Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 2: Painting from Life)

On Week Two at the Art Students League, I switched to a painting class, still under Mary Beth McKenzie, and came up with these portraits. The small double portrait was a struggle for me, so for the next poses, I opted for solos. I also discovered the joy of painting on unstretched canvas pads–perfect for quick paintings on-the-go.

My favorites from this series are the stylized Betty and Henry I, done with experiments with the palette knife.

As in Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 1: Large-Scale Drawings), below are the paintings I came up with, captioned with thoughts for each day:

First day of painting from life today under Mary Beth McKenzie.  I have never painted a live figure before but gosh how I've missed painting! All the colors! I started with yellows, blues and reds, but muted them in tones to get a more realistic feel. Ev

First day of painting from life today under Mary Beth McKenzie. I have never painted a live figure before but gosh how I’ve missed painting! All the colors! I started with yellows, blues and reds, but muted them in tones to get a more realistic feel. Even then, you can tell that I’m not a big fan of traditional colors. Hopefully after 4 weeks of this I will have figured out something more concrete about what I like and don’t like in figure painting! Students at the League normally have 3 weeks to finish a painting, after which a new pose is introduced. I’m coming in on week2 for this pose. How nice it must be to work on a huge canvas! It requires a different mindset. Composition-wise, it’s a great exercise. I want to take my works home, though, so I’m painting small (18×24 inches — which is still a good size).

Seated Male and Female Acrylic on canvas
18×24 inches
Work in progress

#painting #live #figure #onthespot acrylic #workinprogress #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc

Day2 update on this painting. Most details done, but I'm still on the fence about what to do with the background. Tomorrow our teacher comes in for a critique. Hope she has helpful insights. I see people in class use mirrors to check for errors (easier to

Day2 update on this painting. Most details done, but I’m still on the fence about what to do with the background. Tomorrow our teacher comes in for a critique. Hope she has helpful insights. I see people in class use mirrors to check for errors (easier to spot in mirror-image)…maybe I’ll do that too tomorrow! ūüôā #painting #acrylic #live #figure #art #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

The many transformations of the background:
Montalut NYC 2014 (15)

Montalut NYC 2014 (24)

Montalut NYC 2014 (25)

Montalut NYC 2014 (13)

We are alone. Acrylic on canvas 18x24 inches July 11, 2014  What is intimacy? Why do we sometimes feel more alone when we're with someone?   ----- Thought I'd have this afternoon to work on the final details of this but our female model didn't show up tod

We are alone.
Acrylic on canvas
18×24 inches
July 11, 2014

What is intimacy? Why do we sometimes feel more alone when we’re with someone?
—–
Thought I’d have this afternoon to work on the final details of this but our female model didn’t show up today. Will have to pick it up at some point and finish it from memory or imagination, but for now it is done.

#painting #acrylic #figure #onthespot #2weekpose #male #female #alone

Quick painting today, under 2 hours. Tried to capture the model's mood but I think I showed more of mine. :p  Trying to paint in the same loose way I did those large scale drawings. But I like the rawness of this.  #painting #acrylic #figure #live #female

Quick painting today, under 2 hours. Tried to capture the model’s mood but I think I showed more of mine. :p Trying to paint in the same loose way I did those large scale drawings. But I like the rawness of this. #painting #acrylic #figure #live #female

"Models are posing." Acrylic on Canvas 18x24 inches July 16, 2014  We paint from life at the League. There are two models posing together but my seat has the better view for a single figure. Betty will hold this pose from 1pm to 430pm everyday, with 5 min

“Models are posing.”
Acrylic on Canvas
18×24 inches
July 16, 2014

We paint from life at the League. There are two models posing together but my seat has the better view for a single figure. Betty will hold this pose from 1pm to 430pm everyday, with 5 minute breaks every 20 mins, for three weeks.
#painting #acrylic #figure #live #female #portrait #studio #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc

Two more versions of Betty. I've been painting one Betty a day this week!  #painting #acrylic #figure #live #female #portrait #studio #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #art

Two more versions of Betty. I’ve been painting one Betty a day this week! #painting #acrylic #figure #live #female #portrait #studio #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #art

