Last minute gifts: one of a kind and personalized

Last minute Christmas gifts

Get some inspiration for last minute Christmas gifts: it is easy to personalize your gift by just adding some specific lettering or making up a set of something you know that person prefers.

I think that last minute gifts make up a lot of Christmas fun. For people like me who do not have all their family within reach, that is the best part of Christmas. I love making gifts, creating greeting cards and giving gifts. I wish I had more money, so more people could get their gifts and feel happy about them.

Last minute Christmas gifts

Shiny crystal necklace and center pieces in gold and silver

Last minute Christmas gifts

Canvas with shiny golden stars and fitting center piece

Last minute Christmas gifts

Silver cones

Last minute Christmas gifts

Country style with birds

Last minute Christmas gifts

Closer look

Last minute Christmas gifts

Twig frames

Last minute Christmas gifts

Mixing up styles

Last minute Christmas gifts

Cozy and let it snow

Last minute Christmas gifts

Everything comes together and

Last minute Christmas gifts

this is my Christmas, with

Last minute Christmas gifts

lots of fun, work, inspiration, love and hope!


Inseparable fellows: desperation and delight, which one wins?

Acrylic painting, white winter

Shadows in my tea-cup, darkness behind the window and soft warmth from the small outdoor lights: that is the calming scene which surrounds me at the moment. The scent of a live fir-tree is absent, but I can certainly imagine that, too. As the year is fast approaching its end, my hopes and expectations get smaller and smaller until they will fade away completely.

What a terrible thing that is to get sick straight before Christmas and in the middle of the last potentially successful sales period! I did exactly that, I worked very hard for about a month and then my body told: that’s it; I need to shut down for a while and get some rest. Well, I missed all the potential sales opportunities since I couldn’t even lift my arm, not to mention do preparations, final touches on art or crafts, and I did not post any ads and I even did not turn on the “Open” sign.  Finally, it’s the first day now when I am a bit better, I can see the computer screen at least. What a relief!

White winter path, acrylic painting 30 x 22 inches

Well, when I hear the big numbers what people are spending during Christmas and holidays, I get even sicker. Is that even possible? Most likely it is.

I took some pictures of the recent works with my phone. It’s so dark, that trying to take a picture with my camera is totally out of question. Oh, like all people who are born under the Leo sign, I love warmth, sun and light. I love the light so much that I believe I’m not going to disappear in any darkness ever. I have actually devoted all my existence to multiplication of light. Nothing warms me more than a sunny day looking through curtains at my window.  Not good news for me so far, because nobody even knows I worked a lot to make this pre-holiday sale happen, but broke down straight before the rewarding finishing line.

I’m not a real Canadian either because I don’t put up a Christmas tree or decorations in November; I do not do the Christmas shopping until the last-minute, and therefore I am only catching up when others are way ahead of me. My Christmas means to put up the tree in the morning, decorate it around lunch time, and then cook a nice meal to have it at night. That’s how it always was since I can remember me. My dad and I went even to the forest just early on the Christmas morning sometimes. If I have everything ready month before this day, I am losing all the Christmas spirit and mood because for me these preparations are the celebration. Songs, flavors, candle lights and sparkles on the Christmas tree is all I need.

Since there is still a full week, I hope that my bank account miraculously turns from red into black, well, that might be also the only occasion when black is a good color; and I can supply myself completely with all the medications before the pharmacy shut-down period. I sincerely hope there might be a person who wishes to see some of my original paintings on their wall or assumes they are good enough to be presented as a gift. We used to say in Europe: hope is a comfort for a fool. Despite the poor odds, I won’t panic just yet. Everything goes on with or without fireworks.


Winter wonderland, acrylic painting 16 x 20 inches


One class was painting this winter scene along with me, we are doing some winter every December



The Life school blog talks about memories that are beautiful, but can be painful, as well:

Take a moment and paint it

Acrylic paintings tips

The blooming outdoors was and still is taking our breath away. Endless cloud of fragrances and all colors of the rainbow: how not to love this spring time? I think, I only live in spring. Summer brings its pleasure, too, but I’m already concerned in the fall because that means the dreadful winter is not far away. That’s just how I am, a spring and sun person.

