Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Intimacy and Fragility

Yesterday, Dan Thompson, my teacher for Figure Drawing Intensive at The New York Academy of Art took us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to view master drawings. This was a special viewing, though, because we were walked into the guts of the MET, we went down some stairs, into a quiet library where you couldn't take out pens, only pencils, no cameras and no pictures. And the drawings that were most requested by the class, were brought out to us in pairs, there was no glass, no velvet rope to distance us from the drawings; we could get as close as we wanted to and if we wanted to see even closer, there were magnifying glasses provided to us.
There is a fagility to a drawing, if you don't seal it, it is easy for it to be damaged just by touching the paper; and even if you have sealed it, there is still risk of it being damaged.
A piece of paper is so easy to permanently damage. Even if a drawing is framed and protected by a piece of glass, that somehow makes it more vulnerable.
A painting is usually oil or acrylic paint applied over canvas or fabric, when a painting is finished, both elements (fabric and paint) somehow make each other stronger, the fabric with the paint feel like very sturdy, heavy and malleable plastic. The paint becomes an additional layer on the fabric.
Somehow, the same cannot be said for drawing.
But I digress.
That's one of the things that came to mind when I was looking upon these drawings that have been preserved for an indetermined amount of time.
One of my favorite drawings was a drawing of the head of a dog, I don't remember the name of the artist and it was done in watercolor and graphite.
The one the struck me the most was Michaelangelo's study of the Lybian Sybil. It's about 8 x 10 inches, it's small, this is one of the only ones that had glass on it.
I don't know why it struck me so much, maybe it's because I'd seen it so many times before, but this time I was looking at the original piece.
Along with the Michaelangelo drawing there was a Leonardo study. I think it was the moment that I saw Leonardo's that I kind of realized what was happening: Leonardo, the man himself, at some point in the past was looking upon this piece of paper, playing around with materials, experimenting, drawing. Leonardo himself touched this piece of paper, leaned over it and breathed over it.
These were merely studies for something further.
When an artist finishes a piece and shows it, he/she is ready to show the world the artwork, at this point the artist chooses to show the finished product. The drawings that I got to see were the premise to that moment of security, these drawings were like reading from a diary. An artist doesn't choose to show the sketches that came before the finished product, when the artists is still throwing ideas back and forth, looking for that which suits him or her the best.
This is a moment of vulnerability, moments of insecurity, taking notes. So, I basically got to see Leonardo and Michaelangelo in what I consider to be moments of hesitation and openness.
I have a hard time thinking of certain people as merely human, it's difficult for me to think of Trent, Leonardo and Michaelangelo as humans like me. Defective humans.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Today, I finished this Cast Drawing with Roberto Osti assignment. I drew the ear using a method called sight-size which was a pain in the ass, I seriously teared up, because I was so frustrated and angry at some point when I was starting out the drawing.
You're meant to put your paper right close to your cast, which is your reference and step back like six or seven feet and measure, so you walk back and forth, measuring and putting reference points in your paper, until you feel like you have enough reference points to just connect the dots and start working more and more detail into the drawing. You can work as much detail as you want into the drawing, except you have to keep walking back and for over and over again. It's an arduous process, to say the least, but it's a really good observational exercise. It's good to find relationships, points that converge on a single horizontal or vertical line.
I've thought of doing it maybe one more time, just to polish that observational ability, but I don't know if I want to subject myself to that again.
I decided after the third session of work, I think, to just take a fucking picture and take the thing to my studio and work from there, because I was up to my balls of walking back and forth. So, when I started putting on shadows and the ear was basically all drawn, I stopped walking back and forth.
So, my tools were a blending stump, a kneading eraser, an HB pencil and I drew over Canson paper. Whilst I was taking measurements, I was using a knitting needle, and I should have had a plumb line, but fuck that noise. I had enough with the knitting needle.
So here is the final result, I really like it, I'm going to frame it and put it up in my etsy shop, which is called Gabriela Handal Arte, because I have a lot of imagination.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Top Lit

Yesterday, I finished my final for Figure Drawing Intensive with Dan Thompson, here at the New York Academy of Art. The assignment was to choose one of the techniques that we used during the semester and make our final with that, the theme was completely our choice.
So, since I'd never done any of the techniques that we used before (I'd kind of done gesture drawing before, but never the way I did at Dan's class), I had a lot to choose from. Because I'm a big fan of overhead lighting and just really heavy lighting and heavy shadows, I chose the wipeout technique. For this technique, Dan instructed us to buy Canson's Mis Teintes paper and to tone it with charcoal, so this is what I chose.
I chose an orange and a grey colored paper, it's kind of what I saw in my mind's eye, I saw the same image on both papers, both off center, top lit. Self-portraits with my beanie. I've been drawing self portraits on the train, I've done several already, where I'm sitting on the train and I see my reflection on the glass across from me and it's top lit and I just love what I see.
Here is an example:

