Archive for the ‘painting’ Category


Vincent van Gogh’s work entitled ‘Irises’ is one of my favorite paintings. It has a lot to do with the fact that my favorite color is blue which this painting has a lot of. I also love the angles and shapes that he used.

Vincent painted this masterpiece while he was staying at the Saint Paul-de-Mausole asylum for the mentally ill in Saint Remy de Provence, France, in the last year before his death in 1890.

Vincent started painting Irises within a week of entering the asylum, in May 1889, seeing the Irises in the garden at the hospital. He produced an incredible body of work during this last year of his life including this one. By all accounts, painting and art is what he occupied most of his time with during his stay. It was his daily obsession.

He called painting “the lightning conductor for my illness” because he felt that he could keep himself from going insane by continuing to paint.

When I see ‘Irises,’ I see a man who masked his suffering by creating something beautiful. And in that beauty he felt a small glimmer of hope. And that glimmer of hope was enough to keep him going.

-Roz Abellera


These are my top 5 favorite artists who have influenced me to want to do art:

1) Pablo Picasso,  Born: October 25, 1881, Malaga, Spain, was one of the most influential artists/painters of the 20th century. To use an analogy, to me, he was like the Bruce Lee of visual arts in that he borrowed, mastered and mixed different styles to create his own-much like Bruce Lee did with Martial Arts. 

Picasso was important to me because at the time that I discovered him, I was hung up on what style of art I should do. Picasso showed me that as an artist, I don’t have to be pigeonholed within one style, I can explore and try anything I wanted. His career shows this philosophy in the way that he started out classically trained doing realistic paintings to doing strange abstracts and creating Cubism later in life. He was the prolific master.

More about Pablo Picasso:

2) Salvador Dali, Born: May 11, 1904, Figueres, Spain, was the most influential Surrealist Painter in art history. His signature style was to take realistic art and mix it in with dreamlike scenery. His famous painting, Persistence Of Memory  is a great example:


Persistence Of Memory depicts melting clocks against a barren landscape. This is just one example of the dreamlike worlds he created in his head.

Today, one can make scenes like this with a computer, but you have to remember, Dali did it with nothing more than his head, hands and heart. He was important to me because he showed that if you want to be technical, you don’t have to stick with plain and boring realism-you can create different, fantastic worlds with it.

More about Salvador Dali:

3) Vincent van Gogh, Born: March 30, 1853 Zundert, Netherlands, unfortunately is probably only famous to casuals for being the artist who cut off his ear and gave it to a woman at a brothel he frequented. Although to the history of art, he was much more than that. But he was a tortured artist who suffered from depression and mental illness and spent many of his last days in a mental hospital painting feverishly. Art was his obsession.

His paintings are known for its bold colors, bold lines and heavy brush strokes. Starry Night was arguably his most famous work:


To use an analogy, if we were talking about Rock music, Van Gogh was like the band Nirvana of his time. If you’re old enough to remember, when Nirvana came along, technical guitar solos with opera like vocals was the order of the day for Rock. Rock had become this technical type of music which required some great technical skill to play. Then Nirvana came along with a crude, raw sound that was based on “feeling” rather than being technical and they changed the face of music.

Van Gogh was the same as Nirvana in that during his time, realistic looking artwork was the call of the day and then he came along with his “crude” raw looking style based on feeling and emotion and made an impact. But unfortunately for him, he wasn’t popular and was often panned and ridiculed by critics . So much so, that he made little to no money as an artist while he was alive.  They saw his work as crude and talent less. I guess there is some justice in that his paintings today sell for millions of dollars.

The duality of van Gogh was that he was a tortured man who felt ugliness and pain in his inner world but brought grace and beauty  into the outer world through his art.  Unfortunately, he committed suicide at the age of 37.

Van Gogh was important to me because he showed that art can come from emotion and doesn’t have to be technically perfect. It can be used for pure expression.

More about Vincent Van Gogh:

4) Katsushika Hokusai, Born: Born: 1760, Edo, Japan.  He was a Japanese artist, painter and printmaker. He was known to use heavy lines and bold colors making his painting almost “cartoon-like” by today’s standards. He’s known to have influenced many Western painters, Van Gogh included. In fact you can see the heavy influence of his art in Van Gogh’s paintings. Hokusai’s most famous work is The Great Wave Off Kanagawa:


When I look at Hokusai’s work I think “style.” He wasn’t caught up in the academia of art and how things are “supposed to look.” Like in the picture of above, he didn’t follow any rules of how a wave is supposed to look in reality. He painted the waves his OWN personal way.

This is what he brings to the table. An artist should have his own personal style.

More about Katsushika Hokusai:

5) Whilce Portacio,  Born: July 8, 1963, Naval Station Sangley Point, Cavite City, Phillipines. He is a comic book writer and artist noted for his work on such titles as The Punisher, X-factor, X-men, Iron Man, Wetworks and Spawn. He was also one of the founders of Image Comics.

I was once a comic book nerd, still am to some degree, and when I first saw Whilce Portacio’s drawings I thought “wow.” There really is no other way to describe it other than that when he draws these comic book characters, they just look extra cool. When you see another comic book artist’s depiction of Spider Man or Wolverine, then look at Whilce’s version you see that his version has that “cool” factor about it. Check out his version of the X-men drawn in pencil:


Whilce Portacio is important to me because his art makes me want to pick up a pencil and just draw. His art sometimes tempts me to try my hand at doing graphic novels. Hmm?

