Small Portraits

Elephant Earrings- Part III, Oil on Paper, 9”x12”

I have found much joy in painting small portraits. It all happened very gradually, but it all started when I visited and saw works by Thomas Dewing, especially of small female figures that he painted on small canvases.

My figure studies have expanded to accommodate smaller figures, too. When I am traveling and seeing people, I try to capture the entire figure into my small sketchbook.

Sketching small portraits with oil color has become my favorite and preferred way of drawing recently. Using limited palette, I can draw, paint, and refine my painting as much as I need to.

Winslow Homer is another American Painter that executed small figures, who told incredible stories on small canvases. The Veteran in a New Field is a good example of such works.

November has been a good painting m0nth, and I am getting closer to acquiring much of the technical skills I need to begin my own projects.

It’s hard to believe December is just a few days away. As we are trying to close out this year with positive news, we were hit with yet another COVID variant worries and updated travel restrictions. We can’t worry about what we don’t have control over, though.


Getting to know 73 People

If you have been following me on Instagram, you know that I have been drawing and painting 100 portraits–I gave it a new hashtag #100humanchallenge.

There were many reasons to do these portraits, but besides improving the way I see and execute portraits, another reason was to get familiar with Social Media platforms to better find and engage my selective audience as I become a better painter.

Painting and drawing these portraits has been great. Many of the faces are of my colleagues and friends; some are new models and friends that I have meet via zoom or in-person.

It has been super nice to be painting from life, btw…

I will likely be sad to finish all 100 portraits. These works have created a venue for me to constantly produce portraits and figures, helping me to find my painting process.

As I am wrapping up these #100humanchallege, I will be starting a whole new line of projects so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading. I try to keep these posts short and sweet.



Painting Fast to Paint Slow

There is so much freedom and happy accidents when painting fast using oil colors. It can be 1000 times more exciting when you have a live model in front you, and you only give yourself one sitting to finish the portrait in that given amount of time. I have done many of these in my days, and here is a little secret that I found when engaged in such dangerous activity:

Time moves differently.

Alla prima –November 9, 2021

So Maybe that’s just it. Is that why I am hooked on painting people? The adrenaline rush really hits you when you got all your paints out, paint brush strokes flying on and off the canvas, and you see the portrait real itself to you one stroke at a time. It is a movie–or a battle–that nobody can really see but you. I suppose such painting fight is similar to a gladiator in a colosseum–killing or getting killed. Okay. Okay. Maybe not that dramatic, but you get the idea.

Anyways, after the rush of painting fast fades, I really enjoy slow pace of a long pose that goes on day after day, marching to the last day of painting like all of us marching to the end of our days.

Happy Sunday!

PS: I made this silly reel for my Instagram Post earlier this week.

Portrait Paintings

One More Painting

I know a not-so-secret formula for winning: Keep it simple. Winning can mean different things to me, but in the instance of painting, it’s all about painting one more painting.

Each morning, I ask myself this: Can I paint another painting?

For the last 3 weeks, mainly, I have been occupied with one painting: standing 30 inches wide and 40 inches high, it’s one of the largest portraits that I have executed. It’s really a large study of colors and values. There were so many parts of the painting that needed time consuming attention: background, chairs, small step stool, snakeskin sneakers with laces, jean overall, and the model.

Three Rings – 40” x 30” – Oil on Canvas

All the days that I worked on this painting, I have wondered what’s happening in front of my eyes. Just in the U.S. alone, we have lost 740K+ people to this pandemic, and based on the number of cases and deaths, the number will continue to increase for some time, especially in the parts of the country that have been experiencing COVID outbreak really for the first time. Good news is that now there are more ways to treat COVID, and the vaccines have been available for months.

When riding a crowded subway car, I stood next to a mother and a child. The boy must have been 5 or younger. Her mother read children’s books to him while coughing and sneezing throughout the ride. My mind wondered as I watched this seemingly innocent scene from the past. Soon I left the subway car, went to the studio, and finished my painting.

The last day of painting from life feels so sad, but also very festive and beautiful.

I am ready to paint one more painting.

Cropped image from the same painting

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