Blue Betty Acrylic on canvas 18x24 inches July 17, 2014  #painting #acrylic #figure #live #female #portrait #studio #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #art

Blue Betty
Acrylic on canvas
18×24 inches
July 17, 2014

#painting #acrylic #figure #live #female #portrait #studio #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #art

Betty Acrylic on canvas 18x24 inches July 17, 2014  Experimented with lines and texture -- I like the scrapes and scratches and the stylized edges. Teacher said that among my four works this week, the paintings that are most succesful are this and Blue Be

Betty
Acrylic on canvas
18×24 inches
July 17, 2014

Experimented with lines and texture — I like the scrapes and scratches and the stylized edges. Teacher said that among my four works this week, the paintings that are most succesful are this and Blue Betty. Now I’m understanding the benefits of 1) painting everyday, and 2) painting from life, and 3) painting the same subject everyday.

#painting #acrylic #figure #live #female #portrait #studio #artstudentsleagueofnewyork #nyc #art

Henry I Acrylic on canvas 18x24 inches July 21, 2014  Changed seats in class today and played with the palette knife. Will try a full portrait tomorrow.  #nyc #art #painting #acrylic #figure #live #male #hat #suit #white #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Henry I
Acrylic on canvas
18×24 inches
July 21, 2014

Changed seats in class today and played with the palette knife. Will try a full portrait tomorrow.

#nyc #art #painting #acrylic #figure #live #male #hat #suit #white #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Montalut NYC 2014 (28)

Henry II
Acrylic on canvas
18×24 inches
July 22, 2014

Last portrait from Live Figure Painting class. Tried to incorporate lessons from abstract class into the background. Not sure if it was successful, but I’m happy with the color play.

Remembering New York, Summer 2014 (Part 1: Large-Scale Drawings)

I’ve been dreaming of taking classes at the Art Students League for years. Imagine my glee when I finally arrived in New York last summer, and more so after signing up for my first official class: Large-Scale Drawing under Mary Beth McKenzie. I bought my large-format paper, metal clips, charcoal, Hake brushes, and ink, and like a giddy schoolgirl knocked on the 4th floor studio of the League. I attended two afternoon sessions in this class, each one lasting about 3.5 hours. Below are the drawings I came up with, captioned with thoughts for each day. Unfortunately, these were too large to fit into my suitcase and I had to leave them behind in New York.

* * *

My many firsts: first nude in over 3 months (di na sanay!), first in large-scale format, and first work at the Art Students League. I don't think I'll get to take this home, so if you're in New York and have lots of wall space, wink me (yes, wink me). ;)

My many firsts: first nude in over 3 months (di na sanay!), first in large-scale format, and first work at the Art Students League. I don’t think I’ll get to take this home, so if you’re in New York and have lots of wall space, wink me (yes, wink me). ūüėČ

Male Nude
Vine charcoal on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc

Female Nude Vine charcoal on paper 36x48 inches (approximate) June 23, 2014  #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc

Female Nude
Vine charcoal on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc

Male Nude II Vine charcoal on paper 36x48 inches (approximate) June 23, 2014  I had a harder time with the long pose (more time = better work, more details). Must learn not to put pressure on myself.   #drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #male #nude #

Male Nude II
Vine charcoal on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

I had a harder time with the long pose (more time = better work, more details). Must learn not to put pressure on myself.
#drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc

Female Nude II Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches (approximate) June 23, 2014  My first attempt at Sumi ink drawing/painting. I just had two wide Hake brushes and couldn't get thin strokes in so I just went with it and played. It was so much fun. I was surpri

Female Nude II
Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

My first attempt at Sumi ink drawing/painting. I just had two wide Hake brushes and couldn’t get thin strokes in so I just went with it and played. It was so much fun. I was surprised that people in my class really liked this work. Malakas daw siya.
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Female Nude II and III Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches (approximate) June 23, 2014  The one on my left is my favorite from yesterday. I rushed to the Art shop downstairs during the 5-minute break and bought a smaller Chinese brush that let me do proper det

Female Nude II and III
Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches (approximate)
June 23, 2014

