Saturday, December 30, 2006

Last Night in Manhattan

My time as a Manhattanite is over. Friday night was my last night and I couldn't help but to feel sad. I've had the privilege to live in the actual Gotham City and enjoyed every minute of it. As of Saturday I'll be moving back to Astoria, in Queens. Not a bad area at all, actually I love it there, but there was a certain romantic charm about saying "I live in Manhattan."
Nine months have gone by really fast, and so has my money. Was it worth it? Yes! It was very convenient to live in the island, the commute to work was a lot shorter, you can walk anywhere, can walk home from any hang out point in lower Manhattan, and meeting friends for drinks or whatever was much easier. Now I have to set one hour aside to come into Manhattan from Astoria. No big deal since I've done it before.
Some what upset I went up to the roof deck of my building and took these shots. My good bye as an insider. The financial district looks so alive from atop, while things are quite and desolate below. I'll miss living here, but happy to know that I'm moving on to a new exciting part of my life. Along with a new home is the new year, and I hope to make it a good one and focus a lot more on my art. Who knows, maybe I'll go back to school. Well, time has run out and I have to turn out the lights for the last time in this little studio apartment. I invite you, by clicking on the link, to witness my experiences in the city during these nine months. Have a look at my Views of NYC.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Little Orange

Little Orange, 2006, oil on canvas, 6 x 6 inches, Sold

I saw this citrus fruit last week at the market and I had to have it; for painting that is. I bought it and asked the staff of the place if they knew the name of it since no sign was on the pile. No one was sure, they kept saying "Orange! Orange!" I left it in the fridge so that I could paint it after Christmas, and when I got home tonight my roommate, God bless his soul, threw it away. The first time ever he cleans the fridge in eight months happened when I was away in Connecticut with my family, and my little orange went down the garbage shoot. I had to go down to the store again and buy another one. To my luck they still had a few more. I asked again what kind of a fruit this was. I got the same answer "Orange! Orange!" I'm not sure if that's the truth or not since it looks like a mix between a lemon, an orange, and a clementine. Since I don't know the correct name for it I'm calling it "Little Orange."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas in the City

Merry Christmas from New York City. I wanted to share with you some of the things you see in the city during the holiday season. New York truly becomes the city of lights in the month of December. In a big place like this one, the holidays bring a very warm feel to this big jungle of concrete and you can't help but to see New York like any other small town in the US.
Many have seen the lights of the big tree of Rockefeller Center or the lavish window displays in 5th Ave., but not many get to see the other more humble things this city has. The first image above is a beautiful and huge tree placed in the middle of South Street Seaport, two blocks away from where I live. The tree above is from Washington Square Park.
Puppets, toys, jewelry, mugs, books and clothing. You can find all these things and more at the Christmas Market in Union Square. Every year a group of red and white striped tents go up in Union Square to form a little village of one of a kind, hand made gifts. You can't help but to feel like as if you just walked in to Santa's shop.
I fell in love with these puppets, they were all lined up with big smiles and open mouths. Don't they look like a jolly choir?
Hand made ornaments of all sizes hang in this tent. There is so much to look at it is hard to describe it all.
Once again the big tree in South Street Seaport. I hope you enjoyed some of the images in this post and I wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! May we all find peace, health and success in 2007!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Tomato and Scallions

Tomato and Scallions, 2006, oil on canvas, 6 x 8 inches
I wanted to paint a Christmas theme tonight but I didn't want to get overly sentimental or cheese. So I went for the colors instead while keeping with the theme of my usual work. I was not sure if I was going to pull this one off. There was a point when I got intimidated and was about to drop the painting and wipe it off. But I kept going with it, this is all about having fun anyway. Right?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Vanilla Glazed Donut

Vanilla Glazed Donut, 2006, oil on canvas, 6 x 8 inches
I came across this beauty of a donut while looking for food after I got out of work. I had been walking around the city for about an hour and a half taking pictures. While walking on Fulton Street I stopped at a deli to see if they had anything good to eat, but all I found was dried up food in their buffet area. As I was walking out this donut caught my eye, it was wrapped in clear plastic, and funny enough it looked like the freshest thing I could get at this place. Not bad for a buck! Walked some more and ended up in Burger King, didn't have much choice since I live in the area of the city where everything closes after 7:00 pm. So much for the city that never sleeps! Oh well, found me a painting subject and dessert. Can't beat that.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Little Red Potato

