work in progress 3


i have been busy, though i have let some paintings ‘rest’ – sort of fearing where they would go if i continued on them…

one of those resting pictures was this – Shabbat – which you might remember from this post. well, despite the Olympics, i had a violent need to paint on august 4 – and ended up picking up that painting and work on it:


i had run out of black and it takes a few days for the mail to deliver my order for 3 tubes of paynes grey and 3 tubes of ivory black. but looking around the net at various art sites i learned that by mixing alizian crimson, ultramarine and viridian green i could get black, so painting in the candleholder (which is made of iron) was not a problem. as you can see i have worked pretty hard. half-way through this i decided that instead of trying to paint the photo, i’d go with simply painting the SUBJECT, letting the brush strokes show and add texture. now this is not finished either, but i am confident that it will be eventually.


work in progress 2


i feared this subject, in fact i still do, because so many things can go wrong.

in a moment of weakness i decided to paint a portrait of my wife. i shiver at my audacity.

luckily i had a good photo to paint from – but no photo, however good can cover the lack of skill in the artist.

i decided that i wanted to go partly fantasy, since i am only using the photo for transfer to canvas anyway.


i manipulated this photo some years ago (blurred the background and touched up the skin).

tracing the basic components of this face turned out to be rather hard, since light is coming from two directions. but i did and then covered the ‘foreground’ in ‘painters’ tape, laid the background, blending and blotting the colors using tissue paper. once it had dried i removed the tape and under painted the entire area in white, making sure to let the drawn in details shine through, then i added color on some areas to make a basic shadow/high-light ‘template’.

Wife 1

i left the eyes, eyebrows and mouth blank, wanting to work in tight detail on those.

then a lot of stuff happened – i painted when i felt an urge, but honestly do not remember what i did to reach this (well, i do remember some:

Wife 1a

such as what i did yesterday – glazing the background (little pigment, lots of painter medium) making sure to keep the areas ‘clean’, thus adding depth and clarity. then i did the same with the hair (which i had initially under painted in cadmium yellow, medium shade, and accented in orange and burnt sienna) and the head-wear. i am more pleased with this painting so far (it’s not done, still need to work on the face…) than i thought i would be. i might not be GOOD at this, but i am not bad.

doing a turner


a friend of mine was gracious enough to allow me to use one of his photographs as a stock photo for an oil painting.

the image is breathtaking, and i knew right away when i saw it that i wanted to try transferring it to canvas.

it will demand that i ‘do a turner ’ – i.e work with a white/yellow/light grey under painting and then add details in layer upon layer using glazes (lots of medium mixed with not so much paint). here is the original photo:

Cloud Painted Sky Over Cenla_©rObMYKOFF(2012)_0804

i have no idea if i will succeed, but i do hope so.

i like the idea of “using watercolor technique with oil paints” as it gives me more leeway in terms of correcting mistakes as i go.

favorite artist – 2

old palette1

i still remember the very first time i saw a painting by Rembrandt – i was 9 years old and my father had decided to introduce me to the art of painting with oils. he gave me my very own artist’s case, all included, and a small canvas then he told me to go get the Ra-Ri volume of the family’s scruffy old encyclopedia. he opened it at a four-page fold out – showing Rembrandt’s perhaps most famous painting:

Rembrandt_The Night Watch 1642

<–The Night Watch – 1642

it was in black and white of course, but the LIGHT was still visible as some sort of extra on the scene. just as i later fell in love with Bach’s music, i fell in love with Rembrandt’s light. it doesn’t matter if it’s landscape, a self portrait or a sneaky peak at his bathing wife (common-law wife) – it is always present, as both a part of the painting and as an observer of the motif:

Rembrandt_Portrait of a Man in Military Dress 1650

Portrait of a Man in Military Dress – 1650 –>

Rembrandt_The Conspiration of the Bataves1661

The Conspiration of the Bataves 1661-1662

what fascinates me most about this light is that 9 times out of 10 it is impossible locate the SOURCE of the light. there are no lampposts or torches present, and still the light is there.

Rembrandt_Hendrickje Bathing in a River 1654 <– Hendrickje Bathing in a River – 1654

if i could paint only one picture of my wife, the way Rembrandt portrays his bathing Hendrickje in this painting – seemingly glowing from within – i would die a very happy man.

Rembrandt_A Girl at a Window 1645

A Girl at a Window 1645 —>

i have no idea who this girl is, but i want to think it is his daughter – by her features it very well could be.

i’ll finish this post with one of Rembrandts many, many, many self-portraits – it some times seems he thought of himself as the prime subject of his art:

Portrait Of The Artist In A Flat Cap 1642

favorite artist – 1


i was brought up reading about artists, looking at their art in books. we didn’t have the money or the location to go to museums and such, but i remember my father showing me pictures of Rembrandts paintings when i was just a wee lad.

one artist i discovered on my own as an adult was Marc Chagall. i was blown away by his compositions and color-schemes. and his mixture of exuberant joy and contemplative melancholy.

Peasant Life – 1925 Marc Chagall - Peasant Life 

“Chagall’s relationship to the Surrealists was torn, whatever their theoretician-in-chief might say. Long before them, impelled by the elemental power of his homeland’s folk art, he had discovered the significance of dreams, visions and the nonrational for his own work.” (from History of Art)

Marc Chagall - Solitude

Solitude – 1933-1934

“In ‘Solitude’, Chagall was still using motifs that were very much his own to indicate dangers that were menacing himself, his people, and all of Europe.” (from History of Art)

most of all i was fascinated by the love with which he portrayed his own people. his paintings, to my eye and mind are extremely honest and spiritual.

chagall81  Rabbi of Vitebsk – 1914

Marc Chagall_The Wedding

The Wedding – 1944

there’s 30 years between the two paintings – and two wars as well, yet it is hard not to FEEL Chagall’s fierce understanding of not just what makes his people tick, but what sustains them under threat.

patience is not a virtue–it is a vice i do not have


so, here’s this art blog i insisted i wanted, right. ok, on to the blogging then. as the post title says, patience is not a virtue – it is a vice i do not have. that was one reason i was so reluctant to take up painting with oils – they take for ever to dry. the good thing with oils is that if i am dissatisfied with some part of or a whole painting, i can just refurbish the canvas with white regular indoor wall paint and have a new fresh canvas in a couple of hours. but – about the drying time. let’s say i am waiting for a painting in progress to dry out enough for me to add another layer of paint/details…? i just grab another canvas and start on a new painting. that way i can work on several paintings simultaneously. and satisfy my need to paint.

here is one i finished yesterday:


On the way Home – oil on wood, scratched with a knife. at first it was a board on which i had painted something in red, black and yellow, which i didn’t like, so i blended the colors, blotted out the brush strokes with tissue and let it dry. once it was dry i realized that i could use like a copper engraving plate. i like the effect. the technical skill might not be the best, and i sure need a better tool than a Stanley knife to do the scratching if i ever do something similar :D

here is a work in progress:


Shabbat – oil on canvased board. i worked from a photo-motif that i had set up intentionally for the purpose of painting it. with the use of old-fashioned carbon paper i transferred the outlines of the pertinent objects and details to the canvas. i filled in the background (the entire canvas) with a thin wash (lots of thinner :D) of burnt sienna, medium yellow and titanium white. i let it dry out and then i filled in the objects with a thicker (less thinner) coat of titanium white. i let it dry out. next i added outlines in a mix of ultramarine, phtalo blue and purple. i still have outlines to add, as you can see, but it gives me pleasure to move from painting to painting, adding layers, colors, details and just try out the materials and tools.