Thursday, December 4, 2014


3 x 3 in
Ball Point Pen Drawing

The last time I was in Miami, FL I went with my wife, sister in law and her fiancee to a museum that had this sculpture. The lighting of it and design really grabbed me. The light hitting it was so natural and dramatic. I also loved the design of the face and beard, I knew when I saw it I had to draw it. This drawing is not an alla prima painting or drawing, it was definitely not done in one sitting. 

With this drawing I tried a different approach in the beginning stages. I started with placing the important markings of the subject stating each height and width to each section. I keep the lines light since I'll render over the lines and do not want them to show in later stages. Here is where the change comes in with the process, I start stating all the values at once very lightly and keeping the edges soft. What this does it shows me how the final value scheme will look, also it gives me a clearer path to take each section to a finished look. Then I take the top half of the portrait to a finish. I do the same with the bottom half.

Thank you for stopping by, happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fuchsia Peonies

"Fuchsia Peonies"
8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I am well aware Peonies are out of season, These peonies I bought for my wife a while ago and loved how they looked. I took a picture and always said "I will paint that one day" well that day finally came.  The texture and movement within these flowers are spectacular, I tried so hard to portray that in my painting. Fuchsia Peonies are always fun to paint due to the purples, blues and reds that are hidden within each pedal. The movement from one petal to the other has a beautiful gestural quality to it. It is a challenging flower to paint but always rewarding in the end.

Thanks for stopping by, cheers!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Leaning Gourd

"Leaning Gourd"
8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

Since the holidays is around the corner I wanted to paint a festive theme. Some people might argue pumpkin is not very festive for this time of year, which is a valid point but I think the colors are fitting.  I want to thank everyone who stops by my blog and takes the time to look at my work. Thank you for doing so. I enjoy sharing my process and thoughts on painting. I know the journey of learning this difficult medium can be long and stressful, if I can share my knowledge to help some people with their journey then I feel I have accomplished something. I am so grateful for the artist I reached out to when I started out on my journey for helping me. I wanted to create a blog where I can do the same and share my knowledge as best as I can. We are all on the same boat trying to decipher this complex language of painting.  Thank you everyone and Happy Holidays!

I started with a thin application of raw umber for the drawing stage. Once the drawing is complete I paint the background and wooden board. I keep colors general in this stage and really thin. 

I start painting in darker value forms to the wooden board. Once that is complete I paint in lighter value forms.

Once the wooden board is complete I start painting in the pumpkin. I first lay in a thin application of the general values, somewhat a big form modeling stage. I go back and forth with the brush without lifting it, I keep the pressure pretty light to control the values. Once that stage is working well I move onto the smaller middle to darker value forms. I apply the paints a little thicker to cover the thinner application but being careful of not getting to thick. I am also conscious on the pressure I am applying to the brush. At this stage I start dabbing the brush for the areas that need finer rendering and when the edges need to get softer I go back and forth with the brush with a very light touch. I like to go back and forth with dabbing and keeping the brush on the canvas. Usually in the later stages I tend to lightly render the areas by dabbing on the brush and then going back and forth with out lifting the brush. This approach allows me to control the values and the level of rendering, it also gives me options with the type of textures I am trying to get. 

I then paint in the middle to lighter forms in the pumpkin. I apply the same rendering approach as mentioned above. Once the pumpkin is complete I start painting the gourd. I first paint the big form modeling by painting in the general values wrapping around the form. At this stage I am not worried about the smaller forms or "details". I am just worried how the value and chroma wraps around the form. 

Once the big form modeling is working well I then paint the smaller middle to darker values forms. I then do the same with the smaller middle to lighter value forms. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Green Heirloom Tomato

"Green Heirloom Tomato"
5 x 7 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I have not painted these little gems in a while. The color of this heirloom caught my eye right away. They have such intense pure colors. What I enjoy most is the subtle values between the colors from one area to the other, painting that is challenging and rewarding once it's achieved. Painting light wrapping around this form is challenging but very educational to try. After painting this tomato my wife added it to our dinner which was as delicious as it looked. 

I started with the drawing stage by just using a bit of raw umber on the brush. Thinking of it as one would draw with a pencil. The pressure you apply to the brush it effects the value and intensity your marking will be. Once the drawing stage is complete I add local colors to the whole painting. This allows me to see how the painting will look in the completed stage with the colors I am thinking of. The next stage I then start to fill in the middle to darker values to all the objects in the painting, from the wooden board to the heirloom tomato. Then I add the lighter value forms to tie everything together. With this technique, especially being in alla prima, one has to has to be careful with the amount of paint being applied from the initial stages. Remember fat over lean, you want to start thin and get progressively thicker towards the finishing. I am also conscious of how many pressure I apply to the brush, as stated before I think of it as drawing with a pen or pencil. The lighter the pressure the lighter the value will be, the harder the value the darker the value will be. This also allows you to control smoother transitions. 

