Where would we be without the beauty?

Beauty is the most universal, self-expressing phenomenon that does not require words or language knowledge. It is present in all walks of life, but it becomes something extremely perceivable due to art.

As we rush our daily schedules and spend most of the time running, we might not notice the moment when a bud opens. The magic moment when the fragile petals unfold and when the sun and rain pour life into it. It becomes a mediator of beauty. Every smallest vein and line, every nuance of color is so unique.

The biggest advantage of being able to create, draw and paint is the feeling of being a creator. We can do anything with the sheet of white paper in front of us. It’s our choice what goes on it. I choose the never-ending, personality enriching and mood uplifting divine features of the nature. It is a cheerful activity on its own. It is more than meditation, it is much more than immersing in oneself, it is the imperative life-continuing reveal of the underlying essence of life, and the essence of life is beauty.

Cherry blossoms, watercolor painting. Beauty unfolding

 

Apple blossoms, watercolor painting. Beauty in a very visual way.

Enjoy! Happy Mother’s Day! I know my mom will love these paintings.

How about a painting party?

Do you ever think that having a painting party or private painting event might be a fantastic way to have a good time and have a glimpse into art creation secrets? Many people admit they are extremely exhausted, tired and losing interest in their daily chores. There are plenty of people who suffer from the burnout syndrome. That happens especially when the job involves some kind of repetition and routine, and good results are not always there. It can be caused by clients or family who do not appreciate your efforts or lack of success in things you are trying to achieve. Winter time is causing depressive state of mind, and sometimes we simply are feeling that we need something completely new. New experience, new challenge, time for ourselves. It does not really matter how average or outstanding is the art we create at such events. We have to be somewhat realistic: nobody can become an artist within a few hours. However, we can still do something meaningful. It is better than simply snoozing on the couch or eating at the local fast food restaurant just because one is bored.

Creativity is present in every single one of us, it’s just so that it can be fairly tricky to put your creative abilities to the test. Well, people who love entertainment without negative side effects can certainly enjoy such an afternoon or evening.

It is fairly tough on me because I’m only one person who does everything, but I’m OK with that. It is not that such parties are every week. Therefore, you should try, too. Every neighborhood has art places that offer to enjoy painting with friends, family or colleagues.

Photo gallery shows a recent painting party. This family had chosen a scene with rocks and highly textured background. I placed all textures on canvas 2 days before the event, and it actually took me a while.

Lifeschool blog talks about risks associated with the use of synthetic vitamins and supplements:

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2017/02/20/healthy-lifestyle-habits-that-put-you-at-risk-for-undesirable-side-effects/

How drawing and painting teaches us life and boosts mental fitness

Creative involvement in drawing and painting is one of the best things we can do in order to increase the brain activity, improve memory (not only visual) and become more confident, self-aware and efficient with making decisions.

How so? Every line and brush stroke we put down on paper or canvas comes from the brain impulses and activity of neurons at certain parts of the brain. Your hand doesn’t move on its own, it’s guided by our perception and the ability to transform visually or with other senses perceived information into individualized personal experience which is reflected as you draw or paint. It is a very complex process, and we tend to think there are mysterious powers of some kind involved. I sort of want to remove the magic aspect from creativity, just to keep things simple. Inspiration will add the magic, but we have to start from the basics.

Most people do not see the surrounding world as an artist does. So, the first task is learning to recognize all the multiple aspects of transforming a simple visual image into art that exhibits the artistically applicable features of this image. How do we do that?

Anything we draw or paint must find some echo in the storage space of our imagination. Such space of stored imaginary images is present within any memory based on associative and a priori acquired knowledge. Anything we create always relates to our fundamental knowledge of this world. Yet, the drawing or painting we are doing has SPECIFIC OBJECTS, VERY SPECIFIC ITEMS, a VERY SPECIFIC THEME and ATMOSPHERE. It is a scene like no other because it always presents individual features. No two apples are exactly the same, now flower copies the other one exactly line by line, vein by vein and trees come all in very various shapes, not to mention faces, landscapes or other scenery.

