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This is a copy of an Old Master’s self-portrait. I began this using the glazing method as taught at ARC, Boston. I still have two or three layers to go, but really happy with the glazing method so far. I usually work in alla prima and try to complete more during the first passes. However, working slowly step by step has taught me so much.
I received a pink carnation flower for Mother’s Day and decided to pair it with some green apples. I arrange my still life as if it were a landscape–with depth and movement.
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In a world dominated by galleries representing contemporary styles in art, it is an overwhelming decision to know where to begin when it comes to selecting an artistic style. The truth is I am equally inspired by artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat as I am by artists like Rembrandt and Monet. I think there is room for all kinds of artistic expressions because art represents a unique voice and a statement. People paint for different reasons and in different ways. My first encounter with art was actually from my relatives who painted in a more “contemporary” form. One was a graphic artist/designer, and the other is a graffiti artist. Notice I put quotes on the term “contemporary.” The truth is, any art done recently is in fact contemporary. I decided to call myself a Contemporary Realist because I am influenced by many styles of art and have integrated them into my work. In fact, I am inspired by art from many cultures.
My art will never look like those done in the Renaissance or those painted in another time period. However, I have chosen to train in the Classical Realist style. The reason for this is because I was always drawn to strong shapes and contrast in art. I also love the challenge. I know when I copy older drawings and paintings, I am pushing myself to learn from them. I love structure in painting, but I am also drawn to representational art that tells a story. I love chiaroscuro used by painters like Velazquez and Caravaggio and I am excited by the challenge of depicting the movement of light. I also love Classical Greek Literature and philosophy, which have inspired me to look at art and beauty differently.
When I first began my artistic journey, I was attracted to Representational art, specifically to the more Classical style, which is classified as Western art. I studied from several people who painted from life and in a more traditional way. There are quite a few painters today that have embarked in this journey, however, very few I know are Black or Afro-Latina. Although I enjoy this style for my own personal reasons, I know that there is power in who I am and who I represent. I don’t want anyone to ever say to me that the color of my skin, gender, or any other socially constructed identifier prevents me from painting a certain way and pushes me to paint in any other way. We are only free when we can paint how and what we want regardless of who we are.
This painting was acquired by the Pompano Beach’s Cultural Arts Division for its permanent collection.
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A contemplative piece featuring my daughter. Apples can symbolize our connection with nature, the enjoyment of life, or take on a more philosophical meaning. For me, it is all three.
I was given permission to paint this picture of this man, “Mud,” by a fellow blogger. This man is “a member of the ‘Aboriginal Tent Embassy’ “protesting for legal recognition of their status as the original first people.” I am really fortunate to paint this and I hope I will do him justice. This is the under-painting with oil on 12″ x 16″ Wood Panel. I am really looking forward to seeing how this will turn out. I love painting people that have a story to tell.
I still may work on some of the edges, but this painting is basically done. I decided to do some paintings influenced by my upbringing in Bronx, NY. This is my friend who is a poet. I will be linking her poetry with this piece soon and will be doing some more collaborations with her.
I started this painting with a simple charcoal block-in. I do not use lines, but use the values as a guide. I have never had the patience for drawing guide-lines. I wanted the outside to appear abstract, and I darkened the outer edges to make the light from the window stand out more. This was one of my most difficult paintings so far. I cannot wait to do some more Bronx inspired art!
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I had a great time at Qiang Huang’s workshop at St. Simon’s Island, GA. I met many great artists including the well-renowned artist himself. It was great to work with a man who has studied under great artists like David Leffel. His loose brush strokes are well coordinated to enhance the viewer’s attention. He strongly emphasized the use of undeveloped parts of the painting with the focal point to create a contrast. I love incorporating his expressionistic style with my own contemporary realist style.
My finished piece on canvas: