25 April 2015

A Portrait of the Artist: Rulei Bu

 This article appeared in the Gaithersburg Patch on August 9, 2011.

Update: Rulei Bu is showing his work once again at the Gaithersbug Arts Barn from April 24 through May 17, 2015. The opening reception is Tuesday, April 28, 2015 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Rulei Bu produces 30-40 paintings a year and teaches over 100 students.

He is an avid landscape, still life and figure painter, approaching all three subjects with a different set of criteria.

"Cityscapes are my absolute favorite subject. I want them to be colorful and vivid, and I usually layer them with heavy brushstrokes for texture."

Bu has painted scenes from Adams Morgan in Washington, DC, nautical landscapes in Annapolis and Bass Harbor, Maine, scenery from Acadia National Park, as well as quaint, historic canal towns on the outskirts of Shanghai in China. He has an eye for perspective and uses a limited but bold palette that captures lighting conditions accurately and evenly across the canvas.

"I want my still life works to have a modern realistic feeling. For instance, a straight line or a big, uniform field of color in the background might contrast with the realistic flowers in front."

He uses color and texture to make all of his works more interesting and evocative, he says.

"For my figure paintings, I use a more classical realistic look."

From photographs on trips across remote regions, Bu has painted portraits of minorities in China such as migrant Tibetans and Yi people.

A native of Shanghai, he moved to the United States in 1998 to reunite with his mother.

"My father is a painter and professor of art at Shanghai University. You could say he inspired my career," said Bu who studied Fine Arts at Shanghai University.

"In school I did quite a bit of drawing and watercolor painting, but recently I have been painting mostly in oils."

He claims that his work is not influenced by anyone in particular or any individual style.

"I analyzed different styles of art from art magazines and galleries and absorbed a lot from these sources," said Bu who has been featured in various national magazines himself.

In 2008 he was one of 30 entrants to be chosen for publication in Artist's Magazine out of a pool of 10,000 artists. While he was featured in several solo and group shows in China, since he moved to the Washington, DC - area, Bu has had 20-30 solo shows locally. He
has also participated in national group shows throughout the United States.

In 2010, the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society awarded him the Platinum Palette Award.

On July 29, 2011, a show of his work will open at the Arts Barn in Gaithersburg. He will be exhibiting ten of his paintings alongside two works from each of ten of his students. There will be 30 pieces total in the show, which has a free-to-the-public opening reception on August 9, 2011 from 7 pm - 8:30 pm.

"I tell my students that the most important thing is to love art and keep drawing and painting. They have to both enjoy it and work hard in order to develop themselves."

Bu teaches high school and middle school students from Montgomery County, Hagerstown and Northern Virginia out of his home studio in Boyds, Maryland. He teaches 5-7 students at a time on the weekends.

"I am looking forward to the Arts Barn show with my students. I have shown there in the past twice on my own. My young students are very talented and hard-working. This is a great opportunity for them to exhibit their work early on in their career, and I think it's always interesting to see the influence of a teacher on his students."

In 2008, Rulei Bu and three of his students showed together at Gaithersburg City Hall.

He is represented by Framer's Choice Gallery in Kentlands and has had recent solo exhibits at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center in 2008; Visions Exhibition Space in 2007; Arts Club of Washington in 2006; BlackRock Center for the Arts in 2006; The Art League Gallery in 2005; Gaithersburg Arts Barn in 2003 & 2005; Weinberg Center for the Arts in 2002; Glenview Mansion Art Gallery in 2001; Dumbarton Concerts Gallery in 2000; Rockville Arts Place in 2000; National Institutes of Health in 2000; Strathmore Hall Arts Center in 2000.

A more complete listing of his awards includes: Platinum Palette Award in The National Oil and Acrylic Painters' Society "Best of America! 2010 Exhibit"; Honorable Mention in The Artist's Magazine's 25th Annual Art Competition in 2008; Top 100 Winner in Paint the Parks Art Competition in 2008; Top 100 Winner in Paint America Top 100 Art Competition in 2006 and 2007; Top 10 Finalist in The Kirkland's Home Next Great American Artist Contest in 2006; Best-in-show Award in Rockville Art League Show, The Art League Show, Montgomery County Art Association Show, and Reston Juried Art Show.

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