So for Dan's final, I kind of wanted the self-portraits to make it out of the art journal and become a kind of more finished and polished piece. When I was talking to Dan about it, he told me that I could play with how much of the eyes I wanted to reveal and he also suggested me not to use white for the highlights and lightest lights, he suggested to use something within the color range of the paper. So for the orange one, the lightest color is yellow and ochre and for the grey one, there's just different tones of grey, some blue and a teeny tiny bit of purple.
After a while, I decided (with the constructive criticism of a couple of colleagues and classmates) to treat both of them just slightly different; and so, with the orange one, I decided to go with the whole thing of revealing only part of the eyes and revealed part of the eyelids and with the grey one I played a bit more fantastically with it and drew in a bit of the irises and the pupil. The orange one feels super colorful, the background and the face, I used oranges, yellows and browns. The grey one, I think actually has more color, but doesn't feel colorful at all.
Both of them, I think are cool in the sense that there is that capacity of discovering those details of the eyelids and irises if you look long enough.
Since I've been here in New York, there has been a surprising influx of self-portraits. I generally don't think or care enough to dig deep into why I do certain things, sometimes a "meaning" just happens to come along whilst I'm making the piece and if it does, that's cool, I go with it.
I definitely have found it interesting how I'm suddenly making and wanting to make a bunch of self portraits, although that's definitely not all I'm doing. I haven't read much into the psychology of the self-portrait, maybe I will at some point, but I think that maybe (specifically with the ones in the subway), I'm kind of trying to SEE myself HERE in New York and in this school, just because it doesn't feel real. It feels like a dream or a twilight zone or a parallel dimension. I KNOW that I'm here, I just can't seem to believe it, so the self-portraits in the subway, I think are kind of a way of making myself believe that I am here in this completely foreign and new environment, that I really am living in New York, that I really did move to New York, that I really am studying at the New York Academy of Art.

So here are the drawings:

In other news, I have obtained a domain and I'm working on the website itself, I'm just gonna go with linking it to tumblr. The website address is just going to be, 'cuz I have a lot of imagination.
Either way, don't forget about my Facebook page, which by the way, I got a regular handle for:, easier to share!
Thank you for reading!

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I keep forgetting that this blog is about musings and art things, not just my work, so I decided that I would make a post that is not necessarily related with my work.

I stumbled into this video in my tumblr about three days ago and I've kept watching it since. I'm a pretty big fan of ballet, not an expert at all and I probably wouldn't go to a ballet, what I'm really a fan of is how powerful their bodies become and how they change, the control they have over their body. How their feet change, because although they dance with their entire body, their feet carry the weight the great majority of the time.

So, the dancing in this video, I think might be somewhere between ballet and contemporary dance. I don't know how old the girl might be, because I haven't cared enough to look, I think she might be somewhere in her teens, maybe getting close to twenty; I only think this because her body is so flat in every direction.
I wonder how many people questioned the performance and choreography, because she looks so young and the dancing is pretty sexy in some parts, I find the attitude of the choreography is kind of sexy. I have no doubt there is a freaking idiot out there that will comment that exact thing, but whatever, that is none of my concern.

The song is titled "Suspicion" and I agree that it's something that the music conveys, there's just barely a climax in the song, there are strings throughout that I think sound playful and mischievous.

Her dancing is quite flawless, I think, and I like her facial expressions. Sometimes she's doing regular dancing, but some other times she dances a long to the strings or the scarce drumbeat. The way the choreography starts and ends is the same: with her walking her hand back and forth, with her fingers, I think there is some playfulness and flirtatiousness in that.
To me, maybe because of her outfit, she's a Black Widow or a Femme Fatale or Catwoman. Perhaps, she'd be appropriate as Catwoman, maybe that's my favorite possibility, although I like the idea of her being a bit more evil than Catwoman, who's just an anti-hero. Maybe a mixture of Catwoman and the Black Widow, or one of those women who marry men and then kill them to keep their money, something along those lines.
The sinuosity of the dance and the waves she makes with her body remind me of a snake. Perhaps she's Klimt's Judith, but much more powerful.

