Monday, December 31, 2012

The Last Forgotten Memory

"Train Ride" 30"x30"
It's the last day of 2012 and how appropriate is it that I finish the last "Forgotten Memories" painting today also? I started the series in January of 2009 and it has now been four good years of painting. I remember that first painting being such a break through for me. After years of struggling to find my voice, I had finally found something that was inspiring me to paint, while also challenging me artistically. It was a series that got me into many galleries and got my name out there in the art world. But, now it's time for some new challenges and inspiration.

I have a ton of ideas of what I want to do. I want to expand on the "Forgotten Memories" concept but whereas before I left the story up to the viewer, this time I want to create my own narrative. I'm not sure exactly how I will accomplish this, I have a bunch of ideas that I need to play with still, some of which I played with earlier this year.

I will admit that I am a bit scared of this new challenge. Change is scary. What if no one likes what I paint? What if my galleries no longer want to show my work? It's so easy to fall back on what's familiar and what has worked, but if I am to grow as an artist, I need to push myself. 2013 is the year of change and new inspiration for me. It's going to be a scary few months while I get my bearings on what I want to do and how to do it, I just hope I am up for the challenge. Wish me luck!

I found the reflection of this painting to be quite challenging.
The reflection wasn't exactly a mirror image and in some areas, I
had to guess at what I was painting. I am happy with the
results though.

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Yaaay!" Underpainting

I am currently working on two different paintings at the same time. "Yaaay!" is tentatively the name of the newest piece and when you see it, you'll understand the title. It's such a happy piece, which feels like such a contradiction to how I am feeling right now in wake of the Connecticut shootings today. It is such a sad day... Something needs to be done because the way things are now is obviously not working. As a teacher, some-day parent, and a human being, my heart breaks for those affected by this. That is all I will say on this because you really don't need to hear me rant. This is not the place for that.

Here are the two latest paintings in progress:
The panel is 30"x30"

And here's the painting I started earlier this week:

This is a small piece...16"x16"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Time Flies...Another Underpainting

I started this piece about two hours ago thinking that I would just work out the faces and call it a day. The faces were kind of complicated to figure out since they merge into each other. I got the faces figured out and then decided that I would just add the bottle and THEN call it a day. Well once I got done with the bottle, it didn't seem to hard to add in the body of the topless guy. Next thing I knew, most of this underpainting was done. Sometimes that's how it goes. I get so engrossed in a painting and next thing I know, most of it is complete. Now this one still needs some work on the underpainting, and frankly, had the paint around the blank spaces not been super wet, those areas would have been done too. I usually work from left to right, since I am right handed and if I don't, I end up with paint smeared all over me and my painting. This time since I was ONLY going to work on the face, and then added other elements, I kind of worked the piece from all different directions. I decided to leave it as is so that I wouldn't destroy what I did today by resting my hand on wet paint. This will have to be completed another day.

This is on a 16"x16" panel. I find the image to be very sweet.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pigeons and Underpaintings

I just finished another underpainting and I am starting to feel like this stage is my favorite part of the painting process. I like starting with a rough sketch of a painting and making the image "appear". It's almost like magic least it feels like it to me. Sometimes I am amazed at what comes out and how fast it happens. This is the stage where I make all of my major decisions about composition, while in the later stages I am refining. It is the beginning of my "relationship" with a painting, and it's usually during this phase that I either fall in love with the piece, or decide that it's not worth the effort. Like I said, it's my favorite part and I sometimes have to fight the urge to just start a bunch of pieces, painting that first layer, and not going back to complete the piece. It's a good thing I am more disciplined than that, otherwise I would have a studio filled with half completed work!

This is my latest piece...once again, a person is feeding a pigeon. This is the second piece where someone is feeding a pigeon. I guess back then they weren't considered the filthy creatures that are thought of to be today. Happier times back then, I guess...

The underpainting (aka the fun part) is done!

The final piece is 24"x24".

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Gallery, New Painting Started

My kids are taking a pre-calculus test right now, which means I have time to write a blog post. It seems that lately, I am only inspired to write when I am giving a test. Something about thirty kids all using every ounce of brain power to do math seems to inspire me to write about art, weird huh? Or perhaps it is just the quiet classroom and being surrounded by nervous tension that allows me to think long enough to write. Regardless, here I am, finally writing another blog post.

Good news: The Christopher Hill Gallery, in St. Helena, California will now be showing my work! They saw my work recently in an art blog and decided it would be perfect for their new gallery in Healdsburg, which just opened a little over a week ago, in addition to the St. Helena location. This past Staurday, Ben and I visited the new location and were very impressed with what we saw. The gallery was HUGE, with exposed brick walls and ceilings that seem to never end. I am so very excited to be showing my work there!

Christopher Hill Gallery in Healdsburg, CA

Who's that sexy man walking around the gallery? Why yes, that's my husband, Ben.

