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Change is always possible, but it will cost us some efforts

I’ve recently done quite a lot of reading, and articles were ranging from stress, life coaching, fitness, diets, moms and kids, teens’ problems, depression, anxiety to universe, loneliness, obsession, complaints and visual art. Well, the common thing most often was: everything is pretty much wrong and we should really work on some kind of improvement. Poets were less unsatisfied with life since they found something inspiring in being not that well off.

We are used to believe that humans are steadily progressing and we become better, smarter, more intelligent, stronger and healthier with every new generation. However, there has been only a huge technical progress, and only mobile devices and computers have become noticeably smarter and more advanced, but humans are meanwhile regressing. At a fast rate. Our health is terrible, and many earlier unknown diseases are genetically inherited, our mind gets much less used since there is always an answer on the Internet, and our human skills and the ability to interact and build personal relationships is totally neglected. Taking into account the abnormal consumption of toxic substances and chemicals, scientists have figured out we would last for just 30 more generations. That would be the moment when humans lose their reproductive ability because of genetic errors which the body will not be able to fix. Well, they might just learn to re-write the DNA and correct the broken sequences by that time.

Thankfully and despite the ignorance which is very characteristic for consumers society, the hand-made art is still surviving. One might think it is so silly to try to draw and paint for real when it is possible to do everything digitally. It sure is, and there are always new apps, but the gain and the goal is actually to maintain our humanity, and that won’t be achieved using apps. This might sound way overdone, but when we meet kids who rarely get in touch with nature, who have seen it mostly on the TV or computer, when we hear adults who complain about stresses and loneliness and how dysfunctional their lives have become, I am wondering why don’t they do anything to change this?

At the studio, we are about small droplets which build a huge waterfall and tiny leaves which make up a forest. I mean, one does not necessarily have to choose art as a career, there will be so many other benefits along the road. The ability to experience and create the beauty is just one of them.

I was just looking at grape leaves on vine in my backyard. What perfection, what grace in every angle, in every shape! The weather is fantastic at the moment, so the magic light of late afternoon was playing in these leaves and creating amazing patterns and soft value transitions. So simple, yet absolutely stunning! Nature does not love emptiness: we can fill ourselves and our time either with something useful, or with waste. We have actually always some choice, and we have plenty of choices when it comes to our leisure. Small changes lead to big results, although they still take efforts. I know, it’s much easier to sit back and stare at the TV screen. I do that, too when I am feeling totally exhausted and cannot even move, but that’s limited to just some 20 minutes here and there.

I had the largest number of workshops ever this August: 8 in total. I did not manage to take pictures of all works because there were just too many, but I still got a lot of watercolor sketching pics. Although, art teaching can be very tiring, I sometimes feel like re-energized after a long workshop, and this happens due to the great energy which is circulating in the studio. I wrote a mom who expressed her satisfaction for daughter’s successfully created art: the hugest and the most meaningful reward for a teacher is the student who has acquired new skills and new passion.

 

I must say things like poetry, writing, singing, dancing, playing an instrument, drawing or painting cannot be even taught. A teacher is only providing with tools, methods, techniques and explanations about such processes, but the doing and learning is actually up to the student. As a teacher, I can show, demonstrate, advise, recommend, comment and draw attention to some technique or issue, but the student will have to apply these recommendations and tips on his or her own. The result or lack of it greatly depends on that person who is learning.

I will discuss in more detail next time why some great intentions lead to nothing and why there will always be somebody who drops out.

 

Let us not turn ourselves into robots: the rewarding artistic endevours

While we all love spring with its first greens and blooms, there is nothing as romantic as the fall for those who love contemplating, meditating and plunging into colors and foggy sceneries. Oh well, days are getting shorter and cool breeze reminds us that the fall is almost at our doorstep.

It is a busy season for me, as well. Not only because workshops are well attended when the weather quite often turns from sunny to rainy, but also because it is time to sort out everything what has been done so far and finalize the schedules for fall/winter classes, exhibitions and events.