Little Red Potato, 2006, oil on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
I have been wanting to paint a red potato for a long time, but I always get caught up with the onions. Every time I go to my pantry to get a potato I find them all shriveled up with roots growing. I haven't been cooking as much lately and my potatoes have been going bad. I was glad tonight to find five red potatoes intact, waiting for some love. Didn't think it twice and I got to work on it. I was not sure if I was going to succeed since the color of the potato is very tricky, not exactly red. The color is a soft mauve, with warm pink tones here and there. I think I got it close enough for me to be happy with it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lemon Study

Lemon Study, 2006, oil on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
I was thinking tonight, 'how in the hell am I going to paint something without my paints?' My materials are in storage, including my big collection of Williamsburg Oil paints. All I have with me is a paint box with odd colors that I rarely use, and tonight I had to make magic happen with this restricted color palette. I didn't know what to do or paint. I was ready to give up until I decided to just give it a try and paint this lemon. To my luck, there was still some paint left over on my palette from the other night, giving me access to my usual colors. I had to use them wisely because I was not going to have enough for this small painting. I made it work some how. I'm happy with this painting, it might not be a master piece but I love it anyway.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Attention all, be very careful!

Dear Artists,
I was very excited on Thursday to hear that someone was interested in buying one of my "one day paintings". After sending the guy all the information I could about the physical aspect of the work and it's creation, he emailed me back wanting to know if I had other work available in the price range of $300 to $2000. I sent him a link where he would find all this information. On Saturday morning he sent an email hoping to make a deal with me. I felt uneasy, and after asking Scott for his opinion, he did a search online with the findings that this was a scam!
Bellow you will find what we found online and a copy of the email the guy sent me:

Standard Art Fraud email letters (of introduction)

Good day, and thanks for the email.
Am o.k. with the price of the [art work name]. Am still interesting in purchasing it. Don't worry about the shipping, I have my shipping agent that will carry out the shipping and other necessary arrangements.
I am sending you the check of [$ value] euros, so you have to get your own 1700 euros for the [artwork name], and send the remaining excess funds on the check to the shipping company, through western union money transfer for the pickup of the [artwork name], from your place.
Here is the information that I need from you, where the payment will be made out to. Your full name that will be written on the check
Full Name......
Full Address......
Zip Code......
Phone Number......

Get back to me as soon as posible with these information today. I will await! this information from you.
Thanks and God bless...and here is my number [telephone number] you can give me call anytime also here is the shipping company email who is going to come for the pick up you can email them any time. [email of shipping contact] and also am from [country of origin].
Best reagards, [senders name].

Letter type two

thanks for your email sorry for my late reply...i would like to know some of your cheapest art works...i have already bugjet up to [$ value] for the art work so pleas let me know the art designs from [$ value]...
SHIPPING; i have a shipper who works with a shipping company so he would make arrangments and they would come and pick up the art work in your house so pleas dont borther about the shiping
i would instruct my shipper to mail you the money as soon as you get money you can cash it then deduct the money for the art work from the money and send the remaining back to my shipper and he would make arrangements. Please i hope you understand me...
this is my shippers contact mail [email address]
ensure to send me the info;
phone number
and let me know the prices range so i can know my bugjet
waiting for you

The email I received:
barber wrote:
Luis Colan,
Thanks alot for the response,
so now in this case, I shall be paying through check for the payment and for the shipment, so you don't have to worry about the shipping, because I have a reputable shipping company who normally comes for the shipment of my items. So now I sall be sending you the sum of $4000, for the payment of the (Red Cabbage, Olive Oil, Two Onions and Tomato), so you are to deduct $1050 for the payment of what am buying from you and send the remaining to the shipping company in other for them to use it for the shipment.
Well, I know you might be wondering that why is it that you are the one to transfer the shipment funds to the shipper? Its becuase the shipper informed me about some problem they normally face by the seller when they come for pickup, and this make them to come up with a new arrangement on this above arrangement am telling you about, so all what you just need to do is to bear with me and the shipper so their wont be any problem on the day of shipment, cause if the payment were send to them via you its an assurance there is no problem and their wont be any problem on the day of pick up.
Hope yo got me right, OK if so do let me have all this bellow information in other for me to proceeds and send out the check to you.
Name on check;
Your Full address;
Zip code;

As soon as I receive all this information from you I shall proceed with the transaction and send the payment to you right away, and also for your information am from Netherlands and in a case you have any questions you can call me on this number +31643632911, and in a case you have any question you want to ask from the shipper regarding the shipment and packing you can email them on this email address
Thanks and hope to hear from you ,
Best Regards,

