Sunday, February 21, 2016


When it comes to ink... I have found a mixture of Copic and Pro Markers (alcohol based ink markers), Chinese ink and Staedtler pigment liner pens to be the perfect combination for my needs.

Alcohol based markers, such as Copic or Promarkers, are great for blending colors.  When it comes to shapes and shades I love this kind of markers, especially since I do lots of faces and I can blend different shades of colors to make skin look as good as possible.  They also have a blender which is a clear marker that allows you to have an even greater blend between shades. I also like the fact that they have different tips which lets me have better control.

I use Chinese ink and Staedtler pigment liner pens for fine dark detail.  I've tried several pens and I think Staedtler pigment liner pens are the perfect ones to use with alcohol based markers, since you can apply the marker on top of them without bleeding (which many others do).  I love to use brushes. Chinese ink allows me to do so in this kind of work (In some way sometimes I feel more comfortable using the brush to do certain things).

Here is some of my work I've done this past year:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tribute To My Grandparents, The Making

Before starting a painting I can spend hours, days, weeks, months, sometimes even years trying to find the right figure that will fulfill my imagination.  This painting was a bit different, the figures were always there, I had to look in my imagination for all the amazing feelings I have towards them.  Painting my amazing grandparents was a difficult task.  Not only did I want it to be beautiful and incredible but I wanted to be able to express many amazing feelings and ideas i have of them.

Here are some of the steps I took before finishing one of my favorite works I’ve done so far:

1.  Objects and clothing are an important part in my paintings, every time I paint someone or something I make sure to incorporate things that are important for that particular painting.  In this case they are my grandparents and there are millions of things I could have included.  After several days going around my head I finally decided to go for things that when I see I think of them. They’ve always had solid wood antic furniture with a tint of Bordeaux, so I had no doubt about that, actually the two chairs and the table with the white lace cloth (which my grandma always had) is what they have at the moment.

I made sure they dressed in their style.  My grandpa wearing his traditional plane light shirt and slacks, which is the way I always picture him. My grandma with her colorful blouses (leopard design) and beautiful pearls on her neck and wrist.

2.  When I had everything figured out I started to paint.  As I always do, I did the outline and some important shades using Raw Umber acrylic paint (always looking more at shapes than the actual figure).

3.  Once the acrylic paint is dried (which doesn’t take long), I started with the first oil layer (the Raw Umber-under layer).  I usually do two or three layers of umber, but in this case I did four because I wanted to have more detail.  In this stage is very important that whatever you are painting starts to look a lot like you want the final painting to look like without color.

4.  After a couple of days, when the umber layer was dried to the touch, I started working a bit more on the background, adding color and a little more detail.  Adding the correct flesh tone is very important. If the color is just a little off, it can make the subject look like a different one.  To make this flesh tones I mixed red, blue, ochre, brown and white to make it lighter.

5.  For this painting I did 3 color layers, but you can do as little as one or as many as you want.  I waited until the painting was completely dry to the touch and I painted the “detail Layer”.  This stage is when I applied little lines, specific detail and transparent color (specially reds and blues to the faces to make them come alive).  To be able to make a color more transparent and to make it slide more easily, just add linseed oil to the paint.

6.  Finally I waited for the painting to be dried to the touch again and put a thin layer of linseed oil, J.G. Vibert painting medium, and tempentine to make the painting look more uniform.

There are many personal sentimental values in this painting.  I decided to add three eggs because my grandma have always collected porcelain figures.  If you look closely, you can see that each egg has a different design, one for each country that they’ve lived in.  The crown represents Spain, the sun Uruguay and the eagle USA. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did when I was painting it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Choosing what to paint

When looking at my art people tend to ask me several questions, but a lot of them end up being only one: Why and how did I decide to do exactly what I do?  In this post I decided to write about what I do or think to come up with my work.

There are two different kinds of works.  The ones that I get a little guideline to start with, such as commissioned paintings, and those that come straight out of my soul.

Commissioned paintings can be tricky because you have to put your style in it but most of the times the person that is paying for it, has specific ideas and things they want to include.  I usually try to meet with the clients beforehand so I can know what they want.  With a pencil and sketch book in my hand, while listening to the their instructions I draw a fast sketch. It is then when I mix my ideas with theirs, and try to guide them towards my style.

