Dr. Lam's Art

Facial Plastic Surgery requires a good artistic eye and a gentle hand. Dr. Lam is an accomplished artist outside of his clinical practice and has painted and drawn portraits, landscapes, and abstract art work. He has created his art in many different media including acrylic, oil, graphite, charcoal, watercolor, ink and wash, color pencil, color marker, lithograph, pastel, and mixed media.

He also is a graphic artist and has designed all of his own logos, business cards, illustrations for his textbooks, designs for his book covers, websites, etc. and is proficient with Adobe Illustrator. He has a deep passion for art and is driven by offering patient’s his artistic eye and touch in every case. When he is not painting, he is visiting art museums and learning from great artists of the past. His favorite artists include Sol Lewitt, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, David Hockney, Morris Louis, Wolf Khan, Constantin Brancusi, among many others.

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  • Artwork 1This is entitled “Halo” and is a color-pencil painting on 16 x 20” sanded white paper. It features my wife Ellie and child Alessandra. I replaced Alessandra’s face with a more recent photograph because she has a better expression in the newer photograph.
  • Artwork 2This painting is entitled “Together Through This” (Pastel on 22 x 19” Toned Gray Paper). This pandemic tragedy brought my wife and me closer together knowing that we rely on each other to get through these tough times, fully recognizing how blessed we are already and continue to be. We are also together with our Lord who is always with us, as represented in this painting. My faith is helping me cope with where we are. If you don’t have a faith, I would love to share with you what has given me hope and joy.
  • Artwork 3This painting is entitled “Dreams of Eze”. It is a soft pastel on 24 x 16” hot-press watercolor paper and it is dedicated to my dad (see below). It represents a radical departure for me from my previous work that attempted to achieve more realistic renderings. It is inspired by the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Fauvist movements. You can see boldly imagined impasto strokes, rough smears, exposed paper, and unrealistic colors. Sorry the colors in these photos look nothing like the original. It is also a memento to my father who painted Impressionist landscapes and figures with pastels. I hope he likes this painting from heaven. (I know he does! Miss you dad.). As we stay locked shelter in place, I dream of the time Ellie and I traveled to her favorite French Riviera town, Eze, where I brashly claimed I had been and we didn’t need to go because I studied French when I was in college in Provence. Well, I actually totally missed that city and went to the neighboring village Eze-Sur-Mer, which is nothing like it. Eze is an elevated medieval city filled with trellised gardens, cobblestoned streets, and magnificent views of the ocean. As you can see, I have reimagined parts of this painting with French Riviera flora as compared with the dry landscape of the original reference photo. I love color and love Matisse. Ellie’s dress is an homage to some of Matisse’s dress patterns. Also, the hotel where the movie Bucket List was filmed was where we stayed: Chèvre D’Or. Our bathroom was carved into the side of the mountain. I hope you enjoy your travel to southern France with me!
  • Artwork 4This painting is entitled “Sunrise over Santorini” and is a soft pastel on 22 x 30” hotpress watercolor paper. This painting incorporates Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and contemporary styles (inadvertently Hockney) using extremely bright, saturated colors that do not necessarily reflect reality but captures the imagination. I used no fine pastel pencils, only rough and saturated soft pastels. This painting continues my fantasy travel series during this Covid crisis. Santorini is one of my favorite places in the world, and this painting was based on our time at Astra Suites in Thira, in the center of the Santorini crater. As you can see from the reference photos, I moved the painting from sunset to sunrise to express the brighter colors. I also combined two photos into one so that I could capture the central peak and the two flanking curves of the crater in one image. Further, I moved the sun over compositionally to the left for better aesthetic balance. When we were there, in the morning we would have breakfast made to order on our balcony looking over the morning fog that settled over the craggy peaks. What a memory. I hope you enjoy these travels together!
  • Artwork 5This painting entitled “Ma Petite Ange” is my first attempt at doing an ink and wash painting, which was done on 10 x 14” cold-press fine-grain watercolor paper. I replaced Alessandra’s head with a still from a video since the original photo was taken about 6 months ago and I wanted to update her head. This is the first time I’ve been able to use my 108 set of Holbein watercolor paints from Japan, and they are magnificent!
  • Artwork 6This is the largest painting I’ve done 4’ x 16’ entitled “Spring Returns”, and it is an acrylic painting on clear acrylic panels. The title alludes to the Spring time we are currently in, our Spring that will return when this Covid crisis is over, and of course the flowers in the painting. It will be mounted floating in front of a limestone facade at the main entry of our wellness building when you walk in. As everyone knows, I love flowers and they cheer me up! Hope it cheers you up! I can’t show the painting as one piece because the painting is too long horizontally.
