My Story with Flat White

still-life-painting-cup, coffee cup, lucy chen, flat white

my one-hour still life study. oil on board.

Standing in a queue to make my first American coffee order in a cafe in San Fransisco, I kept reminding myself, “don’t say ‘flat white”, they do not have that in America.”  But guess what I said when the barista asked what I wanted.  Yeah, I said “soy flat white, please”.

The first time I saw the name “flat white” was in the cafeteria of the University of New South Wales, during the first semester of the first year of my B.Commerce degree.  Its name was so curiously intriguing.  Was it really a coffee?  The barista said it was, but how could a coffee be flat and white?

But the $3 tag was too much for a poor student dependent on government welfare and living away from home.  I was always very self-discipline and did not spend anything on non-essentials (or tried not to anyway).  So it wasn’t until I got into ANZ Bank’s graduate program in my last year of study and started working there part-time, that I finally had the money to test it out.

Oh, flat white!  The smell of coffee!  Now I knew – flat, because it had the least foam; white, because it had milk.  From that day on, every time I visited a cafe, I would order a flat white.  Then, it became a soy flat white after I decided to minimise my dairy intake.

“What?” the San Francisco barista was puzzled.

“Oh, I mean a cappuccino.  Sorry.”

What Grandmas Can Do with an Artist Grandchild


What do you do after dinner in the evenings? Do you watch TV? Do you read a book? Do you consciously choose what you do?

My dad, step-mum and grandma have come to visit us from China since March. What grandmas can do while staying with their artist grand-daughter is to be her model. […]

On the Way to Becoming a Great Artist


This morning, my 5-year-old took a photo of my with his iPad (which he named Wii-Gee), and used it as a reference to draw my portrait.

I was very impressed as I told him, “Wow, Alan, it looks great! It looks quite Picasso!”

Alan asked, “Who is Picasso?”

“A very great artist.” I answered.


Can You Achieve Enlightenment through Drawing?


Life drawing, charcoal on paper, by Lucy Chen

I’ve been going to a life drawing class every Friday since February, and I’m loving it!

My teacher is Paul Miller, an Archibald finalist. He is a very passionate artist and he has a beautiful glowing soul!

He also talks about drawing, painting and art in […]

Why Aren't You More Passionate about What You Do, and How to Change That

self portrait, oil sketch

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON 12″x12″, oil on linen board, by Lucy Chen SOLD.

The first time I held a brush in my hand and put paint on canvas in November 2011, it felt like magic.

Oh, the feeling of fulfilment! Even when you were frustrated and the result was far from satisfactory.

There! Right there, you […]

What does Eternity Mean to You?


THE PROMISED ETERNITY 14″x18″, oil on linen board, by Lucy Chen Original available $325 Click Painting for Purchase Info

I posted this new painting on Facebook last week to ask people what they feel about it, without giving out the title. The answers I received varies from “suicide” to “relaxing in nature”.

But the […]

How to Paint a Plein Air Still Life

friends welcome-plein-air-still-life-painting

After a “serious” study of Vermeer’s painting, I wanted to get loose and simply have fun painting the brilliant colors from life.

FRIENDS WELCOME (plein air) 18″x14″, oil on linen panel, by Lucy Chen

So I set up my easel on the patio just outside my front door and painted the scene right […]