Since most people who learn painting or drawing believe that getting all information from the outside and simply following somebody without making their own decision will do the job, first artworks usually do not come out that great. While we are sketching or blocking in the basic shapes or lines, we should already try to decide why everything is where it is, and why composition evolves as it does. The reason we place our objects based on some principle on our paper or canvas is deciding early and planning for effects which we create later.

Adding paint or other elements is always making decisions: first about values, then about shapes, edges, washes and eventually we need to apply color if it is watercolor or acrylic or oil painting in color. Our brain has to make these decisions fast. Most mediums require using relevant timing. If we hesitate too much in some watercolor layers, it simply is too late to achieve the type of wash that makes such painting outstanding. If we are too slow, the acrylic layer we worked at is already dry or tacky and we have to return to it later.

Some images from recent art classes

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Blooming in studio

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On the easel: beautiful subject

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Natalia joined us just recently: very talented girl

There are two main things blocking our ability to proceed with painting or drawing when somebody attends or watches a class: we believe that instructor has made all decisions for us and our task is to blindly follow and to repeat what we see; and we are trying to do everything without any knowledge of why. There is no reasoning, no decisions which arise from our current activity.

For instance, when asked what he or she is doing with some particular part of painting, a very frequent answer is: “I don’t know”. How come? You have to know why you want one part dark and how to achieve that, you have to decide whether that particular object is small or large, has lost edges or sharp edges. That is, basically, we have to decide what exactly and why exactly every time we do something with our painting or drawing.

The biggest trouble maker is simple, aimless brushing around, moving paint all over until everything what there was is lost. That comes from not making a decision. When we decide that clouds are large and grey, we act to achieve this. It’s obvious that only acting based on decision can contribute to implementation of our intentions.

The instructor or art teacher isn’t a magician; they cannot affect directly and immediately the way your brain works. They hope you pay attention to what they say and demonstrate and you will make your own decisions based on this advice. However, if you do not answer for yourself why, what, when and how, the progress is noticeably delayed. Therefore, I also advice doing value sketches. This does not slow one down, but helps tremendously with planning and deciding on what, where and what way.

Eventually, the decision making we learn in classroom makes one much more efficient in other areas of life; hence, everything should be based on decision, not impulse and lack of thinking, so that we do not have to admit: I don’t know why I am doing this. You have to. Unfortunately, nobody can provide you with a dose of understanding perspective, values, shapes, contrasts, layouts and other elements as a capsule or tablet to simply swallow and apply. Everybody has their own ways of making the necessary decisions and they should arrive to this understanding on their own, based on advice, recommendations, techniques and principles teacher, demo or class has provided with.

2 new still life paintings for sale

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This was started 4 years ago, oh well, time flies

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Recent study

Lifeschool post has some suggestions on how to avoid preventable accidents and also shares some stories of people who required lengthy recovery: Accidents, bad luck, etc

Creating is learning, learning means: living more intense

Any creation involves saying something about ourselves. That’s how we are telling others what our point of view is. True creativity is never copying and reproducing, but taking an idea that lives or is just born in our imagination and bringing it to life.

I regret seeing how plenty of instruction is meant to learn not principles and methods, but trying to reproduce a particular artist’s style and manner. Creativity is great not because we can do things that other artists or writers have done, but because we can create everything exactly as we want, have intended and imagined.

The use of color is a very personal feature, color mixing: a general approach to make a shade or tone we want, and therefore, learning the latter is important. Composition can be explained as good and impactful view on items painted on a particular size paper, canvas or other base material. There are generally applicable principles and that’s what we should know. Specific compositional approaches are a personal feature of a particular artist, and we should rather develop our own.

Choice of subject is always important, but we should remember that it is much more useful to learn principles of drawing or painting without sticking to subjects somebody else is painting in some particular manner and doing it great.