On the other hand, paintings that come from my pure and crazy imagination take a bit more to develop. First, I think of what I want to represent, what do I want to communicate to the public.  When I have the basic idea figured out, I surf the net.  Surfing through the internet helps me put the image of the painting together.  Since I'm an artist who likes to paint the human figure, the next step is to find the model for the interpretation and take a picture of the perfect pose.  Once all of the previous steps are completed I start the sketch, with pencil and paper or if I need some color representation beforehand I use polychromes colored pencils always depending on the painting I want to do.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Choosing the right materials for you paintings

When it comes to painting, there are many decisions to be made beforehand.  Here is a brief summary of my choices.

Before starting to paint there are two things that you have to take into-consideration.  Being able to understand and pick the correct kind of canvas and painting technique, in my opinion is very important for the finishing look of the painting. 

Cotton or linen canvas? Because of my personal experiences with both, I’d rather use linen canvases.  Even though they are more expensive than cotton it’s compensated for in quality and durability. Traditional linen canvases are a bit rough and they are not as smooth as cotton, but now a days there are many options out there.  In my local art store there are more than 30 different types of linen canvases, from very thin and smooth to very thick and rough.  My personal choice is always the thinest and smoothest ones because of the type of work I do, it allows me to create better, thinner lines and detail.

Although I tend to use acrylics for my under-layer because it dries quickly, I prefer using oils for my paintings for many reasons.  I like to work slowly focusing on each detail as much as possible, acrylics dry very quickly, it does not allow me to fix any mistake and/or blend the paint as I like to. Also, acrylic changes it’s color once dry which makes it very difficult to always match the exact color.  Despite the fact that after many years oils dry with a slight yellow tinge, while working on the painting it does not change it’s color.  Traditional oil’s solvents are turpentine or mineral spirits, which does not bother me, but for some people can be a problem, that’s why now stores offer a new type of water soluble oil paints that are very nice to use.  Something I love about oils is that they have many types of mediums. I use many of them but I would like to highlight a couple.  Linseed oil is one of the most used and the most traditional ones. It is already in the mix of the paint.  It allows you to make it more liquid and transparent but it slows down the drying time, this is great to make the texture of the paint smoother and to add more color or sometimes change something you have already done once it’s already dry to touch.  Liquin medium is a great one when it comes to deadlines since it makes the paint dry to touch in approximately 24 hours, letting you work much faster.

Once the painting is done there are also some crucial facts to think about.  Because of the properties of the oils, sometimes when dry it can have different gloss in different parts of the painting. There are a couple of things you can use to fix this until it dries completely (6 months to a year) and you can varnish it.  When the painting is dry to touch you can use Retouch Varnish, which is a “varnish” made to use before the oil is dried completely. You can also paint over it if you like. In my case, I use a mixture of mediums that my friend and master of oil painting, Alex Alemany, showed me and I fell in love with. Equal parts turpentine, linseed oil and J.G. Vibert painting medium .  Once the painting is dry I apply a thin layer of semi-gloss vanish. 


Friday, October 31, 2014

Mixed media technique

Among all the mediums I use (oil paint, color pencils, charcol, and many more),  I'm going to highlight one I loved using at the begining of my artistic career, and continue enjoying it.

Watercolor is in a sense what made me the artist I am today. Even though now my tendency is to use oil paint when working on a piece, in the early stages of my artistic development I used a water based mixed media in a lot of my works being watercolors my main one.  That's why I thought it would be interesting to share the process with you.

First, I prapare the heavy weight watercolor paper by stretching it onto a pre-prepared wooden board.  Once the paper in stretched, dry and ready to use, I start painting the underlayer (a quick, light watercolor layer adding main colors).  After that, once the first layer is dry, I do the second watercolor layer. This time not as light and concentrating a little bit more on details, especially when painting people.  I let it dry one more time and I repeat the same process as many times as it needs, each time concentrating more and more on detail.  Once I feel the picture is ready, I add the mixed media.  I add mediums such as watercolor color pencils, acrylic paint (for very small highlights) and even in some cases I use gold, silver or copper leafing. I let it dry again and apply a mixed media varnish (very thin layer).

Here are some samples I created a while back: