“The Runaways”

“The Runaways” 40×30 inches, acrylic and watercolor on panel SOLD

The genesis for these came from some watercolor and gouache sketches (experiments rather) that I’ve been playing with for the last couple of years.  See the drawing and in progress photos I took along the way… 

“The Runaways” graphite on paper, 17×14 inches

in progress photos:

Pictured above is a watercolor box from Kremer Pigmente. I’d like to try out their pan watercolors in the future. Brushes are Escoda Perla and Trekell golden taklon. Paints are various brands including Winsor and Newton, Holbein Irodori Antique, Rublev Natural Pigments and Daniel Smith. Support is Ampersand 2-inch cradled aquabord. Acrylics are Golden Fluid Matte and varnish are Krylon UV Clear Acrylic Coating and Gamblin GamVar.

“A Long List of Offenses”

A Long List of Offenses

“A Long List of Offenses”
10×8 inches, oil on panel

Rubens closely guarded his drawings as studio secrets and never showed them to the public. He thought they revealed too much of his labor. My own drawings often show a multitude of offenses and corrections… all of which are a visual record of how I think and compose. Drawings expose the evolution of one’s thoughts. Here is the compositional drawing for “A Long List of Offenses”

Learning to Draw: the virtues of copying

Originality is a quality highly prized in art. How does one begin to be original? By learning the basics. When it comes to learning the craft of painting and drawing, I believe that there’s nothing more beneficial than copying and studying great works of art. It’s how I taught myself to draw and then to paint. My journey began quite by accident.

In 1987, I had arrived in the Texas from the Philippines and found myself swiftly enrolled in an American junior high. Slow in making friends and always bookish (yes, nerdy) I spent most of my lunch hour in the library. Small as it was, it had a nice collection of art books. Apart from poring over the artworks published on the back cover of my grandfather’s Reader’s Digest magazines, I had never seen many paintings in print – I had yet to see some in person, at that time. First, I discovered a book on Renoir (who became my first art love, he gave me the fondness for rounded forms). The librarian joked about the nudes. I was embarassed by the jokes but I was so happy. When I got home, I started copying what I saw, not because I thought it would be a good way to start drawing, but because I wanted to memorize those paintings. I remember the books that followed: Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Fragonard…I think it was “The World of Art” series, an encyclopedic collection of books about the great painters. I copied for pleasure and with such a passion that I made it part of my schoolwork. It was a simple and humble beginning to a lifelong education.

I still copy and study the works of other artists. One of my habits is to do daily quick compositional studies of master works. It’s how I learned to compose pictures, to learn visual rhythm. By learning from the past, I’ve come to a stronger sense of my own personal vision and style.

“In the Moonlight”

In the Moonlight
In the Moonlight

My inspiration for this is a small copper painting by Adam Elsheimer, “The Flight into Egypt.” Painted in 1609, it was the first painting of its kind which showed the biblical scene in a nocturnal forest, as described by Matthew (2:13). His contemporaries marveled at his rendering of the Milky Way, which has never been depicted before. I was struck by the lush quietness permeating this nocturnal scene. The moon in the picture reminded me of the many full moons which have taken my breath away. Few scenes elicit a mysterious mood as beautifully as a nocturne.

"The Flight into Egypt" by Adam Elsheimer
"The Flight into Egypt" by Adam Elsheimer (1578-1610), 1609. Oil on copper, 12 1/4 x 16 1/8 in. Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Here is a preliminary sketch. When I have an idea for a painting, I quickly scribble in the composition. Sometimes I go straight to the panel in oils with only a cursory plan, as I did with “In the Moonlight.”

"In the Moonlight" compositional sketch
"In the Moonlight" compositional sketch