The one on my left is my favorite from yesterday. I rushed to the Art shop downstairs during the 5-minute break and bought a smaller Chinese brush that let me do proper detailing. I think I’m going to enjoy Sumi ink!
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #40minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Here’s a closer look, also at my drawing process:

Montalut NYC 2014 (2)

Montalut NYC 2014 (1)

Seated Female Nude  Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 24, 2014  First drawing today. I decided to play with both charcoal and ink in one work-- I think the layers came out nice.    This particular model was fussy about the c

Seated Female Nude
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 24, 2014

First drawing today. I decided to play with both charcoal and ink in one work– I think the layers came out nice. This particular model was fussy about the cold. The class monitor had to turn off the airconditioner many times even if she already had a heater dedicated for her. Made me wonder how nude models manage during winter.
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

The same work before being inked:
Montalut NYC 2014 (4)

Reclined Female Nude  Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 24, 2014  No fuss, fluid drawing that was just so playful.  #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Reclined Female Nude
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 24, 2014

No fuss, fluid drawing that was just so playful.
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Reclined Female Nude II Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 24, 2014  Quick, looser version of the same pose. Drawn in under 10 minutes. Still large-scale.   #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstude

Reclined Female Nude II
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 24, 2014

Quick, looser version of the same pose. Drawn in under 10 minutes. Still large-scale.
#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Seated Female Nude  Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 24, 2014  This was a longer pose so I decided to do measurements to get proportions right. Still something I struggle with (I spent 20 minutes just measuring!), and you c

Seated Female Nude
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 24, 2014

This was a longer pose so I decided to do measurements to get proportions right. Still something I struggle with (I spent 20 minutes just measuring!), and you can see my mistakes in the finished work. I like how it turned out and think it’s even better with the layers of drawings visibly there.
#drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Work-in-progress:
Montalut NYC 2014 (3)

Seated Male Nude  Charcoal on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 26, 2014  #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Seated Male Nude
Charcoal on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 26, 2014

#drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Seated Male Nude  Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 26, 2014  Just playing around with the male figure and face.  #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Seated Male Nude
Charcoal and Sumi ink on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 26, 2014

Just playing around with the male figure and face. #drawing #onthespot #20minutepose #live #male #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

Reclined Male and Female Nude  Charcoal on paper 36x48 inches ( approximate ) June 26, 2014  We always have 2 models posing side by side in class and this was the first time I drew them together. Each was a challenging pose to do on its own -- I wish I ha

Reclined Male and Female Nude
Charcoal on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 26, 2014

We always have 2 models posing side by side in class and this was the first time I drew them together. Each was a challenging pose to do on its own — I wish I had more time to detail the woman, but even the male model gave me a thumbs up when he saw my drawing. Heehee.

#drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #male #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

I document my process to help keep track of mistakes and triumphs.  Choosing to zoom in on the models in this work and do a back-to-back pose was new for me. Lesson learned: experiment! With 40 minutes to set up, compose, sketch and detail a piece, it's n

I document my process to help keep track of mistakes and triumphs. Choosing to zoom in on the models in this work and do a back-to-back pose was new for me. Lesson learned: experiment! With 40 minutes to set up, compose, sketch and detail a piece, it’s natural to draw in default mode. For me that meant doing sight size (you put your paper next to the model and copy your subject “as is”– in the same size from where you’re standing). Scaling up or down requires extra effort and in my case, leaves room for mistakes in proportion. But!!! I really am proud I pushed myself a little in this drawing. If I were to keep this I’d probably cut out the woman and display it this way. Starting next week I’ll explore classes that will let me paint longer poses. Some models keep the same pose for 4 weeks to let artists work without having to rush. Amazing possibilities!

Reclined Male and Female Nude (detail)
Charcoal on paper
36×48 inches ( approximate )
June 26, 2014

#drawing #onthespot #40minutepose #live #male #female #nude #nyc #artstudentsleagueofnewyork

what do you do with anxiety?

Doodles from New York 2014 (18)

I had strange dreams last month. This female creature was in one of them.

She was a gypsy-medium-crone with three pupils in one eye and five in the other.  She was part of a 4-nightmare series that came one after the other, all in one night.