Thank you for stopping by and viewing. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Forelle Pear

"Forelle Pear"
5 x 7 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I haven't painted pears in a while and thought it was time to re visit these beauties. I also wanted to go back on how I painted pears when I first started to do alla prima paintings a couple years ago. It's minimal amount of paint on the brush kind of like drawing with a pencil, you do not want to put a dark hard line with the initial mark. This painting is an exploration of my technique old and new.

I started with a thin application of raw umber for the drawing stage.  I am not worried about details just the placement of major shapes and the lineation of shadow shapes. Then I painted the background in. I usually like to paint this area first, this allows me to now worry about it when I am painting the main object in the painting.

Once the background was filled in I then painted in the wood, I applied a thin amount of paint to cover the base. I think of it as how one would when drawing with a pencil. I do not paint in the darkest darks or lights lights, just an in between value to give form to the object. Then I paint in the darkest values. I still have not applied any lighter values just concentrating on the middle to darker values.

Once the darks are painted I then start to paint in the middle to lighter values. Once the base is at a level I am satisfied with I move onto the pear. The initial stage of painting the pear I apply a thin layer of paint in the shadows, I do the same with the lights. In this stage I am only concentrating on big form modeling, how light wraps around the form. I mesh the lights into the darks to make the form turn, softening edges to show more of the turn. I am not worried about details at this stage just worried on applying a thin layer of paint and making the form turn with generalized colors.

Once big form modeling is working I then start to work on middle to darker values. As I mentioned before I am applying the paints very thin, this allows me to control values the same way one would control a mark with a pencil. I like to build into my darks as well into the lights.  This approach is time consuming but gives you control on how much subtle values shifts you're needing.

Hope you enjoyed this painting, thank you for stopping by! Cheers!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


9 x 12 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I came across this awesome skull with horns. As soon as I saw it I knew I needed to paint it. I really like the design within the skull and how the horns wrap out from the skull. Keeping the background white gives it a stronger design. Keeping the values compressed was a challenge especially for a painting done in one session.

I started with a dry brush approach with the drawing stage. I make sure the drawing is complete with the proportion working right, I am not drawing every single detail in just the general shapes. Then I painted in the skull by applying its local colors in a thin manner and also applying big form modeling. At this stage all I am worried about is how the light wraps around the form, no details are put in, I like to keep everything soft with each edge. I also do not put my darkest darks or my lightest lights in this stage, I keep it in the middle value stage for the most part.

Once big form modeling is complete I start painting middle to darker value forms. Still keeping the edges soft where they need to be. I do the same with middle to lighter value forms. These two value forms were not as difficult to paint in because the big form modeling stage was worked out from the beginning. If the big form modeling stage is worked out from the beginning then the smaller forms become easier to paint in (theoretically).

Once the skull was complete I then painted the horns in. For the base I applied a thin coat of raw umber. Then I painted in middle to darker values.

After the middle to darker value forms were painted I then applied middle to lighter value forms. Applying this brought the painting to a finish. I really enjoyed painting something different and at a different angle as well. As mentioned before keeping the values compressed was a challenge, but I learned a lot how to try to get a handle on it. 

Thank you for stopping by, cheers!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin & Gourd

"Pumpkin & Gourd"
4 x 6 in 
Oil on Canvas Panel

I wanted to stay on the theme of gourds and include a pumpkin. I couldn't just leave the gourd by itself, included the pumpkin as a central focus with a dominating presence. The story can go many ways when reading into the painting, its definitely behold of the viewer.

I started with a dry brush approach by just using raw umber and no mediums. In this stage I want to get the drawing as close as I can get it. When I start painting I want to make sure the drawing is as close to it as possible.

Once the drawing is complete I painted in the background and wooden base with its local colors. Once I painted the local colors in I painted the lighter values in the wooden base to give it more form. I want to take the wooden board to a close finish this will allow me to concentrate on the pumpkin and gourd and now worry about coming back and finishing it.

Once the wooden board is complete, I started to lay in local colors on the pumpkin and gourd. I apply a thin coat of paint trying not to go thick, remember fat over lean. In this stage I also paint big form modeling with the local colors. This allows me to concentrate how light wraps around the form. I am not worried about the smaller forms or "details" just how light wraps around the form. I am also keeping the values in a middle tone, not going to light or to dark. I'll apply the dark's and lights in the smaller form stages. I like to spend a lot of time in this stage getting it right, if it works well in this stage then the subsequent stages will go by smoother.

Once the local colors are working with the big form modeling, I then start to paint the darker smaller forms. I start to apply the darkest tones as well in this stage which will make certain sections look brighter.