I was so upset that my health decided to give me hard times exactly when everything just asks to be painted. Well, up to today, I didn’t get done much and kept everything to minimum, that unfortunately included posting, as well. Things seem to be easing up, so I’m quite hopeful that the improvement will finally start. I’m using that expensive pills at the moment that I pretty much should be skipping other stuff like the daily bread.

Even though struggles were inevitable, we managed to get done something very useful in the studio. The regular Wednesday class was painting wildflowers and so did the Saturday Fun and Pleasure acrylic painting event participants.

I had big difficulties with picture-taking because I don’t have filters that make a photographed acrylic or oil painting look nice, but nevertheless I took quite a few. I will let these pictures speak for me this time. Nothing makes me happier than somebody admitting they like my paintings.

Some pictures are of my paintings at the studio. Birches are sold.

I hope the buyers enjoy these paintings!

Also sold.

Soft and dreamy spring painting.

Update: most of these paintings have been sold by now. Thanks!

Memories, dreams and hopes: the holiday art show

Memories, dreams and hopes create the mental environment I reside in. Although, I’ve been always strongly attached to the reality, the only way to exist for me as an artist is to use my past experience, add some future dreams  and hope for the best since absolutely nothing is for sure or granted.

The year has made a loop and we have arrived at Christmas time again. For somebody whose main income comes from art and creative projects, this time is very important. I wish I had prepared everything earlier and ahead of December, but every day has only 24 hours. When painting, the day simply disappears, hours turn into minutes, honestly, and late afternoon twilight reminds it’s evening.

Such art show and sale pretty much indicate how I am going to be up to the end of March. Good show with good sales means some free classes for my students or better fees, new brushes, new paints, more colors, more tools and also more blank canvasses to paint on. Oh, I am consuming large amounts of paints! Gift certificates for art classes have been good thing to have all previous years, let’s see how much demand for them is this year. I have sold only a few so far.

It’s also important that people realize these sales are mutually beneficial: buying from a local artist allows this artist shopping the neighborhood in return. No income: no shopping. So, I’m really putting big hopes into this event, and I also worked hard and many hours not only on the direct sales pieces of art and crafts, but on my decorations. Well, I have lost the entire box with indoor and outdoor lights. No idea who has taken that box away, but I’m still trying to find it. The only string I have at the moment cannot provide enough light for the entrance. Pictures were taken during twilight, when the darkness sets in, hardly anything is visible. It’s easy to decorate when plenty of materials and all kinds of things are available, it’s fairly tricky when that’s not the case. My decorations are done only employing my imagination and using and recycling materials which I had from previous years. I added some greens for freshness from my backyard. I think that’s the key: figure out how to replace what one doesn’t have with what’s available.

I tried, but the entire scene would not fit into one picture. Camera also pushes back the middle ground, so, I dare to say, it looked actually much nicer in reality!

I have added new images to Fine Art America site also: it’s amazing how good some images look on pillows they are now offering in addition to all kinds of prints and cards: metal prints, acrylic prints, framed prints, posters and simply prints. Almost forgot the phone cases, millions of those. All of this stuff is quite inexpensive, so I’d love people stop by at that site, too.

Sunset creek: original

Printed art products: prints of all sizes and lots of other things

I’m feeling a bit tired tonight, it’s been a very busy day and week, and I hope this results in some kind of good holidays and New Year since I’d love nothing more than simply paint: not in rush, not particular size, not particular scene, but something I really love. Paint and feel undisturbed by any routine duties and problems. Some artists have that, but it’s like a dream for me yet because in order to paint subjects which really make sense to me requires much higher sales and much higher income.

Well, I’m working on it.