Choreography by: Gina Starbuck Danced by: YAGP winner, Gisele Bethea Music: "Suspicion" by Drehz Filmed and Edited by: Naeem Munaf

Friday, November 15, 2013

Anne harris

I've just come back from the anne harris lecture at the new york academy of art and i might be high on sugar or extremely inspired or overwhelmed or something, but something amazing happened during the lecture. I don't know.
I'd never seen her work or heard of her until seeing the one painting in the poster of the lectures and her name on said posters, around the school. I like going without knowing anything about the artista to the lectures.
She talked a while about work that she loves and i found the ways he talked to be beautiful, she talked in poetry and abstract and i completely understood everything she meant. My notes are just things that she said that i loved.
Her paintings are these beautiful ghosts that are extremely present. They float, they are diaphanous, but they stare at you and their eyes drill into your soul.
The drawing that i did in pen in my notebook, i was trying to emulate one of the paintings that were projected onto the wall.
Everything was just so beautiful.
The diaphanous atmosphere reminded me of luis royo, there is an atmosphere in his work, that i perceive as humida nd moist. I think tere is something similar in anne harris' work, but her paintings kind of felt like a cold and dry mist. A cold kind of like the cold i feel here in new york sometimes, not freezing, maybe cool is more correct.
Looking at the paintings, i felt an intimacy of sorts and closeness with them, comfort. And she narrated and talked quietly.
I found her inspiring, maybe what i perceive to be a real artist or the kind of artist that i'd like to be. Instinct driven and my work kindred to me.
She felt kindred to me as well, but maybe not yet, i think she's a mentor, kind of. And maybe one day we can be kindred.

Friday, October 11, 2013


I've been drawing self portraits on the train on the way back home, I draw what I see across from me in the reflection, since it's blurry and I have light above my head, this is what comes out and I seriously like what it looks like!
I also draw sometimes people that I see. My roommate and classmate Max Perkins is super good at that and I feel more confident drawing in general and I kind of feel influence and inspiration coming from seeing him do it.
The very first one was done with a bic pen and all the other ones are with a zebra pen.

I currently find myself studying in the New York Academy of Art, I'm going for a drawing major with concentration in anatomy. I'm on the fourth floor of the building, studio number seven. Do not hesitate to let me know if you want to buy something or set up a studio visit! Write to me:
And also, don't forget my Facebook page, which you should like and share with your friends: Gabriela Handal Arte

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Glutton

Today, I finished the first project for my History and Theory of Composition class, which was a psychological and/or allegorical self-portrait as one of the seven deadly sins. In the instructions, the word "one" is in caps lock.
And I say/write that, because I'm aware that there is a sexual element in the painting that I decided to do. My issue is that, almost as soon as I'd read the instructions in the syllabus, I got this exact image in my head.
My self portrait, was me eating into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with stacks of them in front of me, waiting for me to bite into them, with my other hand grabbing one of my boobs, closed eyes and a generally pleasurable facial expression.
I think this entry is going to help me kind of organize the way that I want to verbally support my painting when the moment comes for that, on Monday.
Hunger is very prevalent in my life, I am always forseeing or looking forward to the next time that I'm going to eat, thinking about what I'm going to eat and how delicious it's going to be. I'm done with the last meal of the day and the rest of the time, before I go to bed, I think about what I'm going to eat for breakfast and how delicious it's going to be. Lately, and for a while now, I've become anxious in a way that I want to eat although I'm not hungry.
And so, I'm done eating, but I'd be quite happy if I could just be eating all the time.
The aspect of Lust that I wanted to get into the painting also has to do with ingesting, as when I'm physically attracted to somebody, I am much more interested in kissing them than anything else. I want to absorb them through my mouth and ingest them, I don't know much more than that, it's not a cannibal thing, I don't want to ACTUALLY eat them, but somehow have all of them in my mouth. Something like that.
I chose to do it in acrylic paint over paper, although I'm a drawing mayor and our teacher said it was ok for us to draw it. Everything is very specific for me, the colors, the gesture, there's actually other shit that I picture in the background: a pink wall with tiny little details in purple, like little pictures with their respective purple frames, a mirror of sorts with a purple frame. But I had no time or patience for> The acrylics are quite unforgiving, but I actually really like the strokes being visible, there is that expressionist feel to the painting and I like it. I also like how cartoony she turned out, how the head and hands are super big.

I don't know what it's titled, the term "gluttonous lust" comes to mind sometimes, but I find that extremely boring, so I just refer to it as "the glutton" or "gluttony", none of them are the title, though. Either way, here is one my first assignments, or projects, as the teacher refers to these paintings that we'll have to do throughout the semester with her.

I find myself in the New York Academy of Art, I'm on the fourth floor, Studio number seven. If you'd like to set up a studio visit, do not hesitate to let me know. Write to me:
You can and should also write to me there if you're interested in buying some of my work, 'cuz it's for sale and stuff.

And also, don't forget my facebook page, which you should like and share with your friends: Gabriela Handal Arte

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hermes and his legs

Today, i had cast drawing, my teacher's name is Roberto Osti. We drew with charcoal and white chalk over tone paper.
The purpose of today's work was to use the tone of the paper for the midtones and to incorporate that with the highlights and the shadows, shadow mass and light mass.
Although i really like how this looks, it is incorrectly done, because i haven't grasped how to use the tone of the paper for the midtones. My teacher demonstrated a little bit with the sphere that you see there on my paper and on Hermes' hat, but i still kind of haven't grasped that. I'll see if i can make it work for the assignment, in which we have to choose another cast and work on it in the same way.
I find Hermes' pose to be beautiful, i like the sculpture entirely, his body, his face, the fabrics and the stump of tree upon which he sits. I set up some almost overhead lighting, because overhead lighting is awesome.

