Archive for May, 2008

How NOT to paint a masterpiece, part II

May 27, 2008 in How Not To Paint

How NOT to paint a masterpiece, part III told you I like oil bar. The additional marks you see in the pic where added yesterday. More than before, the lower part of the painting is now involved, so the composition as a whole is now more balanced.

In fact, using oil bar can be a rather heavyhanded technique, due to the wild gestural motion that it allows. 

This has probably contributed to my art being perceived by some as “urban art” and even a link with grafitti is made, the latter being a far stretch, if you ask me.

With “urban art” I can somewhat sympathize, because one “leitmotiv” in my art is modern life and it’s pollutedness, as well as it’s allure. This is not confined to the city, but it is exemplified by it.

That’s also why I don’t mind making a mess with charcoal, while drawing, because it adds to the dirt and pollution that I try to balance with aesthetics.

How NOT to paint a masterpiece

May 25, 2008 in How Not To Paint

Abstract art portraitIn order to lure you to this blog I will try to describe how I paint by taking pictures of a painting in internediate stages of the painting process.

In the image on the left you can see a charcoal drawing and some paint – clearly this is the very beginning of the painting.

I spent four straight hours on the drawing, trying to capture the sensitivity and feminity of the eyes, something I didn’t succeed in. Either the effect will show up during the painting process, or else it’s something I’ll still have to learn. Note I only use contours for the drawing and that the drawing is by no means an exact portrait. It’s my intention to render the psychological qualities of the model, rather than the physical…AND…in order to obtain the desired expressive and communicative effects, one has to deviate from reality, which leads to distortions that are artistically motivated. In other words: if you’d superimpose the drawing onto the original, you’d that the contours don’t coincide.

Because the model had her head tilted backwards, the head looks compressed vertically, an effect I exaggerated.

When I was nearing the end of the drawing I realized that the original image had a provocative quality and then when I added the ear-decoration it showed up in the drawing. Maybe a woman understands the connection, I don’t.

You can see I have done some painting: I started with the yellow below the eye, which was a mixture of oil paint with acrylic texture gel. Yes, they mix! You get a putty-like substance when you mix the two 1 to 1. If you add more oil paint, then the substance will become hard to process (I’m using a palette knife to apply the mixture). This stuff is quick to dry, so work fast or prepare little.

Why not just add acrylic paint to the gel? Because the result will look thin, compared to oil paint, especially if you use a large sized surface. On large surfaces you need the “body” and quality of oil paint. I’m using the texture gel because pure, undiluted oil paint produces a very different, less attractive effect and because the acrylic medium is quick drying, so that the expressive, sharp edges produces by the knife will be retainted.

I think I first started to mix oils with acrylics in Polish Girl (

When it dries the mixture is not as strong as pure oils or acrylics, but unless the painting has to be able to pass an MIT stress test, there’s no problem.

Furthermore, I did some stuff with “oil bar”, which is a trade name for “oil stick”, the general word for it. An oil stick is a piece of solid oil paint that liquifies when pressure is applied to the tip. This means you can use the stick as you would use pastels, with the difference that the stick produces rather high quality oil paint and can be well used on large sized surfaces. For me the oil stick is an indispensible expressive tool, because it allows me to draw freely with oil paint, leading to gestural effects you can’t achieve with a brush or knife. I use all three (brush, knife, stick) because each has it’s own rhythm, so a painting won’t easily become monotonous.

The yellow line on the left is oil bar and so is the blue line, bottom-right and I contoured the hair in the top-left with oil bar. The rest is oil paint applied with a brush. These are all pure colors (straight from the tube), except the knife-applied area under the eye, which is cadmium yellow blended with a touch of yellow ocre.  

I hope I will “see” you again when I post an updated version of the painting. Until then….

happy painting!



Why all the female portraits?

May 24, 2008 in About My Art

I started to do female portraits in emulation of Pablo Picasso, whose father wanted him to become a portraitist, because that genre was more respected and better paid than what Papa Picasso did: paint pigeons. So you could say that the influence of José Ruiz Blasco (Picasso’s father) has gone well beyond of what you might expect from a sub-mediocre painter like him.

Of course my habit wouldn’t have stuck if it had been just for Picasso’s influence. There is of course, inevitably, the fascination with the opposite sex that plagues so many artists, take Rembrandt, Rubens, Modigliani, Matisse, Da Vinci, Corot – not exactly the smallest names in art. And for me it’s the best way to explore human psychology in an intimate way, something I’m not capable of in male portraits.

The greatest portraitist of all time, was IMHO, Leonardo Da Vinci and his most famous portraits were all of women, while he was an asexual. Which doesn’t mean he had no romantic or emotional interest in women, which he obviously had, so the morale is that sex doesn’t necessarily come into play when it comes to fascination with the opposite sex and making female portraits. But it does help…

Another aspect of my style of female portraitism is the way in which it enables me to express the spirit of the times, which I don’t even do on purpose, but simply creeps in when I portray people that live today.

Pure abstract art – what is that?

May 24, 2008 in Abstract Art

Hello again.

So I did manage to get my painting online in time. As you’ll see on , the painting on the bottom-left is the new painting and it’s pure abstract art, by which I mean that there are no recognizable features, no faces, no people, just lines and color areas. I made these pure abstract art paintings in 2000, when my inspiration was beginning to fail (after having worked very hard for two years) and I didn’t feel like making a drawing anymore, I just started to paint. Pure abstract art is all very well, but I prefer a link with reality. In most of my paintings I make a drawing based on a natural object, like a person, the drawing being just some contours, which serve as a foundation for the painting. Then when I start to paint I generally pay no (conscious) attention to the figuative aspect (how the model looks in reality) anymore – from there on the way I work is entirely abstract. That’s why I refer to myself as an abstract artist, because all in all I spend far more time on the abstract aspect of my art, than on the figuration. Having said that, I also have to say that the drawing is crucial for the painting’s success. If the drawing isn’t good, the painting may still be good, but never great. My most popular painting is, which is an example of a painting that already worked out as a drawing, although it had nothing more than some contours. The drawing is the melody, as it were, and the painting the harmony, the counterpoint and the orchestration.

Right now I’m working on several female portraits and on some social realism paintings. One of each category is about finished, but I’m taking some more time to let them mature in my head and be sure that there are finished indeed.

I will post to this blog some photos of these new paintings in intermediate stages.


Abstract Art Blog

May 19, 2008 in Abstract Art

Welcome to my blog! While the rest of serves as:

  • an abstract art exhibit of my own art (starting at and that of other artists (starting at
  • a source of information on (mainly abstract) art in general, neatly ordered (at least, that’s the intention) and search engine friendly,

…this blog will contain my private ramblings – mostly on art – and will allow you, the visitor, to post your feedback, ask your questions, or add anything else that you think that should be on

Regular visitors may have noticed that I try to add a new painting every 15 days, which would be tomorrow, but I don’t think I can get it done this time, because of (partly) unforeseen personal, non-art related activities. I still have a bunch of older paintings on the shelf and several new ones are nearing completion, so I should be able to keep up the 2-monthly rhythm up for a while longer. And then….we will be well into 2008.

Ahhh………2008…Year of Change…and maybe….Year of Art?

Thanks for having read this first post – I hope you will leave some feedback.