Poppies pop and red is such a great color to lift our moods

Poppies is a much-loved subject, and since November is the month which many people in Canada associate with poppies and Remembrance day, we just couldn’t resist and painted some, too. Liz is our champion when it comes to speed since she gets home after class and keeps painting, that way she is always the first one to finish her painting. Well, we are not envious because all of these paintings will be adorable.

Red must be a good color for up-lifting one’s mood because I cannot remember when else we were joking and laughing so much.

The next class is about to start, so I have to be short.

The next acrylic fun and pleasure painting afternoon is on November 22.

Poppies pop Teens watercolor painting class

Teens watercolor painting class

Teens watercolor painting class

Teen group enjoyed painting poppies a lot

Poppies pop Adult acrylic painting classes

Wednesday group

Poppies acrylic painting class

Liz is holding her finished masterpiece

Poppies pop Work in progress adult painting class

Work in progress adult painting class, Gwen at work

Poppies Adult acrylic painting class

Bev’s painting can be seen in front

Poppies acrylic painting for adults

Rose started to attend our classes this fall

Poppies Adult art classes

Gordon has developed his own style, we love it

Poppies Demo and Liz's finished work

My demo never gets done that quick because I have to paint it over and over for 2 or 3 groups, Poppies: Liz’s finished work

Poppies Painting by Liz

This is how Liz’s work looks like, however, light was not that great for pictures, real painting looks way more impressive

Poppies Art classes for adults

Gwen working on her painting: it is going to be very great piece of art

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fall vegetables: watercolor sketches

Quick demos and sketches of vegetables and leaves

Late summer leaves

Grape leaves: pen and watercolor

Tomatoes: watercolor and pen sketch

Tomatoes: in the garden and on the table

Fall leaves: watercolor sketch

More leaves and vegetables

Green peas: watercolor and pen sketch

Green peas

Fall leaves and vegetables: watercolor and pen sketch

View at my demo pieces

Fall colors in leaves and tomatoes: watercolor

 

Fall colors in leaves and tomatoes: watercolor and pen sketches

The warm side of the grey scale: conquering procrastination

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

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

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

These were my reminiscences from far away.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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.

The endless waiting for spring: flowers of my dreams

It’s still chilly and nasty out there in Ontario. The rain is just pouring down in cold streams tonight. Not a good background for happy thoughts. Although, we should appreciate the fact that it is at least not that cold anymore. One step at a time towards the warmth.

I remember my first spring in Canada: it was so sunny, so overwhelmingly warm, everything blossoming; and such insanely uplifting green was everywhere. I had already all the garden planted and coming up around this time. That was 10 years ago. We have experienced quite bad weather conditions since then, and, no, I do not assume anymore that Ontario weather is any better than Latvian.

It is no secret that we are already desperately hoping the weather forecast will have some good news for us, too. I recently looked at some of my paintings, and I don’t think I am going to paint or draw winter again any time soon. Instead, I am about to do way more florals, I worked out some nice flowers on the hill concepts, and when it is November I will paint autumn trees, distant skies and fog.

Since all my thoughts are in spring, with spring and about spring, my sketches, drawings and watercolors reflect that. These sketches or pen and watercolor images were all started as demonstrations. I am aware I have too many demo works on the go, and most of them never get finished, but that’s just the way I am. I cannot have one single class without demonstrating something. This something gets developed, and later it seems: it’s probably worth putting in more work.

I thought these could be perfectly used as images for greeting cards.

Spring rose

The spring rose

Pink spring lily watercolor illustration

The pink lily

Flower sketches in watercolor and pen: spring tulips

The lovely tulips

Spring daffodils, watercolor and pen painting

The gentle daffodils

Set of greeting cards with flowers

The set of greeting cards

It’s been also mostly dark, so it’s hard to catch a good day with a normal daylight to get proper colors on my photos because any type of electric light does not allow to have them as in reality.

It matters: enhance your personal space with positive energy

The birth of a miracle may be not always easy, but there is undeniably some magic in it.

How can doing art as a hobby make one’s life better, more balanced, more enhanced and richer?

Along with time-well spent and new skills, there is one more advantage which is rarely mentioned. Any artwork created during classes can become a beautiful decorative element: it could be just the missing final touch for the room, it could be the accent piece; or it could be the part tying the entire space together and making it complete. This artwork radiates clean, uplifting and positive energy in the living space or workspace, because we created it with love and devotion.

The story is actually about the energy: energetic interaction, consumption and release of energy, good, bad and neutral energy. Since energy is present anywhere and in anything, and not even the simplest thought could be made without consuming some of it; the question is: do we pay enough attention to our nearest surroundings, our closest environment and the dominating energetic features within that space? We really don’t, and we are most often between two ditches: following punctually every newest design trend, or completely disregarding any design, hygiene rules and common sense.

