Artist captures subjects with nature’s panorama of hues

by Judy Kahn

Design, composition of shapes, color, texture, movement, stillness and mood can all come into play in the creative process of a painting, according to Boon Heng Pang, an accomplished artist.

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 Artist Boon Pang touches up one of his paintings while working at his “Little Gallery,” located on Clement Street. Photos: Tyrone Bartoli

The subject of Pang’s paintings range from landscapes and portraits to still life and abstract.

“To study colors, nature is the best teacher. Colors in nature are constantly changing. The Earth’s rotation, direction of sunlight, casting of shadows, atmospheric conditions, like fog, wind, rain and temperature all affect the colors of their surroundings.”

By observing nature closely, from a painter’s perspective, Pang tries to capture the essence of that particular moment in time. His interpretation is that nature is already the masterpiece.

Pang said he decides what to show and rearranges the landscape if necessary to make the painting work. Pang paints with all mediums and sometimes combines mediums, as in the case of gouache, which is a combination of pastels and watercolor. He says gouache is versatile because it is moist, opaque, covers previous layers and dries quickly.

Since 1995, he has been painting in the pleinair style, a type of impressionist painting that seeks to produce the luminous effects of outdoor light. Most of his paintings are done outside, during daylight hours.

Pang believes artists need to master basic artistic skills before they can convey their meaning. He does not believe an artist should ever paint from a photograph.

The Richmond District artist gets gratification from painting and takes joy in the fact that nature can be recreated the way it is viewed. He loves learning and experimenting with new techniques and finds that art is always an exciting, evolving process.

Pang was born in Singapore in 1963. His interest in art began in primary school. In high school, he joined the community center and learned how to paint portraits. He attended the La Salle College of Arts in Singapore, where he studied basic drawing, painting, sculpture and printmaking.

In 1990, he moved to San Francisco and enrolled in the Academy of Art College and University of San Francisco art cooperative program. He received his B.F.A. in painting and sculpture in 1996. After receiving his degree, Pang decided to stay in San Francisco rather than return to Singapore.

He enjoys living in San Francisco because of its weather and variety of cultures. He also likes that people are tolerant.

Pang opened his business at 2605 Clement St. in 2005. It was originally a print shop but in 2017 it became his art gallery, called Little Gallery. He is currently looking to exhibit other artists’ creations and hopes to exhibit more of his work in different spaces.

He has a host of painters he admires, all for different reasons. He was inspired to learn to paint with pastels by Degas’ works and he respects Monet for his experimentation with colors and for painting the same subject repeatedly, each time using new colors. Because of the ability to see colors in an object constantly changing, a painting of a simple haystack becomes a dynamic and lively subject.

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 Local artist Boon Pang puts the finishing touches on a painting. 

Pang views J.M.W. Turner as the master of atmospheric light with an economy of colors. He admires Turner’s ability to be subtle and yet show depth. Turner would wash off a section of a painting and then paint over it, which produced an unusual effect.

He also enjoys Joaquin Sorolla, an impressionist painter who used expressive brushstrokes and vivid colors; a master of light. Wassily Kandinsky, whose book “Du Spirituel dans l’art” added a new dimension to abstract painting, is a favorite as is Hans Hofmann, a teacher who preceded and influenced Abstract Impressionism with the use of bold, contracting, flat colors that dance with others to create movements.

Another favorite is Michelangelo, who had good drawing skills, particularly when it came to the human body.

Pang is looking forward to hosting his open studio on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4.

For now, he is enjoying his passion for painting and looks forward to learning more and producing new paintings as he continues to look more closely at nature in all of its varying shades.

For more information about Boon Pang, go to the studio at 2605 Clement St., call (415) 221-1678 or emai

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