The Techniques Jose Joya Used for Painting

by Stanley Goff
The tropical colors of the Philippines appear in Joya's paintings.

The tropical colors of the Philippines appear in Joya's paintings.

Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Jose Joya was an abstract expressionist from the Philippines. He took the tropical colors of his native country as an inspiration. He was born in 1931 and died in 1995 and was posthumously awarded the prestigious status of National Artist of the Philippines. He was also once the Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.

Abstract Expressionism

Joya began drawing and painting when he was 11 years old. Joya's early work was representational, and he didn't begin to work seriously as an abstract artist until he attended university. In 1953 he participated in the first Exhibition of Non-Objective Art at the Philippine Gallery. His work then began including techniques that created bold colors, mixed media and what he called "kinetic energy." His signature painting, the mural-sized "Granadean Arabesque," featured variously colored sand and impastos that were swiped on boldly or tossed onto the surface in lumps.

Rice Paper

His masterpiece "Nanking" was made with rice paper. The colored paper was arranged on the canvas as a collage. Many of the forms and colors for the collage were taken from Joy's observation of rice paddies. Interspersed with the rice paddy impressions were collaged bits of rice paper arranged in the form of Chinese calligraphy.

Representational Work

"Christ Stripped of His Clothes" was a semi-representative rice paper collage done in 1954. Joya continued to do some representational work in both oil, acrylic, charcoal and pastels throughout his career, some urban scenes and several nudes. He sketched urban scenes mostly in charcoal. Some nudes he did with pen and ink. He created a pastel on paper figure entitled "Male Nude" in 1973. He painted a representative charcoal entitled "Female Nude" in 1983 and a representative pastel in 1985 called "Male Nude."


Joya also did printmaking and painted plates and other ceramics from the time he was young until he died. Joya's surviving brother claimed that Joya did at least 500 ceramic pieces. Joya's ceramics feature the spontaneous style of his abstract expressionism, with daubs, swirls and streaks that were overlaid on each other to simulate tropical colors and dynamic motion.

About the Author

Stanley Goff began writing in 1995. He has published four books: "Hideous Dream," "Full Spectrum Disorder," "Sex & War" and "Energy War," as well as articles, commentary and monographs online. Goff has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of the State of New York.

Photo Credits

  • Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images