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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.

Latvian musician Gacho visiting the garden party

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!

We and our creations are one of a kind

I recently read an art blog, and the artist was sharing her doubts whether to paint simple nature objects or not since there was nothing new to say about them.

It’s definitely tough because when we check out all the art which has been created during the last two thousand years, we have to come to conclusion that practically everything has been painted, written, composed and done. It’s amazing, but abstracts and minimalism, modernism and naturalism, naivism, impressionism, symbolism and so on and on existed way ago. Not always the style and genre was given a name, and art was not categorized like nowadays, but it existed, it was created and it still reminds the simple truth: there is usually more of everything than meets the eye. However, stubborn as we are, we keep writing, painting, doing.

Have you ever seen the happiness in child’s eyes when he or she has drawn or painted something for the first time? Tree, flower, house, mom or himself. These may be just some lines, some attempt, some distant capture of what we would assume painting or drawing should be. For kid who painted his or her first painting, this is the biggest discovery, the hugest achievement, a whole new world, an excitement and satisfaction, belief in himself. The kid has seen something wonderful happening. The kid does not really care that there exist millions of other paintings, probably way better since they are based on theories and knowledge and practice. This one is the best, the most wonderful, the most amazing.

Being an artist quite often requires becoming like that kid: we sure are aware there is everything imaginable and unimaginable available already, there was and there will be, but we grab the brush, we take the pencil, we through the paint on canvas, and the magic is happening. Right in this moment, straight with us, and something wonderful is being created. Regardless whether it is the best or the worst painting of the century, we have turned our vision into something touchable and visible which other people can perceive and experience, as well. We are sharing our vision about the being, existence, life, future, past, birth, death and eternity. Whatever our subject and it does not really matter whether one paints breakfast dishes or streetscape of a huge city, we are all drawing, painting, writing ourselves and telling the story about us: who we are, why we are and how the world looks like according to us.

That’s why it still makes sense to paint pansy, rose, road, fence, some face, some scene, some tree, sky, fog, field even though we know somebody has already painted this all, and maybe the other paintings were better. They were definitely different, and that is all what matters: we are unique just as our DNA is, as our fingerprints are. We are seeing every single object completely distinctively and we are painting it that way, too.  Therefore, we can say: welcome the millionth version of rose, of street scene, of sky and water! Since this is one of a kind.

The garden of my dreams acrylic painting

As you walk along this path, you may understand what I wanted to tell you. At least people who were looking at the real painting could.

The studio-gallery entrance

I got a chance to display some paintings straight on the porch. If you happen to be in downtown of Whitby, Ontario, drop in. I’m always happy to meet people who enjoy art.

Accomplishment: the meaningful measuring unit of time

Idleness makes hours pass slowly and years swiftly. Activity makes the hours short and the years long.

/Cesare Pavese “This business Of Living”, 1938/

Time flies and streams flow: are we going to stand by and watch them disappear?

Most of us have some daily duties, jobs, schedules, routine, obligations and problems. Fewer have achievements, satisfaction, passion, happiness and things that make this life a pleasurable experience.

I have noticed people who are passionate about something are simply better off. They are better off in many ways, not only because they don’t know what the boredom or wasted time is, but they have something more than just routine, duties and obligations.

Time really flies, and there are so many reasons to interact with life, not only watch it passing by. I am usually measuring my day by what I have accomplished. These don’t have to be always important things, but “accomplished” things. Watching TV, for instance is wasted time. Watering plants is an “accomplished” thing. Calling mom is an “accomplished” thing. Painting or sketching is an “accomplished” thing for sure.

Thus, the measuring units of my time are not only hours, days, months, years, but any accomplished things whether small or huge.

I am happy that my art classes allow other people accomplishing something, as well. That can be even to make a dream come true. I am obviously happy that spots for the fall art classes are already taken in spring.

I hope we will be able to arrange an exhibition of my students and my demo artworks either in October or December. The space is a bit of a problem, but we could probably solve it. Not all art which I am putting on this blog is finished works, but it is easy to understand: we all are unique and our creative speeds are distinctive.

The recent 6-week acrylic painting session is very successful, we are about to start the second project.