How and what always depends on us. The many ways for achieving the desired result we ae learning. Learning is an ongoing activity, and it’s erroneous to assume somebody knows everything. Experiment is the best teacher of all: how do we know if we never tried?

Mistakes and errors are an essential part of learning process. It’s silly to be afraid of mistakes and do nothing. Perfectionism most likely lives inside many minds, but that does not mean anything less than perfect has no value.

I personally always think: let’s see what happens. Everybody who is painting or drawing has thrown out lots of paper and damaged quite a few canvas. There is nothing bad about that. I had a girl who once said: I do not want to throw away this expensive paper just because I started the painting wrong. Well, it is much more difficult to correct wrong lines and colors than start a fresh work using the new knowledge. I believe that every task adds something to our knowledge and skills.

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Sunflower drawing

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Sunflower watercolor

I am not at home at the moment, but visiting my closest family in Latvia. I had a few sheets of paper, kid’s paints in fairly bad colors, meaning, they didn’t have the transparency or flow abilities of good quality paints, but still: I simply saw this bloom and these apples, and that; s what I do not have at home. I always prefer drawing from real subject. It was more difficult because the right tools and brushes are helpful, but I did not allow that stopping me. I could return to and reuse the same drawings with decent paints and better size paper or canvas, but these are results at this moment.

art-to-make apple drawing

Drawing for apple watercolor

art-we-love Apples watercolor

I would like to just remind that adults and teens are welcome to attend November/December classes which will start as soon as I get home.

Lifeschool blog deals with GREEN LIVING and importance of changing our perception in order the Earth was living and livable longer. I had to write about the green living for our survival because they are handled so much better in Europe. I have added lots of pictures. Since it’s the secondary blog, it is not that visible, so here is a special invitation. However, those who never read posts, won’t notice that either. Anyway, I hope it is a nice weekend approaching.

Links to 3 recent posts: they continue the same conversation about green living.

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/14/living-green-means-simplifying-and-enhancing-life/

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/14/the-new-perception-of-prosperity-and-green-living/

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/10/the-very-green-walk-in-october-forest-we-have-to-end-consumerism/

 

The long journey to a ready painting and deals continue for 3 more days

I have no choice, but to continue with advertising my art sale. 3 ladies responded. I am genuinely thankful for their support, and I hope they like their purchased paintings, however, taking into account the large number of items for which I do not have left any wall space and any storage space, which is due to the specific features of these premises, I would need much more sales happening. I have 3 days for keeping this going, and I hope to get maybe some walk-in people, as well.

I work a lot and hard to create my paintings. I know how much easier it is to make abstract art because that takes origin only in one’s imagination, and artists sometimes simply try to comply with market trends. Unfortunately, I am not in abstracts that much.

I’m too good with drawing, therefore, I cannot and do not want to skip that part. Over almost 50 years, I have developed excellent eye-brain-hand coordination and I do not need any grids, any photos, any help lines even when drawing portraits which I used to do a lot some 20 years ago. I stopped drawing faces because I always need a model which I really like (like my daughter, my niece, etc.), and I need this model to be patient enough to sit through painting sessions. Very few people have time nowadays for that, but I just do not like producing paintings from photographic source, and I dislike even more when somebody is copying photos. Meanwhile, so many artists take credits for literally editing and then copying the picture whether on a larger scale or on the same size paper or canvas. I don’t think that takes talent or is a gift and specific vision, this requires only patience, time and ability to apply paint accordingly with the photo. This is more executive work as opposed to creative work which involves only original scene, object or set-up without the use any additional tools.

The general opinion is usually that camera gets it right, and that is true to some extent only. If the distance between camera and object is small, or the distance within the scene is huge, camera will produce wrong proportions. Camera draws closer the closest part of the scene or objects, widens the middle portion and creates way more distant background part. You’ve all seen this how nose looks very large in regard to the rest of face when taking too close pictures. This is also very easy to see in case of reflections: when artist follows exactly the picture, not the scene in nature, the reflections of some not that far away objects will be stretched out for miles which is totally wrong when you compare that with reflection in nature.

