Monday, February 13, 2017

Portrait Painting Workshop

Hi everyone, I'm very excited to announce my first ever workshop! This workshop is solely dedicated to teaching the techniques of the masters in portrait painting. 

This will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from March 24, 25, and 26, 2017.

 If you are interested in attending and want more information please click here: 


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Portrait of Marten Pepijn after Anthony Van Dyke

"Portrait of Marten Pepijn after Anthony Van Dyke"
Oil on Masonite 
12 x 9 inches

As you guys might know I am huge fan of Anthony Van Dyke, this painting is after one of his masterpieces. The difference with this painting from the past ones is the surface and preparation. I was able to get two large sheets of Masonite board ($4.00 each sheet) cut to size at Home Depot for free. I have about 40 panels ranging from 8 x 10 to 9 x 12 inches, this is considerably a cheaper route especially knowing I only spent $9.50 after taxes for all those panels. I gessoed and sanded each panel to the level of smoothness I want. It does take a little time to get it set up right but well worth it.  After the gesso has dried I rub raw umber with mineral spirits all around the panel until there is a even medium tone. Once the raw umber as dried I start painting with thin paints progressively getting thicker with each stage. Painting on such a smooth surface compared to the cotton canvases I am used to was an adjustment. I got a lot out of this painting, and excited to continue painting on these panels moving forward.

Process Pics:

Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, January 6, 2017

After Ribera

"After Ribera"
Oil on Canvas Board
10 x 8 inches

This painting was copied after Jusepe de Ribera, a prominent Spanish painter from the 1600's. I've only copied a portrait of his in ball point pen but never in oils. This painting was not completed in one session, it was completed in a span of two sessions with ten hours in total. I also documented the whole process through live streaming on Instagram.

Process pics:

Thank you for stopping by and Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fuyu Persimmons

"Fuyu Persimmons"
Oil on Canvas Panel
8 x 10 inches

It was neat being back at the grocery store and searching what to paint rather than what to eat, I can't remember the last time I did that. I noticed the practice of putting together the whole picture from beginning to end was something I really missed. Finding the subject, then composing it (which can take a while), then either painting from life or taking a picture, document the process while painting it, and last but not least finish the painting in one session. Daily or Alla Prima painting is great practice no matter what style your painting in. I have and will always recommend everyone to at least try it, its the best way to practice and hone your skills as a painter.

Here is a step by step process:

Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, December 3, 2016


"Master Copy From Anthony Van Dyck"
Oil on Canvas Panel
11 x 14 inches

I have to start out this post by apologizing, I have neglected blogging for so long. There has been to much time between my last post and now.  So much has happened between now and then, not sure where to start?  I am currently enrolled at MCAD pursuing my MFA in painting/drawing. Going back to school has been challenging after being away for so long. Challenging in a good way, my colleagues and professors push me to get better every day. I am constantly around so many artist who all have different practices and not one is alike, this diversity brings fresh perspectives. I started in late August and can not believe the first semester is almost complete. The duration of the MFA program is two years, excited to see how this experience will influence my work during this journey. 

Since I have given you snippet of what I've been doing I also want to mention that I will attempt to get back into doing daily paintings. I do not expect to produce one every day but attempt to one or two minimum per week. I wanted to get back into having my paintings accessible through ebay as well, which is why I am selling this painting. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings and hope you enjoyed the painting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Master Copy 2

"Nicolas Lanier after Van Dyck"
11 x 14 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

Here is another master copy I attempted after Van Dyck. Practice makes perfect and I enjoy practicing as much as I can with this technique. I have been noticing how valuable the under painting is. In the under painting stage you get all proportions and values correct, this is important when applying color in subsequent layers. It allows you to not worry about proportions or drawing and more on texture or the look you're going for. I strongly recommend trying this technique or at least doing a master copy. 