  • Artwork 7This drawing is entitled “Bolero” and is a charcoal and color pencil on 9 x 12” tone-gray paper. The title comes from a Spanish dance, and the rose in Ellie’s hair somehow reminds me of a Spanish dancer. This is a first attempt for me with charcoal, and I found it to be a wonderfully expressive medium. Using white charcoal and tone-gray paper was a lot of fun! As you know, I simply have a hard time escaping my desire for some color, so I was planning all along to add the splash of color to the rose. Initially, I was thinking about using pastel, my favorite medium, but the chroma on the red would have overpowered the drawing. I was then going to use charcoal willow sticks for the background but I decided it would have swallowed the facial features, so I went with shades of baby blue with darker tones near the lighter highlighted hair. The blue also complements the red rose and balances the drawing. Also, as you can see I can’t escape my passion for portraits and flowers. This drawing allowed me to combine my two passions into one subject. Hope you like it!
  • Artwork 8This drawing is entitled “Faith Hope Love” and features my parents. It is a charcoal and color pencil on 9 x 12” toned-gray paper. This is my second attempt at charcoal work, and I love it!
  • Artwork 9Happy New Year from the New Year baby, Alessandra! It is entitled “Happy” and it is a watercolor, gouache, and color pencil on 30”x 22” cold-press watercolor paper.
  • Artwork 10This painting is entitled “Double Portrait” and features my mom and dad. It is an acrylic painting on 6 x 4 feet canvas. It is my most ambitious painting to date and represents my first attempt at an acrylic portrait, very difficult considering the incredibly fast dry time but I liked the challenge. The painting is inspired by David Hockney’s 1971 painting of Sir David Webster which was of a similar size, color palette, and medium (see attached). In fact, I copied his table as an homage to the artist and his work. As you can see on the table there are three books. All books may or may not exist in reality but they do in my imagination. The first book is on Hockney’s double portraits, of which he is famous and which is why I entitled this painting double portrait. The cover features his famous Portrait of an Artist that sold for $90 million making him the most expensive living artist until he was eclipsed by Jeff Koons at $91 million. The painting on the cover of the book features a swimming pool and with my Santorini painting that had a swimming pool in it I was inspired to explore Hockney more in depth, which inspired this painting. The second book on the table entitled Museums of Naoshima references museums that I really want to see on a small island in southern Japan near my mother-in-law Masako’s home island of Shikoku and the book is an allusion to her. The bottom book on the Chèvre D’Or hotel in Eze is a stand in for my wife Ellie and also a reference to my previous painting on the same subject. The cross in the center of the painting represents the centrality of Christ in my life. The Sakura (cherry blossom) flowers represent my daughter (her middle name), and the same flower is in my dad’s handkerchief. The flowers are situated in a Ming vase, which represents my Chinese heritage. It also features two birds that my wife wanted me to paint, which represents us. The style of the painting is a mixture of realism and expressionism, the latter of which is especially expressed in the skin tones and facial features.
  • Artwork 11This painting is entitled “Shine On” and it is an acrylic on 5 x 5 feet canvas. The title has three meanings: the expression means to carry on and it refers to our ability during the Covid crisis to Shine On; it refers to one of Ellie’s (and my) favorite artists, Pink Floyd; and it refers to the sheer brilliance of colors including the use of bronze, copper, silver, and gold, along with violet and orange interference paints (the latter of which you can’t even see in this photo). This painting will be over my fireplace and you first approach it from 90 degrees down a long hallway. There is direct sunlight on it, and all you will see at first are these brilliant sparkles from an angle! This painting looks amazing in real life, but this photo capture 1% of the beauty of the original painting. The painting process required expanding and shrinking brush strokes, adjusting colors, and altering color values. It was a fun and truly challenging process.
  • Artwork 12This painting is entitled “Birds of Paradise” and is an acrylic painting on 6 x 6 foot canvas. This is the largest canvas that I’ve done these past few months, and it is so large that I couldn’t bring it upstairs to my art room and mount it on my easel, so I had to paint parts of it lying on my side on the floor. The painting combines an impressionist-style landscape with a realistic foreground consisting of birds, window, table, and vase. The title of the painting refers to the name of the flowers and the birds, of course. The vase also has a bird and flowers on it. The surreal painting will be the centerpiece of my dining room.