Get the Point?
I felt the need to share this with all you since most of us do our transactions through email. I feel very bummed out that this person was taking me for a fool, but thank God I followed my gut feeling and decided to seek advice. My findings proved that my intuition was right. How does the scam work? They send you the check/money order for you to deposit into your bank account. When that happens you are to tranfer the funds to them by check, cash or whatever. Few days later you get a call from your bank telling you that the check you deposited bounced, this is after you gave them your money. In the end you have to pay back for your withdrawal. When you get this kind of email, especially full of grammatical mistakes, alarms should start going off and just press the delete button! If any of you would like to see more testimonies about this kind of scam just do a yahoo search with the email the dude gave me, Seems like is their favorite!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Wheat Roll

Wheat Roll, 2006, oil on canvas, 6 x 6 inches
After 5 long days of packing and getting ready to move I needed to paint more than ever. Finished all my boxes early this evening and before heading out to dinner I decided that it was time to paint. After all, I'm not sure when I'm going to get back to it since everything will be going to storage tomorrow, including my painting supplies. All I'll have with me until the end of the moth will be my paint box. I had been wanting to paint this wheat roll for a few days, but due to my move I didn't get a chance. Tonight was the night and now I feel relieved!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The End of an Era

Things happen for a reason, and my job at Kremer Pigments is a good example. I had been looking for work in New York a couple of months before moving here. I sent a total of one hundred resumes and only one place called back, El Museo del Barrio. I went for an interview but after three weeks they sent a letter letting me know that they had hired some one else. I was down to the wire, my move was about a week away and no one had given me the time of day.
I had scheduled to move to New York on Wednesday June 30, 2004. On Sunday June 27, late at night, I found an ad in the New York Times for a sales position at an art store. I looked at it and thought it was too good to be true, a good paying full time job for a sales person at an art store is unheard of. What did I have to loose right? On Monday night, after I got out of school I drove to the nearest Kinko's to fax my resume. That night I found out from a Kinko's employee that I had been faxing my resumes the wrong way, reason why no one called me for an interview. This time around I made sure to fax the damn thing right!
On Tuesday afternoon I get a call from my partner in New York letting me know that the manager from the art store had called and left a message in the answering machine. I called right away and told them that I could see them the next day, Wednesday June 30. I told them that I would be moving that day but that I would be there for the 5 pm interview. The next day I got up early, by 8 am I was on the road from Connecticut to New York with all my belongings and made it to my Queens apartment by 10 am. I started unpacking right away and made it to the interview forty five minutes early. I interviewed and two weeks later I get a call saying that I had the job.
I have been working for Kremer Pigments for two and a half years, learning a lot about materials and their use. Things that unfortunately art schools today don't care much about. I have grown as an artist and professional thanks to this job, and to top it all it paid my high rent, and it still does. I wanted to share with you this place. We recently moved to a new location in Chelsea, a store that's about three times bigger than the original store in SOHO.
Many changes have happened. This week Kremer Pigments Inc. NYC was sold to another company in California, Sinopia Inc. The new owner used to be a former employee of Kremer in the 90's, and now he's back to run the place. We are all excited since good changes are coming our way, but before the physical aspect of the store changes, I decided to bring you some images of the good old days of Kremer.
This is how the store looks at the moment, and in a few months everything will be revamped. By the way, that is Miss Paris Breakfasts herself sitting at the front counter in the top picture.
Please enjoy the images and if you can make it to the store in the next few months do so. Even if you don't work with raw materials you will like to see all the colors available, more than 500! Or you can look at my set of pictures.

Kremer Pigments Inc. a Sinopia Company, 247 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 (212) 219-2394

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Caravaggio at the Frick

The Crucifixion of Saint Andre (detail) after Caravaggio, ball point pen on Moleskine Sketchbook
I had planned on visiting the Frick last Friday to study Rembrandt's The Polish Rider, a work I'm reading about on its authenticity. After looking at the painting in a gallery with horrible light which does not let you see it correctly, I walked into the next gallery, where an exhibit, Masterpieces of European Painting from The Cleveland Museum of Art, was on view. I was excited to see this very small show of thirteen paintings and was elated to find a Caravaggio hanging in all its glory.
The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew (detail) after Caravaggio, ball point pen on Moleskine Sketchbook

I have been a follower of Caravaggio for many years, and to see The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew was an amazing experience. Most of the work I have seen by Caravaggio is from his early years, a period when his surfaces were smooth and the linen used as support was made up of a fine weave. I have seen this specific painting in books, recently I encountered it on a catalog that accompanied a show in London called, Caravaggio: The Final Years. It is one thing to look at art on printed paper, but the experience of looking at the real thing is incomparable. The first thing I noticed as I walked in to the gallery was the size. It's a massive painting, dwarfing the surrounding works, and as I got closer the lights shining down on it revealed a heavy linen weave. This I was not expecting, a Caravaggio with the surface of a Titian. I stood there taking it all in, the majestic bold use of color, the paint application, the power of the image; I couldn't get enough. I kept walking back and forth studying the painting, and before I knew it my Moleskine and pen were at hand and work began as passers by looked over my shoulder and at the painting. I didn't care much about them, I was having a moment.