Acrylic painting class for beginners

Daughters, mothers, friends and art lovers

Park painting in acrylic

Park and floral scene in acrylic

Floral and nature project

First time paintings for 5 students, 1 started attending my classes before

Whitby acrylic painting for adults

Pleasure and fun: everything together

Painting flowers in acrylic

Thursday night acrylic painting class

The river project: adult acrylic painting class

Not all paintings got to the finishing stage since it is summertime

Acrylic painting class for adults

Still requires some work, but they will get it done

Painting lessons for adults in Durham

Practicing more complicated objects is very useful

First project in adult acrylic class

The collage view

Acrylic paintings by adult beginner class

Many very committed students had joined the Thursday class; lots of projects were done during September-May. The passion for art and creation is the common feature of all of my students. The inspiration is so vibrant in this studio that it is simply impossible not to paint, draw, sketch or create.

 

 

Attraction of opposites and how to handle tough subjects with ease

Why are live art classes so much loved when all kinds of online and offline art learning materials are available? For established artists or someone who has quite a lot of painting experience, watching tutorial videos can be beneficial.  They know what the demo is about, they understand how to achieve what is told they would, and there is usually no problem with following the guidance material, even though it can take pretty much time.

It is a bit different with beginning artists or students who have no real painting experience. For people who have encountered tough situations when painting on their own, for students who struggle with some parts of painting, some colors or application of some techniques and never get the result they are looking for, for somebody who tried and was ready to give up painting because of difficulties, nothing can replace live direct teaching and personal approach in a real art class.

It is very obvious that knowledge can be achieved thanks to learning, trying and experimenting. I like shortcuts in all areas of life, so I am teaching how to get great results in painting without having to engage in struggles and frustration. It is no secret that many people give up painting, drawing or art because they assume it is something they will never manage or make work for them.

Acrylic is a specific painting medium: along with huge advantages it possesses some drawbacks, too. The most frustration is probably caused by very fast drying times which sort of gives no time to work out parts of painting properly. However, once one gets familiar with these features, acrylic does not feel any more difficult than any other medium. We learn treating a painting in such a way that we can work in layers and on segments.

Tips for art students: you do not have to overdo with blending. Instead of brushing all along from dark to light and from light to dark which very often will cause everything become the same color, try applying paint exactly on those spots where it needs to be. Place darks where you see them, place medium shades where they belong and finish up with lights. They come together with light stroke of damp clean brush, usually flat brush.

Great artwork usually contains many or some opposites: lights, darks, weak and strong values, sharp and soft edges, contrasting colors, both in tone and temperature, lines, layouts and shapes. Often problems arise when there is no contrast in the painting; it looks all flat and unimpressive. Try not brushing too much but move smoothly from one color to another by applying paint in segments so that no darks are lost. If you lose your darks or sketch lines or drawing has disappeared, re-establish the darks and sketch in new lines or shapes.

While any advice can be helpful, in direct class we can learn how to avoid most problematic areas, what effects to use, what techniques to avoid and the art teacher is there to provide immediate help when some problem arises. Any issue gets fixed straight where it occurred.

Painting barn: acrylic painting class for adults

We learned to use attractive grey shades of green and blue

Wedensday night painting class for adults

Grey is a fantastic color to make reds stand out

Red barn painting: acrylic art class

We had a beautiful object to paint

Painting in progress: layering acrylic

Painting in progress: layering acrylic

Blocking in the main shapes

Blocking in the main shapes

Barn painting: acrylic painting class

Barn painting: acrylic painting requires layering

Lots of texture

Lots of texture: Liz always prefers plenty of paint and multiple thick layers, this is just the beginning, results are stunning

Focused on reflections

Reflections require focus and fairly abstract approach

Painting class for adults: this painting is done

This painting is done: Joan works fast and loves detail, results are fantastic

Acrylic painting classes for adults

Our very friendly and inspiring Wednesday night group

Great atmosphere in the studio

Great atmosphere in the studio is a key for successful classes

Acrylic painting demo

This picture shows the demo board. Group teacher does not have plenty of time, demos have to be done fast and they must show the most important aspects. The demo board which can be renewed before every other class, is very useful, it allows showing many different objects, color mixing and other techniques at the same time.

