Seascapes are rarely subjects that capture my attention. The seascapes of Ruo Li, however, are striking exceptions.
Sweeping carpets of foam vibrate over rough edged rocks, throwing up volumetric plumes of spray; or quietly seep through crevices and channels on their way back to join the greater sea. Flat planes of water lay against the sand, carrying reflections of the sky in their glistening surface.
His depiction of foam and spray, as well as other white subjects like snow or the white decks of boats, are handled with masterful aplomb.
Li’s rich, painterly approach revels in the textures of his subjects, whether seascapes, landscapes or still life. He often works with a very controlled palette, though he will employ brighter busts of color in his landscapes.
Li was born in Hunan, China and received his BA degree from the Fine Art Department of Guangzhou Academy. He went on to teach in the Fine Art Department of Henan University. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1989 and is currently based in California.
Unfortunately, the galleries on his website are slightly awkward. You can choose easily enough from subject categories along the bottom for Seascapes, Watercolor (image above, bottom), Sketches, Landscape and Floral, as well as “Other” which includes more conceptual pieces, usually involving animal themes.
Once in a particular gallery, however, you have to click on a thumbnail before any images from that gallery appear, and need to take note of the small indicator under the thumbnails of how many pages of thumbnails are in the gallery (the Seascape gallery has 17), and use the small symbols to navigate to the next batch.
There is a mention of his work on the PaintAmerica site, where he won top honors in the 2009 competition. The image there is linked to a larger version than the images on his site, allowing for a better sense of his brushwork and use of texture.
In addition, there is a book of Ruo Li’s Art available on Blurb.
[Suggestion courtesy of James Gurney]