There is something very special about people indulging in arts and creativity. Most of them know that our life is too short to achieve everything we dreamt about, yet, we are still trying to climb up mountains of imagination in order to reach some foggy tops, we are still trying to explain the magic and make it our closest companion. Some will succeed, but all of them will have amazing moments filled with feelings of discovery, filled with the sense we have understood something that few others will.

I had a chance to test whether art classes could potentially cure teens from computer addiction and dependence from mobile devices. Parents were very skeptical at the beginning because these were kids who would not leave their computer to have dinner. It still was worth a try. Unfortunately the time frame was too short, however, they not only were drawing and painting in watercolor with great enthusiasm, but they asked for more classes and more opportunities to use pencil, paints and paper. I had to leave, but they actually had acquired some skill which they were using on their own after I was not giving any more classes. That is a remarkable achievement, and that also makes me want to introduce more people to art which can be created from scratch without any use of photos, computers, edited images or printouts. This exercises our memory, brain flexibility, decision-making and focusing ability, attention, fine motor movements, takes care of confidence and brings more satisfaction into somebody’s sometimes boring and very predictable life. We cannot spend the entire life in a company of phones, computers and tablets. There has to be something to level this out and return us to a balanced state. Sports and dancing and is not for everybody, especially if they have some health issues, so I can see the huge potential in artistic endeavours.

Every person who has put down the glass of drink in order to pick up the paint brush is an achievement. Every person who has found a new content and purpose in their well-being because of doing art is a gain for society. Every kid who is growing up surrounded by harmony of colors and shapes, but not by images of horror movies, is worth a try. Finally, every person who is a bit happier today than they were yesterday is worth the effort. I am not saying this to give somebody false expectations of positive outcomes or just for the sake of nice content. I have seen this happening: talents unfolding, people becoming more humane and more interested in their lives, health issues getting less bothersome and kids experiencing more childhood, not more of computer games. I will keep spreading the word of the extremely great impact of arts on our human existence, and I would be happy, you do, too.

The attached images were done during intensive watercolor workshops for teens. I was in a big rush, teens works will follow because there were just very many.

Fall vegetables: watercolor sketches

Quick demos and sketches of vegetables and leaves

Late summer leaves

Grape leaves: pen and watercolor

Tomatoes: watercolor and pen sketch

Tomatoes: in the garden and on the table

Fall leaves: watercolor sketch

More leaves and vegetables

Green peas: watercolor and pen sketch

Green peas

Fall leaves and vegetables: watercolor and pen sketch

View at my demo pieces

Fall colors in leaves and tomatoes: watercolor

 

Fall colors in leaves and tomatoes: watercolor and pen sketches

The warm side of the grey scale: conquering procrastination

The reason I decided not to do any demos on a separate canvas for every class is simple: there have accumulated large numbers of somewhat finished; half-finished, not at all finished medium size paintings. For that purpose, I invented my changeable demo board which can tolerate everything: all kinds of colors and themes. It takes a lot of work to bring these unfinished paintings to some completed condition. On the other hand, I do not always feel like I would be interested any more in either that subject, scene, or the work itself. You know this state: some time later, next week, next month, in the fall, etc. Procrastination is a tough thing to conquer.

We all evolve, it is not surprising that our priorities or preferred methods do not remain attractive forever. I suppose anybody who has done painting or writing over long period of time, has experienced the state when one has to really wonder what was that I liked so much in this picture, scene, poem, article, story or sketch. We have learned along the way, and the former passions pale out when compared to the most recent discoveries or achievements. To some point, that is also true when I think about some people who I was so passionate about 30-40 years ago. Were they worth the tears cried out? Oh my, I have to laugh now remembering the stuff which seemed like a tragedy back then.