We all come from our past and we all are going to our future. The small while in between is our present where memories and dreams meet. That is also a short, sparkling moment when the art is born.

Our creative potential is huge and very often neglected. Get some inspiration, give somebody a gift of art or time for creation of it!

Well, nice news: somebody just bought a pack of 10 greeting cards!

I hope they enjoy these cards!

Crafted and hand-made is the new luxury 1

When reviewing some reports from trend analysis about home decor, gift and luxury item retail, I was very pleased seeing that anything hand-made and crafted was given the deserved attention. The real, the genuine, the one of a kind and hand-made things are predicted to become more and more important for our living environment in order to regain the personal touch which was lost in the long run towards the globalization. I believe we can go only so long with low-quality mass-made products which only fill up the space, but do not really contribute to the interior environment of our living and working spaces. The hand-made things have double value which is not always the cost which is put into this item in the way of materials and tools, but the added value resulting from our personal input, energetic vibrations and the esthetics of our creation. Such things are also unique, and always carry some special flare because of person who created them. There is no comparison between some inexpensive Wallmart or similar print which looks cheap, has no real value except for cost of paint and piece of plastic or sadly looking artificial canvas and self-made, hand-made or crafted original item or painting. No surprise many people express their interest in learning how such things are created. There is huge interest in DIY arts and crafts.Pleasure painting workshop Fun and pleasure acrylic painting workshop Sponge painting workshop for adults Sponge is a great tool for acrylic painting Autumn trees : sponge painting Autumn trees painted with brush and sponge Sponge is very helpful in achieving effects Acrylic painting for beginners Lots of fun Attendees of pleasure painting workshop Acrylic painting for beginners Fun and pleasure acrylic painting workshops have usually more than just one goal. We learn how to apply new techniques, how to implement unusual elements, how to use new tools, and we also explore some subjects which are well-known, but always offer potential for personal approach. Trees have found their reflection in paintings and decorative art (decorative art is what actually makes minimum 50% of all available art) for as long as humans exist. We are not making a discovery of a century, but we are learning how to make painting within 3 hours without too much effort and sweat. It’s obvious that such paintings can be still enhanced after the workshop which outlines the basics; students can add more detail and more layers or highlights afterwards. The principle is what counts. This time we were applying sponge. Sponge has huge potential with acrylics, and the use of this approach is actually not limited to trees or forests. It is impossible to paint so fast with brush and the created textures make these works look loose, naturally attractive. Sponge can be applied in multiple layers starting from darks and moving up to lights and highlights. Sponge can be used for the entire painting, just adding some smaller details with a brush. This technique is a bit under-appreciated, but over time I intend to present for your attention more subjects which can be successfully painted with sponge. For beginners and for artists who would like their painting to look somewhat abstract, it is of a great value. Everybody can practice using sponge on their own because it is such a relaxing and easy painting technique. The only threat can be overuse of a particular color and paint colors which do not present strong contrast. Other than that, it is pure fun! Demo painting for acrylic workshop This is one of my quick demos for sponge application with acrylic. Try it! It’s interesting and you could be very satisfied with results!

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.



Demo board for barn and river


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.


Bev just working on one of her paintings



The friendly Wednesday beginning artists group


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.







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.





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.


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!

Basic/Intermediate level acrylic painting workshops

In order to participate in these acrylic painting workshops, some experience in painting with acrylics is required.

Relaxing activities in a pleasant atmosphere:

creating ourselves through fulfilling our dreams

Each workshop consists of painting for 3.5 hours during two consecutive Sundays. We are painting for 7 total hours, and your painting should be done or almost done by the end of day 2.

The subject for April 21 and April 28 workshop is Georgian Bay shores at different atmospheric conditions and daytimes, thus, it is possible to choose the scenery which speaks to you most.

Gerorgian bay shores worksh

April 21, Day 1 and April 28, Day 2

Each day 1 pm – 4.30 pm

Each workshop day is $35, 2 days, total 7 hours: $70

Minimum 4, maximum 8 participants.

