Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Small Grisaille

Temperature has dropped dramatically since yesterday after a nice, almost warm, Sunday. Arctic like wind has been sweeping the city, not the best kind of weather to be walking around. I stayed in and made use of the sunny day to take new pictures of some of my paintings. I'm getting ready to update my website, and new images are in order since the originals that are currently up are of bad quality. I wanted to paint after I was done, but I always find it hard to continue work on unfinished paintings. I always need a warm up, sometimes this may consist of cleaning my palette, or of laying out new paint. But I didn't feel like doing any of that today. I wanted to paint and I didn't know how to get me going. Then I thought maybe I could start a small still life in grisaille. This would be a perfect way of testing out Occhuzzie. Lance and Brandi, from Occhuzzie Paint Company were so generous to send me some samples of their paint. It is now that I'm starting to test it out. For this little still life I started working with Turkey Umber and Flake White. My idea for this is to develop a full grisaille painting so that I could slowly build up color through glazing. I'm more of a direct painter and working this way is not new to me but it is a little rare. So far the paint is great, it has good body, consistency and tinting strength. I'm loving the Flake White, it's not as yellow as Williamsburg or Old Holland. More to come as the painting develops.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Taking a Break

I have been taking a little break from the blogosphere, as my absence of blog posts can show. This time of year usually tends to be more hectic and it starts early. It seems like once Halloween kicks in, the remaining holidays of the year follow back to back. I haven't been painting much, although there are a few nights here and there where I pick up a brush for just a few minutes. Such night was last night. Life has been moving a little too quickly and I'm waiting for things to calm down after the New Year. I have lots of ideas I would like to see realized, but for the time being I'm enjoying lots of home cooked meals and watching my belly grow!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pucker Up!

I have been working with Robert Zeller in his Brooklyn studio since early fall. The goal is to fine tune my drawing skills and to learn how to see things a little better. For starters I will be doing a couple of cast drawings. First on the list is this set of lips from Michelangelo's David.
The idea behind the style he's teaching me is to build the many layers of this drawing little by little, somewhat like a painting. Robert studied under Jacob Collins, and now he's passing that knowledge to me. I first heard of Jacob Collins in high school, when I ran into an article about him on American Artists magazine. It talked about him and his Water Street Atelier in Brooklyn. I loved his work and wanted to study with him. Time and circumstances took me in another direction, but now I'm learning from him via Robert. I think this is a pretty good deal.
The drawing above is almost done, a few high lights with white chalk needs to be added to make this mouth pop.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Painting: Hell Gate Bridge

Hell Gate Bridge, 2009, oil on canvas, 12 x 14 inches
Remember this landscape? I had started this painting on site in the summer, and now I'm happy to say that it is finished. I think I had the most fun with this one, since it begun as a plein air landscape and ended as a studio painting. Trying to get the right blue for the sky was the most difficult, but after layers of Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Serves Blue, and Cerulean Blue, I think I got close to how I want it to be. I was afraid to ruin this painting, reason why I kept putting it off all the time. Tonight I was on a mission to get it done, and before I knew it, it was. Not sure where I'll go from here, but I can't wait to work on something new.

Friday, October 23, 2009

David Storey, Open Studio

Welcome to David Storey's studio, at the Elizabeth Foundation building. I entered Mr. Storey's space on opening night of Open Studios 2009, and after looking at some of the studios that night this one was the most enjoyable.
Many artists were saying that night that they had cleaned up their space, that their studio "never looks this neat." So I asked Mr. Storey if this was the case with his, since everything was orderly and his paint table was set up with a surgeon's meticulous organization.
Believe it or not, he replied no. "This is how I always try to keep it...you waste too much time setting up before painting," he said. I admired that and I do know that not having a neat studio can take away from painting time, having to dig for things in various places can mess up the flow of a working day/night.
Just like his studio, Mr. Storey's paintings have a sense of order. The colors are crisp and rich. And why wouldn't they be since he has his color ranges mapped out on his table.

I felt at home in his studio, every where I turned I was stimulated by tubes of paint, buckets of used brushes, paintings hanging and or leaning on wall; everything was inspiring. I appreciate Mr. Storey letting me go around his studio and taking pictures, I know that an artist's working space can be a private place and it is understandable that they would guard it. But he was the opposite, he welcomed it.

Ten Aphorisms, Two Epigrams and a Quip


Painting is trans natural.
Good and bad colors reflect the same light.
Painting is always about here and there.
All thought is a manual skill.
There are no adjectives in black and white.
Looking's erosion.
Blue is a monument to the memory of red.
Beauty is like a rock on the ground, hard and still and everywhere.
Some colors are detergent, others solid steel.


The oracle stutters, our Sybil's asleep -
My themes, it seems, are not so deep

Any shape needs arms and legs
(one head and a few small feet)
Overlapped and clarified,
Mute, but born to speak.


