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!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back on Etsy


My paintings are back on Etsy, I have done a horrible job on putting them up for sale. Take a browse by clicking here, its free to browse.  I am working on a lot of projects right now and will be able to share shortly what I have been up to. Till then happy painting!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ivan Kramskoi Study

"Ivan Kramskoi Study"
10 x 8 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I posted this one a couple years ago and completely forgot I had it. I found it in the closet and decided to part ways with it. If interested in buying this painting click here to bid on it.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015


8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

I have posted this painting before but have not offered it for sale. If you are interested bid on it through my ebay page.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Edina Art Fair

8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel

Back to the easel into producing more art work for the Edina Art Fair.  The fair will be from June 5 -7. Last year was my first time showing and it was a lot of fun participating in the event. The amount of people I met and got feedback from was immense. I recommend anyone who has never been a part of one to do it, it is a great experience.

It is that time of year that peonies bloom for about two weeks. It's a short window but I want to take advantage of it. They are one of the most beautiful flowers to paint. Peonies are always a challenge to paint in one session because of their intricacy, but is one of the main reasons I am attracted to paint them. 

You can see with the process shots above I went with big form modeling of the lights for all three Peonies. I was not interested in details until the hue and chroma were stated overall. I was working from general to smaller forms. Starting right away with details will hurt your painting. Work with larger shapes then working into smaller shapes. Which is the same as doing big form modeling first then completing the painting with smaller form modelling. Edges are also another key component with this painting. I left some edges blurry to push the middle main Peonies forward. I stress to my students how important edges are, they will either make or break your painting. Transitions from one value or chroma to another depends greatly on the edges and how fluid the transition is. 

I like to paint peonies from life as you can see all their true colors. Which goes with anything you want to paint, photography looses a lot of the colors and distorts the picture. I do use at times photography if I have no option and will paint into the night. I always prefer painting from life with natural light when I am able to. This is another painting I am doing for the art fair. Peonies open their pedals so quick, by the time I was getting closer to finishing this painting the white Peonies that I painted was already half way blooming. 

Thank you everyone for stopping by and viewing my paintings, cheers!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Art Show

"The Gypsy Life"
36 x 48 in
Oil on Canvas

There was a great show this past weekend that I was lucky to be a part of. I showed two new pieces and four older ones. I collaborated with three new pieces as well. It was a lot of work getting ready for this show but worth every moment of it. Here is a great video showcasing opening night of the show and artworks from the other participating artist.

This painting I hold very dear to my heart. I have been wanting to execute this one for about 9 years. Its a story I came up with when living in Florence, Italy. Narrative paintings have always been a direction I wanted to go with. Telling a story and connecting with the viewer with my paintings is something I am getting into and very excited about. 

Closer view of the "The Gypsy Life"

35 x 25 
Oil on Linen

Sorry for the bad picture of this one and of "The Gypsy Life", I am in process of getting these professionally shot. 

The space the event was held at is called "Architectural Antiques". Great venue with so much rich history with every antique item. There was also a band playing while the show was going on. These pictures were taken the day after the opening, I did not have time to take photos of the show on opening night due to how busy it was.

My ball point pen drawings.

This was the space leading to the other side where the bar was and more art work was embedded with surrounding antiques.

Entrance to the show.

One of the main rooms with a couple pieces from Peter Geyen

This was one of the collaboration pieces Peter Geyen and I worked on. I did the painting and Peter completed the sculptures on top. Always great to work with Peter on these projects. 

"Cutting Board"
16 x 20 in
Oil on Canvas

I painted this one about a year ago and finally got it framed. Was excited to show it with the frame for the show.

Another piece Peter and I worked on together. I drew the portrait in oil pastels and Peter completed the rest.

This one was another piece Peter and I completed. I completed the drawing in charcoal on MDF board. What I enjoy about working with Peter is always trying different mediums and different ideas that push me as an artist. 

The show was so much fun to be a part of, by the end of opening night I had no voice and extremely exhausted. Thank you to everyone that made it out and made it such a great event. I am looking forward to many more.