So this is my monday morning class, this is what i was able to do in just under three hours of class.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Before and after

Today i finished a drawing that i titled "implied", basically because, at first, she was just a bunch of implied lines. When id'd first put the sketch down, i wasn't sure wether i was finished or not, then i decided to work more on her until today.
I used a bic pen, a zebra pen and some acrylic paint, and i worked on two pieces of reused paper, that i taped together. I made a little vignette for her just now and she's up on my studio entrace to show off!
Here you can see her when i put the sketch down and finished, i love seeing the comparisson!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Starving artist/art student

I find myself currently enrolled in the New York Academy of Art's MFA program.
It took me a while to find this school and I don't remember how I stumbled into it's program, somewhere on the internet, probably, but I found it and I started in August.

I liked the program, because of how hands-on and manual it is, there is drawing for the most part and the study of the human figure, which are the two things that I like most.

Here is a picture of the work that I have up in my studio, some of it personal, some of it things that I've done in class, like the bust of Zeus.
I'm on the fourth floor, Studio #7, if you want to come by and set up a studio visit ('cuz I HAS a studio now, after all) by all means let me know and if you are interested in buying anything from me, let me know, too!
Also, I'm on the verge of setting up an Etsy shop, so you'd be able to buy from me from there, too! I'm such a diligent little bee sometimes.
Do remember my Facebook page: Gabriela Handal Arte

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Two faces

I finished these two drawings yesterday, using a bic pen over paper.
Right now, I find myself in a place with very dry air and I think that's something that has assisted me a little bit in achieving this smoothness.

For this first drawing, the words "Terráqueo Facial" work as a title of sorts. Looking at her there's something of a globe, with the landscapes and divisions, so her face reminds me of a globe.

This second one started out as a note for a dream that I remembered, it had none of the swirls, no facial features, no mouth, no nose. I just wanted to recreate the pose in the dream and something specific that was happening and once that was out of my head, I decided to make her into almost exactly what you see here, specially the swirly things on her hair.
To me, she's kind of an illustration of a story. Or like the when the first letter of a story that is very ornately illustrated and decorated, or a mixture of both.

Also, something of an update on my page in Facebook, I have now made the handle into this:, so now it's even easier to share! So, don't you forget to like it and share it with your friends: Gabriela Handal Arte

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Two things

Two things have happened this week, among other things.

1. I finished "Dracula Vampira", after a long time of her waiting for me. I went through a short period where I was working a lot on her and very quickly, then I just stopped. This period went on for some days, I think, it wasn't very long at all.
It was very impulsive, I think and I had made the choice of going at her with the acrylic paint, which I find very intimidating by default.
So this last week, I decided to stop sucking on my thumb and that it was time to finish her and I did. Same tools, acrylic over paper, I had the background pending and her shoulders, I hadn't really decided wether I was even going to take the time with that, because I loved/love her face so much; but I kind of like it looking like she has her body and how it also looks like there's some movement to her. I feel like if I could see her entire body, she would be taking a step towards the viewer. Or some sort of alien movement, movement fit for a creature that looks only partially human.
When we were at Finca Drácula, one of our hosts (who is also the scientist and geneticist that is in charge of taking care of the orchids) told us that the orchids actually use the humans and somehow make it so that they WANT to take care of them and do the fertilization and all these things. I see some of this in the painting.
So, yes, she's 18 x 24 inches, and is titled after the mascot of Finca Drácula, the Drácula Vampira orchid, which is where I did the artistic residency last year. Hence her title and the color pattern on her face.

2. This is another one of the drawings that has occurred in Javier Medina Bernal's book "Hemos caminado siglos esta madrugada". As I mentioned in the previous entry, I am having an affair of sorts with the book and so I posed the question: "if my lover is a book, then how can I kiss him?".
The drawing is also in on the page with the least amount of words in the whole book, I think, and my favorite line of the book: "Llueve y yo regreso.".
After working on it for a little while I noticed how the lines were very lose and quick and it reminded me of A-ha's video "Take on me", where peole turn into sketchy drawings and back into regular humans, for the cartoon guy and the girl to be able to be together.

Javier has a facebook page: Javier Medina Bernal and he also has a blogspot blog AND he also happens to make and write gorgeous music, you can find him in iTunes.

Also, do not forget my facebook page, which you should like and share with your friends, because the more the merrier: Gabriela Handal Arte

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


There's something about literature sometimes.
Between yesterday and today, I had an urge to illustrate a book that I've read three times and I'm in the middle of reading it a fourth time. It's a book by Javier Medina Bernal, titled "Hemos caminado siglos esta madrugada", it sits between my elbows as I type down this entry.
Sometimes it just sits on my drawing table, other times it sits on my night table, before I picked it up yesterday to read it, I hadn't touched it or thought of it for days. Somehow the book courts me and we are having an affair.