Amanda Myers from Christopher Hill Gallery

Look how tiny my pieces look! The larger piece is 30"x30" too. Guess I'll need to paint
larger! I can't wait to see where my art will be hung....

 Now that I have a new gallery, I really need to get my ass in gear and start painting again. It's been hard to focus these past three months. I have only been painting about ten hours a week, which just isn't going to cut it. Yesterday was the first time I felt like I was back into my regular groove. I painted for a good five hours and managed to start and complete the underpainting of a brand new piece! I feel like my old self again and I am ready to paint up a storm. Just in time too since I need to get a bunch of new pieces done for these new galleries.
I love this image of older ladies doing their water exercises. This is definitely
one of my favorite images and was so fun to paint!

This photo was actually a color photograph. I am thinking I may
need to do a color version of this at some point.

The panel is 40"x30"

Friday, November 9, 2012

Time for Change

Change is hard, we all know that, but sometimes it is a necessary evil in order to get what you want. Change can be a catalyst. It may not always seem like a good idea, or be something we want to happen, but change can force us to make things happen. This, at least, was my thinking when I quit my teaching job two years ago.

Cecilia Welden with her beautiful new copper paintings.
 I needed to shake things up in order to force myself to make some moves towards advancing my career. It wasn't going to happen while I was making a comfortable living teaching math in the suburbs. I needed to make myself uncomfortable and force myself to rely on my art in order to survive. By doing this, I would be forced to sell more art, promote myself with vigor, and get into as many galleries as possible, because if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to eat of pay my bills. It worked. In the nine months I was a full-time artist I got my work into at least nine galleries and my career started to take off. Now, life happens, and as many of you know, I went back to teaching because of the health benefits, but I am working part-time and my art career is my first priority, as it should have always been.

My favorite piece of Cecilia's.
Making that sort of change is scary. Your livelihood is dependant on your job so when a person goes and quits it for a career filled with giant IFs (IF I sell this painting...IF I get into that gallery...etc.), it's going to be stressfull and takes a lot of bravery.

Recently I caught up with my artist friend, Cecilia Welden, at her Hunter's Point studio in San Francisco. I was very happy to see her new work. Previously she had been working with encaustics, making beautiful atmosphric paintings using rich colors. Her new work is a departure from this. She is currently working on copper panels and using a patina to create her images in the metal. The effects are stunning.

One more painting from Cecilia.
While I was visiting with her, I also learned that Cecilia had decided to take the plunge. She was going to be a full-time artist and put all of her efforts into promoting and producing her art. What an amazing and SCARY adventure she is starting! But I have to say that if anyone has the drive, talent, and brains to do this, it's Cecilia. With her new series she is already getting a lot of attention. Now that she is focusing on her art full-time, I am sure the series will go even farther. Having the time to hone your craft and get it out there is a major component of building an art career. Now that Cecilia will be doing this full-time, I am sure you will be hearing about her work a lot more.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Made In Slant Review of "Candid Moments"

By Eyeswoon, on November 6th, 2012

"The Photographer" by Jhina Alvarado
A great candid shot captures the unplanned moment of someone’s emotions, be it joy, tears, or embarrassment. Using oil and encaustic on wood panel, San Francisco Bay Area artist Jhina Alvarado re-interprets vintage photos from a past generation. With a masterful eye, Alvarado finds the shared or secret moment in a source photo and reveals the long forgotten story in her paintings. By blocking out the character’s eyes, the artist allows the viewer to enter her work with their own memories. Is that my Mom with her friends on the beach? Is that Aunt Mary with someone who does not look like Uncle Frank?

Currently “Candid Moments” by Jhina Alvarado is showing at ArtHaus in San Francisco. In the gallery’s press release, Alvarado says, “I paint these images on wood panels using a considerable amount of white space, cropping the images from their environments, creating a sense of unbalance and emphasizing the need to focus on the individual’s memory, rather than the whole picture. The painting is then covered in encaustic wax to add and antique photo and dream-like feel.”

“Candid Moments” is open for viewing at ArtHaus through December 29, 2012.

You can view this review here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yareah Magazine Review of "Candid Moments" and More!

Jhina Alvarado paintings at ArtHaus Gallery. Yareah magazine review

Jhina Alvarado paintings at ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco.

Candid Moments, a different exhibition in San Francisco, with paintings by Jhina Alvardo. Today on Yareah magazine. Review by Isabel del Rio.
Jhina Alvarado. 'Critical Observation' 36x36. Courtesy of ArtHaus Gallery
Jhina Alvarado. ‘Critical Observation’ 36×36. Courtesy of ArtHaus Gallery
Precisely, yesterday I was watching a TV series about Kennedy (casting by Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes) when a melancholic feeling invaded me. Those dresses, those houses, they remembered me my childhood… Time! A place where I’d like to return. Time! A place where I wouldn’t return anymore. Causalities? Maybe, but today I’ve received some paintings by Jhina Alvarado. Time again! The time of an artist trying to be universal, and this doesn’t mean famous in the coming years, but trying to encompass human nature, from our roots, our feelings and deepest wishes.
Jhina Alvarado. 'The Family' 24x24. Courtesy of ArtHaus Gallery
Jhina Alvarado. ‘The Family’ 24×24. Courtesy of ArtHaus Gallery

