Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Working on a Big One

This is the year of challenges and growth, and I am not waiting too long to get this ball rolling.  Last week I began work on a large canvas, 20x60 inches, the larges piece I have done since I used to paint larger abstract paintings over eleven years ago. 
This will be a landscape with emphasis on space and with a more abstract approach.  A great part of the surface will focus on the vastness of the Colorado sky and it's immense cloud formations, something I have not experienced anywhere else. 
The images in this post show the first three days of work, which happened rather quickly.  Last night was the fourth session and my vision has become more clear.  For the moment I will leave the painting alone until next week, it will dry while I travel back to Colorado to collect more inspirational images that will help me finish this painting, or help me start a new one.  Who knows what I will see this time around.  More to come!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Back to Work

After a short break away from the studio, I'm back to work, excited with what the future holds.  I have planning on larger paintings have already begun preparing canvases for them.  To get me into the feel of things I put this old painting back up on the easel and giving it another shot. 
Being away from this painting has made me look at it with fresh eyes and I'm applying things I learned on smaller work this year.  This linen has more texture than what I'm used to, and although I was having a hard time dealing with that throughout last year, I didn't seem to mind it this week.  
I'm enjoying the way this linen grabs paint, I can't wait to see how far I can push the textures in the foreground of this landscape.
I have done more work on the clouds as well, softening some areas and adding more texture on others.  These are really bad picture under bad studio light, so not the best example but it gives you an idea.  More to come.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Magentudinem: Opening Night

Last night was the opening reception for my solo exhibition at Dacia Gallery, Magnetudinem.  It was an incredible night and I was very moved throughout as I saw many friends and family come out to support my painting.  A big thank you to everyone who came out in the cold to be a part of this big night. A bigger thank you to Lee Vasu and Damian Salo for providing a great platform such as Dacia Gallery and for believing in my work.  For those who were not able to make but did take the time to send me congratulatory messages, I also thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I will always remember this night and I'm happy you were all a part of it. Below are some photos from the night. Cheers to the future everyone!    

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hot Off the Press 2

Goodwin Park, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

It has been an exciting week of monotype printing, a week that not only allowed me to make six landscapes but also allowed me to share the experience with my friends Robert and Kyle (both painters).  It was not a surprise to find out they both enjoyed it so much that they came multiple nights to the Salmagundi Club to crank the handle of the press.  I had warned them that it can get very addicting, I don't think they were ready to find out just how much this statement would prove to be true!
Evening Reflections, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

Robert tried it once lat month and has not been able to talk about anything other than monotypes. He even bought a press and is eagerly awaiting it's arrival in April. He took the addiction to a whole other level!  I guess we can say he was ready for this one week long marathon of printing nights.  
Tuscan Landscape, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches

This week also allowed me to familiarize myself with sepia color ink.  On the first night I remember being scared that the prints would not turn out as I imagined them. When applying the ink to the plate it would go down very thin, the transparency was making the color read more like a transparent orange iron oxide, which in oil paint is a great color for glazing but when printed on paper I thought it would come out bright orange.  To my surprise it did not. The printed color was just what I was looking for.
Eel Creek Salt Marsh, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

The sepia ink retained the moodiness of my previous monotypes but I believe it has also added a certain glow that I was not achieving with black ink.  Using a light grey paper also helped neutralize the color of the ink while it's complementary blue undertone helped the print come alive.  
Evening Reflections, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches

Hot Off the Press, the event at Salmagundi, has set the tone (no pun intended) for the rest of the year.  Cheers to a 2016 of monotypes! 

Friday, January 08, 2016

Solo Exhibition

January 9 - 21, 2016
Reception: Thursday, January 14, 2016  6 - 9 PM 

Dacia Gallery 
53 Stanton St. 
New York, NY 10002

Gallery Hours: 
Wednesday - Friday 1 - 6 PM 
Saturday - Sunday 12 - 6 PM 
Monday & Tuesday by appointment only

Phone: (917) 727-9383

I am pleased to announce my one man exhibition at Dacia Gallery.  The exhibition of fifteen paintings spanning from 2013-15 opens tomorrow and it will be up for two weeks.  If you are in NYC and have some time please stop by and take a look at what I've been up in the last two years.  Thank you to Dacia Gallery for this incredible opportunity and honor, and to my supporters who have seen my work develop through the last eleven years since I moved to New York.  

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Hot Off the Press 1

View of a Tuscan Town, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches

To kick off the new year, Salmagundi Club is running a monotype event that will take place in four nights over two weeks. Hot Off the Press began last night and of course I had to be there.

Hudson Valley Landscape, Winter, 2016, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches 

These are the two prints from last night.  I decided to try sepia ink on warm light grey paper, so far I'm liking this, it reminds me of 17th century prints and drawings.  I will be going back to print some more tonight, hopefully I can get three done this time around!   

Monday, January 04, 2016

A Happy New Year Indeed!