It's a small book, it's short and thin, with thin and white pages, the paperback is red. The title by default gets me, when night falls (the few times that I've stayed up late or all night) time seems to stop completely.
The orange streetlights, the stars and the moon if she's out make everything seem like a dream. And there is a dreamlike quality in what's written within the book.

For a reason that is unknown to me, I decided to draw on the book. I guess because the words are scattered across the pages, as poetry sometimes is and several pages are almost entirely white, with not more than ten words on them.

So today, I show off two drawings that I've made between yesterday and today and the passages on them.

On these two pages we have:
"Colonia mía, esclava mía,
guardiana y
condenada y niña libre mía y
sólo mía,
emergen de tu pecho raras señales de miedo
y lágrimas.
Todo se junta.
O sea, las cosas se abalanzan desde frentes varios,
traen estallido y grito,
bolsas llenas de hormigas"

I've read this specific passage approximately one million times, because I freaking love it: "Semejante reflexión debió haber sido lo suficientemente llana para darme cuenta de mi destino de eterno solitario rodeado de faldas, debí advertir pieles desnudas, rupturas, inconformidades, hijos por doquier, pensiones alimenticias, abandonos, lágrimas, cuerpos jadeantes, decepciones, bofetadas, promesas rotas, hogares rotos, ojos rotos"

So, this tiny little thing, with fragile white pages, thin red paperback has stolen my attention from a lot of work that I'm supposed to be doing, work that is waiting patiently for me to finish it. In an impulse yesterday, I decided to draw on the book. Maybe I'm using it as an excuse to put off work, but like my man Trent sings: "you know me, I can't help myself".

Javier has a website: Javier Medina Bernal. He also happens to write and make gorgeous music.

And don't forget my page, either: Gabriela Handal

Saturday, June 22, 2013


This is the second time that I experiment with using the remainders of carton that I've used to frame drawings, to make new and irregular frames.
This is the first one

This second one, I really like how it turned out, as well. Maybe even more.
In this case, it's even more of an experiment, because I didn't use any additional paper to protect the back of the drawing and I didn't use any tape on the back of the supporting paper. The drawing is basically, being held by the pieces of carton, it's kind of floating in there. And, in the back, my business card. I'm going to have this at work tomorrow, for sale at ten dollars.

So, thank you for reading, this is all for now! Please don't forget to like my Facebook page and share it with your friends: Gabriela Handal Arte
See you next time!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The painting that I'm going to write about today, has no title. I started it over one of the two canvases that I put together the wood for, cut it and stuck it together and put the fabric on them. This canvas and "Arcoiris Autopsia" are so far rarities, because of their size, they're both 4 x 4 feet, work that I've willingly done at that size.

So, I'd started this painting some months back, got only so far in sketching part and I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do to it, I think I know that I wanted it to be fast and watery, definitely fast. It then occurred to me to do it, kind of like the painting I did for "Vendetta Audiovisual", which I did in layers, from lighter colors to darker colors.
I used orange to sketch, then red and then purple and blue, and these are all light, relatively watery layers, so that they can show.
I decided I'd do something similar with this one and, maybe today, I decided I would only use primary colors again.
And so, she happened.
I like her facial expression, in general. I think I see some sort of anger or resentment, she looks at me and was looking at me, as I worked on her, even while she waited for me to work on her, she had this same stare. Of a creature or a beast, not entirely human, there is some hostility. It actually reminded me, for moments, of the work of Mario Benjamin, because sometimes she has precisely that angry and resentful stare. There is some violence in her and in the brushstrokes.
There's a lot of paint on a couple of spots, I did make it so that it was clunky and pasty, although I'm not a really big fan of texture.

So, anyway, here are some progress shots and the end result.

So, yes. No title for this piece that I finished today, don't forget my Facebook page, which I pay much more attention to, than any other of these social media type things: Gabriela Handal Arte

Thank you for reading and see you next time!

Monday, June 10, 2013

"Contemporary art is a farce"

El arte contemporáneo es una farsa

Me gustan las declaraciones sencillas y verídicas.
I like it when a statement is poignant and simple.

I guess finding familiarity in this article makes me some kind of art elitist, although I try my best to not judge and to vocalize it when I see a work of art that looks like bullshit to me. I hesitate long and hard, before going to an art exhibit, because I'm quite sure that I won't like what I see, I don't like most contemporary art. I don't GET performances and installations. My personal definition of "art" is in a way obsolete and old-fashioned, because I generally consider "art" something on a canvas, drawings, paintings, sculptures. And even then, a drawing, a painting or a sculpture, might just not feel like art to me, because it looks like absolutely no work was put into it, it looks arbitrary, something that was done to kill time.

