Sunday, January 23, 2011


I must admit that I have fallen behind on my entries. I can always blame the holidays! The day I finished classes I stepped on a plane and went back home to Guayaquil, Ecuador. For those who don't know where it is, it's in South America, and yes, we have everything the first world has (You have no idea how many times I've had to explain that I do not live in the jungle). Ok, maybe not everything, but we do have clothes, technology, Internet, and a government, kinda. Still, it is a third world country and I couldn't love it more. It is after all, my home, and I was so happy to get the chance to spend time with my family and friends, to eat its exquisite food, and to laugh hilariously on the things that will never change over there. There was some resistance dressed up as inconveniences though, like an army of red blood cells fighting an infection and telling me to go away, but I'm not going to get into details because this is not a whiner's blog, this is an ARTIST's blog, and the smiles on my nephews faces on Sunday morning can compensate for any problem that could've happened to me. Still, like I said, I had an excellent time and the most difficult part as I said in my first entry is saying goodbye, again. I can man up and hide my tears but I know I'm falling apart at that time.

Still whining I guess! Well, not anymore because I have GREAT news!!! I received my grades and they were as I expected  (humbly speaking, of course). I have 5 As and 1 A+, but it is amazing how people always want more after they've achieved something, myself included. The minute I watched my grades online I was so excited that I sent a picture of my grades to everybody. My family and friends were so proud and at that moment I was very very fulfilled. At last, my efforts could be measured, and also, based on that effort, now I know exactly what I should do to get As in the following semesters. After five minutes I couldn't help to wonder why didn't I get A+ on all the classes. I know my comment sounds cocky, but I don't mean it that way, it's just that I gave my all out effort in this semester and I thought I gave my 100%, but I guess it wasn't enough! I have to work on that! In any case, it is a perfect score and I dedicate this to my family, friends, and faithful readers. I know it is not a Nobel Prize but let me enjoy this moment :)

I guess New York was broken hearted with my absence because the minute I got here she was very cold! Ok, I admit it was a TERRIBLE joke, but even Conan O'Brien has bad material from time to time, why can he get away with it and not me? Bottom line, this city is way too cold, but I'm getting used to it. It is snowing as I write this entry (Of course I have the heat on and I am very comfortable in my apartment ;)). Everybody loves snow, at least the people who is not victimized by it. I know it looks lovely, at least for a while, because afterwards every street is a slippery trap and all the white snow turns into a black disgusting pile of wet dirt! It's not that I hate it, it is just problematic, specially when you are late for painting class and you're running with your case of brushes and paints and a 5 feet canvas and suddenly you fall down in the middle of the street just when the red hand of the traffic is blinking. Now you can see my aversion to snow!

Another factor that is driving me crazy is that damn static. I'm talking about the infamous electrical charge that occurs when, in cold weather, you touch something, or anything (I'm not into physics so I have no idea) and you get an electrical discharge (You know what I'm talking about, it is quite impossible to not have done this to your little brother or sister). Why happens on cold weather you ask? Because of low humidity on the air! (Thanks Internet, I guess if you were wondering about it you could easily have done what I already did, but you didn't so I taught you a new thing today). There is no place devoid of that static, I touch a lamp OUCH! I touch the door handle OUCH! I'm even afraid to touch myself (Ok, that sounded very creepy).

Moving on... I don't have a lot of drawings or paintings because I've been away for 2 weeks for the holidays, and somehow my inspiration stays here in New York. This proves my theory that surroundings dictates the way we behave, and maybe I'll get more in to that in my next entry. Nevertheless, I did some sketches while I was in Guayaquil. They are not finished pieces; they were simple sketches that took me one hour each. A sketch should not be evaluated or judged, because it is merely a sketch. You like something and you do it fast in order to learn more about the properties of the subject or model. In any case, the first drawing is of my cousin Natacha and I love this photo that my mother took of her on our trip to Bermudas a year ago. I promised her that I was going to draw her the real deal! She couldn't help to say to me that I've drawn her fat, which is not the case, but I'll lose a couple of pounds from her next time ;) Love you Nats! Also, notice the blue pencil? I've become addicted to sketch with blue pencil because everything looks so clean; the only problem is that you can't erase it properly if you want to.

The second sketch is from Fidel Castro, and before anybody starts trying to figure out my connection to Correa (Ecuadorian president, who is believed to follow in Chavez and Castro's footsteps) let me disappoint you and tell you that I was bored to death at the airport, and hence, drew his face from a Vistazo magazine that I've found laying around. Still, I think it turned out pretty well for a sketch.

I must admit that I have tonal love. Tonality is the overall color effect of hue and value. Often one dominating hue is employed in various shades and values. I am addicted to tonal ranges, especially in grayscale. I have no idea why I prefer something in various tones of grey rather than red, or blue for that matter. I must really make a thorough examination of why this particular preference of mine, but the truth is that I love the many colors that the grey can give me. Of course, any color can provide this, but the neutrality of the grey, mixed with some blacks and whites... I don't know! it is mesmerizing! My next drawing was an in class work, so it is just a dressed up model with transparent clothes.

Finally, I was asked to draw a fruit, and based on the qualities of that fruit to draw a background. I decided to draw a pineapple. I asked my fellow twitter followers and they gave me some clever ideas, but somehow I couldn't let myself draw Spongebob's house! Still, thanks for the recommendations! I ended up drawing a pineapple lost in a dry land. The thing that I enjoyed the most in this piece is that I got out from my comfort zone. I chose another color of paper and worked only with graphite, charcoal, sanguine and sepia pencils. I did it in around 3 hours.

The next time I write I'll be sure to have more work to show. I miss my family way too much but on the other hand I'm glad to be back to do what I love. I do this not only for me, you know! I have already spent 300 hours drawing and painting and it seems a lot, but still 9700 hours to go!

For the aspiring painters, please, wash your hands BEFORE and after going to the bathroom, I preach only by experience.


José Luis

9,700 hours to master art!!!