The same laws of affection and love regulate my overall attitude to themes and objects which I would like exploring closer and drawing or painting. The colors I loved 30 years ago are not matching the color scheme I feel comfortable with at the moment. I would not say my drawing style or general approach has dramatically changed, but there certainly has been movement and development. I am one of those people who just took the pencil and started to draw, it was very simple and easy, and everything just fall in place as I moved the pencil around. I don’t actually use eraser when drawing, unless I would like to place something significantly higher, lower, more left or right. My mom had preserved portraits and illustrations I did when I was 10 (that’s 46 years ago), and I don’t find anything wrong with them. I suppose, I dared a lot because I had not studied anything art related. It was all fresh, all from scratch, and thus, totally unaffected by any other opinions.

These were my reminiscences from far away.

Today, I am facing a lot of work. Some of previous paintings are so highly textured that it is impossible to paint over the initial image or replace it with something else. I have been thinking also about adding some mixed media parts to such works, well, assuming I’d ever have time for that. I am not sorry to through out something which is completely out of line, but there is sort of appeal in previously used canvas. Some kind of challenge, too: is it possible at all to make something nice out of this mess?

Acrylic paintings of nature scenes with grey

 

That way, I have been adding some brush strokes here and there, and some paintings are actually getting done. Interesting enough, they seem to be unusually grey scale for me. Greys have abnormally huge scale of possible shades. It is interesting to observe what some particular stuff might result in.

Late fall acrylic paintings

 

The attached images might inspire somebody to also finish up their started works.

Late fall maple leaves: acrylic painting

 

It is always fairly difficult to get on the photo the exact colors or look. I’m trying, however, no online image can ever replace the actual painting.

September moon: acrylic painting

Painting brings balance to life and philosophy behind old barns

In the light of upcoming workshops, I decided to post some painting steps in order to set potential students in the right mood. These barns are not the same we will be doing during adult acrylic painting workshops. These we were painting during 2013 and 2014 spring classes.

I will also place some pictures about preparation of canvas for workshops and classes during the new painting session. It is not complicated, I also expect meeting some of the students and artists on August 3rd.

We all have some problems, some less bothersome, some more persistent and severe. I can tell from my experience that indulging in some painting helps incredibly and allows to find piece of mind and to forget about some not that pleasant stuff . It can be simple sketch and it can be multiple step painting: that is not of importance. The main thing is to immerse oneself into the meditative state of creation. Many students have told me they sometimes needed these classes and come-together so much just because life was too stormy or too complicated. These art classes served as a safe harbor where to take a breath and see further perspectives along the road.

This year we will be working on under-painted or at least toned canvasses.

This will save us time, as well, and it is much easier for many students to start out on a medium dark surface than on a completely white. It is just our perception, but painting happens smoother and faster this way.

Underpainting canvas

You will need a fairly large brush which can be some old brush or not that expensive brush. I am using some leftover or not that great quality paint. It is advisable to use some brown and grayish shades or warm oranges and red browns for those who love bright colors. I personally prefer neutral base since that works the best with my perception. This is something one can choose depending on their personal preferences.

Preparing canvas for classes

 

You should not make the base coat very dark since acrylic requires quite a few layers to build up lights. We are using 20 x 16 inches canvasses in workshops and in art classes. Slightly smaller size is fine, however, much larger will not allow finishing painting during classes.

You can mix paint and gesso straight on canvas. No worries if you get not very smooth color, however, there should not be any texture yet since that may disturb during painting.

Neutral gesso and paint coat on canvas

Just brush the mixture on not forgetting edges because we are always painting around the edges as we go. That gives us a ready to hang painting which can be used without a frame. Allow some time to dry, at room temperatures, that may be 2-3 hours depending on what paint and how thick layer you have applied.

Students love watching time-lapse and speed painting videos. However, I would like to remind that painting in reality requires much more time. If you have decided to join workshops or classes, please be prepared that painting is not ready in one or two hours.