HOWEVER, I also think that I don't really know what art is, I've been asked this question before. "Art" is a very wide and vague term, so wide and vague, that almost anything can be called "art". Does this put a damper on art? How can we put the canned shit of that Italian artist next to the David? Next to the Monalisa? Is that fair? Is canned shit really entitled to be called "art", just as much as a painting by Dalí? These cans of shit have been in Sotheby's and fucking museums, how dare you question their validity as art? Artist's shit in Wikipedia, so you know that I ain't blowing smoke up yo ass.

The article talks about ready mades, Marcel Duchamp's doing. I used to hate this guy, because he's the one that made ready mades happen, that's what started on art being what it is now, but I saw his work, his paintings and I liked them and I reconciled myself with him. He just happened to have something else in mind.

I will be the last one to say that something that somebody took the time to produce is bullshit, because I'm nobody to question wether it's genuine or not. I'm nobody to say, this is the work of some old, filthy fucking rich lady, that was bored, 'cuz her husband don't spend enough time with her and thought she's get dirty with some paint. This is the work of a spoiled fucking mamma's boy that can't decide what he is in life, so he is now an "artist", because we're all so fucking eccentric and directionless, drunks, drug using pieces of shit, you goddamn son of a bitch.
I don't know wether whoever found real solace and comfort in producing that which looks like nothing but an accidental spill of paint to me. I have no right.
I'm nobody to question it and there is also absolutely no way to know, wether it's genuine or not. Nobody can say they can.

On the other hand, I also think the ones that say they can tell, like the art critics are full of fucking shit the great majority of the time and it ties in with what I just wrote above. Art is a very personal, subjective and relative thing.
You not liking a piece of art, doesn't make it shit and it doesn't make it mean nothing, SOMEBODY loves that thing which you hate.
Moreover, basically because of what I was writing just now, an art critic has no way of knowing what a piece of art means or how it's going to impact society in the future or anything. An art critic can't say "add this, take this away and your work is going to be completely different". Art, I think, is also very instinctive and complex and sometimes it just doesn't have an explanation. And I love that the article validates that for me, too. I have no explanation for the pieces that I produce, very seldom I do, and I don't think them having an explanation is going to determine wether they're great or not. It's very common, when I read the pamphlets in an art exhibit, all of this SHIT, about society and how this piece of work criticizes society, because society is crap and everyone is full of shit and boring things that make me want to shoot myself.
If you really need to spew all of this to make your work mean something, there will be something off for me.

On the other other hand, I do think there is such a thing as going too far, I do think it's easy for performances and installations to be iffy and it's easy to go from I will change this lightbulb in my room to "oh, man, THE LIGHT, I painted my room with new light, all I had to do was change this lightbulb and my whole fucking world has changed, I will call this "the light of life", my new performance, I will charge people to come see me do this over and over again". "I am combing my hair, my hair comes out of my head, I have thoughts in my head, I am untangling the thoughts that come out of my head and they tangle themselves again, OH GOD MY SOUL, this is a performance right here". But performances and installations are also considerably new things, and they have to go through their own evolution and they have a right to exist.

I have attempted to take part in performances and installations, I've done a performance/installation, only that one, so far and I did enjoy it, doing it, I enjoyed myself, I like what resulted of it. It was titled "Drifter" and there was an explanation for it and everything, I don't feel like less of an artist for having done it and I don't regret it.

What does this article say about me? I've been referring to myself as a visual artist for several years now, do I feel exempt from what the article says? I've read the article twice, once yesterday, when it came to my attention and once today. Yesterday, I felt upset, because of what I was just now writing about art critics and art criticism; today I find some truth in it.
But, really, who says that what I do is good art or not? Me? Just because I spend hours drawing and painting, does that by default make my work good? Am I entitled to call myself an artist? I don't know, man.
I try to be faithful to myself and what I really want to do, I try my best so that when I'm done with a piece that I legitimately like it and I am sincerely happy with it. And that's about as much as I can do. That and generally keep my opinion to myself about the work of other people.
Or something like that.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Eyes and eyes

Usually, when I draw something, I will start with an eye. I don't know why this is and I don't question it. The few other times when I don't draw an eye, it's when I do the abstracts in which the exercise is to not draw anything.

Sometime last week, I think, I found some small canvases and I decided to put them to good use and make some very quick and simple eye paintings on the with acrylic paint. And I did one with black and another one in blue and black.
These are them:

And between yesterday and today, I produced these smaller two, in more color. It's also acrylic paint on canvas.
For these, I did not allow myself to use black, not even for the pupil, as I usually do and I had the objective of only using primary colors to work with, so all the colors you see there are mixed from blue, red and yellow. I did allow myself the use of white. I like the spattered and watery look of these two, how around the eyes it's sketchy and as it goes nearer the pupil, stuff is kind of more neat, with finer brushstrokes.
Specifically, the one with the red iris, because on that one I purposely left part of the canvas in white. I remember there's this artist, whose name I don't remember, I saw a painting of his, where the canvas is only half painted with some very rough brushstrokes where the canvas begins to get white and the portrait very neatly painted.

