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Friday, November 25, 2011


Contemporary Art
Art Lessons

"Be yourself. An original is always worth more than a copy".   - Unknown.

ALPINA - Oil Painting Demo

Oil Painting Lessons/Demos
by Beatriz Socorro
Contemporary Art

Oil Painting on Canvas by Beatriz Socorro - 30 x 40 cm - Alpina

As I have mentioned before, some of the photos vary in color, depending on the time of day or whether I have photographed them indoors or outdoors. The true colors are the ones you can see on the above photo (the finished painting).

If this is your first visit, please go to OIL PAINTING LESSONS and read: "Art Notes" and "Oil Painting Tips" and be sure to read through at least the first 3 demos (preferably the first six).

There is information in the previous demos that I don´t repeat in the subsequent demos.

This is the photo I used as a model for this painting:

Photo by Beatriz Socorro - Alpina


First, fill in the background. Once that is done, I prefer to allow it to dry to the touch before I fill in the flower and the leaves. If you´re not a sloppy as me, you can try to fill all of them in this step.

Background: On your palette mix three different shades of :
Cadmium Yellow Deep + Light Yellow + White

Notice that, in the background, I apply the darker shades at the bottom (below the leaves).

Flower: Grumbacher Red + Carmin + Light Yellow

Leaves:  Emerald Green + Lemon Yellow + a pinch of  White

The colors you mix should look like the color on the uppermost photo (the finished painting). Use that photo as reference when mixing your colors.

Oil Painting Lesson/Demo - STEP 1


Flower Highlights: Grumbacher Red + Carmin + White.
Flower Shadows:  Grumbacher Red + Carmin.

Leaves Highlights: Use a lighter shade of Emerald Green + Lemon Yellow (notice that this time you don´t add White)
Leaves Shadows: Emerald Green + Lemon Yellow (no White)

In the following photo, the bottom petals on the flower show how the paint is applied before it is scrumbled.

The top petals show how it should  look after being scrumbled.

Do the same with the leaves.

Oil Painting Lesson/Demo - STEP 2a

Oil Painting Lesson/Demo STEP 2b

Once you have added all the highlights and shadows where needed, allow to dry well.


Using the same color mixture that you used for the flower in Step 1, make a glaze and glaze  the entire flower.

Congratulations you´re done!

I hope you enjoyed it!! God Bless!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Van Gogh´s Perspective Frame

Contemporary Art
Art Lessons

To learn more about the great and famous artists who used a grid and or camera obscura to draw their sketches, go to:
God Bless and Happy Painting!!

Beatriz Socorro

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Contemporary Art
Ajijic, Mexico


Photos by
Beatriz Socorro

Photo by Maureen Seewald

Photo by Maureen Seewald

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Contemporary Art

Oil Painting Lessons/Demos
by Beatriz Socorro

Original Oil Painting on Canvas by Beatriz Socorro - 30x40 cm

As I have mentioned before, some of the photos vary in color depending on the time of day or whether I have photographed them indoors or outdoors. The true colors are the ones you can see on the above photo (the finished painting).


If this is your first visit, please go to OIL PAINTING LESSONS and read: "Art Notes" and "Oil Painting Tips" and be sure to read through at least the first 3 demos (preferably the first six).

There is information in the previous demos that I don´t repeat in the subsequent demos.

To see the photo that I used as a model for this painting, go to: Flowers A1

After transferring the sketch to your canvas, fill in the flowers and leaves.

Since I am not applying an underpainting ,I started with the pre-mixed medium: Layer 2.

Flowers: "Hot Pink" is a color that I don´t have. So for the petals, I mixed: 
Grumbacher Red + Carmin + White.

White Stripes: White + barely pinch of the same pink mixture you used on the petals.

Leaves: Mix Ultramarine + Lemon Yellow + a pinch of White.

Background: Mix on your palette different shades of Viridian Green + White 

and then fill in your background.


Oil Painting Lessons/Demos - STEP 1


Remember to add to your paint the appropriate medium for each layer.

