Living Her Dream

Categories: 2024 July-August Issue, Oil, Still Life, and Wei, Yun.

At this year’s Art of the Cowgirl event in Queen Creek, Arizona, Chinese-born still life painter Yun Wei earned the title of Reserve Champion of the Quick Draw—a competition in which artists rapidly complete a painting on-site. Her winning piece features an intricately detailed leather saddle, the sort of subjects she has fallen in love with since moving to California more than a decade ago.

“When I began painting Western subjects, I posed a saddle on the table, and a gallery owner told me not to do that,” Wei recalls. “She said, ‘You can put it on a trunk, or outside on a fence, but you never put it on the table.’ That’s how I knew that I had to learn the history of the culture I was painting.”

Over the years, Wei has come into contact with many cultures, starting in her birth city of TianJin, a metropolis known for its history of producing notable artists. Her own family included calligraphers, painters, and designers, and her father—an architectural designer—who gave Wei her first drawing lesson when she was about two years old. “He drew a pear, then I drew all its details,” Wei says. “Everyone was surprised that a young child could observe so carefully and express what she saw.”

Read the full article in the July/August 2024 issue.

Symbols From Another Time

30″ by 30″


Wild West

20″ by 24″