Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Feng Sui (the progression)

A Filipino-Chinese guy I met on the internet asked me to paint a feng sui-inspired still life for his dinning room.
It wasn't as easy as I thought.
Painting with a boss is such a chore.
Always mindful of what he might think.
But it's ok.
Having worked in advertising for many years now,
I knew how to handle the client's comments.
Anyway, here's the step by step process of what I've done.
It's a 20x30 inch canvas (huge!)

Nov 15, 2009

The background was easy.
I was able to apply some of the Bob Ross techniques I've done from years ago.
Plus some of the new landscape stuff I learned recently.

The apples were also quite easy as I've already painted about half a dozen apples in oil before.
The tricky part is trying to paint some of the things I've no experience of doing whatsoever.
Like the pak choi. Good thing it turned out quite simple as well.

Dec 1, 2009

Oh no! Pineapple! I needed to research how to paint a pineapple before I started mine.
Looked and studied other artist's rendition and basically just copied their techniques.
It was a little tedious because of the fruit's unusual texture.
The oranges was a breather. Like the apple, its also one of the most often practiced on fruit in oil painting.

Dec 7, 2009

The 2nd pineapple was a little easier because I've already practiced on the technique from the 1st one. But it still took me a while before I was happy with it. The peaches' challenge was in the colour mixing department. I wanted it to separate from the pinks of the apple and the oranges of the... well... oranges. The different texture also helped a little.
Then on to those pesky peonies.
Flowers. Not my favourite things to paint. Frustration builds up at this point.

Dec 16, 2009

Basket - check.
Tiny red-purple spheres - check.
Peanuts - check.

Plum blossom tree - Gotta muster some patience for this. It took me one whole day to do this tree. There must have been around a hundred individual flowers in there.

The magpies also marks the 1st time I tried to paint birds. Not as hard as I thought.
But white peonies on the left was taking my frustration level to a maximum.
I must have erased and re-done these flowers more than a couple of times.
I just couldn't get them right.

At this point, I just wanted to finish the whole thing so I can meet the deadline and finally move on to my next canvas. Probably something less colorful. Honestly, I'm getting sick of all these happy primary colours.

Fast forward to Dec 22, 2009

There. It's done.


And here's my son, Kydlat with the finished canvas...

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

still life: feng sui (WIP)

Work in progress of a still life painting commission I'm currently working on.
It's an original composition made with Feng Sui elements of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

I've been working on this for the past 3 weeks and its taking longer than I initially thought.
The size is much bigger than what I'm used to. 30X40 inches. But it's fine. What i do is just treat each element as an individual little painting. I'll just try to adjust everything to harmonize better after each group/element is done.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Super Swing

Super Swing, 2009
colored pencil

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Click image to view large

Dreams, 2009
oil on canvas
24X14 inches

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Red Socks

Red Socks, 2009
oil on canvas
8x5 inches

I love the rain.
I love the unpredictable reflections playing around.
I love the atmosphere it gives.

Very challenging.
And fun!

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Friday, August 21, 2009

WIP again

Remember this?

It's not yet done until now.
But I have managed to work on it little by little for the past four months.
And it's beginning to look decent enough to post here.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


The Red Ride, 2009
oil on canvas
15X19.5 inches
click image to enlarge

This painting is relatively huge compared to what I've been doing in the past few months.
But fortunately (and surprisingly), I never lost interest on the subject.
So, yey! I completed it! Although it took me almost a month to finish it, I'm glad I did.

Jeepneys. It's one of the things I love about the Philippines.
You can go almost anywhere within Metro Manila using this old thing.
I don't drive. So for me, this is the primary means of hauling myself to work everyday.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

outside my box

The Trap, 2009
oil on plywood
8x6.5 inches

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Friday, June 26, 2009

The Lady by the Window

Ang Babae sa Bintana, 2009
Oil on plywood
8x6.5 inches

I almost destroyed this piece in its early stages due to frustration.
A few deep breaths and a day of detachment
brought me back on track.
I'm quite glad I kept it alive.