Highlights: Once your painting is dry, use White + a pinch of the same pink mixture used on the petals and add the highlights as shown on the following photo:

Oil Painting Lessons/Demos - STEP 2a

and then gently and softly scrumble....only in those areas that you wish to lighten up.

Shadows: If you see that you need to deepen some areas follow the same procedure with a deeper shade of the same pink.

Veins and Buds: Mix a lighter shade of  Ultramarine + Lemon Yellow and paint the veins on the leaves. Also fill in the buds.

Don´t be a slob and do what I did. There´s  a saying in spanish: The lazy man works twice as hard. Trust me, it is very true.

Do the veins carefully the first time and you won´t have to work twice as hard like me.

If you enlarge the picture below,  you will see what a sloppy job I did on the veins.

 So, I had to mix some green and go along all of the edges....  :(

Oil Painting Lessons/Demos - STEP 2b



Using the same colors as before, add more highlights and shadows wherever you feel they are necessary and finally add the pistils. 

As I have mentioned before, some of the photos vary in color depending on the time of day or whether I have photographed them indoors or outdoors. The true colors are the ones you can see on the first photo, which is the finished painting.

CONGRATULATIONS....You´re done!!!

I hope you enjoyed it! God bless!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Contemporary Art


At age five, my father took us to NYC. I remember Central Park and seeing and playing with snow for the first time...eating icicles...iceskating (or trying to) and of course the Carrousel. 

The subways were so much fun!! 

Coney Island and the wicked parachute ride that my insane father put us on...

Note: I went back to Coney Island as a grown-up and the tower for the parachute ride was still standing but it wasn´t running. I asked one of the employees why it wasn´t running anymore and he informed me that they had to close it down because people had died of heart attacks.

I returned to NYC, on my own, several times. NYC is definitely one of the most exciting cities in the world!

In 1959, my father flew us to Madrid, Spain, and from there we drove to Paris, France, and then to Rome and Naples in Italy.

I was nine at the time, so I don´t remember the exact route we followed but I still have some memories:

Spain:  the Escorial and the tombs of the Kings and Queens, El Retiro where we rowed a boat and where my brother bent a pin and tied it to a string hoping to catch a fish, the Flamenco dancer at las Cuevas de Luis Candela, the abundance of quartz crystals scattered all over the fields around the caves in Pamplona, the vineyards along the road.

France:  I remember the Eiffel Tower, the children playing with boats at Versailles, Champs Elysee and the old-fashioned elevator at the hotel with which we played every time we got the chance (without getting caught). I don´t remember the Mona Lisa at the Louvre nor any of the other master pieces there but I sure remember Venus with no arms.

Italy:  I remember the Coliseum. There were no lions but there were a lot of cats. I still bear the scar left on my hand by one of the cute little kitties that I wanted to pet. I didn´t know they were wild.

At the Vatican, I clearly remember Michelangelo´s Pieta and the huge cupola.

I remember the statue of Moses and how worn out its toes were from people touching them (I am one of the culprits, but I was just a child who didn´t know any better and at the time it was allowed).

I also remember they sold to the tourists relics of Jesus' cross.  Looking back, that must have been one huge cross!!! They also sold rosaries with beads made of pressed, rose petals. Those were nice and they smelled so good. I wonder if they still sell them.

At the catacombs, I remember the abundant skeletons and skulls in their niches along the walls and specially when the tour guide blew out all the candles just to spook us out (which he did).

And, last but not least, the amusement park in Naples.

In 1968, Joan Bragan, the English teacher at Colegio Americano, Caracas, was going on a road trip with her two sisters during the summer vacation. The trip would be from Pensacola, FL,  to San Francisco, CA and back. I was invited. My father gave me permission and I went.

In 1971, I drove with my dear, college friend, Michelle Strohl, from NJ, USA, to Montreal, Canada, and then down to Florida.

I guess, by then, I had acquired a taste for road trips.

In 1974, I quit my job as a tour guide and, along with my two dogs, took a trip around South America which lasted for 2 years. Most of the roads, even along the Pan-american Highway, were dirt roads at the time.

