Through Concentrated Breath

the making of images from memory

Category Archives for: ReyA’

The Generation of an Image

19 July 2016 by Rey Armenteros

Here we have textbook steps for a painting; this is textbook in the traditional sense, which is something that rarely happens in my work.

Buddha 1

This began with a rudimentary drawing.

Buddha 2

The drawing developed a bit more before going into color.

Buddha 3

In this case, before introducing the colors, I placed more gesso over the drawing to allow for later transparent washes of color.

Buddha 4

Textures were added for still more washes of color.

Buddha 5

With a return to drawing, I further cut into the forms, refining them a bit by using lines. There were no opaque painting in this one.

This image, like all my images, is from memory. It was done with the Great Kamakura Buddha in mind, which I had seen twice when I lived in Japan. I did it in 2012, and looking at it now, I clearly see where this falls short (on all manner of levels, including the fact that it has only some remote resemblance to the real one). I will say that I did have a slightly different way of entering paintings in those days (notwithstanding these steps), and it was more of a purist, hit or miss approach, where in this case, I got the essence (or structure) without getting the details, without really getting the subtlety. I may explain this better one day.

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Worth Another Shot or Not

31 May 2016 by Rey Armenteros

SKINS 2_0012

There was a drawing in an ad for a comic book that was just the type of drawing I didn’t like. I could tell the guy could draw, but it was scratchy – scribbly crosshatching coupled with thick, tapered lines. It was so sketchy, I couldn’t tell if it were a girl or a boy (most likely a girl), and she was propping her chin with one hand, holding her head in profile, while holding a flute with the other.

I was in my early teens, and it’s funny how many times in life you hate something and later rediscover how wrong you were. A year or two later, I found myself compelled by this drawing, in love with it, never letting it go! Years after that, with no access to the drawing, I would try to bring it back together. With a pen, I would try to recreate what was there, in my memory. It would never come close, but I would focus on different aspects of it with each failure, like the nature of the scribbling line on my third attempt or the exact turn of the head on my fifth one. That turn of the head was originally from a lower angle looking up. And I would try it again.

That is what I’ve done here, but this time in paint. But what I have here is something that is not even in the same hemisphere of methodology and treatment, what with the color wet-into-wet and my own brand of strokes creating a weave all my own and nothing like that one from memory – of an image that no longer resounds with the same poignancy, but still worth another shot.

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Emulating a Doodle

02 May 2016 by Rey Armenteros

Using a brush to make marks like a pen. Using paint instead of ink. Bringing out the idea of a doodle onto a skin of paint rather than a scrap piece of paper and putting down one image after another, as if I were still at the back of the class, jotting things in my notebook. This little thing was an exercise in emulation. I don’t know if there’s enough here to justify emulation (when using the simply natural tools would be better), but it was fun.


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Another Living Room Moment

26 April 2016 by Rey Armenteros

Why show this? I don’t know. It was nothing more than me trying paraline perspective in a room in my dad’s home. I added my dad in the corner, but he’s not coming under the paraline rules, almost like an objective bystander. He’s an outsider, floating above the room, delineated by thick lines that no longer hold him together. Paraline, as a diagrammatic handling of reality, succumbs here to the standard rules of perspective, here and there, wherever I forgot the rigid rules. Theoretically, a paraline drawing can run forever, if you have enough drawing surface, like the diagrams in assembly instructions and eye trickery. I’d like to try this again and make it work this time.

SKINS 2_0008

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Pure Memory

08 January 2016 by Rey Armenteros

SKINS 2_0002

This is from pure memory, but what does that mean? To me, it could be something as simple as I got this out of my head. But since this is the way I always work, I know there are facets to it most of us take for granted. For example: This is a general memory from my dad’s living room, and there was no doubt a lamp where you see it, but if that lamp looked exactly like that one you see in the picture is highly doubtful. I had to make it up in most places because I simply do not recall. His face, on the other hand, is from whatever I could bring back from direct memory, which is also spotty. There are also points where this picture has taken embellishments because there comes a point to most paintings and drawings where you try to make it clearer or closer to the goal you set out for it.

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From Recent Memory

06 November 2015 by Rey Armenteros

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Our daughter went through a stage where she would suddenly yell for as long and as loud as she could. I tried to bring those days back in this. It looks nothing like her, and it feels nothing like such moments, but I like the drawing nonetheless.

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Diptych Breakdown

01 November 2015 by Rey Armenteros


Bewilderment is what took hold of me when I was looking at my own paintings exhibited like this. I was part of a group show, and the organizers assured me that they understood that the two panels were supposed to go together. Though I didn’t tell them anything at the closing reception because the show was on its last days, I couldn’t understand how they got it wrong. The space in between the two panels was large enough to hang another painting, and not visible in the picture is the fact that the left panel is creeping into the corner of the wall, which was dangerously close to an image in the show that was exhibited at 45 degrees from that corner. Why anyone would ever hang these two panels like this is beyond me, especially when they knew it was intended to be a diptych (or two-part painting). Without mentioning the show or the organization, (or the several other problems I had with them), I can say it is not likely I will work with them again. The image below is the diagram I gave them when I first submitted.

Of Dancing Trees & Collapsing Towers2

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Another Two-Part Sequence

23 October 2015 by Rey Armenteros

This is somebody who occasionally shows up in my doodles. He has a pliable face, especially when he is smoking. I came up with him when we first moved to LA. In that respect, he is a few years old. He is uglier than sin, and for that reason, I enjoy drawing him.

Taking the Drag



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A Two-Part Sequence

11 October 2015 by Rey Armenteros

It is time to be free. The big shows of recent months are behind me. I’m searching, searching – probing new ideas. Very little has changed in my art, but I’ve been thinking in sequences, taking an image and making it relate with at least one other one. Here is a two-part sequence.

Exhale Taking a Drag

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