Therefore, my point is that many instructions will make one not trust their vision, eyes and ability to recreate the same proportion, edge and line relationship and color transitions without additional tools. That is not true. However, to get to the level when one can do the so-called “blind drawing” which means you do not persistently look at paper or canvas but rather at your object and scene, takes trusting our brain and eyes, making decisions and allowing the eye-brain signals to be transmitted to our hand with pencil or brush. That means trusting ourselves more than camera or grid and believing that we can do everything what somebody else has already done. It also takes simply practicing daily and, at the end, this activity improves the brain functionality and flexibility to an incredibly high level, thus preventing loss of neurons, creating new synapses and taking care of good memory.

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Rural buildings

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A few of very many fall scenery paintings

When we sometimes look at a painting, it seems it didn’t take any time or efforts. It is due to the fact, that good art shouldn’t exhibit artistic struggles and technical difficulties, but mood and atmosphere of the painted scene or object. When we get past such struggles, the real creation takes place. Some of my paintings took 2 years to bring to a stage when I liked them. In average, each painting takes about 1 week to month to get it to the point when I am more or less satisfied with it. There are smaller watercolors which only take one to two days to accomplish, but any larger work requires much more time because most of my paintings are rather representative than abstract.

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Snow and winter scenes

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A bit different view: snow, winter and fir trees

Why do I love showing paintings in groups better than just posting one image at a time?

Internet display has huge drawbacks when it comes to art.

Firstly, small 8 x 10 inch paintings virtually look the same size as 3 feet by 4 feet paintings;

secondly, colors are much truer in group photos;

thirdly, the look of a painting and its colors will greatly depend on your device and its settings.

The differences are huge. I’ve also noticed that my paintings on Fine Art America site do not have the exactly the same color: some look completely green, and they are not in reality, some look very brown, but in reality these are grey shades. Certainly, the best way to know whether the painting speaks to you or not, is to see it in real size, to view it framed or unframed and to experience the personal impact it makes or doesn’t.

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A few of pink and white flowers paintings

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Wider view of white and pink flowers

The sale deals are still in effect, but shipping is extra because I learned by now that it can be high for very remote or difficult to access places. Everything is $100 to $450, but if you are interested and let me know your budget, we might work out some special deal. Fine Art America site for prints and other products:

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/inese-poga.html

I hope, there are more people who would like some of my art. I’m posting only acrylics at the moment. Taking these pictures is time-consuming, as well; I also need a good light which can be a problem.

Many people clicked on “like”, however, only a handful actually read the previous post. Well, that’s just one more manifestation of never-enough-time-for-anything life we have.

I regret there was very little interest, and most likely the content of my previous post didn’t seem to touch too many people. I also understand that very many other artists who are among my followers will not buy any art, so the invitation goes out to the rest, and especially those who are only in a driving distance.

Art is the most space enhancing feature which there only can be. Just removing a few paintings from the wall, makes it look virtually empty, and my personal experience shows that there simply cannot be too much art around us.

Stick to your plan and pay attention to reference

Lesson 3

Whatever we are doing, we need some kind of a draft in our head or some plan which we keep in mind. However, it is easier said than done. That especially refers to classes. I have noticed that most people want to draw or paint without any plan and without any thinking. It might be so that when starting out it is hard to know what parts or segments should be paid most attention to. There are lots of simple things which make the object look multi-dimensional. By far, those are not only darker and stronger values. Strongly emphasized edges or absence thereof, always darker spots behind the lighter areas also contribute a lot to the spatial perception, not to mention color if it is used. I remember from early years I was told that the darkest dark should meet the lightest light. It can be tough to implement, especially when not having a real reference, but just a photography or sketch. I am personally not excited about patterns which repeat in a regular rhythm such as petals or trees along the path, blooms on a branch and similar things which we unintentionally place on our canvas when there is no firm plan or sketch.