It was very very challenging and somewhat frustrating, but only because acrylic still dries out so fast for me.
I have to say though, I'm working much better with acrylic paint, I've found myself WANTING to use it and turning to it, when I want to paint something quickly.
So these little paintings, I think are something of a study, the first two a study of acrylic paint in general and the second two, a study of acrylic paint and color.
This is all for now, remember to like my Facebook page and share it with your friends: Gabriela Handal Arte
Thank you <3

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bic pen over paper

Back in the call center, I used to draw a ton in between calls or during calls, when I was doing the drawing classes, I´d draw something whilst the kids were doing whatever I´d assigned them and for a while now at the restaurant, I´ve been using the little papers where we write orders down to throw down little drawings.
I thought they´d look cute and elegant with a little carton frame and I framed the first couple ones that I did that night, put them up for sale at one dollar and they were gone before my shift was over.
I´ve been doing this for maybe a month now and I´ve found it very enjoyable and a sweet way to get some extra dough and get my work to circulate. Moreover, in the back, right smack in the middle, I put my card. Am I a fuckin´ genie at life or what?
The drawings have all been made with pen, most of them with a bic pen. And I´ve also been drawing a ton with bic pen.
I´ve also used Paper Mate and Pentel, my favorite one, though, is the bic, I think. The other two are kind of shiny in comparison when they dry.
EITHER WAY on to pictures of the drawings that I´ve been doing and some of them selling for ridiculous prices. I´ve got the objective of none of them going over ten dollars.
The middle picture is by the kids from Penniless From Panama, the picture is linked to their page in Facebook.
And this one here is one of the drawings that I´ve done not with the purpose of selling, only to show off, with a bic pen. It´s kind of a diptych, I guess, of Juan Diego Flórez as I drew him by parts, first drew his eye and the other side the lower half of his face and his hand. What a beautiful man.

I consider drawing a pretty portable method of producing work, but I´ve found the pen over paper even more portable. The pencil requires an eraser, a pencil sharpener (in my case, a fucking box cutter, ´cuz that´s what I use to sharpen my pencils), the kneading eraser, the mechanic erasers; with the pen and paper, I only need.. Well. A pen and paper.
So, I carry around my journal and several pens in my bag.
I´ve found myself missing drawing, so I´ve started a couple of drawings and I actually started one in the journal, but that will probably be a whole other blog entry.
Do remember to like my page in Facebook: Gabriela Handal Arte. Share it with your friends and invite/suggest it to your friends, ´cuz the more the merrier!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dracula Vampira again.

I want to show off another progress shot of "Dracula Vampira", just 'cuz I really like how she's looking.
I would like to reiterate that I started her sometime last year, after I returned from Conexión Drácula, an artistic residency here in Panama. I had an image of her, as the residency came to an end, I think, but I was really iffy about what medium to paint her in.
I had started out with watercolors, because I'm usually more comfortable with them, but in the last couple of months, I've really gone in with acrylic paints, specially when I painted that cartoon portrait of Trent. Here's the entry: A Demon Possessed. I painted it with acrylics, because they dry so fast.
I'm actually really glad that I'm beginning to work with them, they're clearly a super versatile medium, but they require a lot of learning. At least, for me, because they dry so fast, I'm so used to being really comfortable with how slowly the oil paints dry and the nice degradations and blendings I can make with them.

So, yeah, here's a progress shot.

I was trying to work with some colored pencils yesterday, because I feel like I have more control with that; but I've kept working with acrylic paints, trying to tread carefully.

Gabriela Handal Arte - Facebook page. Like it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dracula Vampira

I've taken this piece up again after a really long time, maybe a year? I don't know.
I felt/feel intimidated in the sense that I want to go in with medium that dilutes in water, as in acrylic and watercolor, and these are not my strengths; and I really like how she looks and I don't want to mess it up, so I'm trying to tread carefully.
She's titled "Dracula Vampira", because the pattern on her skin is based on the orchid of the same name and it's kind of the personification of that orchid. I knew of this orchid, with the residency that I did last year, this piece is kind of a consequence of that residency

I've applied all that heavy shadow with dioxazin purple, a color that I really like and I don't know where I'm going to go now, wether I'll finish it off with acrylics or get some colored pencil or watercolor in there.

Either way, yeah.
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Demon Possessed

"A Demon Possessed" is the title of an image that I stumbled upon in my tumblr. My tumblr is NSFW if you're one of those that needs that type of warning.