  • Artwork 13This painting is entitled “The Dance”. It is an acrylic on an 8 x 3 foot canvas. It is the tallest painting that I’ve ever done and it has taken me the longest time, a little over a week, that I have worked on a single painting. It is so tall that I had to use a ladder to paint the upper half of the painting. The title and concept are based on Matisse’s “The Dance”, which is featured on the right side. The vase of flowers and the angle of the painting are taken from one version that Matisse did with a vase of flowers with his painting of the Dance as an element within his painting, so my painting is a painting of painting within a painting. This painting will be at the end of a long hallway leading to my bedroom. I chose the jumping dancer as the focal point to fill this vertical frame. If you see, the perspective of the painting is also from an elevated vantage looking down as if you the viewer are also dancing in mid-air. I painted my wife’s face onto the pose of a dancer. I wanted the stillness and solemnity of my dog Kumo to anchor the bottom half of the painting.
  • Artwork 14This painting is entitled “Solitude in Santorini” and is an acrylic painting on 4 x 4 foot canvas. The idea came from Ellie wanting more abstract pieces for the home and my inability to escape figurative paintings. I thought that making 90% of the canvas filled with simple blues would appeal to her and fortunately she agreed to it. This painting is a sequel to my pastel “Sunrise in Santorini” and both feature Ellie in the pool at our hotel Astra Suites located in Imerovigli in Santorini looking right over the center of the crater facing the volcanic cliffs, the three peaks which you can see in the misty background. I used ultramarine blue, light ultramarine blue, and white for the sky, deep cerulean blue and white for the sea and the volcanoes, light phthalo green, light phthalo blue, white, and brilliant blue for the pool. The wall is a mixture of primary cyan, anthroquinine blue, and white. The shadow in the pool is composed of light phthalo blue and green, brilliant blue, white, and dioxazine purple. I transitioned from dark to light then light to dark from top to bottom and from blue to green and green to blue in the colors.
  • Artwork 15This work is entitled “The Long Journey” and is an acrylic painting on a 4 x 3 foot canvas. Ellie is shown after a long day of travel returning back to the hotel with a view of Mount Fuji. This is an imagined scene since I don’t recall ever staying in a hotel facing Mt. Fuji. It continues my themes of travel, Japan, and a split frame divided 50/50 like the last one of Ellie in a pool in Santorini facing the ocean. I love the colors of Mt. Fuji. I could look at that part of the painting for hours! The partially truncated head has multiple intentions. First, it shocks the viewer and frames the painting in a very unique way. Second, I was really inspired by an interview with the artist Cecily Brown who said that the face defines the narrative of the painting and overly dominates the painting (which is absolutely true), so by partially obscuring it the painting removes that element. Third, it’s a figurative statement that the mind is wiped out after a long day of travel. The open guide book set on the lap further symbolizes mental fatigue. The items in the room symbolize femininity like the purse, peaches, and shoes not to mention the swooning appearance. This is contrasted against the masculine presence of the mountain, which also has a feminine loveliness to it as well. There is a lightness to the upper half of the frame and heaviness to the lower half that provides another interesting contrast. The peaches also symbolize Japanese-ness, longevity, and truth. This painting will go in the hallway upstairs.
  • Artwork 16This work entitled “Big Rock Candy Mountain” is on two canvases of 5 x 5 feet making it 5 x 10 feet in total. This painting has morphed so many times and has finally landed as a bright and massive painting for Alessandra’s future nursery. The title is from the folksy joke song that Ellie loves to sing and reminds her of where she was born in northern Georgia/Tennessee. Of course, also these bright and stylized mountains look like big candies and hopefully will make her room tasty and joyous! I used almost half of my 16 oz. jar of titanium white to make the colors more pastel and muted, especially in the background where it is more distant and misty. Hope you enjoy this playful painting!
  • Artwork 17This colorful painting was done in acrylic and meant to evoke the beauty of cherry blossoms on a bright Spring background. It was inspired like many in this series from textile prints.
  • Artwork 18This is 5’x9’ oil & acrylic on canvas entitled “Giverny”, my first oil painting and largest canvas I’ve done. It is obviously inspired by my visit to Monet’s lovely garden a few months ago in August followed a week later by my visit to the Kimball to see Monet’s later years, a truly awe-inspiring exhibit. This is the farthest I’ve delved into representational art but I can’t escape some of my roots in abstraction, which is mainly exemplified here through the color scheme. The background, Japanese bridge, and water flowers were done in acrylic followed by the water lillies and trees in oil. I have included some details of the painting since it is near impossible to appreciate it on a mobile device.