It's a portrait study using Anders Zorn's limited pallete.
Black, White, Yellow ochre and Vermillion.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Texture Study

Dried Squid 2009
oil on canvas
2.5X3.75 inches

Best served grilled and dipped in spicy vinegar!
And San Miguel Beer, of course!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The next life

The Jar, 2009
oil on canvas
2.5X3.75 inches

A mayonaise container reincarnated as a jar of thinner.
Anders Zorn Pallete: vermillion, yellow ochre, black and white.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009


Exposed, 2009
oil on canvas
2.5X3.75 inches

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

onions and garlics

Sauté partners, 2009
oil on canvas.
2.5X3.75 inches

The last one, 2009
oil on canvas.
2.5X3.75 inches

I used to be scared by still life painting before, because I didn't trust my eyes and instincts back then. But I'm getting used to it now. It's liberating. I'm beginning to like doing still life setups. it allows me to control the scene. look at it at different angles, experiment with lightings, change elements or backgrounds and generally get the feel of the objects' characteristics that i can't get from photographs.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Van Gogh and Rembrandt

Two new MiniMasters
Van Gogh and Rembrandt
Both self portraits

Van Gogh 1889 copy
oil on canvas
1.8X2.5 inches

View original

Rembrandt 1629 copy
oil on canvas
1.8X2.5 inches

View original

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Micro Painting

Mona Lisa Copy
1.8 x 2.5 inches
oil on canvas

I wanted to see how small i can go.
And came up with this very tiny painting.
My smallest painting yet.
Its smaller than a credit card.

Its so small it could fit in my hand!

It took me an hour and a half to finish.
Not including the preparation of the tiny (and very cute) canvas.

This was so much fun to do.
I'll definitely do a lot of these.
A series of Micro Masterpieces perhaps?

I'll try maybe a Rembrandt next time.
Or a Caravaggio.
Or a Luna.

Or maybe a Mijares?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shadows in the Playground

Shadows in the Playground, 2009
oil on canvas
8X5 inches
click image to view large

Flemish technique study is now in limbo. I've lost the enthusiasm and patience I needed to be able to continue with it.

Im going back to basics again. Ala prima style. This is one of the series of small paintings I'm planning to do in the next few months. I'm going small. This way, I'll be able to finish a painting in one sitting. Thus eliminating the possibility of laziness. Because I've discovered that every time I leave an unfinished painting, my energy and obsession on it decreases . Up to the point where I wouldn't wanna touch it anymore. I have about 4-5 unfinished paintings at home. Floating in limbo. I'll finish them someday.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

WIP - Old Masters technique (layer 1)

The first layer of a planned 7 layer technique.
This time, i will try very hard to stick to the plan.
This is the first layer of paint. The black and white underpainting.
It should define where the shadows and highlights fall.
It took me about a week and a half to get to a place where im satisfied.
I was constantly correcting and adjusting the tonal values.
But as they say, get the underlayers right and everything else will follow.

"Lisa" (WIP)
Oil on canvas 10x14.5

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Grisaille Painting Test

My first attempt with the grisaille underpainting technique...
It's very time consuming. The 1st layer (B&W) needs to be completely dry before applying the color glazes. I originally wanted to try the 7 layer flemish technique but i found it too complicated. This one took only 3 layers.

Kilometer, 2009
Oil on canvas
9X12 inches

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beachboy Painting 3

Beachboy 3.
oil on board.
Click image to view detail

The fourth (and probably the last) of my Beach painting series on cardboards. It was definitely fun, but i'm getting a little tired and frustrated with it (the cardboard surface). Its not as responsive as canvas. And besides, i learned from experts that cardboard doesn't last as long.
I'm going back to canvas and wood =)

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

more paintings from the beach

oil on board.
4x5 inches

Another one from my Puerto Galera series.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Parking The Boat - a step by step oil painting process

I'm going to try to explain one of my painting techniques. Painting ala prima typically refers to the process of painting in one sitting. The application of colour is quick, and commonly full of expression.

