Saturday, June 30, 2012


Oil on Panel, 5 x 7

Painting comes framed in a custom made colonial style black frame.
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One day, while walking back from the grocery store, I came across a dead wasp. Having already a mini collection of dead insects to serve as still life models at home, which consist of: a roach, two flies, and an odd looking dragon fly, i knew this little guy was next.

I picked him up very carefully by one of the wings. I wasn't entirely positive that it was actually deceased, or just knocked out, or napping. Caution had to be taken, but it was indeed dead.

Brought it back home and added it to the insect area, where it remained for a few weeks until i finally decided to pay tribute to the life of this creature, by immortalizing it in a painting.

I love the way the wasp looks, it's design sleek and aerodynamic. One key way of seeing it pops in my head every time, this is a soldier. It is designed for stealth and speed. It is camouflaged to blend in to many areas, and deadly when necessary. An extraordinary creation.

One thing that grabs my attention about the way this and other insects are "designed" is their mechanical nature. Observing this creature up close, it is a full on mini machine, it's exoskeleton appears to be an armor, a vehicle that is currently not being operated, and all it requires is for the right spark to turn it back on.

i'm on the look-out for the next insect candidate, but for now i am happy with the way the wasp painting turned out.

Onto the next one.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dirty Love Bunny

Dirty Love Bunny
Oil on Panel, 12 x 12
Still Life

I had fun with this one. That appears to be the key to the good ones, just letting go and not stress over correctness and precision.

I had been wasting time all day, waiting for 4:30 to head out somewhere for an appointment. I don't like to start anything if i eventually have to leave it half way. I like to be there in front of it from start to finish. So i spent the day just pacing around, finding small things to do to pass the time.

Around 3pm, on my way back from 7 11, i thought to myself, "I could paint something real quick just for the hell of it, or keep doing nothing" I went with the decision to paint.

On the way in to my little studio, i saw this guy on the metal table outside in the back yard. The dogs have had it for years. They've played with it. Fought for it. Relieved their sexual tension with it. It was ugly, used, abused, and perfect for my quick thrill.

The initial drawing was kept simple, just the basic outline made with suggestive strokes of Burnt Sienna, just enough to get the gesture of it, no need wasting time in a detailed drawing was a primary thought in this step.

I then moved on to the dark areas, the shadow under and around the bunny for example, trusting my initial gesture, and not worrying about covering the canvas in an initial color wash as i usually do.

Keeping the paint thick and colorful, I moved on through different areas of the piece, working from dark to light, layering the strokes and continuing this way until i finished by adding the lights and highlights at the end.

All in all, this magical process took me a little over an hour to complete this painting, enough time to sit back and study it before i had to leave at 4:30pm, proud of myself for not having wasted more of my time doing nothing.

I owe a great deal of thanks to the current working process of using way more paint than i used to, as well as the hand held wooden palette, that has changed the way i work completely. But the main thanks goes out to the constant reminder i had in my head, one thing i had to catch myself and return to several times, take it easy and have fun!

Now on to the next one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big Sur trip

on the edge of the world (photo courtesy of Ssurge)
Went camping over the weekend in Big Sur, CA. That place is gorgeous! Was there from Friday through Monday. At first we had some trouble finding a camp site due to someone's lack of planning (me) but ended up finding the perfect spot in Big Sur State Park.

We took a drive to the top of a hill i like to sit at when i visit the area, and painted the view:

Big Sur 01
Oil on Panel, 9 x 12 Plein Air

I love the way this one worked out. Brush strokes, color, composition. It felt good being up there, though there was a lot of wind, and it was surprisingly cold for it being summer.

on top of the hill, on a cold summer day (photo courtesy of Ssurge)

I had taken my Easyl pochade box and was planning on using it heavily, but on arriving, I accidently broke one of the tripod legs for the easel and could not use it. Luckily, I had also packed my homemade Cigar Box easel which proved its worth tremendously!

Painting by the Ocean (photo courtesy of Ssurge)

On Sunday we drove down the coast to an area that has cliffs one can walk out to and hang out. I love this area, a very peaceful place amongst the cows. We walked all the way to the edge of the ocean, and painted from there.

Big Sur 02
Oil on Panel, 9 x 12 Plein Air Painting
I hate to admit this, but the piece above is not one of my best. So much could have been done different, from approach to design, but, though not bad, I can still use it as reference for a new painting, so even though it did not turn out the masterpiece that it could have been, it still has its purpose.

enjoying a cool drink after a day of hard work (photo courtesy of Ssurge)

All in all, it was a great trip and a much needed vacation from the city life. I always hate coming back, and hope to one day return permanently to the area. But for now, i will keep close the memories of this recent trip.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Metro: Through the Eyes of Artists Posters

"Rosemead Blvd Underpass, Near Whittier Blvd."
Oil on Panel, 11 x 20

Metro: Through the Eyes of Artists Posters

I was selected as one of three artists for this years "Through the Eyes of Artists Posters" Metro project.
The focus of this years poster is the city of Pico Rivera, Ca, my current area of residency.

This one was a bit tough at first, I couldn't figure out what to paint. There is no "landmark" here in Pico, sure there's the Sports Arena, the Pio Pico House, and the Walmart, but they don't lend themselves for picturesque purposes. Not for this project, at least not through my eyes.

Other cities have a stand out landmark which make this process easier, for example, Hollywood has the Hollywood sign, and the walk of fame. Echo Park has the park with the lake and all that, etc.

I was stuck for a while there, i knew i wanted to make the painting of the everyday area, I asked for suggestions from friends and family, a few suggested Smith Park, which had crossed my mind but once again, when i went to investigate, it just did not look right, there was too much to possibly crop down comfortably to make into one composition.

It is my friend Gaby who deserves all the thanks on this one, her suggestion sparked the idea behind this painting. She said that every time she was driving to Pico, she knew she was there when she got to the Rosemead underpass, this was for her, the stand out landmark. I loved the idea.

Seeing this through the eyes of the everyday passenger of said Metro services, as my friend Gaby had pointed out, this visual landmark let her know she was in Pico Rivera, and as with her, i imagine many Metro customers use such visual aids on their commute so as to know when they are near, or have arrived at their destination, i.e., when i pass the McDonald's near the Target, i have two more stops to go, or after i see the Rose Hills sign near the 605 freeway, I get off the bus on Norwalk, or in this case, once they see the Rosemead underpass, get off on the next stop, Whittier Blvd.

But that's not all! (as they say in the infomercials) These Underpasses, because there's more than one, there are several all around Pico Rivera, and there's a new one under construction on Passons Blvd at the moment. They serve as a gateway into the heart of the city of Pico Rivera, where the majority of the commercial areas are located. It was perfect.

I loved working on this one, everything, from the atmospheric effects, to color choices and brushwork, worked out the way it was meant to be.