When I look at old barns, they make me feel warm. It is hard to explain, but cozy, too, which is somehow weird, but, nevertheless, I am painting them warm and cozy because that is how I perceive these objects. When I see abandoned farms or barns, I have to think about people who long ago were there. Why don’t they come back to fix the barn? Where are they now? Did they move away, or are they in another reality? Sort of nostalgia mixed with sadness and realization that Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas. The strongest controversy straight before our eyes: the present wild beauty of the nature and an abandoned building with blind and empty windows witnessing past and better days. Well, there is so much behind a simple old barn in the wildly blooming summer day or at he mirror-like lakeside.

Barn paintings steps: acrylic for adults

Talking about the steps, there were quite a few. I would always start with just dark and general outlines or blocks of shapes which get defined and refined during the painting process.

Basic layers to block in main shapes

Basic layers to block in main shapes

Painting half done

Barn has got some red and fields, too

Placing them side by side allows noticing what needs more work

Placing paintings side by side allows noticing what needs more work

Why don't they come to fix it?

Why don’t they come to fix it?

Mirroring the past

Mirroring the past

August barn project: old barn paintings in acrylic

The collage view of the most recent versions: old barn paintings in acrylic

The most unpleasant drawback of acrylic paints is the loss of lights and highlights as the painting dries. Therefore, we may need to rework some by adding more and more light color as the paint settles down. That does not happen right away, I have had paints which became dark only after some 2 weeks. That is  something we learn cope with because the advantages of acrylic paints outweigh their minuses plenty of times.

I hope you will enjoy our workshops!

 

Fun while traveling, Latvian musicians, Rose Festival, commissioned paintings and my farewell cake

My long trip is almost over. Just one more day in Latvia, and I’m flying home.

This was such a pleasurable travel experience, even though, the weather was not showing its sunny side at first.

Not only was I enjoying a lot, but I also got some useful things done.

My daughter had arranged a very interesting come-together in her garden. The funny part was borsch which her guests cooked straight over the fire in a special pot since modern pots would simply split apart. The taste of this soup was superb since it cooked slowly and became like an extract of all good and fresh things within it.

The real Russian borsch on a fire

Cooking outdoors borsch

The surprise guest was the famous Latvian musician Gacho who did not mind attending this small party since he is a friend of my daughter’s friend. Gacho’s musical genre is best described as a mix of electronic music, hip-hop and punk rock, and his shows are attracting plenty of audience which is taken away by his charming manner of performance. Why do I like his music? I’m not that young: getting close to 56. The content of Gacho’s music is not limited to plain rhythmic experiences decorated with some equally simple lyrics.

 

The well-known and amazing Latvian musician Gacho (Gatis Irbe) did not mind to have some photos taken

Gacho: hip hop musician and me

Here we go: Gacho enjoying our delicious snacks, and I am enjoying the entire party and guests

Garden party at my daughter' s place with Gacho and friends, including author of lyrics Victors

I admire mostly the very rich lyrics, the feeling of something behind tunes and words in his songs. He also has a rich, impressive personality, and we had an amazing talk about his background, family (mom artist, dad sportsman), and it was surprising how he was not trying to make himself more important or less approachable than just a regular guy. Anyway, that was a big pleasure. His manners were excellent, too. He sent a thank you message for the nice conversation. I wish Gacho (his real name is Gatis Irbe) lots of new shows (he just had one huge in Liepaja, Latvia), plenty of luck and musical inspiration. I’d love to thank him, as well.

Commissioned poppy painting in acrylic

The first of two paintings

Red poppies: commissioned acrylic painting

My paintings of poppies in acrylic

I managed to get done two poppy paintings which I had promised a while ago. Time was pushing me, but the client was very satisfied after these paintings were installed on the wall. The worst part was, I had very little time to take some pictures, and no chance to take some pictures in a good light. Oh well, they loved these paintings, and who cares how their images look like?

Side by side view: poppy paintings in acrylic

Side by side: commissioned poppy paintings

We had a chance to attend the Rose Festival in a small Latvian town Tukums.

Almost the entire family

My family, however, the oldest grandson and my husband were not present, and my son-in-law was taking this picture

The wreath made of real roses

The huge wreath was made only of live roses. Just imagine how many should be there!