There was only one road through the Amazon Jungle. So, I had to drive to Belem de Pará (at the mouth of the Amazon River) and load the car, myself and the dogs on a barge with a push boat. The barge was used mainly by the trucks heading to Manaus.  From Manaus, I continued the trip on what was, at the time, only a dirt road under construction: the Transamazonic Highway.

I chilled out for a while, but in 2002 the bug bit again.


With my two dogs as travel companions, I paddled a canoe across the state of Florida. I started in Ft. Myers (on the Gulf Coast), along the Caloosahatchee River, Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie canal (known as the Okeechobee waterway) to Stuart (on the Atlantic) and then up to Ft. Pierce and back down to Stuart, where I finally met a retired marine, Jerry Reattoir,  who became a very dear friend and who not only built a beautiful leeboard for the canoe (so that I could finally sail ) and replaced all the metal rigging with rope (to help remove some weight)  but also followed me along the way from Stuart to Lake Worth until he was sure that I could sail the canoe on my own from Palm Beach to Key Largo, via the Intracoastal waterway.

He encouraged me on my journey (when I was full of doubts) and wrote two notes that I still hold and treasure and in which he said:

"I pray that nothing bad ever happens to you. But a little risk and danger are like seasoning that gives life its good flavor....and try to remember - the real honor is in the effort - whether you reach your goal or not,
you´re already a champion."

**Dear Jerry, wherever you are, you still bring tears to my eyes...you have no idea how much your words encouraged me and gave me strength and hope. I love you.

Besides Jerry, I met and was helped by other wonderful and amazing people in Stuart...but that will have to wait until I continue writing about this trip. Otherwise, this post will never end.

I had started a diary on geocities but, since I was travelling during hurricane season, my notes got damaged with so much rain. By the time I had access to a computer again, yahoo had discontinued geocities. But, believe it or not, the first pages of that trip are still online.

If you would like to see it, go to: The Adventure Begins...

It took me a year on the canoe to make it from Ft. Myers to Miami.

I did finish the trip, even though there were many who thought I´d never make it and once I reached the Florida keys there were many who rolled their eyes and didn´t believe I had done it...until they saw the evidence.

When I started the canoe trip and sailboat adventure, I was disillusioned with the human race. However that all changed during this trip. I met the most generous and amazing persons (from all walks of life, social status, race, religion). People who generously took of their time and effort to help me accomplish my dream, expecting nothing in return. I hope God blessed you abundantly for everything you did for me.

SPECIAL NOTICE: I want to take this opportunity to thank you all once again and to tell you that I vividly remember each one of you and what you did for me. I hold you not only in my mind but specially in my heart. Without each one of you...it would not have been possible. This wasn´t my trip. This was OUR trip. THANK YOU!! And if perchance you land on this blog and read this, please drop me a line at BeatrizSocorroCastillo@yahoo.com, I would love to hear from you again!!

My friend, Cherie Anderson, and her son, Sean, helped me rig up the canoe in Ft. Myers.
I definitely could not have done it without them
nor without the help of those who lent a hand along the way

After crossing the State.
Photo  taken in Stuart, FL


The blue line shows the route traveled by canoe.

The Catalina with the mast down after needed repairs due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina


When I reached the keys, my original plan was to continue on a sailboat to Venezuela. I bought a used sailboat and fixed it, but just as I was getting ready to go I noticed a crack across the hull. The previous owner had had an accident with it and had not repaired it properly.

Bill and Jeannie Stroemel, who owned the marina at the time and who had sold me the Hunter (also unaware of the previous damage), felt bad and gave a me 25 ft. Catalina that needed some work. So, I had to start again from the beginning.

As a result, I lived in a tent for a year on a 46-acre island while I worked on the boats.

The island had been donated to the Presbyterian church. The pastors wanted to build a rehab center on the island but the government wouldn´t give them the permits. Rev. Rubens and Rev. Williams allowed me to camp there for a year, besides providing me with food and most important of all: their love and friendship.