Once the darker smaller forms are complete I then paint the lighter smaller forms . I repeat the same process as I did with the darker forms by putting in the lightest values. 

Hope you enjoyed this one, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


6 x 6 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

My wonderful wife loves decorating around the house according to the seasons. She put these gourds on the dinning table a while ago and of course it caught my interest. This painting was done quicker than normal, it took me 2 and a half hours to complete. 

The first image, top left, is drawn with a dry brush approach just using raw umber. The second image, top right, I filled in the whole painting with local colors of each area. I filled in the gourds with its local colors and started with big form modeling. This is my area of focus which is the reason I went a little further in the initial stage.  The third image, bottom left, I worked with smaller forms after big form modeling was complete. The fourth image, bottom right, I approached painting the wooden board the same way I did with the gourds, first painting in the darks then the lights. 

Thank you for viewing, hope you enjoyed. Cheers!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Portrait Sketch

8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I painted this portrait at my Thursday evening figure drawing class. The portrait was completed in 4 hours. I love teaching and when I am able to draw/paint next to my students it's just a dream come true. I remember being in class at Ringling College of Art and Design and my favorite figure drawing teacher, Fiore Custode, used to teach us and draw next to us. Really enjoy when I am able to do the same. 

I am teaching at the Bloomington Art Center on Thursday evenings from 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. If anyone is interested click here to get more information.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Still LIfe Paintings on my Etsy Store

"Cheese Board"
16 x 20 in
Oil on Canvas

"Evening Tea"
14 x 18 in
Oil on Linen

I have created a section to sell my still life paintings at my Etsy store. The prices are a little different than my alla prima paintings, of course these take more time to complete with many levels of paint. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Kat" Figure Study

8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I have not painted from the figure in a while, so when the opportunity came up, I jumped on it. I have been doing most paintings from imagination lately.  It was nice to have a break from that, and paint from the figure. This painting was completed in 3 hours in a smaller size than my usual figure paintings. I enjoyed painting this figure in a smaller size since it allows you see the values as a whole. First, I drew the figure with a dry brush articulating each shape as simple as I can. Then I applied a middle base color for the shadows and the lights.  I attempted to paint in the middle tones and not get too light or too dark.  This allowed me to go in either direction when adding smaller and subtle forms without getting too muddy. Instead of starting with the darks after laying the middle values, I painted smaller forms into the lights. This allowed me to shape the form and address textures along the figure. I did the same with the shadows once the lights were complete. What I enjoyed most about this piece was playing with different skin textures on such a small scale. 

Thank you for stopping by, cheers!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Etsy Shop

4 x 6 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

Hi everyone, I am back and wanted to let everyone know I have posted new paintings at my Etsy shop. There are a couple landscapes as well. I hope to start producing more alls prima paintings when I am done getting ready for a show in a couple weeks. I will share more information of my first curated show in the next post!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Plein Air-ing it

10 x 8 in
Oil on Canvas

I love long weekends especially at the cabin with family and friends. Sleeping was the number one thing in the agenda and I am happy to say that I succeeded. Second to sleeping was continuing my journey with plein air paintings. As I mentioned in previous post landscapes are not my strong suit, but I do have an admiration for them and enjoy painting them any chance I can. I wanted to try to capture the time of day as fast as I can without having the distraction of putting every hair on a dog.  My goals were to capture the time of day, mood in the painting, and edit my process.

Similar to my previous post, I started with the top left picture with just a quick gesture of the landscape. I only want to capture the essence of the scene and its perspective. The top right picture shows my next step, this stage I only ad the overall tones for each section of the painting. This stage I like to call the "rough" in stage, still going quick to capture the type of light I want, similar to doing gestures but with color. This stage allows me to see how the overall color and mood that will be in the final painting. I want to try to keep close to this palette the further I move away from this stage and closer to the final. The bottom left picture I start to zero in on a section and take it to a finish. I first start with the darker values and move to the lighter values. In this stage I am taking the tree's in the foreground and the tree's in the background to a close finish. Then on the bottom right picture I complete the lake and sky, repeating the same process in working from dark to lighter values.  When all the shapes and values are stated in the painting and close to a finish I can then go around and put the finishing touches. 

Painting on location.

Here is another painting I did when the sun was starting to set the previous day. This was a really quick painting as the clouds were going in and out. The size of this painting is 5 x7 inches, being restricted to that size allows you to go much quicker.

Thank you again for stopping by and viewing. I hope you enjoyed this post and the paintings. Till next time, cheers!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Plein Air Painting

9 x 12 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I went up north to Park Rapids, Minnesota for vacation. Every year I go up I always leave saying "I wish I brought my paints with me!", finally I did! I am the first to tell you that painting landscapes have always been a weakness of mine. I do love them I just do not do them enough, maybe once or twice a year I'll get out and paint a landscape. Going to Park Rapids I wanted to change that and at least do a couple landscapes.