Style is sanity

by David Storey

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Cool Idea!

Just received a flyer today for Art Book Swap New York. The event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 6 2010, from 12pm - 5pm at the Museum of Modern Art Cullman Education and Research Building, 4 West 54th Street (between 5th & 6th Aves.) This event is open to the public at no charge. All you do is bring any art books that are in good shape and swap them out for other books that have been collected from donors. So if you need to get rid of some books or need to refresh your library, bring them over to Art Book Swap. Any book left after the event will be donated to the Prison Readers Encouragement Project. Books acceptable are: monographs, artists' books, solo artist exhibition catalogues, group exhibition catalogues and art history texts. Books NOT accepted are: applied art books or craft books, travel books, children's books, nature or animal books, reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc), magazines, auction catalogues, and fiction.
For more information visit: regencyartpress.org and newartdealers.org

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Senor de los Milagros NYC

It was a cold fall day on Sunday October 18, 2009. But the winter-like temperature did not stop the Peruvian community of New York from coming out to walk side by side with the venerated Christo Moreno (black Christ).
This is my second year attending the festivity since I moved to New York. I knew that this year I had to come and do my walk with the precession, hoping that maybe this would help me out a little with life in general.
Since I was very little I was drawn to this event. I'm not sure if it was because of religious reasons or because I enjoyed the tradition of it. Mainly I think it's about aesthetics. As I've said before, this crucifixion scene was the first oil painting, as I can recall, that I had seen. This Christ on the cross is what lead me to art and take an interest on 17th century Italian art.
Under a grey sky we walked, incense in the air, prayers being read out loud, and the sound of drums and trumpets flooding the street; this, I could tell, was a strange scene to those who didn't know what it was about. Some smiled, and some looked scared at the site of a crucifixion coming straight to them.

Moving slowly the procession made its way through 51st street. The wind blew hard and drops of water from the sky threaten rain, but we continued with our march. After a few hour of walking in the cold I decided it was time to leave. I was not going to make to the end.

As we crossed 51st and Broadway I said my goodbyes until next year.
For more images from the procession visit my flickr set.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mes Morado

Photo by Javier Delgado
October is here once again, and in Lima, Peru, it brings with it the month long rituals of the procession of the crucified Christ. The effigy that is El Senor de los Milagros (Lord of Miracles) has been carried on the shoulders of Catholic devout for centuries through the streets of the capital city.
Tomorrow, Sunday October 18, 2009, at 6 a.m. the painted image created by a black slave will start it's two day journey through all the major points of Lima. Schools, hospitals, churches and cathedrals are all the main stops of this procession.
Photo by Jose Davilla Jr.
Before the sun rises, thousands of faithful followers gather in front of the church and convent of Nazarenas hoping to get a glance of the miraculous Christ. This is a site to be seen, as the doors open fire truck sirens go off, flowers are thrown in the air, and saumadoras sing hims and prayers, their voices rising in the air with the smoke and smell of incense.
Photo by Jose Davilla Jr.

Photo by Favianna Rodigrez
Preparations start days in advanced. Flower and colored saw dust carpets are laid down. This process could take up to twenty four hours, a long time of intricate hard work that will be stepped on and ruined by the procession. These are offers made by businesses, institutions, and neighbors, all asking for better health and prosperity.
Photo by Favianna Rodriguez
The procession nears, and through the narrow colonial streets of old Lima the faithful push their way. It's a suffocating crowd, the pressure of bodies pressing on one another causes some to faint and collapse.
Photo by Favianna Rodiguez
Saumdoras in the front pave the way, while in back a band plays slow and sad music. Different fraternities of carriers enclose the gold and silver plated painting by forming human chains around it, as they try to control the strong crowd walking in this day long act of devotion.
Photo by Favianna Rodriguez
Thousands come to be a part of this. Many travel far from home to ask for a miracle in their life. The procession of El Senor de los Milagros is recorded as the largest in the world. In a country such as Peru, all that people have is their faith to get them through the hardships that faces each and every one of them as members of a poor society.
Senor de los Milagros, New York, NY by Luis Colan
Tomorrow the city of Lima will continue this long religious tradition. Other cities across the world will also hold their own procession, in New York City things will be no different. The procession starts at St. Patrick's Cathedral and it makes it's way down 51st street across town to 9th Ave.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Open Studios 09

Jihyun Park's studio
Open Studios 09 weekend, at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts building, opened last night. On a very cold and damp New England night I made way up from SOHO to midtown, on 39th street. This is my first time doing any kind of open studio event in NYC, so I was very excited for what I was about to see.
Greg Kwiatek's studio
I was not only there to see art and meet artists, but I also wanted to see the places and circumstances art is created in. Most of my attention went to brushes, painting tables and palettes, and paint tubes that looked like they have been through a long and honorable battle.
Judith Croce's studio
These are some of the studios I enjoyed most, all different but all engaging. Enjoy the these artist's creative process.
Amina Ahmed's studio