Flower paintings in acrylic magnolias

Magnolias, recent class demo and I always work together with students straight in front of the class

Why am I saying: pay attention to reference? Because most people don’t do that. When we are just beginning the painting, they would have a look at the reference image or set-up. After a while, I notice nobody looks any more at the reference. You have to! The only exception is when it is a completely abstract work which has been drafted in one’s imagination or when we paint from memory. Painting from memory takes practice, however, and beginning artists cannot handle that too well. Reference or value drawing (if you have created such) has all the answers: where to use dark color, where to make strong edge, where to wash edges to lose them, where to place highlights and what exactly the shape of something is. It is extremely important, much more important than what brush to use. Talking about brushes: always use these ones which you feel comfortable with and which suit the size of the area you are working on. Very simple. We can use no brush at all, use a sponge or palette knife, that is a matter of a preference and choice. I know how some instructors want to make rules about everything. There are no rules in the use of tools. It is very obvious that using a very wide brush for tiny spot is simply difficult and vice versa. I know a lot of artists who create the entire painting with just one brush. I do that sometimes, too.

Flower paintings in acrylic Pink rose

The Pink rose, recent class demo

So, the conclusion is: do not change things around dramatically or completely when the work is halfway through and always keep an eye on the reference. That’s why it is so rewarding to paint from real objects, live is live and photo is just a photo. Live comes with smell, touch, very visible shape and very noticeable values. Do not pressurize yourself and painting: there are moments when we need to stop and make a decision about the next step.

Flower paintings in acrylic Pansies

Purple pansies, finished just yesterday

Paintings and drawings really hate when they are not treated with due respect. It is much better to allow everything to develop in a natural way. For illustration I have attached the recent flower paintings. There are many more, but they just need finalizing touches. You know: painting is never done, right?

How to create better art with less effort

Lesson 2

Is that even possible? Oh, yes, it definitely is. So, how to create better art with fewer efforts and wasting less time? The answer is: sketch and draw. In my personal experience, it is pencil, pen and watercolor sketch which is the best preparation stage for paintings.

When somebody wants to apply for classes I usually would get this:

Well, I’d really like to paint. Something like that. Points to some landscape or floral, or still life. I see. Everybody is interested in the result and not that much in the path which led me to it.

If you are one of guys who jumped straight to brushes and did not take your time to explore the elements of a piece of art, I can understand you. People usually think watercolor and sketching is for watercolor artists who mask out white spots or those who get ideal washes just by swinging around the brush with some paint on it. However, there is a missing link between the idea of our art and it’s draft using pen and some color.

The real life shows that any potential artist and anybody who does art as hobby would have gotten much better paintings very soon if they considered sketching an important step to creation of a painting with any medium: watercolor, pastel, acrylic or oil. The truth is they all originate in one place: in our brain through our eyes and senses. Therefore, we should exercise our visual abilities (I’m talking more about importance to see in my previous post) and especially our visual perception maximally often.

The problem with not well developing painting is not the technique of putting on paint. That usually works fairly well after a few attempts. The problem most often is in our eyes: we do not perceive values, shapes, proportions and potential composition; therefore, we cannot come up with a neat plan to make painting elements work.

Sketch is done much faster than a painting. Sketching out objects or just values, putting them in a draft composition momentarily allows making a decision if that will or won’t work. Sketch isn’t the entire painting, but by doing it one learns much more about their subject. We find out that we need to look at it more carefully, more intensely, more accurately.

Painting tips 1 watercolor and pen sketch

Rough bluebell path sketch

Painting tips 2 watercolor and black pen sketch

Path to unknown sketch

I can compare creating art with writing. When people say I don’t want to sketch and I don’t want to know anything about drawing it is like somebody who intends to write a novel would say: I don’t want to know anything about spelling and grammar, I just want to write a novel, so give me the idea and off we go. The entertaining painting type of events also does a bad service: not only the entire idea does not allow anybody to really learn anything about creation of art, but the approach is just so wrong and materials the “drink creatively” events use are so bad that many people get the wrong idea.