Small town Tukums

Small town: Tukums

The Rose Festival

The Rose Festival was well attended

Poppies along the road

Poppies along the road

This town was very attractive. Beautiful views were on both sides of the road, but twilight was getting closer really rapidly, so my small camera was unable to take good pictures of wild poppies.

My farewell cake

My farewell cake: delicious and beautiful

Anyway, my grandson has started to worry about his computer, so I have to finish my writing. I’d love to finish it with a beautiful and fantastically tasting, oh-so delicious farewell cake. My sister made it knowing how much I love home-made cakes, all from scratch with real fresh garden strawberries. Thanks my dear sister! The cake was wonderful.

My rainy day sketches and paintings sparkle with light, and we have finally summer weather

The weather has been very unpredictable. Since I am always drawing and painting only from life and using real objects, that was quite upsetting. I did not get all depressed, but moved on as much as I could.

For time saving purposes, I am sometimes outlining and drawing with black pen. I do not have to use glasses that way which is great because glasses can destroy proportions and my visual perception.

I hope you will share my pleasure about these simple sketches of plants, flowers and birds.

Garden sketches and parrot painting in watercolor

Sweet peas and apples watercolor and pen sketch

One old friend presented me with sweet peas, so these found their reflexion in a simple sketch.

Sweet peas watercolor sketch and painting

I love cheerful colors!

Red apples garden watercolor

Apples were growing in the sister’s garden, so were the red currants.

Red currant painting in watercolor and pen

Parrots we were doing in the Exotic birds drawing workshop. Everybody loved them!

Bird painting Parrots watercolor and pen

Parrot trio

Parrots in watercolor and pen

I was very happy also that I finally obtained the St. Petersburg watercolor set. I wanted these paints ever since I was a small kid when I saw one artist painting with them. I got them now at the age of 55, actually my birthday is just some weeks away, so it’s a nice birthday gift for myself. These paints are said to be the best in the world just because they are made of the purest and best really natural ingredients.

St. Petersburg watercolor set: the best paints in the world

Supposedly the best watercolor paints ever

My improvised painting desk

My improvised painting desk is very small, and I had no table or desk at some moments, as well

I am also typing on computer which is missing the key for the letter “d”, and I am using one end of my brush as a pointer to get this letter typed. Well, one should not complain about anything which is offered because it is always better to have something than nothing.

The sun is beating down today, so we are having some Mexico weather this week. Isn’t that crazy how I was freezing in my leather coat just a week ago, and it is advisable to wear nothing more than a swimming suit at the moment? Too bad, no swimming pool anywhere here, but I suppose, I can survive that, too!

I am a child of the sun, my sign is leo, and this immediately changes my inner settings. I don’t care how hot it gets, whenever it is sunny, I am happy.

I was drawing today, as well, those works still need some touch, and I intent to publish them some time later in the week.

I would love to express the hugest THANK YOU to all those fellow bloggers, friends and students who did not stop encouraging me during the bad weather period and are still following my trip to Europe, Latvia.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR ADVICES AND ASSISTANCE!

The older folks may still remember the fantastic song by Al Bano and Romina Power Liberta. Radio was playing it as I typed. My mood goes up to the sky! What a song! What a summer!

Unique places on the Earth: the Hill of Crosses for peace and spirituality in Lithuania

 

Can you imagine a huge hill built up of crosses and crucifixes? I was not even aware there was such a hill until our trip to Lithuania. I will not try to interpret the symbolic and other meanings of this hill since I do not speak Lithuanian and I did not notice any explanations anywhere, but that was a place where prayers go to the sky, peace surrounds the pilgrim as a soft and comforting scarf and eternity comes a bit closer. I had never seen such a place before.

There were just a few sunny days during my stay in Latvia so far.

I cannot do much about the weather, but I am definitely trying to have good time despite  mother nature’ s moods.