2016 has started out on the right foot!  As usual Jarod and I escape the craziness of the city for a more quiet setting, and thanks to our friend Brian we have a nice little oasis in the Hudson Valley. On New Years Eve we stayed in and cooked a nice meal and enjoyed each others company with some wine and bubbly. Not a bad idea!
We had a beautiful New Year's Day brunch with friends, which is always a guaranteed good time.  Food was great and more bubbly to go around.
Good company, good friends, a nice book to read by the fireplace, and time to draw; it all sounds like good way to start the year.  As I had mentioned in a previous post, I will be showing a painting in February at Prince Street Gallery, something exciting to look forward to.  Unexpectedly,  I get a call letting me know that I am one of the top three finalists to be awarded a solo show at a popular Lower East Side gallery!
Back to doing more sketches, and let the juices flow!  I have to get more work done this year, and these sketches will help with future paintings and also with the  four nights of monotypes I will be doing this week.  Only a few days into the new year and lots of things going on.  
The crowning moment came last night, when waiting for takeout I get the final email from Dacia Gallery…I was awarded the solo exhibition which opens on Saturday! No time to waste, I spent part of my night varnishing recent work which I'm excited to exhibit. More details about this exhibition to come very soon, stay tuned for that.  In all, I'm having an incredible 2016 already and there are other things in the works that will make it a big year.  Hopefully there will be more exhibitions and chances to show my work to a bigger audience.  Happy New Year to all, 2016 will be a good year! 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Deuterbeanermann Farm

Deuterbeanermann Farm, 2015, oil on panel, 10 x 12 inches, Private Collection

Two months ago I was given a commission by a friend, one that would be presented as a Christmas gift to his lovely husband.  Since October I have been working on this small painting, and keeping it a secret, not being able to post anything about either here or on Instagram was very difficult.  As the painting developed I knew that I was doing something special, something I had not done in my work before.  The commission was to paint their home which is located in the Hudson Valley, a place full of beautiful views  that inspired, and still does, a great number of painters.  What is it about the Hudson Valley that painters are attracted to?  I think that's an easy answer, it's the light!  This became the main focus of the painting and I wanted to fill the small panel with it.  I had an idea of what this might look like in the end, but as the painting evolved it took on a live of it's own.  Things started happening, I was handling paint and color differently and for the first time in a long time I sensed growth in my skill.  For a painter to see this sort of thing happen before their eyes is major because we are our worst critic.
For the painting to feel airy and full of light the use of glazing was necessary.  I haven't worked with glazes for some time since most of my landscapes now are more immediate.  I knew that I needed to go back to lead white, and to be honest I forget how beautiful this color can be!  Not sure why I stopped using it in the first place, but I'm glad it's back on my palette.  From the beginning I kept telling myself "think Vermeer, think Vermeer," I began chasing Vermeer's clouds on his View of Delft, and to get more into that frame of mind I even watched a recent documentary on his work which was breathtaking.   If Vermeer inspired the clouds and light, then Inness was there for the reds and greens of the trees.  Both painters have inspired me greatly in the past, and this is the first time I was able to put what I learned from both into one painting.  Vermeer and Inness were not the only ones though, add to the mix another great painter, a man I had as a teacher once.  Stephen Pat Brown was incredible with what he could do with paint, and since I moved to NY and went back to representational painting I have always had his work in mind.  I can always hear him say to play with my warms and cools, and to glaze some blue here or there.
This commission came at the right time.  This year something was lost, I was no longer motivated to paint, I felt stuck.  The funny thing is that when I look back at the number of pieces I completed , this has been my most productive year, yet I can't shake the feeling that I could have done more!  Working on this painting presented a challenge. I had to create something new and different from the photos I was given as reference. I had to complete it under a certain timeline. I had to pull myself out of my rut and force myself to paint almost every night.  In the end this was the antidote I needed, I feel renewed again and my excitement for painting is at a new high and I'm back to my old self again.  What a great way to go into the new year don't you think?  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

New Monotypes

Untitled, 2015, monotype, image 6 x 8 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches

These are the last monotypes of the year.  When I began attending the Salmagundi monotype parties in 2014 I had no idea that not only would my skill in the medium develop at such a fast pace, but I did not see this as permanent part of my artistic output.  These days I look forward to the monthly nights at the club when I could put my plate through the press and peel the paper away to reveal a new image.  

Approaching Rain, 2015, monotype, image 5 x 7 inches, paper 8 1/2 x 11 inches

Days leading up to the monotype parties at the Salmagundi Club there is an air of excitement, the gears in my brain kick in and a thousand images, imagined and seen, start to roll like an old movie reel.  I make thumbnail sketches to work out ideas, I usually don't like to walk in to printing nights blindly.  Like most things in my life, especially in art, I like to prepare ahead of time.  I take what I do very seriously because in the end it is an extension of myself and it is what's left of me after I leave this world.  All these creative juices going round and round in my head can't be kept to myself, tis the season to share joy after all, and so last week I brought my friend, painter Robert Szot, to the club to give monotype a try.  By the end of the night he was hooked, and by the next day it was all he could talk and think about, and just like me he's trying to figure out how to get a press.  I think I created a monster!  

Approaching Rain, 2015, monotype (ghost print), image 5 x 7 inches, 8 1/2 x 11 inches

In the new year I plan to keep making prints, perhaps try etching, or go back to lithography, which I was exposed to for a semester in college.  Although the monotypes have been received very well by many different people, painting will still remain my main focus.  More to come.   

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Plein Air: Warm December Day

Warm December Day, 2015, oil on linen, 10 x 14 inches 

It has been unseasonably warm, this past weekend temperatures in New York reached the mid to high sixties. That's spring weather when you think about it, and when warm weather comes around you dust off the old portable easel and painting gear and head out to enjoy what global warming has to offer.  I wish I was built to withstand the cold, if that was the case I would spend most of the fall painting outdoors, even in winter I would go out and paint.  As a South American I am built for heat and sun, which is too bad because the fall can offer an amazing array of colors that can make some good paintings. That said, I enjoyed the sixty five degree weather on Saturday at Central Park. I was able to work with a different color palette of muted greys that forced me to see and work differently.  Toning down color and still making it sing is very difficult, and I hope that I achieved some of that in this painting.  Never the less, I'm happy with this one, and I am crossing my fingers for another warm weekend soon.