Painting tips 3 Acrylic painting of white birches

Quick painting of birches, recent class demo, 20 x 24 inches

When somebody is just moving paint around the canvas in hopes that it miraculously will take the right shape and become the right color, I must say, unfortunately: it won’t. Painting is a summary of things we put in it. It also is the energy we put in it. Therefore, the sooner one learns about values, relationship between lights and darks, values, softness or roughness of edges, proportion and compositional layout of objects, the faster their paintings will take shape and look multi-dimensional. Lesson 2 is: the missing link between our idea and its incorporation into artwork is the value sketch whether in color, or black and white. Creating value sketches and color sketches is not a waste of time and paint: it is the straight path which leads us to much better art. I’d suggest: take the sketching classes and workshops, it helps hugely.

Short introduction in main issues which everybody encounters when they pick up pencil or brush

Lesson 1

You always wanted to draw or paint: it seems it does not want to happen.

You will need patience, courage; willingness to experiment and make mistakes, as well as, you should be ready to put into your learning process efforts, work and time.

Any drawing and painting starts with being able to see and feel. It does not start with knowledge of techniques and all kinds of tools and mediums.

I have given countless classes and workshops over many years; it actually feels like I have been teaching arts all my life. It is obvious that all people who would love to start painting or drawing do not get past the first problems and give up this fantastic activity before they could even become aware of easy fixes which there are just for anything when it comes to creation.

The main thing with visual arts is the ability to see and to understand what one is looking for. Most people will definitely be sure that they have eyesight good enough and that they can see everything. That is not true at all. While we are seeing things around us, we are not seeing them in an artistic way. I suppose the inability to perceive values, shapes, colors, lines and their relationship, as well as correct scale, depends on what one has been doing and using for drawing and painting before.

It’s not rare that artists also simply copy an image and then transfer this copy onto paper or canvas. Many artists do a lot of image editing with some software so that the image is ready to copy and to apply paint on it. They believe that will save time and efforts and make painting process easier. That’s not true either. Do not do that, do not copy any photos or images if you want to ever draw and paint without fear and with confidence.

A complex drawing might take me between 30 minutes and an hour, but that’s about it. I will have everything in my drawing: values, composition, correct scale since I’m usually doing the entire canvas or paper size drawings as opposed to thumbnail sketches, and I can start doing whatever I want with it: use for watercolor, pastel or acrylic and so on. I won’t need editing, adjusting, copying, enlarging.

Therefore, if you want to be ever free from computers, laptops, screens, all kinds of measuring devices, grids and photos, start learning to see.

I have noticed this for millions of times: people do not see anything in the reference photo or picture. They see a flower, a tree or fence, but there is nothing behind that. I am also using real objects: fruit, vegetables, flowers, flower pots, leaves, cups, bowls, glasses and similar stuff, and that does not usually help at all. No attention gets paid to shadows, value distinction, correct size, potential composition, contrasts and layout. Every single person can draw and paint as soon as they understand what they have to see in that object. That refers to drawing figures and body parts, as well.

It is hilarious how there are so many separate art lessons like: How to paint an apple, How to paint a bird, How to paint a spring landscape, How to paint a cup or glass, so on. The answer to this: you can paint anything; you can draw anything once you are able to see it. To see it in an artistic way taking into account things which other people don’t know exist. Therefore, lesson 1 is: place some object in front of you and look at it. Look carefully at dark and light spots, visible lines and shadows, direction and size of any shapes. Starting with very light and general outlines try to get the exact shape. Start with very general shapes and lines and move towards details. Repeat until the object or objects get dimensions and start to take on shape. I will illustrate it in more detail in some upcoming posts. Yes, it all comes from our eyes and brain, and hand with pencil or brush just makes the brain signals visible. How do these signals get into our brain? Our senses and our memory, plus imagination contribute to this process. That is why drawing and painting is the best tool for fixing memory issues, taking care of brain flexibility and for prevention of mental diseases.