We decided to take a drive to Rundale, a castle and village in Latvia since there was a Rose Festival, but we somehow ended up on the road to Lithuania since there was road construction and we somehow got lost. Somebody had heard there was a pilgrimage place which was entirely built up of approximately 100,000 crosses, crucifixes and rosaries. This sacred place was not far, the sun was shining (what a surprise!), so we changed our plans.

Numerous crosses and crucifixes

The view was actually more than impressive. I would say this was an absolutely unique site, and I had never heard about a similar place anywhere on the earth. This pilgrimage site attracts people from all over the globe with peace, spirituality and its sacred nature. It said, the first crosses were place on the hill around 1831. Even though its main idea may not be what it felt like to me, I could see the Hill of Crosses as a place where to show our gratitude, thankfulness, love for peace and freedom.

 

Somebody told these crosses were not from cemeteries, they were placed there by people who were looking for their inner peace and probably for healing. There were written prayers or letters of gratitude attached to some crosses.

Path going up

I do not read and understand Lithuanian, but judging by people who spoke German, French, English, Russian and Latvian, I believe many had come here to express their gratitude or to send prayers for somebody’ s well-being, health, peace or other matters. Looking up to huge crosses and statues made me think of things and people I had lost along the way, and the energy on the hill was definitely filled with positive vibrations, hope and blessings.

Many people were walking in silence and lots of prayers were sent out from here.

This is a place which makes one forget about the small daily chores and think about spirituality and eternal matters.

The path along entrance The Hill of Crosses

 

My daughter and my mom

The Hill of Crosses attracts people with peace and spirituality: my daughter and my mom

Path along the Hill of Crosses

Many people from all the globe were visiting the Hill of Crosses

We have to remember that each cross was placed by somebody.

My daughter at the Hill

My daughter at the Hill

One more picture of me

One picture of me

So many crosses

So many crosses

The Sacred place Hill of Crosses

View from the stairs

View from the stairs

Folkart of the Hill of Crosses

Genuine art to express the gratitude and hope

The Hill of Crosses Lithuania

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania: pilgrimage site and place of peace and healing, hope and gratitude.

I had to update the article since there were some misunderstandings.

I would think great minds stand above any religious disparities since in my opinion belief should not set people apart, but make them respect more things which they share or don’t. Religious symbolism is present in any culture. The governing religion in Lithuania is catholic, just like in many other countries. My personal attitude does not really matter whether I travel to Mexico, Spain or Italy or any other place since the monuments of the past are supposed to lift our spirits and help realizing the potential of humanity through its struggles and victories, and art, architecture, monuments are the beautiful implementations of our history. We may belong to different races or religions, but all of us share the appreciation for human achievements. I mean, any beautiful and remarkable place on the Earth deserves our respect and admiration just because we all are human and we all need a hope.

The breeze from ancient times: sunny walk through the Old Town of Riga, Latvia

Some things never stop amazing us: times come and go, but there are places which always embrace us with  that hard to describe feeling of being a part of history and the universe.

Such places never lose their magic appeal and keep reminding us how eternity can be reached and experienced when the breeze from ancient times plays in our hair and shadows from the past walk along with us on the cobblestones.

The Old Town of Riga, capital city of Latvia has always been like that. It does not matter whether it rains, snows, late fall leaves fly in the air or early buds open up to the sun: this part of the city has some secret to reveal and some story to tell every time when one walks here.

I did not have plenty of time to spend there, and, in fact, I did not need it, as well, since I have been there numerous times. I used to live in Riga for about 25 years, so I obviously have been walking down and up these streets at any time of the day and in all seasons. Nevertheless, I never stop enjoying such a walk whether short or long because one can look at these ancient buildings and streets never getting tired of this fantastic scenery.

As I told before, I have very limited access to the Internet, not to mention I cannot crop, watermark or do other manipulations with these pictures. I am leaving that for the moment when I return home.

Please respect the copyrights.

