Category Archives: Techniques

I just finished a work titled “The Cinder Eye” and here I show the steps of my work.

I did not start with any topic in mind. The painting started to show as I put layers of paint and gesso. Below is step one.


I decided to use an old painting that went wrong as my substrate. I cover with gesso and add some paint.



Step 2. I randomly spread the paint and add more gesso. I use different techniques to spread the paint such as water spray and a cc. If you look at the white gesso area there seems to be a female face in profile. This is where my painting starts to take form.



There she is, I outline and correct the silhouette. I also see a hand and 2 glasses. I am beginning to love it. She just showed up! About the topic, I have a few ideas at this point.


AB4Look how far I’ve come! She is definitely a cool girl. I’m thinking of a girl in a Parisian Cafe.


Here she is. My final painting, and her story follows:

The Cinder Eye

My girl is a stage actress.Her avant-garde look  and the little stage with the red curtains on the lower left corner tie who she is with what she does.  The scene happens in the outdoors. This is very important because the outdoors represent freedom. But she is in a state of restrain! Hence, the blue block, the armless torso, and the sudden arm offering another drink. The drinks represent oppression and denial. She knows she has to overcome the blocks that are keeping her back but she prefers to avoid them and take complacency in the mundane. Her eye is also painted in front view instead of profile and she is looking away as she chooses not to face reality. The little window in the blue wall is a reminder that there is a way to light, to hope, to freedom. There is a way out! She just have to start looking for it. The Cinder Eye is all about being blocked.

This abstract was made by smearing paint with a palette knife to see what image or resemble of an image I could see. By turning the page in all 4 directions I found a possible trio of weird looking individuals, a bird with a long beak, and a look alike giraffe. I opted to work with the giraffe. Then, I blocked out everything else with different colors. After that I worked with the figure and enhanced it here and there with other colors like pink to bring it up a little. I show my technique below. There is a similar technique I’m learning right now with Tracy Verdugo in her awesome workshop “Paint Mojo.” More on that in another post.

This, as my first abstract, is the latest technique I’m learning. It has no real story behind it other than experimenting and having fun with other creative venues in hope to find new outlets to express my experiences and visions of what’s meaningful  to me  as part of my artistic evolution.






I’ve been enticed for sometime to try abstract painting and enhance it in Photoshop. Here is my first try. I used  posterize, hue/sat, bright/contr, posterize again. I have used a similar technique in 2 of my paintings (Sept 3 and Aug 6.) The difference is that in this particular painting I did not change the color set. I just used the hue/sat to make the colors richer.

Since this was my first try, I did not have any inspiration other than pure experimentation and fun.




Jan 11/15

20150111_211802_fotorThis winter break my niece and I read the Scarlet Letter. I am into literature these days. So now that we finished the book, I want to paint Hester Prynne and take pictures as I progress. This is actually my second sketch.  The first is bigger  with some deviations in the letter and the face. The substrate I am going to use is 14 by 11 and I want to leave margin around. That’s why I made a second attempt for a smaller sketch. I also decided to paint baby Pearl because of what she represents in the story. She is a fundamental symbol and character. So, in that regard, I resolved to include her in my portrait.




This is my work in progress. I transferred my sketch (pic above) to tracing paper and then to blank paper (the one under) I started to color the face with Prismacolors. I will continue to build up the face before I glue it to my substrate. This technique I learned with Suzi Blu. Will keep updates of my progress.


Jan 21/15

I made a big mess of my painting that was looking so good. I went from this:


To this:



Well, I can’t beat myself more than I already have. To make a long story short I have a problem with shading. I always feel I don’t shade enough, so even though I liked the color of her skin (she is very pale,) I needed to have some kind of punch and this is where all started to go south. I tried too hard to shade further her face and I am not sure if it was the brushes that I have, which are not the greatest quality, or some of my skin color paints are not what I should use. I don’t know but my brush strokes were showing. It wasn’t looking smooth and flawless. So I kept “fixing it” to no avail. Finally, I painted the whole face with white and put transparent gesso on top. I let my mind rest from it for a few days and picked it up again. But I am not happy how is turning, so I will have to keep trying. I will post more pics as I go. I might start a new painting if this one  doesn’t work. I have spent too much time and energy and that’s why I don’t want to give up.