This is the image:

I have no idea who the original artist is, at least not yet, I've only been able to find out that it's the cover of a very rare Nine Inch Nails album called "A Demon Possessed".
So, yes, I stumbled upon it sometime last year, maybe, and I knew it was good. But my crush on Trent Reznor goes in waves, it recedes and then it comes back like a tsunami and it is currently wreaking havoc. I don't mind. I stumbled upon this image again and now I just can't get over what an absolutely great cartoon/illustration/portrait it is.
I am mesmerized by it, by how it retains his features and facial expression so well, whilst still being a cartoon and accentuating just the perfect things. Trent's nose, his mouth, that PERFECT cupid's bow.
And the facial expression, he is somehow smiling, pouting and relaxed, all at the same time.
The finish of it, I have no idea what medium was used, it could just as well be oils, acrylics or watercolors; but that is a great finish.
The whole image is appropriate and fitting of a demon, the stare.
The thing is that I started drawing it on my art journal with a Bic pen and then decided I wanted to finish it off and I did with acrylic paints.
So here is the end result

I am quite proud of myself, I have to say. I didn't want to exactly reproduce the original, but I did want to feel like I captured the general expression of it. I did also want to make it as similar as possible.

When I muse about things in my head, in this case, I don't want to/refuse to use the word "copy" and I continue to not want to use it; although, by definition, I guess it somehow is.
I guess I disagree with it, because that's not how it feels to me. To me, attempting this specific reproduction feels like admiration and respect for the author of the piece. Some kind of love, maybe even worship, towards the image and the subject in the image.
I also remember in university, we did the exercise of reproducing pieces of the masters as a form of study. I find no shame in being inspired by something, whatever that might be, and I think it was Oscar Wilde: "Imitation is the highest form of flattery".
In tumblr I've also found a lot of other things I've felt compelled to somehow reproduce. I don't know why I seem to be so preoccupied with that this time around, if I've done it before.
I think it's much more important that one gives credit when it's due.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Gabriela Miscelánea

"Gabriela Miscelánea" is the name of my third individual art exhibit. It is currently happening at El Manchego restaurant, it's open to the public until February, 15th.
El Manchego opens from Monday to Saturday, as of six in the afternoon and they serve tapas and wines. It is a very cozy joint and it really lends itself, to just sitting there and hanging out, let the traffic of rush hour rush by, whilst you're sitting there sipping on wine. I don't drink wine and that's exactly what I think of, when I think of that place.

The art exhibit is called "miscellaneous", because there is no specific theme that brings all the pieces togehter, it is several themes in the pieces that are in the exhibit and, other than that, what joins the everything together, is that it's all drawings, pieces over paper and that I'm the author behind them.

Here are some pictures that I took this week of the exhibit. I was forced to move the category "heroínas y antiheroínas" into the portfolio next to the bar, so the great majority of the pieces are now in there.

1. Most of the drawings are in this portfolio, next to the bar. Feel free to carefully flip through the pages and to leave me something in the guestbook

2. These four drawings, in the category "Feelings" are drawings that I'd never shown before. They are surprisingly personal drawings and I had a hard time deciding wether to put them up or not.

3. These three drawings are all made with a Bic pen over paper, their category is "Bic Misc.".

4. This drawing, specifically, is made with Colleen colored pencils and the Bic pen, it is possibly my favorite of the three. He's titled "Demons get all the girls". I love his facial expression and his stare, his features in general and I'm also quite proud of how well the horns turned out.

5. I put my two steampunk themed drawings up, this is one of them, she's titled "Vox". Her trip is that her wind pipe's been replaced with some boom box like parts and she has some crank machine arms opening her throat to expose her new windpipe.

6. The is the second steampunk themed drawing. She's titled "Steampunk Light", it's a woman with very idealized/stylized body and limbs. Her neck requires the assistance of a little brace. She has unusually long arms and fingers, one of her very delicate hands holds some sort of magnifying glass.

Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but blogger has changed it's picture format thing into something similar to Facebook's, now, if you click on the pictures they pop up bigger and they go from one to the next, like a slide show, as you click on them.

So, yes, this is my third art exhibit, you really should go. You should really buy some of my work and you should really sit down and have some wine and tapas.

Don't forget my Facebook page, like it and share it, it really is where you go to keep updated with my work: Gabriela Handal Arte

Other than that, thanks a lot for reading and see you next time!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Picture of "Ojos de Búho" and close up of the little sea landscape.

And two more things:
1. My facebook page, that you gotta like and share with all yo' friendz: Gabriela Handal Arte
2. I'm having an individual art exhibit that opens on the 16th of January at Restaurante El Manchego. Here is the event in Facebook, but we're still fine tuning a couple of things and there will be new information coming on it, but you gotta go: Exhibición: Gabriela Miscelánea
Thank you for reading and I hope your holidays and your New Year were absolutely fantastic!