I recently finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, a novel by Oscar Wilde published back in 1890 and it tells the story of Dorian, a good-natured young man until he discovers the power of his own exceptional beauty. As he gradually sinks deep into a frivolous, glamorous world of selfish luxury, he apparently remains physically unchanged by the stresses of his corrupt lifestyle and untouched by age. But up in his attic, hidden behind a curtain, his portrait tells a different story.

I was inspired enough by the book to re-imagine it in a painting, but instead of a male protagonist, I used a young lady instead. I used Prang watercolors, my favorite medium as of late, on Arches 140lb watercolor paper.

There is slight but negligible warping on this brand of paper. I’ll detail my thoughts on this watercolor paper in a review of papers in another post.

I’ll have the artwork available on Society6 as print.

The making of : Goodnight Girl

August has been the most productive month yet for me so far. I was able to complete three paintings; I had extra time to work on them due to relaxed Ramadan timings at the office. Also, living closer to work gave me more time to paint. Lately, I got into the habit of waking up early in the morning to paint, dozing off at lunch, then waking up again in the late afternoon to paint till late evening. 

Here is the initial sketch. I always start with the eyes. Everyone I know seems to do so. Eyes are fun to draw.

I drew the entire face before putting a skull on the one side. I have been “ruining” portraits like this lately.

Wanted to make it available on Society6 as a print, so I scanned and made adjustments on Photoshop. I am using an old Macbook Pro which I hope to replace soon!

Here, without highlights on the hair. Had to add them later on with vermillion oil paint, as I felt that the red hair was looking a bit dull. Most of it is still in watercolor though.

Found a simple, plain white frame at Ikea. Around half of my paintings are framed this way.

This is my 28th and last piece for the show. I am going to chill for a week and take a break from painting. I think I deserve it!

The making of : Interruption the Mega

Mega is a vinyl customizable toy designed by Emirati artist Mo Abedin, and this is the second time around I am customizing one for Project Mega |  the Dubai Mall edition. 

I’ve had the privilege of designing a Mega way back in 2010. Back then, my style was a lot more colorful and “line-y” than it is now. Posting it here just for old time’s sake.

I was able to document the work-in-progress of the 2nd one; so here it goes:

1. I spraypainted the already black flowers with black acrylic to make them more stiff.

2. The antlers are made of air-drying terracota and are wrapped around a wireframe, so that they dont fall off in pieces.

3. I had somebody help me out with the spray-painting the toy matte black. I think this shot looks a bit sinister :P

4. Next, was finally painting the little face on the mega. She looks a little bit like a ninja here.

5. Here she is, with the antlers and the flowers finally attached. I thought that the white antlers looked rather nice actually.

6. Painted the antlers black because I wanted the mega to have a uniform color. As a finishing touch, I placed butterflies (bought from a crafts store in Satwa) on the antlers.

Friends were kind enough to take pictures of my Mega displayed in the Dubai Mall fountain area, and this is her inside her glass case. Her type “Interruption” on the black platform and nametag is also handpainted.


*the image on the left is the deck as I received it, and it was what I had to work with. It was broken, it smelled, and it had these stickers that were so difficult to remove. The image on the right, is what I came up with, after a month and half of hard labor (actually, on and off work, depending on how lazy I was that day.)

Bear VS Zombie

Oil on wood, 95cm x 35cm

One of the pieces that will be shown at “A Skateboard Dexhibition” by FN Designs

Artists Statement:
Yellow is the color of fear. Fear is the stuff of nightmares.
In nightmares, things aren’t always what they seem; strange is the norm and crazy is ordinary.
My surreal nightmare playground is made up of moths, candy pills, zombies and blood dripping from the walls.
In this hallucigen induced parody of a dream, i have only one companion to call my own: a pathetic teddy bear.
But it is after all, only a nightmare, and my subconcious mind decides how the tide turns; an ordinary teddy bear suddenly grows fangs and defeats the very zombies that threatened to overwhelm my fear.
This unreality taking place inside my subconcious mind  is a manifestation of the ills of my benign day to day existence, which longs for the adrenaline rush of terror. I wish to leave the viewer with a sense of unstability;  overwhelmed with the jarring juxtapozition of the pretty and the scary, defined in the intricately rendered details of each individual element.

The making of : Saccharine Lies

Hello October!

The weather is finally getting tolerable in Dubai and the local social events scene is starting to pick up again.

Which explains why it took me forever to finish this moderately sized painting.

I felt that I was getting rusty at acrylics after using watercolors for my past few paintings. I learned a new way of blending color with acrylics (yay!), something that I only did before with oil painting. For a time, I hated the way that acrylics dried so fast, that I didnt have any time to blend. My new technique also eliminates the need for a bajillion layers of color.

This painting has only as much as 3 layers, on some parts, not even. Lazy, shortcut way, without the result, looking so.

I hope I did justice to Mr. Skull right here! He is my favorite painting companion, and has invaded each painting I have made, since I got him.


The frame is originally white, and I painted it ebony black. I felt that white was just not working.

Looking forward to November and I hope I have a Halloween inspired piece for you guys to look at soon!

Kalachuchi or as it is known in English as Frangipani or Plumeria, is a fragrant and delicate flower. Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure butterflies to pollinate them. The flowers have no nectar, and simply dupe their pollinators. (What a very mean species of flowers…)
It is commonly found in the Philippines and other tropics. 

The butterflies in this painting are Morpho amathonte which can be also found in the tropical forests of of the Phillippines but are now quite rare due to habitat destruction. I think they are the most beautiful and mysterious in the insect kingdom.

The lady in this painting is a self-portrait, and is wearing a traditional Philippine dress made from pineapple fibers or Pina. I tried to keep the floral embroidery as accurate as possible.

As for the skull, well… I just like skulls! Oh yeah, it represents mortality!

The making of : Harajuku Kamikaze

It’s almost the end of November and this will probably be last major painting I will do for this year. Im off for a much deserved holiday to the Philippines this December so I’ll be away for three weeks and that means I wont be doing much painting or drawing while Im there. I always have some ideas for future paintings floating about my head anyways, but they all can wait till next year. 

I started painting the face first, with an acrylic underpainting using three primary colors, blue, yellow and red. It created a sort of a cool skin undertone. The subsequent layers were oil, and it took about 4 or 5 layers before I decided I could live with it. 

Tip: I use Liquin as my only medium for painting in oil. It speeds up the drying time considerably. Its touch dry after a day, so I can  get back to the painting right away considering that Im very impatient and only work on one painting at a time. Also doesn’t smell as nasty as turp and linseed oil.

Next, the skull. I dry painted the skull with very rough strokes. Layering it up again took   3 layers of oil. 

I researched some Ukiyo-e or Japanese woodblock prints online as reference for the element on the painting’s background. I tweaked the color to make it appear as if the elements were floating on an overlay layer.

I did the tiny little toy soldiers on the bottom of the painting last. Details, details!

I finished it over the weekend after three weeks of painting 2 to 3 hours everyday. Now to explain the painting:

The painting is of  a portrait of purple haired female Japanese pilot. Back in World War 2, kamikaze pilots used to tie bandanas on their heads that depicted the Japanese sun. I suppose when one if flying from the air, everyone on the ground seems toy-like, houses and people. Hence the toy soldiers.

I get questions all the time why my favorite subject is always the woman in the warrior mode. Its simple. What if World War 2 happened now, like right now. I imagine that my modern girl-warrior would go to battle would like this, colored hair, tunnel earring and all.