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.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Once Again...

This is starting to become a ridiculous routine! Once again I have no digital camera; this would be the fifth one and now going on my sixth camera since my first purchase of one in 2006. This time the lens stopped working. I feel like I'm cursed, my cameras are either breaking or getting lost. At first I used to stress out about not having one, with this last breakage I could only laugh, breath, and move on. I will buy one when I have a chance and money. In the mean time I'm still working. I spent most of Monday working away on the large still life I started earlier this year, and I also had a model in my studio pose for me. Got a nice drawing out of the short session. Will post an image of that drawing very soon, that is when one of my friends lends me a camera. Till then, happy painting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Male Nude

Male Nude (Nando), 2009, sanguine and graphite on paper, 14 x 14 1/2 inches
It's been a while since I've drawn a nude, since April of 2007 I think. So it was time, and I was lucky find a model within my circle of friends. Hopefully I can get a few more drawings out of him.

Friday, September 18, 2009


This is a landscape in progress, and a fun one too. I have been working on this piece here and there, like always, but in the few days of work, it has gone a long way. I'm still figuring out how to treat the greenery in the middle ground. I'm afraid this area will keep me busy for a while. On another note, I just found out blogger locked my blog and it is now up for review because they believe it's a spam blog. How the hell did this happen, I don't know? But if any one at Blogger gets to actually read the content of this blog, please note that this is more like an artist's journal more than anything. Let's hope this blog doesn't get deleted for some strange reason.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Reimagining The Landscape: Barbizon to Impressionism

Edouard Pail, Paysage de Sous-Bois, oil on panel, 7.9 x 13.8 inches
One of the great things I love about New York is that while taking a stroll you find wonderful unexpected things. This was the case last weekend when walking on West Broadway with a friend, we passed by a gallery where, through the windows I could see landscapes, and the tittle on the wall; Reimagining the Landscape: Barbizon to Impressionism.

Emile Charles Lambinet, Paturage en Normandie, oil on oak panel, 8.5 x 15.7 inches
Franklin Bowles Gallery represents the work of great artists such as Rembrandt, Matisse, and Picasso. They have put together a museum quality exhibition of beautiful landscapes, a nice treat to find by accident right in the middle of what is the big outdoor mall of SoHo.

Leon Richet, Boisiere dans la Clairiere, oil on panel, 8.3 x 10.2 inches
This post is a small sample of all the works on show, most of the paintings that appealed to me are from the Barbizon School.  This little exhibit is worth seeing first hand. Most of the landscapes are small little jewels which glow within their gold frames.  Enjoy this selection of paintings.

Louis Aime Japy, La Paturage Pres de la Mare, oil on canvas, 18.5 x 22 inches

Jules Charles Rozier, Debarquant a la Riviere, oil on canvas, 10.75 x 16.25 inches

Nicolas Louis Cabat, La Moisson, oil on canvas, 15.9 x 24 inches

Eugene Antoine Samuel Lavieille, Paysage d'lle de France, oil on canvas, 7.9 x 14.2 inches