For this study, i used a well primed 8X5 illustration board. 3 coats should be the minimum. If you don't prime the board with acrylic well enough, oil could seep through the paper and may ruin the painting in the future.

I let the acrylic dry for a while. And in about half an hour, I'm ready to go!

(click the images to enlarge)

The pencils determine the basic layout. It tells me where the shapes lie on the frame. I do it loosely. No details. Just the basic elements. I used references from some of the photos i took.

I tried to minimize the colours i used. Lemon yellow, cobalt blue, titanium white and burnt umber. Using less colours will make your painting look more harmonious in the end.

Background first. I divided it into three different sections. Sky, water and sand. Rather than painting directly from the tubes, I mix the paints on the pallete before applying it on the board. The sky leans on the blue side, the sea on the greenish, and the sand on the yellowish.

Painting the boat...

...then the three dudes. I still don't worry about the details at this point. Just the basic colour relationships.

After I'm done with the process of filing in the whole frame with colours, I go to the fun part. Volume! this is where I put depth and distance. The magic of tricking the eye in making you think you're looking at a 3D object rather than a flat picture.

I start from the farthest. The sky and clouds. This is where i usually channel Bob Ross whenever i do a landscape. (Hi Bob!) Ok, now... deeper blues... check. fluffy clouds... check. thinner clouds near the horizon... check!

Now the boat gets the attention. I refine the edges more at this point. I also paint in the dark areas inside it. Plus a little bit of the highlights and shadows here and there. And the darker water underneath it. The beach area also gets a little bit busier. A few touches of lights and darks to indicate where the water recedes after kissing the sand.

At this point, its practically done. I just have to fill in the necessary details...

This is where I change my brush from a number 4 filbert to a finer number 2 round for the boat's roof posts and paint job, the wooden plank steps, the bamboo details, and the skin tones and clothes highlights.

It's almost done!

I noticed the water needed a little tweaking near the horizon. I darkened it a bit to suggest a deeper sea. Plus the faint shape of the mountain on the right side to give a better sense of distance. And finally, more splashes of surf on the beach makes this piece finished.


I hope you liked it!

If you have any questions, suggestions or criticisms, feel free to leave a comment =)

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Saturday, April 11, 2009


Sand shadow, 2009
oil on cardboard
4X5 inches

From a recent beach trip at Puerto Galera. I'm planning to do a series of paintings from the photos we took.
Palette: titanium white, yellow ochre, scarlet, pthalo blue and burnt umber.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009


Kamatis 2009
4x5 inches

Oil on primed paper

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Work in Progress

My tiny "studio" under the stairs.
This is where i get in the zone.
It's a small space where a TV used to be.
The TV died.
We took it out to get repaired.
Then it never got to come back.
Maybe it wasn't important enough.
So i converted its area to my studio.

This is a work in progress of a still life study.
I'm trying to learn textures by using a cupcake.
It has a nice organic roughness.
Soft at the same time.

Yes, I'm guilty of using cheap oil paints.
A lot of books and online articles strongly advice against it.
Honestly, I don't know why.
Maybe because I haven't tried using expensive quality paints.
I have not experienced how it feels.
For me, this cheap stuff works fine.
Marie's and Nouvell oil paints.
I've been using these brands since forever.
All the other brands are too expensive for my budget.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

The Man in Black

Johnny Cash

pastel on paper
6X9 inches
(click thumbnail to enlarge)

Im not really a fan.
Haven't seen the biopic.
Only know a couple of his songs.

I just found this photo of him.
It's so beautifully lighted,
I couldn't resist trying it on pastels.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Yellow Wall

Dilaw na Pader 2008
acrylic on canvas

(click thumbnails for full resolution)

This was from a black and white photograph of my son. I just wanted to practice mixing skin tone colours. After finishing the figure, i got lazy with everything else, hence the yellow background. The B&W picture was originally taken from a local train station.

Someday, I might be able to summon enough energy and patience to paint those little background details. Right now, I cant imagine myself doing all those tiny rocks one by one.

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