Wednesday, March 17, 2021

After Rubens ‘Diana Returning from Hunt’

Please email me if you are interested in purchasing this painting.
After Rubens 'Diana Returning from Hunt'
Oil on Masonite
8" x 12"

This is my attempt in copying one of Ruben's many masterpieces 'Diana Returning from Hunt'. This is the first time I have actually attempted in copying a multi-figure painting. I wanted to approach this painting as how Rubens would have painted it by doing a grisaille first and then applying color. I took the grisaille stage to a higher degree of finish, doing this made me want to keep it at this stage and not add any color.

As you can see with the picture above I started with a gestural drawing of all the figures within the composition. I didn’t transfer, project, or trace the drawing over. I freehanded the composition with gestural lines giving me a feel of where the figures will live in the composition. I used a 2B graphite pencil for this stage. Once the feel of the figures felt right I started painting the central figure as this was the focal point of the painting. I started with the head and moved down on the figure completing each shape before moving onto the next one. I knew I would come back around and make one or possibly two passes for the final touch but, I’m thinking I finish as I go, which what Rubens would have done. A big difference between my copy and Rubens approach is that he would have had an umber base already washed on before painting, I started with a white background and not washed in. 

For each section of the painting I completed I compared the unfinished section to it, I used the placement of values, shapes, angles, widths, and height to match each shape to one another. Not once I thought of a figure or fruits or dogs when I would paint specific areas I only think of them as shapes.

What I love about Rubens is the feeling of movement he evokes into his paintings, movement of light, and the figure is done brilliantly. He was able to finely render texture without overpainting it and making it feel a live. I was intimidated by this painting by the number of figures and I haven’t painted anything like this before, I’m so glad I did I learned so much and truly enjoyed every second of it. I strongly recommend doing copies of paintings you admire it teaches you so much.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


9 x 12 in
Oil and Acrylic on Masonite Board

This is a quick alla prima painting that took around 2 hours to complete. 

Tools that I used for the painting.

A quick video showing the process.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tomato & Persimmon

Tomato & Persimmon
10 1/8" x 7 1/2"
Oil, Latex Paint, Marker on Masonite Panel

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Contemporary Portraiture Class

Hi everyone, I'm excited to announce I'll be teaching a class that covers methods in contemporary portraiture at Minneapolis College of Art and Design through their Continuous Education department.  This class is open to the public and you can sign up by clicking here.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Lemon Plums

Lemon Plums
8" x 10"
Oil, Latex Paint on Masonite Panel

With this painting, I wanted to experiment with contemporary shapes with a classical still life. How the two converge in one picture plane. 

Thank you for stopping by and viewing my painting!

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Siempre En Movimiento
Acrylic, Latex Paint, Color Pencil, Marker and Oil on Canvas
30 x 40 inches

Hi everyone, I have been very busy, per usual, in getting ready for shows and completing commissions. My painting Siempre En Movimiento has been accepted into the XL Catlin Art Competition and will travel part of the show to San Francisco Art Institute, then to Chicago at the Linda Warren Projects Gallery, and finishing at the New York Academy of Art. You can get more information about the competition and show by clicking here.  

My painting, Siempre En Movimiento, is currently up for an audience aware on their Instagram page. All you have to do is like the painting. If you have Instagram go to @xlcatlinartprize and my painting should show up as their latest post. You can only like the painting between today8/16 and tomorrow 8/17. I appreciate all your help. Spread the work if you can, the more the better!

Thank you, everyone! 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Classical Still Life

Still Life
Oil on Masonite
24 x 18 in

I've just completed a still life commission for a local interior design firm. It was such a great experience working with them. They gave me this beautiful frame to fill in, even before I started the painting. I felt a little pressure in making the painting as good looking as the frame is. As soon as I got the panel cut to size, I finished the painting with the frame attached to it. This was normal for 19-century painters to do, they could see how the finished painting would appear within the frame. I can say it helped a lot when determining if I was done or not. 

I hope everyone enjoyed this one, thank you for stopping by!

Monday, July 2, 2018

June Portrait Challenge

Hello everyone! Its been a while since I last posted, a million apologies for neglecting this platform. A lot of things have happened since my last post. I've graduated from graduate school (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) and have my MFA in visual studies in painting and drawing. It's been a whirlwind since graduating which is the reason why I've been absent from posting so much. 

After graduating I was burned out from all the hard work with my thesis (I will post my thesis paintings on the next one). I hadn't drawn much through my thesis and only painted for the most part. I wanted to get back to drawing and was thinking of ways to do it other than just doodling in my sketchbook. I decided to set a challenge for myself, one that I didn't think would be possible, to draw thirty portraits in the month of June all done in ballpoint pen. Essentially drawing one portrait a day, no matter how bad it was by the end of the day I had to be done and ready to post it. I asked all my followers from my social media community to submit their pictures, from there I was able to start the challenge. I wanted to get to know my online community better and see how this challenge brought us closer. It's a step in the right direction post-thesis work, I want to see how far I can push this idea of an online community and how we can know each other better rather than just clicking a thumbs up button. Still a work in progress but I have the wheels turning and that's important.

