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Twenty Minutes

After a series of short poses that range from 1 minute to twenty minutes, I got around to draw a twenty minute portrait from life this afternoon.

Twenty minutes can be spent on doing lots of things: do nothing, watch TV, go for a walk, read, or create something.

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Monocle Magazine – Issue 152

The April 2022 issue of Monocle Magazine wrote a story, League of its own, about Art Students League of New York. The article describes the league and includes cool interview commentaries from executive director Michael Hall, and two instructors, one of them being no other than my instructor and mentor Sharon Sprung.

What’s also cool is that the magazine highlights a few photos of our Studio, including a pose of Maria that resulted the featured painting.

Related Links

Monocle preview: April issue, 2022 – Monocle’s April issue features our annual retail survey, a report from France ahead of its presidential elections, an interview with Fiat’s CEO on his electric ambitions and a visit to America’s oldest independent art school, plus much more.

One More Painting – My post from the time that we painted the highlighted photos from the magazine

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Another Color Study

So I have been thinking. While it is easy to start painting with oil medium, it’s incredibly difficult to become great at oil painting, especially from life. They’re simply so much to learn, not to mention the need to master the draftsmanship required to attempt painting from life models. Then comes a series of oil colors that have all different properties.

And, hundred years of tracing from photos or other mechanisms have ruined—or have enhanced—the entire experience of painting from life.

The pandemic have allowed me to work using digital tools. I have to say I had no desire or inspiration to paint from life before, but I learned that many great artists used photo references to paint, which I found interesting.

Now that we are back in the studio, I now have renewed enthusiasm and appreciation for painting from life and live interaction with professional models and the entire experience.

This particular pose was super interesting, not only because it was all completed from life, but using natural light. You see, because of construction, our studio skylight had been closed for a few years.

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How to Paint a Better World

I have made some significant and noticeable—more from the perspective of how I paint—improvements since coming back to paint at the league after a month long break from it.

I have decided to focus all my attention to become the best painter I can be in shortest time possible. What’s the secret sauce? My answer: Paint more & fail quicker.

The shown portrait, titled ‘Peekaboo’ (Good reason why it is named the way it is, but I am not going to get into it now) was painted in 2 separate sessions. I probably could have finished on the first day, but I didn’t like some of the changes that I placed at the end of the first session. Next day, I fixed majority of it from memory, but I ended up looking at the live model for the last mile.

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Blue & Yellow

This pose began the Monday after when Russia invaded Ukraine. Three weeks into the crisis, I completed this portrait, but the conflict hasn’t.

I titled this painting Blue & Yellow—the colors of the flag of Ukraine, which happen to be the 2 dominating colors used to paint the background and the sweater.

My heart goes out to all the people that have been impacted by this conflict. While it doesn’t seem likely now, I hope for a quick resolution to this conflict.

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Measuring Success

There are many ways to measure our success. One thing is for sure—we need a new kind of measuring sticks to measure success these days, especially as we survive —perhaps better to say LIVE—through the pandemic.

30” x 20” – Oil on Canvas – Woman in Afghan Dress

For some years, I measured my success based on how often I spent time in the wilderness. How many times did I go hiking? How often did I go running? Those are really rewarding ways to measure success. Spending less time inside, and spending more time elsewhere, builds more vivid experiences, which are the foundation of producing great paintings.

In the recent years, I have been measuring my success by the number of faces that I have painted, and by the colors that I am able to see. Along the way, I have met wonderful people and heard stories of their lives.

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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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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.