There are lots of reviews about impact of color, lots of advice how to create a cozy, welcoming space, but what matters at the end is: energy in that space. I do believe we’ve seen this all: museum-like houses or sterile living rooms, living rooms which are collections of one’s past, and top-modern minimalistic spaces.

In my opinion, the best and the fastest way to update and adjust a space to our needs is using color, art, textiles and plants. Furniture becomes secondary, and all these previously mentioned things also take care about a great energetic flow and preserve the positive energy. Provided, they have such. It matters what hangs on your walls, it really matters hugely, and I’m not talking about the purely esthetic aspects. Wallmart print will have at the best some neutral energy of printer, cheap canvas and paint. Inherited art or an antique item may have both: very positive and extremely negative energy. So can an original painting. Painting during its creation process absorbs our thoughts, emotional vibrations, delight and thoughtfulness, or hate, misery and anger; anything. That way, the energy of a painting is equal to the energy artist puts in this creation. Most people naturally give their art the best part of themselves by visualizing all these places they are re-creating on canvas: light, wind, flowers and leaves, waves, streams and the atmospheric vibrations in the air.

One thing I can say for sure: the atmosphere during our painting sessions is extremely positive. It’s such a pleasure to grab the shiny paint and just put it on canvas. The classroom itself contains plenty of art in all completion stages: just started, half-done and finished. This contributes to the relaxing state we most often find ourselves in. I mean, it’s very unlikely, these beautiful works could have some bad energy since we genuinely try, we challenge ourselves, and the results are more than satisfying, especially taking into account, no professional artists have done these paintings.

There simply is not any better way to give your space a facelift than surrounding yourself by your own original art and creations. It is not that we are always aware: whatever we paint, we are painting ourselves. This is very noticeable in portrait artists’ works and in those who mostly paint figurative works: these painted or drawn people are a reflection of the artist. That would be another story, but even when painting trees, scenery, street scenes, anything in fact, we ARE ALWAYS painting ourselves. This is how the painted energy starts a life on its own. No doubt, it should be very compatible with its creator.

One more amazing thing is: the monetary value actually does not affect the true energy which some item possesses. That means we should stick to things which make us feel good, not only to those ones which cost a lot and are supposed to be “value”. The monetary value only shows one’s financial power while the energetic value has something much more important and substantial: it possesses the ability to ensure the well-being of our soul.

 

Nine paintings were started, brought to finish, or almost finished

Acrylic painting classes for adults

Colors are great, however, they looked more balanced in reality.

Art classes for adults: acrylic painting of fall scene

The goal of our last project was implementation of diagonal lines in the composition. While we care how the finished (or almost finished) project work comes out and how it looks, we are paying the most attention to mastering different techniques and approaches. We all know that diagonal lines contribute to depth and perceptional ease of an artwork; however, we tend to forget about such feature. This was an art exercise to practice exactly such type of composition. Did we achieve our goal? You be the judge!

Sketching in watercolor: what’s the advantage?

I’m usually advising my students: if you ever would like to learn drawing for real, do not use photos, grids and other tools, but only your eyes in addition to paper and pencil. That provides with a huge artistic freedom and allows not to depend on camera, printer, computer and photo editing software. That also saves a lot of time. It is more difficult for some people to draw and paint from a real object initially, but it is like everything else: once you’ve understood how it’s done, the improvement is continuous and inevitable.

I grew up and learned painting without any cameras and photos. There was no internet, there were no computers. I suppose, that’s why the number of artists was noticeably smaller, too: in order to paint or draw something, you simply had to employ your visual abilities and imagination. I am disagreeing with those who are trying to convince us that everybody in the past was using some kind of camera obscura in order to capture accurate details, proportions and perspective. It’s believed, mostly amateur artists were using it since they did not have the knowledge and capability of producing good drawings. I know, everybody has heard about Canaletto whose drawings were created that way. Well, there a few others, too. However, majority of artists were using THEIR OWN visual perception and THEIR OWN drawing ability.

I find that most people cannot draw not because of inability to handle pencil and create the image, but because they don’t know what to look for when they are seeing something and would like to re-create it on a paper or canvas. That takes practice and work, that’s all.

I love doing drawings or sketches just for my own pleasure. It’s so great to see some stuff evolving on a sheet of a blank paper. Nothing really compares to this fantastic feeling! That always excited me, and I could spend hours drawing alone while other kids were playing in the yard. I would draw anything in the garden, on the street, I used to do lots of portraits of my sister, other kids and later my daughter and my group-mates at the University.

Paintings are sometimes bothersome, especially the large and very large ones because that simply is a lot of work, it can be hard physical work, as well, when handling huge canvasses.

Sketching with pencil, watercolor, pen, ink or with watercolor and ink is a quick way of capturing the desired scenery of object. I cannot draw recently anything tiny because my eyes are getting worse and am trying not to use glasses. Well, my sketches are between 10 x 12 to 12 x 16 in, but done quite fast.

