Figurative Paintings

Portrait of Steve

I got around to finish 3 paintings today:

Portrait of Paul, which I had been working for the past 3 weeks. A painting for a competition that I had been working on for some time. And this portrait of Steve, which I worked on it after completing Paul’s Portrait.

I had initially painted the entire painting with raw umber, and I thought about stopping there, but with two 20 minute sessions remaining, I decided to put colors. The images shown were taken after each 20 minute sessions.

March 27, 2024
Figurative Paintings

How to Start Painting

There are many ways to begin painting with oil, but I like to simply begin painting, drawing with oil, rather than spending whole lot of time using charcoal or pencil.

I might make a composition sketch and/or color study, but when I am ready, I simply begin to paint and adjust as I go.

More than ever, I have grown to enjoy painting fast, but for the mostly, I spend about 2 to 3 weeks on a painting. It’s fair to say that I enjoy painting slow, too.

In progress, after 12 hours of painting.

Two weeks later

January 19, 2024

Three weeks later

After intense 2 weeks of painting, I focused on fine-tuning the painting. Although the photo doesn’t capture all the changes, this portrait has gone through multiple surgeries this week… can you spot all the changes from the previous week?

January 26, 2024
Figurative Paintings

On Seeing and mixing Colors

After years of painting, I conclude that it takes really long time to see.

Moreover, it takes even more time to mix that color.

This is why I usually paint a small color study—from a live model—before embarking on a bigger painting.

This is a small color study

And, what we often fail to understand about painting is its chemistry.

Paint is made of all different parts of earth: soil, minerals, precious metals, oil, etc.

To paint seriously means one also needs to have a thorough understanding of chemistry of colors, painting surfaces, and time.

Figurative Paintings

Painting from Life, One More Time

Many of my portraits from life are executed over consecutive days and weeks. This one, however, was done in just a few hours, and is one of my favorite from this year.

Related Things To Do in NYC

Speaking of painting from life, If you are in NYC, go see the Met Exhibition, Manet/Degas. There are some exceptional paintings from both painters.

On view: September 24, 2023–January 7, 2024

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

The Art of the Copyist

Je was honored to be selected to painting with Jazz and 8 other artists after The Met reopened the Copyist program as Covid restriction was lifted.