Value sketch for lily painting lily drawing

Value sketch in the actual size is the best help one can have

White Lilies Acrylic painting 20 x 16 inches

Lilies

I have elaborated a new approach to acrylic painting since many people want to learn it, but results are quite often disappointing and don’t make them happy. This new approach uses the specific features of acrylic (fast drying time, ability to work over dry layers) and turns them into the biggest advantage. Results are quick and stunning. Most people don’t even believe they could paint it. There is a small remark, however: as long as they follow my steps and take into account the guiding suggestions. I don’t think I will bother with online classes because the live art classes are the only ones which make real sense. It matters how much water or how much paint, or what medium on what surface one uses. It matters how fast the previous steps are done and it matters how you move the brush and mix the paint. Everything matters, and we can correct mistakes right there where they happen, therefore, it is important to have a teacher which can directly see why some things work and why some others don’t.

Red poppies acrylic painting 20 x 16 inches

Poppies

For illustration: we are painting large flowers in Thursday classes. 2 hours at a time.

The magic attraction of drawing and making time disappear with watercolors

I have not posted that much about watercolors and drawing recently which does not mean we were doing no drawing, sketching and watercolor. In fact, it was straight the opposite: we created sketches from real fruits, we did large-scale reference drawings for our paintings and we also are about to finish the chickadees and birches scene.

I regret seeing how few people actually decide to engage in drawing and sketching because it is the perfect thing to get carried away by when it is not that pleasant outdoors. As many of you know, my health is very far from good, so, I’m using drawing and painting to a big extent as a part of my therapy. I paint and draw even when I cannot do anything else, when pain gets that bad that it prevents me from walking and standing. I paint when I feel desperate, disappointed with the reality of life and when I am completely depressed because of a strong medications which make one cry for hours and see no point in anything. It can be a bit difficult to get started, bet when I overcome the resistance, what a pleasure that is! I don’t always care how great the painting is or how perfect the color combinations are. Art is so fulfilling that I cannot compare this with anything else.

Drawing still life from real objects

One set-up of still life

Drawing still life art classes for adults

Which results in reference drawing to be used for creation of painting

Watching different students getting started with their first paintings certainly brings up some thoughts. When I have people with the attitude: I came to the class and teach me now, it can be tough. Teaching is only a part of the entire process, and whether somebody will achieve what they came to the class for, will definitely depend on their willingness to get engaged in the process of creation. Since it is a process and something ongoing with potential of being developed endlessly, it would be silly to expect mastery within a few hours. Therefore, I really appreciate these students who enter my studio with open mind and heart and who want to see this as an exploration of our abilities, as an experiment in our capabilities and as an enjoyable learning experience.

drawing still life Pen and watercolor sketch

Drawing still life: pen and watercolor sketch

First steps in still life painting watercolor classes for adults

First steps in still life painting: we did a very light line drawing and began to apply some paint

Applying layers of paint

This is just the first half, but I didn’t get any further yet

When we look at online, offline and otherwise prepared materials for somebody to get involved in drawing and painting, I must say nothing can replace the live interaction and face-to-face classes. Why? Because I can see right away what’s causing some problem: too much water, too dry paper, too less paint, too much paint, bad quality paper, brush or paint. When it comes to watercolors, everything matters, yet, the quality of paper is crucial in achieving anything. I always use the same paper that I give my students which is large size, between 16 x 18 and this time it was 18 x 24 inches. I have seen over the years how tiny and small paper prevents one from getting done anything. If it is too small to see and perceive, it will be definitely too difficult to apply paint on. Let’s just say if you are watching somebody painting online and you do not have a very thick, heavy and good quality paper, you can kill yourself, but you simply won’t achieve what they are showing you. Saving on paper is a bad thing because thin paper won’t allow to lift paint and use multiple washes, as well as, to do a lot of other stuff. My students are using paints made in St. Petersburg from real pigments. The difference in transparency and ease of application is huge. Once again, with bad paints, you won’t have the same results.