Sketching still life: ink and watercolor

There are many advantages of sketching with pencil, watercolor, ink and pen or some of these together. First of all, sketching allows to stay focused. It’s like a daily exercise which keeps us in a good shape. Our senses stay sharp and fresh, and it’s easier to get back to larger artwork after a break when one has been often sketching.

Sketching in watercolor and pen

Sketching does not take much time, it is very relaxing. Many artists and people who are doing art for pleasure know that lack of time is an ongoing problem.

Floral sketch, still life sketching

Sketching is a good thing when one wants to experience another medium, try another subject or style. There are millions of different ways of sketching, meaning, there is something for everybody.

Sketching still life in watercolor

Finally, sketching is crucial for those who want to master drawing for real and from live objects, or to capture a plein-air scenery. We can learn writing when we read a lot, we can learn many things just reading about them, but drawing is something which we can only learn by doing it. The more we draw, the more we sketch, the more artistic options we get. We might get this way a new idea, a new approach and we might find a completely new style which works for us. I always have something on my studio tables: flowers, cups, jugs (my favorites, I have a large collection of them!), fruits, berries, room plants, books, painting supplies and so on. I’m already waiting for springtime because that’s when the true sketching starts as the nature wakes up and takes us outdoors.

It is also possible to frame sketches and use them as beautiful art for decorating your space. Sketches can make great illustrations and sometimes serve as a standalone artwork.

Nature, floral still life sketching

Happy sketching! Please share your experiences with different media and subjects if you have time.

Painterly Saturday afternoons

Fun and pleasure painting afternoons on Saturdays is a new guided art activity at my studio-gallery.

Who and what is this activity suitable for?

It is for people of all ages who would like to try drawing or painting and experience a nice atmosphere, friendly company and plenty of inspiration.

It is for those who look for inspiration, or need some advice or help with their art. It is also for those who have stuck or don’t know how to get back to creation of art. We have sometimes started an artwork, but are not sure how to proceed. What to do next? What color to use? What other steps to take? When is the painting finished? How much of detail should be implemented? How to correct unsuccessfully painted spots? Why does the painting have no impact? I can suggest answers to these and other questions you are facing with your artistic endeavors.

It is for those who think they already depend too much on mobile devices and their computers. Take a break and employ your artistic side of the brain! While addiction to devices frequently stresses out even young kids, drawing and painting activities allow to calm down and recharge for any upcoming events which one may anticipate.

It is for those who feel lonely and upset and wish they had something nice to engage in during their leisure. It is not always the finished artwork which matters, sometimes the re-gained self-confidence and relaxed state of mind are much more important!

It is for those who feel bored, tired and exhausted. Why not to do something completely different? It’s always worth a try. You may be surprised how much pleasure is in simple artistic task.

Fall birches collage: acrylic painting project

It is for those who complain they never have their own time. Take your time and enjoy some quiet moment in the stormy life.

Materials for regular painting styles in watercolor and acrylic, as well as drawing paper and pencils are sold or offered (depends on size and type of materials), and anybody can take their own stuff, as well.

Winter creek project: acrylic for adults

You could find out about new techniques or approaches, you would be able to refresh your artistic senses or learn something, too. It is not a regular class or workshop, but I am always offering tips, ideas, help and advice. I specialize in nature, still life, floral and scenery drawing and painting, and that is pretty much the skill I can share.

Orchards in bloom: acrylic painting project

Real flowers, fruits and vegetables most often will not be available during winter months, however, there are usually some. References photos for scenery, floral and still life painting are offered if you would like to try this type of drawing and painting.

Abstract scenes or abstract art can be created easily, as well, and I will provide with additional materials.

For the love of texture, color and warmth

Texture and color make art very attractive. Especially, tree art.

Lots of art has been created, and everybody who likes decorating, getting great deals and collecting art should be heading straight to the Fall Art Festival at Camp Samac, Oshawa since it is still on tomorrow and after tomorrow: Saturday, October 5th and Sunday, October 6th.
About 70 artists are participating this year, and the selection is just breathtaking. Does it make sense to buy a print when it is possible to obtain an original piece of art at a very reasonable and attractive price? Probably not because prices at this show are more than affordable.

Art sale and show Whitby Ontario

For the above mentioned reasons: texture, color and warmth, I have created some floral and tree paintings using a technique which allows to obtain rich texture, and these acrylic artworks look 3-dimensional, to some point even on photos.

Most of my paintings always come in sets of 2, 3 and 4, and that way they are perfect for decoration purposes. Colors are kept warm, cozy and gentle in order to make somebody’s neutral walls less boring.

Bird paintings also can be obtained in sets or as a single painting. I have varnished all watercolors and attached them onto art boards or stretched over canvases, which means they don’t need to be covered with glass and can be safely displayed with or without an additional frame. All materials are of archival quality, and neither watercolor paper, nor colors will be damaged over time.

Some bird paintings on panels

Small birds: watercolor on panel

This Fall Art Festival is worth checking out even if you don’t intend to buy anything, it’s a pleasure for your eyes and delight for your soul.