Tag Archives: painting

Blue Gates of Fez


I’m doing a little catch-up here, I took a trip to Fez, Morocco in late December 2017.  It was a place of amazing architecture, food and contrasts of religions.  It felt like being in a different planet.  Kind of like Santa Fe, but with a more Arabic flavor.  But I later painted what became “Blue Gates of Fez”.

I’ll have the Medina Special please…

First, the city really didn’t feel like one.  It’s quite old, perhaps over 1000 years old.  I stayed in the old town part.  With tons of medinas in an infinite maze of cultural possibilities, not knowing what’s around the corner, there were surprises everywhere.  Most of the shop owners were friendly, but you couldn’t feel the tension of trying to earn a living there.  You can feel it in the air, and the smell of spices and other aromas in the air as well.

Walking in the medinas in old town

I loved the food, there was some really good couscous and orange juice. Yes, even better than Florida! Lots of meats and vegetarian options. Being here in old town with all the narrow medinas (small alleys) and large amounts of people can raise your blood-pressure. I found some secluded spots in town to relax as well. But you have to go outside of the blue gates, which I painted from this scene.

Blue Gates of Fez

I loved this scene because it represented a door into a special world that is as exotic, dangerous and profound as anyone could imagine.  It’s difficult to describe this place in just a few words.  The whole place is a work of art.  You can see it on its walls, arches, medinas.  The details are extraordinary.  It’s a living, breathing museum that is meant for everyone to experience.


And to be here for just a few days, the pace was dizzying of visual stimulation that overloaded my own senses.  I was scheduled for five days but felt three was enough and departed for Seville, Spain.  Sometimes you have to adjust your own schedule to help your sanity.  I wasn’t relaxing enough and felt too much nervous energy in my bones.  But what I received from this trip was a taste of a different world I’ve always wanted to visit.  I wanted to take a camel ride, but it was far too expensive for me at this time, and it was cold here during my stay.  Yes, even here it gets cold.

Beyond the Blue Gates

So when I went home, I painted the iconic archway from the Blue Gate.  And because it was dusk, there were lots of sunlight on the old walls.  I wanted to include the details of the bricks and walkway.  The opening was mysterious.  I didn’t feel comfortable putting people in, I wanted to paint possibilities, and that meant abstracting the scene.  It could be interpreted in many ways but it the end, it felt right to do.  Perhaps later on, I’ll paint more from my Fez trip.  But at least I ended up with a nice painting that took me a few months to complete in various stages.



And last, can’t forget the local music.  Combined with mint tea it was a nice way to end my Fez adventure.


Thank you for reading my blog. You can check out this painting in my gallery here. If you would like to keep updated with my latest art and blog posts, subscribe here.

Red Flames of My Heart

Red_Flames_of_my_Heart - small

Red Flames of my Heart
Oil on Panel
$225 / Available

Josh's bar

Once in a while, you get up out of your bed and you’re thinking, “Ok, what should I make today?  Not sure.  Time to procrastinate and listen to some rock music on YouTube.  And the strange thing is, is that something comes over you and you decide to face your little easel with a little bit of courage and see what happens.  “Red Flames” is what came out of it.  Now sunsets are nothing new to me, but there are always challenges.  If you’re not careful, they will easily become just another mediocre painting.  But if you are using both your conscious and subconscious mind as a team, something interesting may come out of it.  I think hard about what to paint, what to do, but you have to turn off your mind and make room for the subconscious to take over too.  That’s where the love and passion come in.  To express what your rational mind cannot.  And you have to trust yourself completely, even if you’re unsure.  The most important thing is to trust the process.

I have started to use new colors, such as Napthol Red and Indian Yellow from Gamblin.  They were sent by my dad for the holidays, as I wanted to try out those colors and I have always loved those colors.  And the results were impressive, not just the technique, but the color of the sunset was exactly the way I wanted it.  Not just close or something else, but the exact shade, color, and feeling all worked at the same time.  The river is a constant source of inspiration and the composition was very simple, but the way to paint it to make it interesting and different than before is always the most challenging.  I can easily become bored of the subject and not afraid to repaint the whole thing.  Seems like when you get older, your standards for everything goes up.  Though my tastes may have matured, my passion has grown stronger.  My curiosity to explore and push the envelope has remained strong to this day, and that’s a good thing.  I believe an artist should always push his/her boundaries and risk failure or success.

There’s a thin line between failure and success.  The artist first decides it, then the public.  And if I’m fortunate enough, there’s someone who wants to own it.  It’s a win-win, because now you have spread your love, your art to other people and places in the world.  You have no idea whose flames you will lift higher.  That’s why I keep painting.

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A Woman of Sakura – Completed


~ A Woman of Sakura  8.75×11  oil on board
©Joshua Lance



Let’s see the process with minimal words here…



It all started with a trip to Kyoto, Japan…


Mixing the palette for the right color combinations


Filling in the hair and face set the stage for everything else.


Painting the kimono was a technicolor delight! One of my most colorful paintings ever.