  • Artwork 19This bamboo painting with copper leaves follows my passion for textile art and is highly stylized with a very flat look. It is located in the new expansion of my clinic.
  • Artwork 20This tall acrylic painting evokes a starry night with a lot of stylized lines and dots that do not have much visual meaning other than bearing their artistic value.
  • Artwork 21This diptych in acrylic represents dawn and dust from left to right and looks also like a rainbow.
  • Artwork 22This painting is entitled “Love” and features my wife Ellie and daughter Alessandra. It is a watercolor, gouache, and color pencil on a 30” x 22” cold-press watercolor paper.
  • Artwork 23This tetraptych is entitled “Family Portrait” and is pastel on 12 x 16” sanded color paper.
  • Artwork 24This acrylic painting is entitled “The Aviary” and inspired by fascination with textile design.
  • Artwork 25This acrylic painting is inspired by the famous Japanese woodblock print entitled “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai.
  • Artwork 26This acrylic painting is inspired by Matisse’s cutouts he did later in his life.
  • Artwork 27This drawing was done with graphite and uses the organic leaf motif seen in the previous painting above.
  • Artwork 28This acrylic painting continues the leaf motif and here they are used to create an abstract fruit tree.
  • Artwork 29A larger leaf motif painting with my favorite bright colors.
  • Artwork 30This 22 x 30” watercolor is entitled “Hug” and features my wife Ellie and my dog Kumo. The challenge was getting the dog fur looking good. It took me awhile to make that look pleasing to my eye. I like the vertical orientation and the use of negative space here. The colors really look much more striking in person.
  • Artwork 31This painting/drawing is entitled “Wonder” and features my daughter. It is a graphite and watercolor on 30 x 22” hot-press watercolor paper.
  • Artwork 32This piece is entitled “Radiant” and is graphite pencil and watercolor on 30 x 22” hot-press watercolor paper. It was taken just before our wedding on the beach in 2016.
  • Artwork 33This color pencil on paper measures 30 x 22” and is entitled “Best Buddy” and features me and my dog Kumo.
  • Artwork 34This pastel on sanded paper is entitled “Joy” and features my baby Alessandra.
  • Artwork 35This is a pastel on paper and it is based on the photo of my mother-in-law Masako and my daughter Alessandra taken after we visited the Monet exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum.
  • Artwork 36This painting entitled “Les Fauves” (6’ x 4’ Acrylic on Unprimed Canvas) was inspired by an exhibit that I saw in Tokyo of Raoul Dufy’s work on his textile designs. As you probably know, Dufy was known for his participation in the Fauvism movement (one of my favorites), which was known for its bright colors and abstracted style. Also I’ve been inspired by one of my favorite artists Morris Louis who was renowned for his “stained” paintings in the 1950s. This follows that style. I used airbrush and solid acrylics thinned and extended with GAC airbrush extender that allows it to soak into the unprimed canvas. I used different gradations of the paint to simulate a watercolor or stained look. Like watercolor, this technique is difficult because any mistake cannot be corrected: one drip, one drop, or one stroke out of place is unfixable.
  • Artwork 37This acrylic diptych is done with spray paint and is inspired by the artist Agnes Martin.
  • Artwork 38This is a large watercolor triptych I did for my new office expansion.
  • Artwork 39This 30” x 22” watercolor, gouache, and color pencil painting on cold-press watercolor paper is entitled “Family” and features my mom, dad, and baby Alessandra.
  • Artwork 40This 30 x 22” watercolor is entitled “My Love” and was rescued from the brink of disaster. There is a gouge and a tear on the paper near my right ear, Ellie’s eyes were messed up, and the watercolor bled uncontrollably. I was depressed and was going to chuck the whole thing. I knew that if I could save Ellie’s eyes and make them look good this watercolor had a fighting chance. I used a white gel ink pen to reshape the eye and a dark blue color pen until I saw her identity return. I then fixed the skin tones, fixed the hair and the dress, and then used a darker shade of blue to cover the deepest part of the tear that corresponded to the top of my ear and did a darker shade of sky over the tear then lightened the tear with gouache. Not perfect but pretty good. This was taken right before our wedding in Cabo on the beach. Great memory!

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