"These jewel-like paintings intuitively fuse different aesthetic traditions, folk art and old master, with natural grace and an uncanny quality that may be a species of magic." —American Arts Quarterly
I have just released the first paintings for 2014 at the Meyer East Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are also the first of the works to be included for my upcoming solo show at the gallery in June. Two of the four have sold immediately before I can post this but “Girl with Yellow Finch” and “Smoker” are still available.
Here is a recent studio photo with “Tesoro Mio” in progress on the easel…
My most important tools are obviously brushes. Here are my favorites at the moment:
Escoda bristle filberts
Isabey mongoose rounds
Silver Brush ruby satin synthetics rounds and filberts
I typically use around two dozen brushes in a painting session. I don’t like rinsing them while painting and prefer to have new clean brushes per color. To clean brushes, I rinse in oil then use Studio Products’ Ugly Dog soap which works great. I also use Reine Kernseife pure curd soap from Natural Pigments. It comes in very cute little ivory bars.
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.