I started by drawing the shadow shapes and important landmarks. I used raw umber and no mediums. You can use a little bit of mineral spirits to make the paint glide to your liking. I tend to not use any mineral spirits and very minimal paint, almost as if I was scum-bling the paint.

Shadow Shapes Fill In
This stage I only use raw umber with 2 parts mineral spirits and 1 part linseed oil. (Not sure why the picture show the canvas warmer than it should be.) 

Under Painting
This is where most of the painting starts coming together. Spend as much as time as you need to get this stage correct. The objective is to get the values, drawing, and proportions right. Most of your painting is completed in this stage. You can start on this stage right after filling in the shadow shapes without leaving it to dry. I use 1 part of linseed oil and 2 part of mineral spirits. I am only using raw umber and white for colors.

1st Lay In
After the under painting is completed then I start glazing color. I use 1 part mineral spirit and 1 part linseed oil. Do not use a lot of paint on the brush, glaze the color to match the value that is stated in the under painting. Start this stage once the under painting is completely dry. The point of this stage is to match chroma to the value in the under painting. As stated before keep the paints fairly thin as later stages it will be thicker. Colors I used were raw umber, cadmium orange, napthol scarlet, burnt sienna, naples yellow, ivory black and titanium white. I start painting the shadows shapes first by painting the colors that belong in those specific areas. I start using ivory black to indicate the darkest dark. Once that is completed I move onto the light shapes. I started on the edges where light shapes meets with the shadow shapes. I start indicating the middle to lighter values of the chroma in the correct areas. The paints are really thin I do not put much paint on the brush which allows me to control the value and chroma. The way I paint with the brush I usually start by scum-bling back and forth without lifting from the canvas. When doing this I am only concerned of laying the paint down and not about detailed areas as it does not give me enough control to do so. Once I need to get more specific with the blends and achieve certain texture I then start to dab the brush. When dabbing I always start with a soft approach on the amount of pressure I am applying to the brush. If I press too hard in the beginning its going to give me to much paint and a stronger chroma. Its the same idea when drawing with a pencil, its all about handling it with sensitivity. 

2nd Lay In
I let the painting dry before starting this stage. You can oil out the darker areas if you need an accurate judgement of the overall values. Again I started with the darker shapes doing a final pass of ivory black. Then in the light shapes I paint in all the subtle textures in the skin tones. I indicate the highlights in the eyes. I do not use any mediums at this stage. If you do use medium just use linseed oil and no mineral spirits. I am using the same colors as stated in the previous stage. I am using very  minimal paints for certain areas. I am not scum-bling the paints as this will give it a chalky look in this stage. I am dabbing the colors to get the right texture and feel I want. As stated before I think of this as I am rendering with a pencil. The amount of pressure will dictate the value and chroma of the color. 

I challenge everyone who reads this to try it out. Very interested to see what you guys produce.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Master Copy

Master Copy From Anthony Van Dyck
11 x 14 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I've been experimenting with the Flemish technique, again. I am fascinated by the way Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck painted. There are many more other painters I look up to from the past but these two are on the top of my list. My past posts I was dabbling here and there with this technique (click here to view the one I am referring to) , I thought I made some advances but fell short once I started applying it to other paintings. These shortcomings I find very educational as they are not failures, I see them as learning of what not to do for the next painting. The two paintings I am referring to is "The Gypsy Life" and "Eve"  These two paintings were not up to my expectations. I don't dislike the paintings but to the level I want them to be, as of yet they're not there. I learned a lot from them and that is very important to point out. Since completing them I have ventured to different paintings and especially a different direction with my body of work. The new direction of work I am doing now I am wanting to mix with the Flemish technique. That being said I had to go back to the drawing board and figure this technique out. I am not saying I solved it and now I am a master at it, but I do think I am one step closer in understanding it.

In this post I will break down each stage of this technique. I copied Anthony Van Dyck's painting  'Thomas, Viscount Wentworth, later Ist Earl of Strafford' for this demo. I will share everything I learned and how I applied the paints and also mediums to the canvas. I hope you are able to learn as much as I did with this post. 