Experiencing nature when you're outdoors painting is something that I truly enjoyed. I would recommend everyone to do it as much as they can. With this process I wanted to lay down the tone or mood of the painting right away. After the initial drawing I painted each section with their general tones, not worrying about details just laying in the overall tones. Doing this allows me to see a "rough' draft of how the final will look, it also lets me get the tones down quicker especially for plein air painting. As I stated in my previous post the "rough" in stage does not mean scumbling paint everywhere in a messy way. I am still thinking of smooth transitions, edges and paint quality. At this stage I also keep the paints thin as I will be adding more layers when putting in the smaller forms or "details". Once the "rough" in stage is complete I start section by section in completing the painting, going from darker to lighter forms. I like to make sure each section is to a close finish as I can take it before moving onto the next section. Once all sections are completed I look at the painting as a whole and put the final touches so the painting can be cohesive.

Till next time, cheers!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Saint Paul the Hermit

"Saint Paul the Hermit"
11 x 14 in
Graphite on Paper

It's been a long time since I last posted and apologize for the absence. I have been producing a lot of paintings and drawings which I'll share with you guys soon. I created this drawing for my show at Ciel. Excited to show at this wonderful venue. The show opens with an artist reception from 6 - 8 pm on August 28, 2014.

It was fun breaking this process down which was a little different from my previous process. The left picture shows the initial drawing with key points. These key points consist of width, height, length and shadow placements. The picture on the top right is where my process changed a bit. In this stage I would just go ahead and do big form modeling, instead I skipped that stage and just "roughed" in where the middle, light and darker values are in those key areas. Doing this allows me to get closer to the look I am going for with the whole drawing, kind of a rough draft of what the final should look. It's important to understand though I keep this stage light and not go too dark with my values as they may shift. Just because it is the "rough" in stage does not mean you give up the quality of the drawing, I am still going for subtle transitions and values turning with the form. The third picture, the bottom left, I start working on the smaller forms and bring the first top half to a finish. I shorten my strokes in this stage to get a nice subtle transition in the areas that need them. I keep going from darker to lighter values making sure each form is corresponding to its value relationships. The picture on the bottom right shows the same procedure applied to the beard. Once the beard is complete I look at the drawing as a whole and evaluate my values again. At this stage I put the final touches and call it done!

Thank you for stopping by. Cheers!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

"Rubens" Ball Point Pen

Rubens Copy
3 x 5 in
Ball Point Pen

This drawing started as an experiment to try out a new sketchbook I bought.  I used a heavy weight drawing paper sketchbook by Bee Paper Company Professional Series. It was tough trying to get textures with the drawing because the paper was not as smooth as I usually draw on. I welcomed the challenge and enjoyed deciphering it.  I was not to fond of the graininess in the beginning but ended really liking how it meshed with the drawing in the later stages. This drawing is after Peter Paul Rubens "Two Satyrs". The expression Rubens created with this portrait is amazing. He definitely is one of my all time favorite painters I look up to and inspire to paint/draw like.

 Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Cheese Board"

"Cheese Board"
16 x 20 in
Oil on Canvas 

This is a new still life painting I made for an Art Fair I participated a couple weeks ago. I will post more pictures soon of the whole event and the other paintings I showed there. It was nice painting a still life again in the classical method. Setting up the objects and painting them fast enough before they start rotting was a challenge. 

The setup.

Process pics of the grapes and cheese near completion.

The bread also near completion. 

Once the foreground was complete I filled in the background and brought the whole painting together. I was able to soften edges and make objects recede. I was using Ivory Black and knew that it's a slow drier, which is the reason I saved it till the last stage. Once the black was painted in, I then went back to the foreground and keyed up certain values and hues.

Once the painting was complete I was able to enjoy the still life by drinking some good wine with grapes, bread and cheese. Thank you for stopping by and viewing! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Tony" ARC Salon 2013-2014 Finalists

3 x 5 in
Ball Point Pen

I hope everyone is having a great start to their summer. I have been extremely busy, as usual, and have finally found time to post. Very excited to announce I am a finalists at the ARC Salon 2013-2014 Competition. You can see more of the finalists here.  I have always wanted to apply and finally was able to. The Art Renewal Center is an incredible site to find amazing artist who are trained in the classical method. You can also find accredited ateliers around the world at the ARC.

The story behind this portrait starts with shopping at Trader Joe's. I noticed "Tony" working there and approached him to draw his portrait. He was a little hesitant at first, but after showing him some of my work he agreed to pose for me. There is something unique that attracted me to draw his portrait. You never know when you find your next drawing/painting subject matter, but when you do you have to jump on the opportunity. "Tony" was a blast to draw, looking forward to painting his portrait in the near future.