Adrien Rousseau, Pecheur a L'etang, oil on canvas, 18.9 x 23.6 inches

Leon Victor Dupre, Vaches au Paturage, oil on panel, 5.3 x 15 inches

Jules Charles Rozier, Canotage sur une Riviere, oil on canvas, 10.75 x 16.26

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Velazquez Rediscovered

Diego Rodriguez de Sylva y Velazquez, Portrait of a Man, ca. 1630, oil on canvas, 27 x 21 3/4 inches, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
On Wednesday, September 9, 2009, The New York Times broke the story that after years of hanging on the walls of the Spanish Paintings gallery, along sided other Velazquez works, the Metropolitan Museum of Art realized they had a signature work by the master.  As Carol Vogel reports, "the painting had been heavily restored and cleaned in the 1920s and revarnished in 1953 and again in 1965. In the 1960s a leading scholar demoted it to the workshop of Velazquez and by 1979, the museum had downgraded the painting as well." 
Luis Colan, drawing after Velazquez's Portrait of a Man, 2006, moleskine sketchbook
I am no stranger to this portrait. During my five years of living in New York I've visited the Met museum at least once a month, and my tour of the galleries inside remains the same.  I have always stood in front of this work and touched by it, I would always think to myself that there is no way this could be a workshop piece.  Yes the painting did look a little yellow and perhaps even green at times, but it has always been a remarkable portrait.  I am not a curator nor have had years of "formal training" as an academic or historian, but it isn't rocket science to see the magic of Velazquez's hand.  I have treated this portrait with ample respect, and in 2006 I decided to study it.  I wanted to learn from this painting, how a portrait should be done.  
Portrait of a Man sitting in the conservation studios at the Met museum. Photo by Angel Franco/New York Times
The issue of authorship has been resolved, thanks in part to Jonathan Brown, the leading expert in the art of Diego Velazquez, who after looking at the restored painting proclaimed it an original Velazquez. Brown says, "The picture had been under my nose all my life. It's a fantastic discovery. It suddenly emerges Cinderella-like." But who is this seated man? It has been suggested that this may be a self-portrait.  According to the painting's provenance, it belonged to Count Johann Ludwig von Wallmoden-Gimborn, and later to George V, King of Hanover.  At some point it passed down to the hands of art dealer Joseph Duveen, who then sold it to Jules Bache as a Velazquez self portrait, and in 1949 it entered the permanent collection of the Met as a gift from Mr. Bache.  
Diego Velazquez, Portrait of a Man (detail), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The experts from the Met also believe this is "The same sitter [who] appears as a bystander in Velazquez's famous Surrender of Breda in the Prado, Madrid; that bystander too, was long identified as a self-portrait, but the matter is not clear." My biggest question is, will this new discovery be reason enough for the Met to put on a Velazquez exhibition?  I hope so! 

Friday, September 11, 2009

Openings and Buds

Myeongbeom Kim, Deer, Deer, Taxiderm, Leaves, Tree Branches, 2008, 157 x 217 x 217 inches, Doosan Gallery
It turned out to be a big night in New York City. Fashion Night Out was in full effect, with designer parties happening all around as the young and fashionable ran around town in their best designer threads. It also happened be a Thursday night, and as I anticipated yesterday, the Chelsea art district would be busy with crowds gallery hopping.
The first stop was Lyons Wier Gallery.  I was there to see Ryan Bradley's show, a group of large pastel on paper portraits full of details and done so beautifully, it needed time to take in the great talent this artist showed.  Once Clinton and I had a good look and discussed his color and technique we moved on to the other galleries in Chelsea.   
It has been a known fact that the bad economy hit the gallery industry pretty hard last year. Before things started to get bad for the rest of the country, galleries started closing their doors and going out of business.  This was very apparent last night as we noticed that wine was no longer being served at most openings, and for those galleries who had a little bit of budget to splurge, they were serving Budweiser.  As we walked into Marianne Boesky Gallery we were greeted by a large plastic bin with melted ice and cans of Buds floating.  Next to it, a big garbage container full of  empty cans of the king of the night, Budweiser.  
In the search for good art amids the crowded street we arrived at Mike Weiss Gallery. We were in for a treat! 
Yigal Ozeri at Mike Weiss Gallery
At first I thought we were in a photography show, a group of pieces that looked like a photo shoot for Vogue or some other big cutting edge fashion magazine.  Coming face to face with the work it was obvious that hanging on the pristine white walls were oil painting on paper.  
At that moment I was mesmerized, and not so much because the paintings were realistic (realistic, realism, etc., I hate those terms), but because Yigal Ozeri had captured light and air in such a grand way.  In front of his work I was looking at life and time and the wonders of a poetic talent determined to create beauty.   
Viewer looking at Yigal Ozeri, at Mike Weiss Gallery
Rushing around, trying to see as many shows as possible before they closed at 8p.m., we walked into Gladstone Gallery.  On display Magnum Plessen's paintings were on display.  
Looking at so much art can be draining, too much information can leave you confused, but if you are able to find one artist and their work to delight your senses and hunger for good art, then you can say that gallery hopping night was a success.  