The canvas panel I used was from Dick Blick. I didn't prepare the canvas to any special modifications as this is just for practice.  I toned the canvas with raw umber and mineral spirits. In the picture above you can see how I lay out the raw umber and mineral spirits ( I circled the placements of the mineral spirits) before I rub them together with a paper towel to get an even tone.

This is how the results should look, a medium toned canvas which is not too dark or light. If you want to go darker than this you can, but be careful not going too dark. I let this dry until I start the next stage. The drying time should be quick since raw umber is the fastest drying color and also mineral spirits dry extremely quick. You can start the next stage the following day, make sure the painting is dry and does not smear off the canvas.

Once the canvas is dry I then start drawing light and shadow shapes. With this portrait Anthony Van Dyck simplified these two beautifully. I am using very little paint on my brush and drawing out the shapes to their correct placements. I am using raw umber and mineral spirits in minimal amounts. You do not need to use mineral spirits if you do not want to, as stated before raw umber dries very fast by itself.

Shadow Shapes Fill In
Once the drawing is looking somewhat like the subject I then paint in the shadow shapes or all the dark areas. I leave the light shapes and only fill in the shadow shapes. In this stage I am only using raw umber, you can mix mineral spirits if need be, especially if you have larger areas to cover. Just remember do not use large amounts of paints or large amounts of mineral spirits. You can move on to the next stage on the same day without letting it dry.

Under painting
In this stage I only paint the values in the light shapes. I do not paint in the shadow shapes just the light shapes. The whole point of this stage is to get all the values right. I use raw umber, titanium white mixed with 2 parts mineral spirits and 1 part linseed oil. I start with minimal amount of paints. painting from thin to thick. I like to keep the high lights thicker to indicate texture. I take the portrait to a finish by rendering each area in the light shapes. Trying to paint the subtle shifts between values. This is important as you are laying the blue print down for when color is added you do not have to worry about proportions and other factors as you would in the under painting stage. You are completing 85 percent of the painting in this stage.  Let the painting dry before moving onto the next stage.

1st Lay In
This stage I start by painting the darkest values first in the background as well in the shadow shapes. I apply the paints thin and build up to the consistency I want (Ivory Black, Raw Umber were used in the darks shapes). Once the darkest values are stated I move onto the middle/lighter values in the light shapes not the shadow shapes (Colors used in this stage were Cadmium Orange, Napthol Scarlet, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, and Titanium White). I scumble the color back and forth without lifting the brush in this stage. Applying the color in thin amounts allows me to control the value of the hue. Since the value underneath is already stated this allows me to concentrate on hue, chroma, and texture. I am using 1 part mineral spirits and 1 part linseed oil.  

2nd Lay in
After the colors are placed in their correct areas I then start taking each area to a finish. I do not scumble at this stage. I am dabbing the brush almost as if they were mini strokes.  I don't use any mediums for this, although you can use linseed oil if need be. The lights generally do not need them but at times you might. I am controlling the chroma and value of the color by just the pressure I am applying to the brush. I then do a second pass with the darks in the background and the hair, this allows me to play with edges where shadow shapes meet the light shapes. Since the shadow shapes tend to sink in more than lighter shapes you can oil in the specific area with minimal amounts of linseed oil. The important thing about this stage is to take each area to a finish and dab the paints rather than scumbling.

This painting in total took about 6 hours to complete from beginning to end. The first thing I learned from this whole experience is the underpainting stage, getting it right is essential for the rest of the painting. This stage allowed me to only worry about the drawing and value and not about color. The second thing I learned is the 2nd lay in stage. Being able to render the color with out worrying about getting the proportion right was very nice. This allowed me to just concentrate on rendering the type of texture I wanted.  As far painting handling dabbing the paints and having the correct pressure was key to getting the rendering I wanted. A great experience overall and glad I was able to document it.