Jhina Alvarado uses a difficult technique. She paints oil and encaustic on panels. The result is a cinematic dream, a yellow photo of mythic icons of our childhood. Is she my mom in the ’60s, or your mom on the beach, or their mother smiling? Jhina Alvarado paints the archetypal mother, the mother of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The mother, the family and the person of every time. Because in the end, important moments are shared by everybody everywhere. Then, individual identities are inconsequential and the eyes of the protagonists are blocked out. Now, in Jhina Alvarado’s paintings, the eyes of the viewers are the new protagonists of a story beyond its environment, part of every environment, close to us, to our time, to another time… Universal.
Not surprise, Jhina Alvarado has been recently named one of the Top 20 Artists in San Francisco by Asterisk Magazine and different art galleries nationwide continue to clamor for her paintings and place her work with collectors.
Jhina Alvarado 'And the Winner Is'. Courtesy of ArtHaus Gallery
Jhina Alvarado ‘And the Winner Is’. Courtesy of ArtHaus Gallery
One of these prestigious galleries: ArtHaus is exhibiting Jhina Alvarado’s artwork from October 5 to December 29, 2012 ( ‘Candid Moments’, also on exhibit in the Main Gallery, BEST IN SHOW – a rotating exhibition of works by ArtHaus Gallery and Guest Artists, featuring works in various media by Carolyn Meyer, Patter Hellstrom, Maxine Solomon, Marc Lambrechts and Brian Blood.
If you have the opportunity, don’t miss this chance. Visit Jhina Alvarado’s current exhibition.
**ArtHaus is located at 411 Brannan Street in San Francisco. Gallery Hours are: Tuesday-Friday, 11am – 6pm and on Saturdays from Noon-5pm.
Phone: (415) 977-0223.
.You can also visit Jhina Alvarado web:

Check out the magazine here.

...and check out the San Francisco Chronicle, Pink Section of the the Sunday Paper:

But wait, there's more! Here's an installation shot of one of my paintings:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

LOLA Magazine: I'm an Illustrator!

I just received my copy of LOLA Magazine, a Brazilian fashion magazine, in the mail today! I knew they were going to use my art to illustrate one of their articles, but I had only seen the mock up for one page and assumed they were going to use only one painting. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they actually used THREE paintings!

The issue that my work is in.

BTW they did ask if it was okay to add some color to the pieces. I didn't see any problem with it.

In other news....Painting has been going slow for me at the moment. I am having a hard time motivating myself lately. I have at least twelve pieces due this month so I am hoping this will make me get back into the swing of things. I have just been so tired lately though....grrr.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Other People's Opinions

Often times on Facebook people will post quotes by famous artists about art. Often times it is inspiring, sometimes even funny. Here is a quote that I saw recently by Andy Warhol:

While I know that he is talking about not judging your own art and just making it, it also makes me think about how we shouldn't worry about what others think about our art too. Too many people are concerned with what others think. It's human nature. But when it comes to making art, you just need to do it and do it without worry about what others may say or think about it. You can't let other's opinions dictate what you do with your art, and you especially can't let them keep you from making art.

In a society where opinion seems to matter even more, it's hard to not let it affect you. Facebook alone allows people to "like" your comments, status updates, and pictures you post. How is it NOT hard to let that get to you?I know that when I post a work in progress or a just completed painting, I am constantly checking to see how many likes there are as if that is an indicator of whether or not the work is good (and if you ask me about this in person I will totally deny it!), and I am pretty confident about the quality of my work. I can't even imagine what it would be like for someone less confident or just begining to cultivate their skill and talent. BUT IT IS JUST AN OPINION. It shouldn't stop you from making art.

I know a woman who wanted to be an artist but was having a hard time getting started with even the first painting because she was worried about it not being a good piece. She was worried about what people would think of her work. She worried so much that she never painted. Now she could have been a great painter or a mediocre painter, but how would we ever know since SHE NEVER PAINTS. The fear of a negative opinion is keeping her from doing something she really wants to do and that is just ridiculous. Now, this is an extreme example, but I am sure most of us have had this experience to some degree in our lives at some point.

So what do we do? We keep our head down and keep working while realizing that we can't please everyone, and we shouldn't have to. It's hard not to worry what others may think about your art. I still get pretty upset when I hear something negative about my work, but then I realize that while some people may not like what I do, plenty of people do...and more importantly, I like what I do. Making art makes ME happy so really, the only opinion that should matter is my own.

Speaking of's what I have been working on lately:
This still needs a bit of work. It is for a friend who will be taking some new studio shots of me soon.
The painting is 10"x10".

This painting is 36"x36" and will be shown at JoAnne Artman Gallery in Laguna Beach.