Minimum canvas size: 16 x 20 in

Paints: acrylic paints

Payne’s grey, titanium white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow light, quinacridone crimson or naphtol red medium, hooker’s green permanent, sap green or olive green, brilliant yellow green or mix up your own greens, burnt sienna, burnt umber, yellow ochre, ultramarine and cerulean blue, brilliant purple or prism violet

3 brushes: flat, at least 1.5 in wide or wider, round with fine tip, size 10-12, rough bristle brush (Walmart for painting walls or windows, about 1-1. 5 in wide which can be slight adjusted by cutting out some parts)

Paper towel, paper plate

Choice of scenery: at dusk, twilight, daylight

Basic/Intermediate level ACRYLIC PAINTING WORKSHOP:

En plein air painting of garden/backyard scene

Downtown Whitby

Relaxing activities in pleasant atmosphere:

Creating ourselves through fulfilling our dreams

May 26, Day 1

June 2, Day 2

Each day 1 pm – 4.30 pm

Some experience in painting with acrylics is required.

Materials not included.

Subject for painting includes anything you prefer seeing in a backyard or garden scene since my location has it all: irises, lilacs, blossoming apple trees, old maple trees, blossoming dogwood and lots of other wild plants like lily of the wally or simple dandelions in nice settings. There is an old picturesque fence, old fashioned gate and small shed, back porch and shadows on walls, briefly, the scenery is very artistic and offers a great choice of attractive subjects.

Collage image for acrylic painting workshop

Minimum canvas size: 16 x 20 in

Paints: acrylic paints

Payne’s grey, titanium white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow light, quinacridone crimson or naphtol red medium, hooker’s green permanent, sap green or olive green, brilliant yellow green or mix up your own greens, burnt sienna, burnt umber, yellow ochre, ultramarine and cerulean blue, brilliant purple or prism violet

3 brushes: flat, at least 1.5 in wide or wider, round with fine tip, size 10-12, rough bristle brush (Walmart for painting walls or windows, about 1-1. 5 in wide which can be slight adjusted by cutting out some parts)

Paper towel, paper plate

Each workshop day is $35, 2 days, total 7 hours: $70

Minimum 4, maximum 8 participants.

Orchards blossoming in the art studio

Waiting for something can be as exciting as the upcoming event itself. Spring is late this year, and that makes us more impatient since everyone is tired of storms, colds, snow and icy winds. However, why to wait when you can create sensation of spring and speed up its arrival on your own?

We’ve been busy with blossoming apple trees during the last 4 classes.

Unlikely many North American art schools, we are focusing not only on technical abilities, which are undoubtedly important in achieving our artistic goals, but also on the emotional impact of our creations and the energetic and intellectual potential of painting. When painting some certain subject, we are trying to capture not that much its photographic likeness, but rather to implement the idea, feelings and emotions, the emotional charge within and behind the painted image. We are trying to paint our vision in the way others could experience it, too. That requires freedom in our approach, experimenting with colors and brush stroke, immediate action and reaction, and high confidence level, as well.

The subject was very attractive this time, and we got really great scenery on our canvas.

Acrylic painting class: blossoming apple trees: Diana's painting

It is important that we use the same basic image and the same medium (acrylic, watercolor or pastel) in a class since every medium requires different handling and specific techniques for bringing the painted subject to life.

Acrylic is actually very forgiving, and everything can be adjusted, changed and improved when necessary.

Acrylic painting class: Wednesday class students

All artists were not present at the time of taking pictures, but I have inserted their painting images.

We will just have to go through sky and water yet, and these students could surprise us with fantastic paintings done on their own.

Painting spring during snow storm feels really great

I am receiving plenty of e-mails about painting and art classes. Many potential students come straight to the studio-gallery, as well. No doubt, there’s interest in creation and self-accomplishment, there’s a need to express our artistic side and our hidden potential. We all have some dream which can easily come true. All we have to do is JUST GO FOR IT. Sounds very simple, doesn’t it?

