Tuesday, March 31, 2015


      A practice painting of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston. I wanted to translate the loose and painterly style I've been developing on portraits to more defined linear structures like the wooden dock and boats. It didn't come to me right away. It took me 3 attempts before I was fairly satisfied with the result. The second picture is a snap of my first attempt. The second attempt was painted on the back of it.  The smaller versions around it are color studies I was playing around with to find the color harmony of the scene.

Monday, March 23, 2015


    This is another practice painting. The challenge I set for myself was to express 2 things: Shadows and skin color without following the reference photo. The idea is that color is not as important as targeting the range of lights, darks and midtones that shape and define your subject. Besides, the reference photo was in black and white anyway. It's such a great feeling to facilitate and see the water to paint itself. I feel that this one is almost where I want my paintings to be, loose, suggestive and more painterly.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


    An attempt to approach watercolors differently from how I used to do it. From the initial sketch to application of coloring with water. I used a mechanical pencil to do a very light 10 minute contour drawing of his face. I varied the colors and tried to put most of the contrast within the features and only suggest the shadows. The picture was just a random face on the internet. Total time it took was probably 1.5 hrs. I thoroughly enjoyed this as my usual graphite sketches take so much longer to finish!

Sunday, March 15, 2015


This is another still life I did. This time I focused on composition. I feel that I have made some good headway with looser washes and a better sense of control over my colors compared to the first one.
I did 3 different studies to find the best composition using black and white chalks on newsprint. I feel that this is a necessary step as you are most expressive in this stage. You don't have to worry about "ruining" it since it's all meant to be quick, committing to nothing. When you finally nail it down, the next challenge is to transfer the same proportions to the actual watercolor paper you will be working on.
I liked how the light was bouncing off the white mug and metal knife. The exercise proves that even "white" is not pure white but a reflection of the colors around it.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


      This was done a while back with a friend at Brockton Point in Stanley Park. We both wanted to punch lazy in the face and motivate each other by waking up at 6am to paint. She looked like she brought all the oil paint supplies she has ever owned with her. I had all the paint I needed in a handy travel sized Winsor & Newton palette and a 5x7 sketchbook. This took 6hrs of painting. I wanted to make each head read well enough since they were pretty small to paint. I added some pencil scribbles on the side describing what the animals are on each pole. The Totem Poles are not religious symbols but can be viewed as stories carved in wood. They communicate important aspects like culture, legends, beliefs and clan lineage.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


The Urban Sketchers strike again! We took advantage of the Andy Warhol Exhibit in Yaletown. We had a rare glimpse of 18 canvases and 62 prints and other works on display straight from the Factory in NY. This pop-up exhibition are augmented by scores of private Polaroids from Warhol’s collection, featuring some of the most famous people of the 20th century. I came late to the event. I took about an hour to go through the exhibit at my own pace and had only 30 minutes to draw something. There were lots of people and I found a place, slightly at an angle, far enough to not get in other people's way but close enough to see. I was standing the entire time to get a better vantage point of the painting. The what the painting looked like:

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