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Landscape in Progress

I've stated work on a new landscape, a scene from Scarborough Beach, Maine. I'm applying what I have been learning in the plein air classes to this painting, which is being worked from a photo I took last year.  The use of an earth tone palette will work great for this landscape, seen as a cloudy moody day.  The picture above shows the first few hours of work.  So far the progress of this painting is going fast, as of last night the whole canvas is now covered with color.  The next couple of nights will be about defining shapes and adding small details here and there, but while still keeping it loose.   

Friday, September 04, 2009

'Tis the Season!

Fall is here and gallery season kicked off last night with Kehinde Wiley's show, Black Light, at Deitch Projects. Exhibitions and openings happen year round in the city, but nothing like the fall.   
The mood was exciting and the crowd was hungry, either for art or for the social spot light, but what a night it was to experience the true New York art world.   
Deitch Projects had openings going on at the same time on both locations, Kehinde's was on Grand Street, and Tauba Auerback's Here and Now/And Nowhere, which I will have more on later, right around the corner on Wooster Street.
A big gallery and big name artists are sure to draw big crowds, but I haven't experienced this kind of clamor at any opening in the city.  Deitch took over Grand and Wooster for the night, with guests spilling on to the street not allowing traffic through.  Mingling among the happy art goers in the street was Kehinde Wiley himself, looking very dapper in a red and white plaid suit.  Talk about loving pattern!   
Kehinde's show was not about painting, but photographs treated in photoshop to look like his popular canvases.  I will have more to say about the show, and images of the work, in the next couple of days.   
For the moment I just wanted to share last night's happenings as an introduction of what's to come in the next few months of gallery season.  

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Draw It Out

I have been working on Steve's second portrait steadily. I have the background very close to the way I want it and the most important part of this portrait, the intense green tank top, is looking right to me.
But just like his last portrait, I'm starting to have some problems with his face. I somehow lost the tilt of his head, and the proportions of his features, and their placement on the head, are not right. I have been repainting this area for a while and build up on the panel surface is starting to be very apparent. I don't mind the build up of paint since I'm not one of those realists who needs to have the surface like a glossy photograph. I'm a painter and sings of the action of painting are a must, I think, in every painting.
Study of Steve, 2009, graphite on paper, 7 1/2 x 6 inches
After running into some problems with the face I thought it would be best for me to draw it and really spend some time studying his shapes. I found that drawing comes very easy to me, this little study only took a few hours to complete, that's of course in a trajectory of three nights. I'm not sure if I'm ready to go back to the painting, I guess I'll find out soon enough. For the moment I'm going to step back for a night or two and let everything simmer in my head. In the meantime I think I might start a new landscape.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Getting Ready for More

Temperature is dropping after a few weeks of intense heat. Fall seems to be right around the corner, and with it the changing leaves of trees and their beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow. This is what I'm getting ready to see and paint in Central Park in the coming weeks.
I've been away from plein air painting for a couple of weeks, and seems longer. But now I'm getting ready to get back into it next week, and for this I needed to prime linen that I will need. I was painting on a ground tinted with burnt sienna, and although I did enjoy painting on that color I realized that the reason why some of my landscapes appear dark is because the burnt sienna doesn't bounce light back out as much as a lighter colored ground would.
I had to modify my ground and this time I made a mixture of lead white, bologna chalk, burnt umber, and a small hint of burnt sienna for warmth. The result was a beautiful warm gray tone very similar to the natural color of the linen. What I noticed after priming a few pieces of linen is that this gray ground had a pearl luster quality to it. I looked at my hand at one point and asked myself where is this silver coming from? This ground for some strange reason has a beautiful silvery sheen. I'm hopping this will reflect light coming through the layers of paint and make my new landscapes glow a little more. This would be of great use for those glowing fall tones I will be exploring.