Chickadees and birches project which we did in Tuesday night class

Chickadees and birches project which we did in Tuesday night class, it is ready for sale, too, and I will upload it on Fine Art America site to get cards, prints, canvas prints, tote bags, phone case and pillows with this image, original is 18 x 24 inches

I am somebody who loves drawing, therefore, I’m also teaching to draw from real life, not photos whenever possible. I believe that is the best because it gives one absolute freedom of interpretation.

Well, there are lots of unfinished paintings, just like always, but I hope following my advice more people will pick up pencils and brushes. Just because there is nothing like it. It doesn’t ask one to be in a good shape or to be dressed up and look perfect, it doesn’t even require being in a good mood. That comes as an additional benefit along the way. I’m also seeing art as a tool to cure addictions and prevent from falling back into addictions because it has such power. Have a great week full of art!

Giving up is not a solution, acrylic painting tips

I feel sad when some students discontinue classes just after one month. I can see potential in just started paintings, people with a little experience in drawing and art usually don’t.  All it takes is pretty much adding a few darks and lights, adjusting some edges and straightening out a few shapes. In fact, any acrylic painting can be whatever the artist expects it to be if we keep working on it.

Sometimes people are short of time, sometimes these are health or financial issues, that require to stop attending classes, but that doesn’t change the fact that there was a good start and it did not get a chance to develop.

I am quite often repeating: nobody becomes master within a few hours. Nobody. I am also not allowing students to compare their just started art: this makes absolutely no sense. There was a reason artists used to cover up their art with a cloth and show it to nobody until the artwork was considered ready and finished. There are lots of tiny brush strokes which can change the painted image to a great extent. Tiny bit of sparkling light, small edge of very deep dark, and everything improves.

Patience and ability to take risks are two very necessary features for anybody who’d like to enjoy creating visual art. I have told this before: time-lapse demos cause people to believe that this is exactly the way one paints: one, two, three and here we go. In reality, we sometimes need to go over and over one spot for many times. With acrylic paint, there are no limitations of additional layers, and we need to apply more layers to create three-dimensional feel and visually attractive effects.

Smearing on paint in one color is not the same what building up that color. I have quite often seen transparent trees and flat bushes. That means: there was no darker blocking color underneath and the light color was stretched only over 2 shades. That cannot make a structure or object look like it is having dimensions.

Many people have difficulties thinking in layers: the most distant, the underneath it all layer, the middle value layer, the defining layer and the highlighting and detailing layer. It is in the human nature: to try to get it right away, therefore, I’ve observed how students sometimes start with details which should be implemented at the end. This approach is fairly essential in acrylic painting because we have to work our way up and closer and that’s how the image evolves.

The other problematic issue is holding color on the spot one wants it to be. We are practising painting on a spot techniques, but quite often artist gets carried away and keeps blending and moving paint until the result shows everything in one and the same color. It is very important to learn using any size brush for painting on a spot which is like running on a spot: brush it on, but don’t move all around the canvas.

Golden birch acrylic painting art classes for adults

I just got done the reference image for the next Saturday painting session: we are painting with gold again. I feel very attracted to the warm shine of gold. There are some images when it really works, definitely, not with any image.

Finally, as I’m washing brushes after classes, I can immediately tell which brushes were used by me and which were used by students. My brushes are almost clean or have the last used color in it. Students’ brushes are usually full of many shades, quite often dark shades which we applied at the beginning of class. That means, the brush wasn’t cleaned during painting. That results in muddy and dirty colors which don’t shine and lack brilliance. Painting is easy and extremely rewarding; however, one must have patience and allow for some time to get where they want to be. It depends also on what our goal is: any painting is nice and great if we do not expect it to become a top-perfection artwork jut after a few classes or painting attempts. We can notice fear and indecisiveness in brush strokes which lack confidence.  Therefore, going for a bank and risk it all is a very important thing with creativity and visual art, in particular. We have to be persistent and even stubborn, as well, quite often, giving up something is not a solution at all.