Tip for art teachers: if you are giving many classes a week or more painting classes a day, consider using instead of separate canvasses or canvas boards a larger size lightweight board. I am using recently just large cardboard which is covered with gesso and some middle tone. I prefer brownish-grayish tones since they facilitate quick demo.

Tip for art students: unless your painting requires lots and lots of pure white, use toned canvasses and canvas boards since human perception works better with medium dark backgrounds. It is easy to add darkest darks and lightest lights on pre-toned canvas.

Tip for everybody who loves creating art: do not stop doing it when you encounter some problem. When some painting does not work out, instead of pressuring yourself and painting, set it aside, give it some time, place it somewhere you can see it when walking around, and the right solution will cross your mind at some point. You will later understand easily what exactly you have to do with this painting. Anger is a bad advisor, and frustration is even worse.

If you are using photo reference, remember that painting becomes the primary as it develops, and the photo is secondary. Chose always what better suits painting, not what it is on the photo. That refers to color, shapes and details, as well. The task of art is not to recreate a photo, but to create something completely new which is perceived on its own.

Happy painting!

The fantastic blue and why we have to use our own art materials

This was quite a stretch. The painting itself was not complicated, and my chosen colors worked very well. I like this dreamy and fantastic blue shade, and I will paint more similar paintings using the same transitions from aqua to deep saturated blue with adding some warmer ocher, burnt sienna and soft yellow washes next time. I already have the image in mind, I mean, I can see it in my imagination. The stressful part was lack of time, just like always, and too many different things on my plate.

Since I did not paint from any photo, but improvised all the way just like I always do, this painting took quite a few versions. The last one is supposed to be the final version, but who knows, I may just adjust something yet. Oh, acrylics can dry so dark sometimes that the entire painted scene becomes different!

Blue Poetic Gardens project: many versions and steps

I like the look of work-in-progress versions side by side. This painting is not that small: 24 by 30 inches.

The Poetic Blue Garden Acrylic painting of garden path

 

Last night I had about one  free hour, and we had bought some plants for outdoors earlier in the day. This gerbera daisy looked so lovely that I thought I could definitely use some nice warm color and do it “alla prima”. Alla prima means painting from a real life in one sitting and applying wet paint layers over wet layers. It obviously works perfectly in oil and I have done numerous “primas” in watercolor, however, the process becomes much more complicated in acrylic. I don’t use extenders and mediums too much, basically I was relying only on a very fast action this time. I love painting plein-air and doing this without any preparation. That part is easy for me. I was brushing like wind, but the acrylic still wanted to get dry faster than I could apply it. I somehow managed it. It was interesting to test how fast I was able to apply paint which dries in a few minutes. I wouldn’t say the result was a masterpiece, but it was a lot of fun for sure.

Alla prima acrylic painting of gerbera

Well, the brands offered in an art store include everything: from very cheap to very expensive. The quality has been forgotten in many areas, art supplies are no different; and everything tends to become more and more useless. We cannot be sure we are getting good quality materials even when paying a lot for them.  That’s why every student should only use his or her own materials in order to see what exactly they are like.

Those people who started to paint or draw and got behind the first confusion and initial mistakes know that there is usually one brush or two brushes which we tend to use for almost anything and more often than the other ones. We also are more attracted to some colors and we simply cannot stand some others. It is extremely important we get familiar with materials we are using. We have to explore the possibilities of brushes, knives, sponges and other tools and we also have to discover our own ways of mixing up our personal favorite shades and tones. I mean, we have to learn and find out as much as we can about things we are using. Not all paints act the same way, not all mediums, fluids and varnishes create the same effect, and we are able to achieve a superb application of an unexpected color mix which suits exactly our needs only going through numerous experiments with materials and paints WHICH WE HAVE.

People take art classes for different reasons, not only because they want to acquire painting skills. I have noticed the following: the serious and devoted students never complained how expensive or out of their reach something was. If you want to make your brush your best friend and be in good terms with colors and paints, you simply have to always use your own stuff and get familiar with it. Painting with whatever brush and unknown paints can be like walking in somebody else’s shoes: the look is good and the size is right, but walking for some reason is terribly uncomfortable!

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