I rarely have dreams related to personal circumstances in my life, but I’m glad my cousin helped me decode this particular series.

Sometimes, it’s easier to attribute the inexplicable to the supernatural — it lets us dodge it because it’s external to us — but it happens too, that our triggers (and solutions) are actually more familiar to us than we realize.

A widening.

Doodles from New York 2014 (17)

Just got back from New York City. A friend called it a¬†life-defining trip even before I left — and it has become that. ¬†Very much.

It’s difficult to describe the breadth and depth of where I am right now. I feel so wide. Or widened. ¬†Widening. I looked through photographs from the trip to try to organize them into a shareable format: over 2,000 pictures and a few videos, but still I feel they lack the spirit of what the visit meant for me.

I now feel pulled from all sides. A bittersweet pulling and pushing, one that will entail fresh hellos and goodbyes.

I’ve dreamt of moving to New York to study art for a long time. ¬†Last time I visited the city¬†was four years ago in 2010. ¬†That was when “Empire State of Mind” was topping the charts, and I remember a goosebump moment on the train from Connecticut to NYC. ¬†Alicia Keys was softly singing it in acoustic, and there I was, not even in New York and already crying from “living the dream”. ¬†It was definitely an OA moment.

But this time, there was no drama. ¬†I’ve been in flow, in joyful acceptance of what is.

August 5, 2014

Two weeks have passed since I got back. ¬†I can’t behind jetlag anymore and am feeling the need to debrief from the trip.

To grasp an experience is always a struggle. ¬†To grasp in itself is to keep chasing after something — like a butterfly hopping from flower to flower. ¬†It’s like making sense of a dream… you remember bits and pieces but the whole picture evades you. ¬†It stays at an arm’s length, there, at a distance, separate, even if it’s actually bursting to envelope you and take you in. ¬†I’d rather flow through a moment than contain it.

And yet here I am. Documenting  New York. For you. And me.

* * *

Some doodles for the bits and pieces:

Every great adventure starts with the calm, to refill the well and stock up on hugs from favorite people, things, places.
Doodles May 2014 (7)

What do you bring on an epic journey? How about the mountains and wide open spaces…
Doodles May 2014 (8)

…to gain momentum to just do it, go for it, jump in.
Doodles May 2014 (2)

Traveling is a big reset button.
Doodles from New York 2014 (4)

You leave behind the old and embrace the new with equal ferocity and hope.
Doodles from New York 2014 (2)

Surprises find you, in ways big and small.
Doodles from New York 2014 (5)

And after the newness of everything passes, you find it within yourself to be still again…

Doodles from New York 2014 (6)

and celebrate the loneliness…

Doodles from New York 2014 (7)

Doodles from New York 2014 (3)

Before you know it, the ride is over.
Doodles from New York 2014 (8)

And what you have to take home with you is an invitation to come back.
Doodles from New York 2014 (9)

To take the giant leap…
Doodles from New York 2014 (11)

…and reconnect with the great big world out there…again and again.
Doodles from New York 2014 (10)

There is so much to be thankful for…
Doodles from New York 2014 (12)

…but if I were ever to do the big dance, now would be the time to do it.Doodles from New York 2014 (13)

To reach out…
Doodles from New York 2014 (14)

…and reach in…
Doodles from New York 2014 (15)

Not without fear — it is scary out there — but to brave it just the same.
Doodles from New York 2014 (16)

Because we are in our 30s, and in our 30s we can’t afford to hide from what makes us happy.
Doodles from New York 2014 (19)

It’s time to go home.

Montalut Doodles 2013 (9)

You know you’ve been stuck doing the wrong things when you don’t get to spend time with yourself anymore.

I wrote someone just tonight: things have been too noisy in my head.

I’ve been away far too long.

Time to go home, Jo. Time to create again.

* * *

I’ve been planning a proper New York trip in years, and today, one week til I get there, I feel disengaged. Is this the calm before the storm? What happens when I get to NYC, the art capital of the world? Will I meet my creative mentor? Is that what this trip is about?

Art for Yolanda (ongoing fundraiser)

Proceeds of the following works will be donated to rebuild efforts for #YolandaPH survivors. Please let me know at montalut@gmail.com¬†if you’re interested to buy!