The drawings you see in this post is from all the portraits I completed in the month of June. Again completed only using a ballpoint pen in sketchbook paper. This challenge has taught me so much, I challenge everyone who reads this to push yourself with your work. Create challenges to make you feel uncomfortable, it's a very good thing to not feel sure what the hell you're doing. I can go on and on and on about everything I learned and why you should set goals for yourself, I think the work speaks for itself. 

Thanks for stopping by and viewing my work!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Studio Sweet Potato

Studio Sweet Potato
Oil on Masonite
10 1/8 x 7 1/2 in

Hello everyone! It has been a really, really, really, really long time since I have done an alla prima painting. I used to do these on a daily basis, I decided to get back on the wagon again last night and went straight for it, 8 hours later I was done! I'm paying for it today being so tired but it was totally worth it. There is something about challenging yourself to finish a painting in one session. You have to consider the surface area you're working on, how oils react to the smooth surface and how you have to manipulate it to come out looking the way you intended it to. There are a lot of bumps along the way but in the end, there is a satisfying feeling that you reached your goal. The other reason I enjoy alla prima painting, it forces you to really pay close attention to your methods of painting. I'm constantly revising the way I paint certain sections and if it works well then I apply it to other areas, due to time constraints it's trial by error and I enjoy the errors. 

This sweet potato I intended to paint many months ago. Initially, I was attracted to it due to the curvy snake-like body, I have never seen one like it. After not painting it for quite some time, roots sprouted from the tip. I kept looking at it every day when I would go to the studio, I knew at some point I would paint it and that point was last night. Usually, after I paint a vegetable or fruit I eat it, this time I decided to bring the sweet potato back to the studio and keep it there. I enjoy having it there while I paint away, I'm intrigued to know how many roots will sprout and how long will they get.  

I went to home depot and got 56 masonite panels cut in various sizes, I felt like a kid on Christmas day, and the best part it was all under 7 dollars (Home Depot cuts wood for free). I gessoed the canvas and sanded it down to a smooth finish, I repeated this about four times until it was right. After letting it dry for a day, I tinted the gessoed masonite board with raw umber and mineral spirits. I let this dry for a day as well.

I started by drawing with raw umber and no mediums. I did not use any mediums throughout the entirety of the painting. It was a minimal amount of paint sort of like a dry brush technique. After the drawing was complete, I started lightly painting it the sprouted roots. I make sure to not put a lot of paint on the brush, the idea is to build up to your key values. Think of it as drawing with a pencil, the amount of sensitivity you have to it determines the value you'll create.

Once the sprouted roots were complete, I moved onto the body of the sweet potato. This was challenging in its own way. I started with the darks and build up to the lights. Again it is important to stress I do not start with a lot of paint on the brush, I build up to the value and texture I am going for.

After the body was completed and I stepped away from it for a bit, I thought I was actually going to bed because I was so tired and it was already 2:30 in the morning, I decided to complete the painting and start on the wooden board.  Pushing through it was great, I am very happy I was able to conjure up some energy to complete the painting.

This was a lot of fun to complete in such a short period of time. I hope you enjoyed this painting and the journey I took to complete it. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Ball Point Pen on Paper
4" x 5"

Hi everyone! I've been super busy with being a new dad and a second/final year of graduate school. It's been a wild ride but one that I've enjoyed more than I would have expected. I have been posting more on Instagram, you can follow my account by clicking here. I have this ballpoint pen drawing up for sale. You can bid on it by leaving a comment on the post. Bidding will end on 2/22 at 5pm CST.  You guys can also see new paintings I have been working on that talks about identity and the Latin community.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Figure Study in Graphite

Figure Study
Graphite on Paper
8" x 10"

Hi Everyone! Wow how time flies since my last post, I promise I do not mean to leave for such a long period of time, I've been super busy since May. My wife and I have had a baby and have been adjusting to the new daily routines in our lives, wouldn't change it for the world. Graduate school has been going really well it's been really busy with a lot of writing, research and producing paintings. I have been learning a tremendous amount during my time in school, it has been an amazing experience so far and can not believe I have one semester left to complete my Masters! I am getting to the thick of it with writing my Thesis paper and continuing my research phase. 

This drawing I completed not to long ago as a sketch and exercise, they serve to sharpen my rendering abilities and observe nuances within the figure. As you can see from the bottom picture the various stages the drawing goes through all the way to completion. 

I wanted to let everyone know as well that I'm way more active in my Instagram account than on Blogger, I wish there was a away I can automatically post onto Blogger from Instagram. You can follow me at @jonallerpaintings.  

Thank you for you stopping by and viewing!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

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.

Thanks for stopping by and always for your continuous support!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Painting on Ebay

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

I just posted this painting on Ebay which I forgot to do last time I posted.
Also...I have a workshop coming up from April 7 - 9 go to for more information and to sign up.


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 April 7, 8, and 9, 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!