To tell you about everyone that helped and all the adventures lived will require that I continue the diary. I will probably continue to write the story little by little, if I can find time between painting and working on this blog.

When the second sailboat (the Catalina) was ready, I sailed it from Key Largo to Big Pine Key. Even though Captain Kenny taught me how to read charts and navigate, I really didn´t have much sailing experience. My friends were concerned that I would not make it. But I was going to go ahead with it anyways. To tell you the truth, I was terrified during this leg of the trip. If you´re wondering about my sanity, you´re not the only one. I wonder too...

But I did make it, sand bars, storms and all.

While at Big Pine Key, Katrina hit. I met and was helped again by so many kind and generous people. I love them all and what is most important, they restored my faith in the human race. Some day, I will tell you their amazing stories.

My now best friend and sponsor, Maureen Seewald, who sheltered me after Katrina, offered to drive me to Panama. While on the sailboat I always said I was going to put a sticker on it that said: "I rather be driving".

She and the other friends I made in Big Pine Key were convinced I would not make it across the Gulf Stream to Cuba. And they were probably right. Like I said, I am not much of a sailor.

But a ride from Florida to Panama is not like a ride to the supermarket. I told Maureen that if she was serious, first it had to be something she really wanted to do for herself and not just for me. I told her that  I didn´t want to travel with someone who would be whining along the way. I warned her that a road trip to Panama would entail some wonderful moments and experiences but some hard ones too.

So, in 2005 after some back-and-forth, Maureen and I got on her CVR and hit the road. We traveled for a year through central america.

Some day I´ll tell you all about that. That too was an awesome and unforgettable adventure!

Maureen, Bitsy, Alice and me

So, all in all, this is a rough sketch of the road trips I have taken. Looking at the map now, there´s still a lot for me to see. Only God knows if I will have another opportunity in this lifetime.

The truth is right now I am pooped and I just want to chill out and paint.


Art Lessons
Contemporary Art

If you want to be an artist, you want to make sure you
don´t look like a fool when someone asks you what your opinion is about Gauguin or Da Vinci or the impressionists or whatever...

Trust me...they will ask you! You don´t have to be a walking encyclopedia on the subject or even know the name of EVERY artist. But you definitely need to have at least a general knowledge on the subject.

Not only that, you will also learn by observing the works of the great masters.

Wherever you are, be sure to visit every Museum, Art Gallery or Art Fair. That, too, is a learning experience not only of art history but also of art techniques and art appreciation.


 1.  The camera oscura and VanGogh´s perspective frame
 2.  Famous artists who copied other artist´s work
 3.  Mona Lisa - The Enigma of the Mona Lisa smile finally solved.
 4.  Van Gogh and Gauguin
5.  Ancient Art
6.  Cave Paintings & Pottery


Leonardo Da Vinci                   Armando Reverón                   
Raphael                                    Edward Burne Jones
Michelangelo                            Van Gogh
Da Corregio                             Gauguin
Giambologna                            Monet
Caravaggio                               Franz Marc                             
Bernini                                      Georgia O'Keeffe
Murillo                                      Gustav Klimt
Metsu                                       Amrita Sher-Gil
Aivazovsky                               Franklin Carmichael

Roberto Ferri - One of the Great Masters...now living with us.

And there are many more I like in each of the continents (specially among the contemporary artists) but if I were to name them all, this blog would never end.

But, definitely, at the top of my favorites list are:  the great master artists and sculptors from the Classical Period: Classical Period.

And, without a doubt, my favorite all time artist:

ME !!

The truth is there´s no such thing as a good or a bad artist. We can learn much from each one of them. Preference is just a matter of aesthetical tastes and we each have our own preferences.



Art Lessons
Contemporary Art

Obviously color is of supreme importance to an artist.
Here are some interesting links for those of you who want to delve deeper into the world of light and color:

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Contemporary Art

One of the great artists of Ajijic:

Salvador Ortiz
Master Artist
Salvador Ortiz at his Gallery in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico


Contemporary Art
Ajijic, Mexico

Free Photos
by Beatriz Socorro

Semana Santa in Ajijic (Holy Week)