The frame also gave me problems as I wanted to resemble wood (from the prison portal in the book.) The door is very significant in the story. But I am not so worry about that as my painting is really not close to be finished.

So, this teaches me a lesson: I will not skimp in good quality brushes, at least the basic ones. Same for paint. I try my best to buy quality products but my budget sometimes can’t stretch that much and I have to admit that I have been frugal with my brushes. Well, probably an experienced artist would work out with any paint just fine but I think I need to keep practicing more. Uff! there is a lot of room to improve. hahaha.



Here is the final Hester. See my blog dated 2/04/15








Some of the techniques here I learned with Suzi Blu; but the creation and other details are authentic to my inspiration. The finish is with beeswax which unifies all the elements without losing any of the layers I created. It is one of my favorite techniques.
This is the final work.


Step one: lay all the collage elements you plan to use on your substrate (your surface.) Glue them into the surface (in my case I chose canvas as my substrate.)


Step two: after it’s dry  apply regular gel and make design with a pointed object (I used a pen with no ink.) Allow to dry completely. I waited until the next day.


Step 3: apply Golden acrylic in 2 different colors. Choose the ones you like.


Step 4: mix them with a palette knife and cover part of the canvas making sure collage papers are still visible. My mix became green because of the combination of yellow and blue colors.


Step 5: as you paint the surface take away parts of the paint with paper towel; this allows the paper collage to show through. Do this as you like. You can also use a little bit of water on the paper towel, but make sure you work steadily because acrylic dries very fast.


Step 6: once all is dry paint face on paper and glue it onto the surface. Since I had previously applied gel, I have a bit of bumps, but I want my face in that side and with the wax finish that I’m planning to apply, it won’t show up.


Step 7: work more on face and start to make the silhouette of the hair and body blending both onto the background. I achieve this look by using the tissue and taking off and putting on paint.


Step 8: finish the face and body. Apply extra embellishments. Glue all these elements in place.


Finally, add message on tissue paper and apply bees wax. I don’t have a picture of the wax application. My apologies. I totally forgot to take the pic, but I will have more in the future to show. Just remember the bees wax is melted with heat and you can apply it with a soft brush or a little iron (the ones used for quilting.) Let it cool. When the wax has settled down, you can buff it up with a soft cloth to make it shine. Here it is once again. All finished.


“Rejection hurts… Be that as it may, I must carry on, without a waste of day, without a slight dismay.” I wrote this caption after realizing that many times we are disappointed or we have setbacks that fall right in front of us but we need to carry on and waste no time or energy over things we can’t control or change. Refocus without allowing your disappointments hinder your work or goals.

Few weeks ago (Aug 6,) I showed you a fashion sketch with a new technique. Well, here I am going to show you how I did it.
Since I am learning also, the sketch I’m showing here did not work as good as the first, and I think is because of my color choice and the design. My previous sketch had more defined edges. This one doesn’t. But here it is.


I started with the sketch in pencil and started to add color. In this case I used Golden Fluid Acrylics.


Here I started to add more layers, I chose my colors, and I use markers to enhance the skirt.



Here is the finish sketch. Now I take picture, upload to computer and open in Photoshop.


Once uploaded, I chose from the Menu: Window, Adjustments. From the box of Adjustments I clicked the downface little arrow in the right corner and chose Posterize and chose values.



I selected the skirt with the Wand Tool (from the tool box) and changed the hue and saturation (from menu: Image, Adjustments, Hue/Sat.) I did the same (in a different layer) for the chair and sash on her head. I then applied another level of posterize effect.

As I said, my end result is not as nice as my first sketch from August 6 post, but I like this version too. Remember it is a matter of trial and error, so just play with different sketches and options. Make sure you write down all your steps and values, I know there is a history option in Photoshop to see all your moves but I still like to write it down or name the layers after what I’ve done to remember.