Figurative Paintings

Remembering Twin Towers

Oil on Canvas

40 inches x 30 inches

Figurative Paintings Portrait Paintings

Painting one more portrait

Even after painting so many portraits, I still wonder why I paint portraits at times.

All the awkwardness and doubt disappears, however, when I am painting again, in front of a sitter, surrounded by pleasing smell of oil paint.

So to keep things simple, I strive to paint one more portrait, and then another, just like placing one foot after another—constantly moving forward.

Figurative Paintings Portrait Paintings

31 Trillion

The total amount of outstanding borrowing by the U.S. Government, as of May 27, 2023, is $31.47 Trillion dollars.

There has been months negotiation about raising the debt-ceiling, and apparently, if the government can’t agree on raising it, it will cause—basically—a financial meltdown.

Figurative Paintings

There is no beginning or ending…

Do you ever wonder how to start or end a painting? I do. All the time.

I truly think that there is no good way to end a painting but to think that there is always more can be done—it’s just that I decide to wait putting down next strokes.

A similar dilemma exists when beginning a painting. Where do I place the head? What’s going to happen to the feet if the head is painted too big? Is it possible that arms won’t fit inside the canvas? Then, I put aside all the small details and paint one thing at a time, and it is as if the painting has existed all along—and I watch how the painting falls into place.

Figurative Paintings

1000+ Instagram Artists and Friends

Thank you all for your continued support for my paintings. It has been humbling yet incredible years of painting.

I am so excited to inform you that my Instagram account has organically grown to over 1000 followers, made up of artists and art enthusiasts all over the world.

Growing audience takes time, but I expected it to take time since I have grown my audience slowly and without paying for followers. I understood earlier on that it’s better to have 100 great friends and followers than unauthentic ones. I suppose I will promote my works in an effort to sell my works more rapidly, but I will decide on that later.

To thank and in response to those that requested to view my works closely, Below is a slideshow based on my most viewed and liked reel. Thank You.

Again, thank you for all the likes, follows, and comments. Enjoy the slide show below—swipe to see all of them—-and Good day! – Je

  • Bird Next
  • Figurative Painting by Je - Portrait of Johnny

The original Instagram Reel

Figurative Paintings Mastercopies

The Denial of Saint Peter: Woman, Life, Freedom – Week 8

This was my last painting session at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has been incredible eight weeks of copying a painting by Caravaggio.

Thank you The Met, Thank You to those running the Met Copyist Program, and Thank You all the Met Staff and Met Security for this opportunity to copy and learn from Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. THANK YOU.

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art – November 28, 2022

So much has happened while participating in the Copyist Program at the Met—continuing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, intensifying inflation concerns, escalating Iranian Protests, and much more.

From all the news, though, the events that had been in my mind the most is the worldwide protests that have begun following the death of Mahsa Amini in September.

To capture and to remember this time in history, I titled my version of my mastercopy as follows:

The Denial of Saint Peter: Woman, Life, Freedom

Leading up to starting the copyist program, I had finished a portrait of an Iranian Woman who informed me of the protests there because of the way wearing hijab is enforced by the ‘morality’ police.

  • Coincidentally, I had already selected to copy the Denial of Saint Peter, which includes a lady with a head covering
  • And, when the protests made use of the words ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’, it reminded me of three times that Peter denied Jesus, and how that is represented in this painting.
Oil on Canvas – Completed Painting – The Denial of Saint Peter: Woman, Life, Freedom

The Final Push

It is incredible how fast 3 hours passes by when painting. For the first half of the session, I worked on refining the portrait of Peter and the lady—this time paying special attention to the light hitting the original compared to my copy.

The second half was spent on placing lightest highlights throughout the painting, ending with the highlights on the soldier’s armor.

And just like that, I finished mastercopying at the Met.

Thank you for reading my stories, following and sending me encouragement via Instagram (@jesoundkeepers). I hope you have enjoyed reading my weekly updates. I hope my stories and experience at the Met has perhaps inspired some of you to join the copyist program at the Met, or simply take a leap of faith to pick up a paint brush and paint.

This is me, the day that I decided to copy this painting by Caravaggio
Figurative Paintings Mastercopies

Mastercopying Caravaggio at the Met – Week 7

With only 2 days left in the copyist program, today is the day to make any major changes. There are still a lot more to do, but I decided to prioritize my attention to the Woman and Peter.

Matching Colors when master copying at the Met was one of main challenge. For those of you taking on mastercopying at museums in the future, here is my advise: Try matching colors near the original—the lights hitting your canvas might be completely different than the one on the original. I only came to realize this when lights abruptly changed in week 5. Fact: The new lighting in much of the European Wing at the Met has been completely redone during the pandemic.

In today’s session, I mixed up a few major color tones in front of the original, and painted with those colors instead of the colors that I actually see on my canvas. Result was warming up of skin tones. I pushed this as far as I can take it. After that, I had to rework Peter’s hands and other areas that needed at least one final layer of paint.

Mastercopying the Denial of Saint Peter after session #7

Then it was time to go after carefully measuring and making the best use of 3 hours.

And, in preparation for the final session, I painted a small head study from another painting by Caravaggio…

Figurative Paintings Mastercopies

Painting the soldier’s helmet – Week 6

Today was dedicated to painting the soldier’s helmet.

My initial plan for copying this painting by Caravaggio–just so you know–didn’t include the soldier. I had planned on painting the woman and Peter. But when I stood in front of the painting with a blank canvas, I decided to copy the entire painting.

What I didn’t realize at the time was the effort that I had to put into painting the helmet. Unlike other items in the painting, the helmet includes insane depth to it. I am convinced that the painting wouldn’t look complete–I am only referring to visually aspect of the painting here–without the helmet.

Close up image of the helmet

To develop the deep colors of the helmet, I had to work up to it using layers of paint, which I had built up over the course of several weeks. Caravaggio executed the details of helmet with the bare minimum essential brush strokes and colors.

After about 3 hours of continuous painting, I was satisfied with the outcome. Like it or not, I will have to move onto completing the painting after today’s session.

Figurative Paintings


So much has happened in the month of October. After 3 weeks, I have completed the following portrait of Vincenzo. Yay.

On the last day of the live pose, I decided to paint a small portrait and threw down whole lot of yellow ochre. The main image of this post was the final product.

Oil on Canvas, 30 inches x 20 inches
Figurative Paintings Mastercopies

The Met: Gallery 601 – Week 5

Today turned out to be hands and fabric day. I think it could have easily been a day to work on the soldier, but that will have to wait. 

I rushed to get to the Met, and I began painting shortly after 12 pm. To my surprise, I was able to get little closer to the painting than the other days, which was very nice.

Because there are so many visitors coming and going I have been setting up my Easel pretty far away from the original painting. It’s really hard to get at all the little details, but I decided that will paint what I can see. Besides, when really necessary, I can walk up to the painting and see what I need to see.

Mastercopy – The Denial of Saint Peter – This image was taken after session #5

Reworking the hands took some time because the positions of them are slightly different the original. I also made some modification to Peter’s cloth to compensate for all the little changes that I have introduced.

I also realized that the lights in the gallery 601 are changing constantly. I noticed this when the entire room lit up. While the change was shocking, I was able to see much better. Some colors will need to be adjusted once again…