More about Whilce Portacio here:

So these are my top 5. There are other artists that I love as well, but these are the main ones that had an impact on me. Check out their works and enjoy!

-Roz Abellera




“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.”

-Salvador Dali

Being an artist can be an expensive lifestyle. Art supplies aren’t always cheap and sales are few and far between.  You can find cheap supplies out there but unfortunately, a lot of times, the quality is cheap as well. You get what you pay for.

When you’re starting out as an artist, one of the mistakes you can make is skimping on paint brushes. It’s very easy to do because when you go to your local art store, it’s hard to beat that 25 paint brushes for $9.99 deal.

“What’s wrong with cheap paint brushes? ” You may ask.  Well, from my experience, the main problem with them is that they shed. In other words, the bristle or hair comes out very easily from them. This can be disastrous when they come out and stick in the paint onto your wet painting as you’re working. Sure you can pick it out with your fingers or tweezers, but now your paint stroke is ruined. And as many artists know, a lot of times the “magic” is in the brush stroke. It’s hard to recreate that magic.

So what do you do? For starters, don’t fall into the 25 brushes for $9.99 trap. And conversely, there’s no reason to go all out to the other extreme and buy a thousand dollar paintbrush made from rare Unicorn hair. Be reasonable.

The great thing about the internet is that you can do research. Look at reviews and prices of brushes. This will give you a good idea of how the brushes perform. Go to artist forums and read about what others are using and their experiences.

Personally, when I shop for paint brushes I don’t buy cheap stuff. But I also don’t buy anything too expensive. There’s no need to. I look for something that is reasonably priced but has a good rating for performance.

Right now I’m using these: and I’m happy with them, they do everything I need. They work for me but they might not be what you’re looking for because brushes can be a personal thing. So shop around. Find out what you prefer for yourself but remember my advice: stay away from the cheap stuff.

-Roz Abellera



Pulp Fiction is a 1990’s Gangster movie by Quentin Tarantino. It is not only my favorite movie in the Gangster genre, but one of my favorite movies of all time out of any genre.  I consider it the best movie out of Tarantino’s body of work and I’ve watched it countless times.

In the film, the hitman Jules Winnfield, played by Samuel L. Jackson, recites a passage from the Bible right before he performs a hit. The passage he recites is Ezekial 25:17. These are some of the most intense scenes in movie history and Samuel L. Jackson’s spin on it is unforgettable.

I was asked  by an acquaintance to create something because he was a fan of the verse and this is what I came up with. It is in no way affiliated with Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino or Miramax films but if you like the verse, here you go.

–Roz Abellera


This abstract painting entitled Street Spirit, represents the feeling of the big city. In my lifetime I’ve lived in two big cities: Seattle and Las Vegas. There is a certain freedom and spontaneity that you feel when you’re in a big city and this painting captures that feeling for me.

–Roz Abellera



This abstract painting is called The Dance. With this painting, I tried to capture the movement and spontaneous feeling of dancing.

A friend of mine said that he can see the bodies dancing in the painting. But this wasn’t intentional on my part at all. It wasn’t my aim to represent figures. I was aiming for non representational art- art with no meaning;  just a feeling. I was having a Jackson Pollock moment.

The colors were splashed on wildly and spontaneously. I was feeling it- that same feeling you get of “letting go,” when you dance. The feeling of total freedom, of not having a care in the world. That energy. This was my intention: to capture that spirit on canvas.

I stuck to the colors of red, blue and yellow because they are known as the primary colors in art theory. I used them to represent that primal, almost sexual urge to want to move your body to music.

–Roz Abellera


Absinthe Robette is an 1896 Art Nouveau poster created by Belgian artist Henri Privat-Livemont.

Henri Privat-Livemont was a fantastic artist of many works but he was most famous for his absinthe posters, which are very popular with private art collectors around the world as well as with auction houses and antique dealers.

What is Absinthe? Absinthe is described as a  distilled highly alcoholic beverage. It is a spirit derived from the flowers and leaves of  Artemisia Absinthium (“grand wormwood”), also containing sweet fennel, green anise and other medicinal herbs. Absinthe has a natural green color but is sometimes colorless. It is commonly referred to in historical literature as “the green fairy”.

It became popular as an alcoholic drink in France between the late 19th century and early 20th century. It was very popular among Parisian artists and writers. Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Rimbaud, Vincent Van Gogh were just a few of some famous absinthe drinkers. It’s been rumored that Van Gogh used to down the stuff like it was water.

Now I’ve never done it myself because I’m drug free, but absinthe has often been described as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen. It has a chemical compound in it called thujone, which is blamed for its alleged harmful effects. By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in much of Europe due to its hallucinogenic properties.

The word ‘absinthe’ is in fact the French word for wormwood and derives from the Latin name, Artemisia Absinthium. It’s commonly understood to mean a high proof liquor containing wormwood. There are legal versions of absinthe that can be bought in the United States but it has to be free of the compound thujone. So to some purists, it isn’t the real thing.

Absinthe Robette is probably the most iconic image used to advertise absinthe. It depicts a beautiful semi-nude woman holding up a glass of absinthe in amazement. The color green dominates the background because of its association with absinthe.

I don’t know if the woman is supposed to be the mythical “Green Fairy” associated with absinthe or what, but Privat-Livemont depicts her beautifully. In my interpretation of the painting, she IS the Green Fairy waiting to seduce and allure, much like the many Parisian artists who were seduced by its hallucinogenic properties.

This is a timeless masterpiece that has stood the test of time and one doesn’t have to be an absinthe drinker to appreciate its beauty.

–Roz Abellera