressed in Martin Luther’s “An Open Letter to The Christian Nobility” 1520?


Cave paintings were Stone Age animations


Archaeologist Marc Azéma thinks that Stone Age artists may have fashioned their cave paintings in such a way as to suggest movement, crude movies that came to life as the flickering light from a fire danced on the walls.

Not only that, Paleolithic artists may have also have invented the thaumatrope thousands of years before the Victorians in the 1800s.
  • Consisting of a card or disk with different designs on either side, the device demonstrates the persistence of vision: When the card or disk is twirled, the designs appear to blend into one.
  • Rivère discovered that Paleolithic artists used similar optical toys well in advance of their 19th-century descendants.
  • The artist examined Magdalenian bone discs -- objects found in the Pyrenees, the north of Spain and the Dordogne, which measure about 1.5 inches in diameter.
  • Often pierced in their center, the discs have been generally interpreted as buttons or pendants.
  • "Given that some are decorated on both sides with animals shown in different positions, we realized that another type of use, relating to sequential animation, was possible," the researchers said.
  • They mentioned one of the most convincing cases, a bone disc found in 1868 in the Dordogne. On one side, the disc features a standing doe or a chamois. On the other side, the animal is lying down.
  • Azéma and Rivère discovered if a string was threaded through the central hole and then stretched tight to make the disc rotate about its lateral axis, the result was a superimposition of the two pictures on the retina.
Incredible that moviemaking is tens of thousands of years old instead of just a couple hundred.

Chalk Drawings with Dad

I was walking Chuck this morning and we walked by a dad decorating the sidewalk with his little boy.

It made me remember when I was a little boy my dad once took out a giant newsprint pad and a metal cigar case filled with vine charcoal.  He put a recording of "The Little Train that Could" and began to draw the scene with me. He handed me a piece of the charcoal and as he drew the train and the tracks I drew the mountains and trees.  It's a good memory and it made me happy for myself and the people who were drawing on the sidewalk.


Discussion of Perspectives


How is this painting a good example of St. Augustine's ideas concerning the "City of Man and the City of God?"

How do these terms relate to the paintings above?
linear perspective
atmospheric perspective
aerial perspective



How to make a transcript using Camtasia and Dragonspeak

  • I know that a hot topic right now at our college is to generate transcripts for students who need them, depending on their disabilities.  I just wanted to show everybody how to use Camtasia and to create a transcript with the Dragonspeak the program.
  • So I just recorded the lecture.  Now that I have the lecture recorded the next thing I’m going in a do is save the document so that I can edit it.
  • I’ll just call this how to make a transcript.  I guess I should spell it right.  Okay, now that I have the documents saved what I’m gonna do is export it as an audio file. 
  • I can use this audio file to generate a transcript in Dragonspeak.
  • In order to do that go to
  • FILE
  • and then you
  • Then you pull down to
  • It’s gonna make up a wave file (.WAV) which will be fine for whatever you’re doing.
  • I’m going to call it transcript.wav
  • Open Dragonspeak, and to go up to
  • TOOLS in the right-hand corner.
  • I’m going to
  • You can transcribe into Dragonspeak or DragonPad or you can put it in a window.
  • Open up Microsoft Word.
  • I’m gonna transcribe it into Word
  • Choose the window, which is on here.
  • Browse to locate the file. I put mine in my documents folder, I’m using the transcript.wav file that I generated
  • Click on transcript.wav
  • Click on the window in Microsoft Word that you are using.
  • Wait for it to generate the transcript.  DO NOT TOUCH THE KEYBOARD OR MOUSE UNTIL IT FINISHES
  • I want you notices it’s kind of inaccurate, but it’s also accurate enough for me to edit it and use it
  • Save the document.
  • It will be less accurate if you slur your words or you are not a very clear speaker. 
  • I hope that this helps some of you.
  • See you around campus.


Discussion of Classical Art and the concept of Schema and Correction

How do these two sculptures express the concept of schema and correction?   List specific things such as formal elements and symbolic elements to illustrate your point.  Use as much specific vocabulary as you can.