However, there are people who will start attending classes and become great artists and decorators, who won’t be looking any further because they have found themselves in painting; and there are those who will keep talking about how much they love art and how much they would like to learn painting or drawing, or both, but this will never happen because it’s just a talk. Whatever our intentions, everything requires some effort. Painting actually is a lot of work, intense focusing, thinking and trying and takes some time, as well.

Groups are very different. I am happy that along with students who quickly drop in and out there are always the serious and devoted ones who will stop at nothing and achieve what they came here for: the CREATIVE SUCCESS.

It seems the adult acrylic painting group students are just like that: focused, committed and interested in learning. The Wednesday group was a bit too large, thus, I had to start the Tuesday acrylic painting group, as well.

First par of spring scene painting

It was a pleasure to see how satisfied everyone was with the previous painting we just finished. I chose a simple spring scene this time. It came out so good probably because we all are longing for spring in our hearts.

Besides, what can be nicer than painting a warm spring scene when outdoors is a snow storm how it recently happened? It is unbelievable how fast the time disappears when we are painting.

Some people compare the painting process with a deep meditation: getting lost in colors, shapes and imaginative scenes takes our mind to a meditative state.

Tuesday acrylic painting class

Tuesday group: that was a happy painting session

Pictures are taken fairly late, light may have been better, however, all paintings looked very good in reality

Wednesday acrylic painting class for adults

Wednesday acrylic painting group: this was their first painting for two ladies in this group

Acrylic spring scene paintings: adult beginners class

All paintings lined up: I wish I had a special place where to display them

We just started a nature scene with blossoming apple trees, that definitely will make great paintings.

Paintings in progress: experimenting with multiple media and surfaces

There is some certain stuff which I hate and usually avoid when painting. I do not like using masking fluid. I am using such a paper which allows for a lot of lifting, or sometimes watercolor canvas. However, watercolor canvas is not my preferred surface because paint goes on as easy as it comes off. It’s sometimes quite a struggle to cheat the paint onto canvas, it also takes a lot of time. watercolor and pastel paintings of fruits I’m combining acrylic ground, watercolor, fixative and pastels in order to draw with pastels on a stretched canvas. paintings in progress apple and floral still life I’m also stretching watercolor paper on bars, and I’m doing this all and going for that kind of trouble because I absolutely don’t like how paintings look behind the glass. Frame sort of contributes to perception of an image, but glass reflections definitely disturb it. I have some paintings under museum quality glass (that’s at least what I paid for), and there are still some reflections present. Besides, it feels as if color and image are not that directly approachable as in case of acrylic paintings. paintings in progress: amaryllis acrylic painting Unfortunately, I cannot do oils because of allergy, that’s why I am combining these media which I like. I don’t think, there is any absolutely flawless medium. Pastels leave a lot of dust and cause respiratory problems, they need to be preserved immediately; acrylic paintings are easy to store and hang, but paint dries out in no time, and any correction requires to go over quite an area. Watercolor paintings need to be preserved and framed. Glass + mat board + frame increase the selling price incredibly. My goal is to paint on any surface combining any mediums in such a manner that I never again need to frame my paintings, unless I really want it. Art buyers actually prefer paintings without frames, that gives them the freedom to frame or not to frame later and do that as they wish. combining pastel and watercolor on canvas None of these paintings is finished yet, but I quite like how they are coming out I’m experimenting so far, but soon I will see what works the best. It’s also fun to use watercolor pencils, pastel pencils, pastel sticks, watercolor on canvas, on paper, on board and just take a risk. The result might be unpredictable, but I don’t think it’s going to be unacceptable. Painting from real set-up, that’s the way I like it The last thing, which I really don’t like and do not advise my students, is painting from photos. Whatever the pros and cons, it’s more rewarding to develop one’s visual ability and drawing skills than try to go by a ready image.