Thank you for stopping by, until next time!

Monday, December 7, 2015

10 x 8 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I enjoy painting peonies, from their beautiful colors to gestural pedals. Instead of doing a whole arrangement of peonies, I decided to keep it simple and just paint one. The colors as mentioned before is one of the beauties of this plant, its always fun trying to match the radiant colors it gives. Painting the pedals can be challenging as each of them are different. Overall it is a fun plant to paint and a beauty to always come across in the flower store

Thank you for stopping by and viewing. Cheers!

Monday, October 5, 2015

"Semblance" Art Opening

(Putting the finishing touches a couple minutes before the opening)

This past weekend was the opening of "Semblance" my first solo art show at the Fox Tax Gallery. It was such an amazing time to have so many people come out and see the work I have been producing.  A special thank you to Fox Tax Gallery for giving me the opportunity in showing at their beautiful gallery and thank you to everyone that came out and made that evening a special one to remember.

With this show I wanted to push my paintings in a new direction. I wanted to explore the boundaries of modern art that is influenced by colors and patterns and see if it can sustain with a classical/neo classical figure. The figures were kept in a classical pose with patterns and bold colors intersecting through out the body and background. I was definitely not in familiar territory when producing these paintings which also made it more exciting to create. I think as artist we must always evolve and see how far we can challenge ourselves. For me the challenge was going outside my comfort zone of painting still life's and figures and try to produce a body of work that is unique, original and speaks to me.

The other half of the show was dedicated to ball point pen drawings. They are unique in their own right and thought having them with my paintings was only a natural thing to do. I wanted to draw people with beards for the most part, I have a fascination of interesting faces with cool mustaches or crazy looking beards. Either way its destined to produce an interesting drawing...hopefully.  Ball point pen drawings have always been a form of practice for me, I can't always carry a brush and paint everywhere I go so drawing with a pen has been the closest thing.  I never really thought of showing these in the past until my wife saw them and thought it would be a good idea to start showing them.  These drawings I made for the show were a lot of fun as some of these models were found locally at shops or people I ran into in the streets. The drawings were as fun to produce as the paintings were.

(This night before the opening.)

As you can see from the picture above, I mixed the drawings with the paintings as far as set up goes. This gave a good flow from one drawing to one painting. The following pictures are in order how it was set up in the show.

"The Bearded Lady"
Ball Point Pen

Oil on Linen

"Ultra Man"
Ball Point Pen

"Logic & Belief"
Oil on Linen

Ball Point Pen

"Catching Light"
Oil on Linen

Ball Point Pen

"Ivan Kramskoy Study"
Ball Point Pen

"Lady Sublime"
Oil on Linen

"Ruben & Ribera Study"
Ball Point Pen

Oil on Linen

"Prismatic Repose"
Oil on linen

Ball Point Pen

Oil on Linen

"Old Sport"
Ball Point Pen

I wanted to say a special thank you to my beautiful wife. The person who helped me with my work in improving them with her sharp eye and constructive critiques, I can not imagine the results without her.  The person who made sure I didn't have to worry about anything else other than getting ready for the show.  She is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am really blessed to have her by my side. Thank you!

Thursday, October 1, 2015


"Catching White"
16 x 20 in
Oil on Linen

Hey everyone, I know you probably do not recognize me, it has been way to long since I have last posted. I have not painted alla prima paintings in a while as I have concentrated more on my personal work. I have been busy getting ready for my first solo show at Fox Tax Gallery in NE Minneapolis. I am posting the first painting I completed for the show as well a new ball point pen drawing.

 "The Bearded Lady"
6 x 5 in
Ball Point Pen on Paper

If you are in the area stop by, the show will be up from October 2 - November 9, 2015. Opening reception is on October 2 from 6 - 10 pm.

Address: 503 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

Au revoir!