Ancient streets of a very old town

Ancient streets of the very old town

Girls in national costumes walking in the Philharmonia square

I had got some girls in national costumes walking in the Philharmonia Square  on my picture

Narrow and welcoming streets

The past and the present

Clouds over the Old Town

Astonishingly attractive architecture

Beautiful old buildings

Beautiful old buildings, and they are so well kept

Busy Old Town of Riga

It is always busy in the Old Town of Riga

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter’s Church: big attraction for tourists with a museum and other facilities

It is equally nice to rest, dine or go for a walk in the  Old Town of Riga

The Powder Tower

The Powder Tower where real powder for very ancient guns was stored

One more view

One more view

The Philharmonia Square

The Philharmonia Square

Flowers for sale

Flowers were sold everywhere

More beautiful flowers

Wild flowers along with garden variaties are much loved here, too

The Monument Of Freedom: Latvian symbol and landmark at the same time

The Monument of Freedom: this is Latvian symbol and landmark at the same time since it raises high above the central part of Riga

I forgot to mention that this was one of the very few days when it was raining only sometimes, most days I spent here were rainy and quite cold.

Learning midsummer lessons under the rainbow arch

The Latvian midsummer met me with cold showers and fairly nasty wind gusts. This time of the year used to be my favorite. Everything is usually in full bloom: meadows, forests, fields and gardens; fresh and rich scents of flowers and flavors of ripening fruits travel through the air and long and light filled days are promising: the entire summer is yours. Just enjoy and relax!

Well, still learning that nasty summer days happen and bad weather can occur in the middle of summer, too. I suppose it is always like that: the more you wait for something, the less of expectations come true! My art projects will have to wait for some nicer temperatures, as well, and I will have to be more patient. Hopefully, the rest of my stay in Latvia will not disappoint. Plein air or outdoor painting is a wonderful thing, it is also hard to find more suitable place than countryside of Latvia for such an activity, the only obstacle is the weather at the moment. It has been raining so heavily and so often that I couldn’t take even decent pictures, not to mention manage some drawing or painting with the student groups.

However, nature does not seem to be too worried: all things are happening as they should, even though some delay is noticeable. Double rainbow arch

The rainfalls occurring together with sunshine allowed enjoying fantastically bright and extremely huge rainbows. I have to really regret now I did not have space in my luggage for the professional camera, most part was given to my meds since I am spending here quite a while. Anyway, I took whatever pictures I could.

Sunset sky

The sun creates beautiful scenery in the after-rain sky.

Clouds above summer fields

Even clouds seem to be extremely artistic here.

Sunset in Latvia

I have not visited many places so far, I am leaving that for a moment when temperature reaches at least 20 degrees Celsius.

The garden is full with all kinds of useful plants and vegetables, however, the dominant color is green at the moment. It will take a while until fruits are ready to pick.

I usually love the Latvian wild flower fields, especially poppy, wild daisy and corn-flower fields. I managed to see mostly roadsides thickly covered by the whites of queen Anne’s lace.

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne’s lace: white, fragile beauty

Summer garden

Red Currant berries

Potatoes in bloom

Potatoes are blossoming, too

Wild rose in the garden

Wild rose buds

Garden marigolds

Small garden carnations

There is always something to admire, love, paint and enjoy: cannot wait until a day when it will be possible to paint or draw.

Strawberries have suffered slightly under too much moisture, nevertheless, their taste is excellent.

garden strawberries

 

Sweet cherries

Meanwhile, I am walking under the rainbow arch: such a pretty view!

Under the rainbow arch

 

Beauty in abundance: our success allows expecting more from late summer painting sessions

The endless roads of summer trips and the mysterious paths of wilderness are waiting. Garden is ready to bring up its first fruits, and the short midsummer nights are just some 10 days away. So much promise and so many unexpected adventures just a small while ahead! I hope this summer will be up to our expectations and we can walk into the open gate of fall with full hands and relaxed minds.