The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew (detail) after Caravaggio, ball point pen on Moleskine Sketchbook

Caravaggio has chosen to depict a very specific moment in the story of Saint Andrew. It may appear to be the moment of his crucifixion, as the title suggests, but according to historians this is not the case. Caravaggio is showing us the moment when Saint Andrew is about to get taken down from the cross.

"The Proconsul of Patra, upset at his wife having been baptised by Saint Andrew,
ordered that the apostle should be bound to a cross. For two days Saint Andrew
continued to preach from the cross to the gathered crowds, who pressed the
proconsul to have him taken down. Remarkably, the attempted rescue of the
apostle was thwarted when the soldiers who tried to untie him found their arms
paralysed, for the saint had prayed to be allowed to die on the cross; he was
surrounded by a dazzling light before expiring.[1]

Caravaggio, The Crucifixion of Saint Andrew, 1606-7, oil on canvas, 202.5 x 152.7 cm, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Fund

[1] Cassani, Silvia; Sapio, Maria. Ed. Caravaggio: The Final Years. Electa Napoli, Italy 2005

Monday, December 11, 2006

Left Bank Books

From time to time it's nice to go out for a walk in the city, especially during a cold week night, when the streets are almost empty and you are left alone to your thoughts. I enjoy the city at times like these, when I'm not rushing to get to work, to the museum, galleries or trying to meet with friends. Although the temperature was very low a few nights ago, I didn't mind since good company with good conversation like Christopher takes your mind off things like the cold.
I let him lead the way through the charming streets of the Village. I'm not too familiar with this part of town since the streets are from old New York, before the grid and numbered streets. As we walked he told me of a book store I had to see. I thought he mentioned it because we were in the neighborhood, but suddenly I look up and there it was! I looked at the window and saw different art books. The place was still open, so we walked right in.
Left Bank Books was the dream I've been dying to have. This place immediately captured my heart, it was the old hard wood floors covered with vintage red Persian rugs, the old leather bench in the middle of the tiny store, and the shelves of books covering almost every square inch of the place. It was like walking into another long gone time period, one of those old vintage little stores in an early American colonial town. It was awe struck as we were greeted by the warmth of old paper and classical music. A pleasant and calm grey haired man sat behind a desk piled up high with books, reading and contently spending his time among his large collection of knowledge.
Not wasting any time I looked for the art section to see what surprises I may find. This wonderful book paradise specializes in modern and first edition fiction, poetry, theatre, film, art, photography and music books. In a place like this one I was sure to find some good reading material for those subway rides when you need to tune out the crowd and have some "me" time. Not a minute goes by and I found The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell, an artist I like but a man who's ideas I find to be more appealing. I grabbed the used paperback and set it aside, happy to know that it was at an affordable price.
I didn't want to leave. It was one of those new obsessions you can't get enough of, and I didn't want anything or any one standing between me and the store. Eventually I had to come back to reality and gather my things, pay for my book and make my way out into the brisk night. We walked some more, appreciating the quiet night under beautiful trees and white Christmas lights adorning the fronts of different restaurants. Left Banks Books is located at 304 W. 4th St. (near Bank St.), New York, NY 10014.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sketchy Sketch!

Sketch of an Apple on White Cloth, 2006, oil on canvas panel, 8 x 6 inches
I'm back! I think! It's been a while since I've done a painting of any sort. Too many things going on at once and it hasn't given me the time to work on my painting, last night I forced myself to paint something. It feels good. I have been in a bad mood the last couple of weeks since I haven't painted and now that nasty feeling is gone. For this sketch I wanted to stay away from the central or single subject still life. But I didn't want to get too complicated, so I ended up again with a single subject; an apple. I did try to make it different by setting the apple atop a white cloth. I decided at the very beginning that this will be a sketch to familiarize myself with the subject that will be a more polished painting. Reason why I didn't worry too much about details, instead I just wanted to get shapes and colors going to give me an idea of how it might, or not, work. This allowed me to apply paint loosely, a style of painting I'm still not too comfortable with. I do like the effects of thick paint but my hand feels strange when working this way.