Dorothy Robinson's studio

Tamiko Kawata's studio

Tamiko Kawata's studio
On the agenda tonight is Chelsea Open Studios. I will post images from that tomorrow or Saturday.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Carl Plansky

Carl Plansky, Self Portrait, 2005
I found out this morning that Carl Plansky, painter and founder of Williamsburg Oil Paint Co. passed away two days ago, Saturday October 10, 2009. Mr. Plansky was well known in the New York art circle as an institution. He began making paint for friends in the 8o's and soon his paint was sought after by New York City artists. You may find more on his story at Williamsburg's home page. The fame of his paint reached artists across the world. There are many who travel to New York from far places such as Israel, to purchase the Williamsburg brand at a lower cost than what they would get it for in their own countries. I tried my firsts tubes of Williamsburg paint in my senior year of college, the colors were Titanium White, Naples Yellow, and Burnt Sienna. Since then I have been a loyal customer. Especially after finding out the history behind the man, and knowing how close he was to places I've worked for and to my current shop. Marvin Seagel, founder of Tri-Mar stretcher bars and Carl Plansky teamed up years ago to open an art supply store called Williamsburg Art Materials. The shop was located on Elizabeth Street, in Soho. The same street where Kremer Pigments and Vasari Oil Colors were located. Later Marvin and Carl went their separate ways, Marvin and son Jon formed Soho Art Materials, and Carl started distributing his paints to major art supply retailers. It is sad to hear about the death of this man, but thanks to him we have great paint and a great legacy. Thank you Carl for all your years of great service to artists world wide.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday October 18, 2009, at the New York Studio School at 3 p.m. The school is located at 8 W 8th Street, New York, NY, 10011.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Quick Portrait

Clinton, 2009, sepia pencil on paper, 10 x 8 inches
I have been trying to get back into drawing and so far it has been good. I did a quick portrait of my friend Clinton tonight, trying to get better at drawing from life. I think I captured his mood tonight, but the pencil I used was not of my liking. It was too hard and dry, the sound coming from it was like as if it was about to tear the paper. I don't do so well with charcoal or any other kind of material that's alike. I like the subtleties I get with an HB or F pencil. Lines are more delicate that way. Learning experience that's all this is.

Monday, October 05, 2009

New Painting: Scarborough Beach

Scarborough Beach, 2009, oil on linen, 14 x 17 inches
I feel relieved that I finally finished a painting. I got in the habit this year of starting paintings and setting them aside after a couple of weeks of work. This landscape was starting to go on that direction but after coming along so far there was no way I could stop working on it. I painted this from a photo I took last year in Maine. Working on plein air paintings this summer helped me tremendously with this landscape. Everything that I learned out in the field I brought to the studio and put it to practice as if I was painting outdoor. Now all I have to do is finish the other four paintings I stopped work on.

Spring Drawings

Female Studies, 2009, graphite on paper, 17 x 14 inches
In the five years I've lived in this city, today was the first time I attended a session at Spring Street Studio. I've heard many good things about this place, and would always pass by it during lunch time while at work, but I never game myself the time. But I felt that it is now or never.
Male Studies, 2009, graphite on paper, 17 x 14 inches
We had two models today, and these are two of the drawings I accomplished in the three hour session. In all it was a great experience, it took me back to the days of figure drawing class with Fred Wessel at the Hartford Art School. If I don't enroll at the Art Students League for Monday classes then I think this will be a good alternative.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Vijay, 2009, graphite on paper, 24 x 18 inches
I was able to find a model the other day, and with the half hour I had with him this is what I was able to do. I did work on this drawing for a few minutes after the session, but I tried to keep it's raw qualities intact. I have to admit this came out a bit more suggestive than what I usually do, but this is what I had before me and I went with it. Thank you Vijay for the being a trooper and posing for me.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Old Drawings

Christie, 2004, conte crayon and graphite on paper, 24 x 18 inches
Here are a few oldies but goodies! I found these images while doing a little organizing of some folders. I found an old CD with images I took for my website a few years ago. I was only able to salvage these three images since the other ones in the CD come out horrible.
Christie's Back, 2002, graphite on paper, 21 x 11 inches
All three of these drawings were done in college. I haven't done as much drawing as I used to then, and seeing this group makes me realize that I should do it more.
Box Drawing, 2001, charcoal and white chalk on paper, 18 x 24
Drawing used to be my passion growing up, I used to do it night and day as a pass time. My mother kept a close eye on me reason why she kept me inside and out of harm. The only way I could escape was through drawing; it came natural to me, that's until I got my hands on oil paint in high school. The rest is history.