Europe is so beautiful in summertime, and nothing compares to the Midsummer celebration in Latvia! The delicious caraway seed cheese, home-baked pies and pastries of all kinds, wild mushrooms, home-grown strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers which get slightly pickled and are ready the next day: oh, these things make the taste buds go nuts!

Along with giving some tasty foods to the body, fantastic delights for eyes to enjoy and to capture on paper or canvas will be just around each corner. The Old Town of Riga is always worth photographing or painting and I cannot wait to experience again the flare of medieval streets and ancient picturesque buildings. This is all ahead.

We just finished the last classes of spring/summer session. My students told they’d be impatiently waiting for the early fall classes in order to put on canvas views which I will take back with me from Europe.

We will be definitely doing some weathered barns and eye-catching farms and street scenes with ancient buildings. As we get closer to the fall, I can promise some beautiful fall scenes, early autumn paths and lake views for painting. I will try to collect opinions about still life sketching, drawing and painting. There were people who expressed interest in that type of objects, let’s see how it goes.

The last year has been very successful for both the studio and the art gallery; I hope it goes the same way in the next fall season. Judging by number of applications which are received for August classes and workshops, there won’t be any time to get bored. That makes me happy and students told they were extremely happy with my classes, as well.

Barn painting: adult acrylic painting classes, artist Liz

Liz’s painting

Wednesday acrylic painting class group

The Wednesday group, Christine had to work, she was not present this time

Acrylic painting class for beginning artists

Liz presented everybody from the Wednesday group with gift towels which she had decorated herself. Thanks Liz, we appreciate that a lot! Liz developed a style on her own just during October-May while starting to attend these art classes. Great job and it is worth to pay attention to this style: acrylic is a very interesting medium, and sometimes under-appreciated.

Diana painting winter scene in acrylic

Diana just finishing up one of her paintings

Bev painting the barn

Bev working on her barn scene painting

Acrylic painting class Whitby, Ontario

The friendly Wednesday beginning artists group

Amanda working on the barn painting

Amanda working on the barn painting

We have our long-term artists which I am missing so much when I don’t meet them for a longer time. Diana, Bev and Gordon have been with this studio for 3 years. Joan, Christine, Amanda joined during the last fall, and most likely they will end up putting their art in our fall/winter show.

Enjoying the almost done painting

Acrylic painting class for beginners

Barn painting acrylic on canvas

Joan's painting: acrylic on canvas, barn scene

Christine's painting almost done

Painting classes for adults, downtown Whitby

It’s still a project and a dream since my space is limited and these classes have outgrown it so quickly, but the quality and attraction of art done by my students is so great that we will be trying to make a show happen. The space will be an issue, but I suppose we may solve it one or another way.

This year we got ongoing Thursday class, as well, I have to mention Connie who has grown as an artist tremendously, Gwen, and Wayne who are getting amazingly good results already and Sarah, Christine and Susan who just started to paint some months ago, but got done beautiful paintings. That’s just a start for them. We had father and daughter driving all the way from Mississauga and very gifted mother and daughter in the Tuesday night group.

Acrylic paintings by adult beginner class

Tuesday painting session for beginners in acrylic painting

Acrylic painting class for beginners

Park painting in acrylic

I would like to mention also the rest of extremely talented Tuesday night group: Rose who got so inspired that she paints on her own while there are no classes, Jane who got done the first 2 paintings ever, Helen who implements lovingly worked out details, and the very amazing person and good beginning artist Stephanie.

Demo board for acrylic painting classes

The tired demo board

I may have not mentioned all of the most recent adult students, there were so many, however, you often made not only my day, but all week! I hope seeing most of you in August again!

We did huge numbers of sketches, watercolor paintings and drawings in the teen group. Elaine’s, Rachel’s, Sophie’s, Emily’s and Marie’s paintings show we have achieved a lot. We will continue in August with intensive watercolor workshops and sessions in adult and teen watercolor sketching group. New this season will be: preparation classes when we will learn drawing and composition.

Have a great summer and keep your brushes wet and pencils sharp!

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