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Portrait Paintings

A Master Copy – Diego Velázquez- Done for now

January 20, 2021

So I learned much about how Diego Velázquez painted by copying this painting of his. undoubtedly, in my own opinion, Diego was one of the best painters from those that I admire.

As you can imagine, this master copy is quiet different from the original in many ways. The main difference is probably the way this was painted using more of traditional oil painting techniques than the way Diego executed the original. Second, my version probably has slightly bigger figure (face) than the original, and finally, for my last working sessions, I made numerous changes as I see fit, deviating from the copies of the original. Besides, there is no good reason to keep copying from inaccurate copies.

I suppose I can get this to look very close to the original, but I going to move on with other projects for now.

Once the Hispanics Society reopens, and when I can see the original painting once again, I may make additional changes.

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Portrait of a Little Girl

There is no shortage of uncertainty as we start 2022. There is looming tension that surrounds every country, city, and town that impact every aspect of our lives.

So to put my mind away from it all, I begin this new year by copying one of my favorite painting by Diego Velázquez, the Hispanic Society’s portrait of a young (little) girl.

While, I must have seen this painting up close when I visited the Hispanic Society, I didn’t study it closely at the time. Fast forward some years later, while the Hispanic Society has been closed to the public for a few years, it had presented a good copy of this painting during its Treasures on the Terrace Exhibition back in 2020, giving me a rare opportunity to study the portrait up close.

January 14 Update – Still needs more time on this…

In recent visits to the MET Museum, I have been studying a few portraits by Velázquez, which prompted me to start this master copy.

I look forward to comparing my study with the original once the Hispanic Society reopens and makes this painting available to the public.

Pencil Study from October 2020

Treasures on the Terrace Exhibition at the Hispanic Society

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Portrait Paintings

Getting Ready for Another Wild Ride

Oil on Paper, 9” x 12”

I started this week with the above portrait study of Steve, followed by a composition study below.

Oil on Paper, 12” x 9”

All was progressing as usual until the mid-week when many institutions began closing down to slow the spread of Omicron. At the moment, many planned sessions for this pose are canceled, so I will continue this project in 2022.

2021 has proven to be a year to be remembered. While there has been yet another massive outbreak of Covid-19, I am optimistic that we all will improve in the coming months.

PS: Congratulations to those who had a chance to visit the Art Students of League of New York and purchased The Little Red Lighthouse and a portrait from my Soundkeepers collection.

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Omicron is Spreading—The Show Must Go On

With the winter holidays approaching, the Omicron variant has been spreading fast all over the world—New York City is no exception. People are lining up to be tested for Covid-19 all over the city.

I suppose there is much to be worried if one is not vaccinated this winter. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be walking around unvaccinated, but I also believe that everyone has right to choose to be—or not to be—vaccinated. After all, isn’t that the American Way? I just hope that everyone stay safe and that there won’t be another lockdown. I really don’t feel like staying home like the way it was last year.

Oil on Canvas, 30” x 10”

Above is my latest painting of Patrick. I spent incredible amount of time and effort on the background on this painting, but it was all worth it.

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Holiday Art Sale @ The League

It’s that time of the year again! Earlier in the week, I was busy looking for materials to frame one of my work for the holiday sale at the Art Students League of New York. All progressed smoothly and the item has been framed and delivered.

December 24 (Update) – Due to rapid spreading of the Omicron COVID-19 virus, the holiday show ended on December 23.

The holiday sale starts next Tuesday (December 14, 2021) — If you are visiting New York City, be sure to visit the league for your chance to purchase paintings, drawings, and sculptures from many talented artists from all around the world. The League has produced so many talented and successful artists since 1875. Only a few things in life appreciate in value: precious metals, land, and art.

For more info, visit: https://theartstudentsleague.org/exhibition/holiday-art-sale-2021/

Following works of mine were part of the exhibition. Congratulations and thank you to the buyers.

Little Red Lighthouse
A Limited Edition Print – The Little Red Lighthouse
Elpis, 5” x 7”, Oil on Board
Southern Wind, 7” x 5”, Oil on Linen mounted on Wood
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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.

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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.

Cheers!

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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.

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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

Fun Reads

Beyond realism: 10 things to know about Edward Hopperchristies.com

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Fiction

Reality is the only thing that’s real

He went to bed late last night. It had been a rather a long night. He arrived home early after work, but he felt terrible–he was certain that he might have finally caught Covid this time–so he tried to relax as much as possible before he had to be at JFK to pick up his friend.

Work in progress – 40” x 30” inches

Around 7 p.m. in the evening, she checked the google map to see the travel time from Manhattan to JFK. It said 90 minute.

‘Crap,’ he thought to himself as she sat down to catch up on news. ‘Wow. Joe Biden announced 1.7 Trillion dollar spending deal. That sounds like a whole lot of money.’

The real strange news was announced from Facebook, saying that it will change its company name to META.

‘I don’t know all the reasons for the new name, but it sounds as though they got some ideas from a movie called Ready Player One‘.

He got up around 9 p.m., got dressed, and left to ride the long subway ride to JFK. Riding the subway has been surreal as it comes. Everyone wears a mask, except for a few riders who risk being fined for not wearing one.

NYC is getting busier. Tourists have been returning to the city, too. I suppose that’s good news. Some newspapers write about how the pandemic is nearing its end here in NYC. It’s too early to say anything.

He checked his watch when he arrived at the airport. 11 p.m.

About the painting

I have been working on this portrait for a few days now. This is one of my bigger paintings, measuring 40 inches tall and 30 inches wide. It’s incredible how much time must be spent on bigger canvas. Anyways, I will be posting updates here, so please stay tuned!