**********

When Supertyphoon Yolanda hit last November 8, 2013, I was stunned.  Along with the rest of the Philippines (and the world), I went through disbelief, helplessness, anger, grief and the nagging cry for hope amidst the despair.

The first two drawings are based on images I kept seeing online and on TV: the streets of Tacloban following the storm.   They were drawn in the spirit of rebuilding not just physical lives (sale proceeds will go to actual rebuilding efforts), but also to offer a hand of healing.  To borrow from the core vision of YolandaPH Good News, an informal support group I put up online:

There is good news in #YolandaPH, we have to believe that it is out there. Let’s rebound on each other for support and a generous dose of the indomitable Pinoy spirit.

Prices are suggested below, but please feel free to add a little more if so prompted.

*Proceeds will go to #RebuildPH initiatives of the Tao Kalahi Foundation, doing relief work in Northern Palawan (the Tao founders are personal friends and I can vouch for their work 100%.  Regular updates are posted on their facebook page), and Gawad Kalinga Typhoon Yolanda Operation: Walang Iwanan (GK has become a byword in my circle of friends, thanks to Mark Lawrence Cruz who is a dedicated GK worker and leader. I think GK is one of the best examples of effective, far-reaching and lasting developmental efforts in the country today).

Yolanda I 21.5 x 14.5" China ink and dermatograph on bristol board Ink resist technique November 19, 2013  100% of Sale proceeds for #YolandaPH

Yolanda I 
21.5 x 14.5″
China ink and dermatograph on bristol board
Ink resist technique
Price: P3,000

November 19, 2013
100% of sale proceeds pledged for #RebuildPH

Yolanda II 21.5 x 14.5" China ink and dermatograph on bristol board Ink resist technique November 19, 2013  100% of Sale proceeds for #YolandaPH

Yolanda II
21.5 x 14.5″
China ink and dermatograph on bristol board
Ink resist technique
Price: P3,000

November 19, 2013
100% of sale proceeds pledged for #RebuildPH

Here are old artworks that I’m also selling for Yolanda:


Every cry is an unknotting.
18 x 12 inches
Acrylic on paper
2010
Price: 5,000


El Nido
18 x 12 inches
Acrylic on paper
2010
Price: 5,000

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Below are works by my classmates, Axie and Ariel:

Axie Cajili is 17 years old and a freshman at UP Fine Arts. She is pledging one of her sculptures, which I think is a great work, for YolandaPH rebuild efforts.

Untitled
23 x 26 x 21 cm
Plaster sculpture
Artist: Axie Cajili
Price: P5,000

This is an autobiographical piece. Work in progress. Artist intends to paint it.
100% of sale proceeds pledged for #RebuildPH

 

This next piece is by another classmate, Ariel Napile, who is a social realist painter.

Kaisipan
30″x20″
Oil on Canvas
2012
Artist: Ariel Napile
Please contact montalut@gmail.com for pricing

Ipinapakita ang dalawang bahagi maaring tunggalian o ugnayan ng dalawang magkaibang kaisipan.

50% of proceeds pledged for #RebuildPH

 

 

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Other artworks for sale available here:
Art Fundraiser to offset student expenses for Lantern Parade 2013

Mountain and sea: Developing my own style

Mountain and sea. Oil pastel on board. 20x30 inches. December 17, 2013 #drawing #painting #beach #elnido
Mountain and sea.
Oil pastel on board.
20×30 inches.

December 17, 2013
#drawing #painting #beach #elnido

As a finale to the Adopt-a-Master series for drawing class (I chose to make tributes to Van Gogh), we were asked to do an open composition in the same size, this time in our own style. Teacher gave us this peg: “Years from now, when I search your name online, this work should come out.” ¬†Surprisingly this took more effort than an adaptation, and there was tremendous pressure –self-inflicted yes, but junormous just the same– to reduce my vision to a single work. As with all plates though, it was the deadline that gave the push to proceed with the work, and here I had it…a landscape piece of the mountains and seas of El Nido, Palawan, where I spent some of my most adventurous travels a few years ago.