The best way to start painting with watercolors

… is using pen and watercolor wash.

We all want our art to be great and impressive. However, if you are new to some medium or absolutely new to drawing and painting, you have to bear in mind: nothing happens right away and with the first brush stroke. I have had absolute beginners who were somewhat disappointed that their first piece of art wasn’t exhibition quality. Well, that is normal.

Every skill takes time, efforts and work.

Creation of drawing or painting involves lots and lots of information. Some people are courageous by nature and love to experiment, and that is a very good start. Some people are perfectionists and they believe everything they do must be either perfect or they are ready to give it up; and that is a completely wrong approach.

My personal attitude towards something new in painting: different subject, medium, tools or technique never focuses on perfection. I focus on potential. Something might work out and something might not. There will be easy parts and probably difficult parts. That way. I call this attitude: let us see what happens.

Progress is usually gradual. That is why we start with simple things and move to more complicated things.

Pen and watercolor wash is a great technique for beginning watercolorists. Some like it so much that they stick to this technique and turn it into their personal style.

If you are insecure about drawing lines with pen, sketch them in using pencil. You can draw over with pen and delete everything else. We have now clean drawing in black ink, and the white paper is not damaged.

Anything can serve as a subject: from your morning coffee cup to flowers in a vase or at the fence, from a bird at your window to sprouting vegetables in a garden. Any scene with some object is good, but flowers look extremely nice when done in pen and watercolor.

When somebody says they cannot draw, I don’t believe that. Most often that means they tried 1 or 2 drawings and these drawings were not splendid. So, they make a conclusion that they cannot draw. Talk to me after 200-300 drawings. That is a decent start. It is also much easier to point out what else one should do in order to create better art when they have done some attempts.

Pen and watercolor flowers and spring scenes

Flowers are extremely suitable subject for this type of watercolor application

Apple blooms in pen and watercolor: great starting subject

Birds fit in this category, as well

Spring mood with butterflies: excellent subject for beginners in watercolor

This exercise is for absolute beginners

Why to start with pen and watercolor? It is forgiving, it is easy and fast, and it allows learning watercolor application more effortlessly. The pen lines provide additional support. It is a flattering technique since practically any painting or drawing looks good regardless of how sufficient one is with watercolor only.

I have done numerous pen and watercolor paintings over years, just because it is fun, it is easy and looks fantastic.

White and pink flowers to enjoy the presence of spring

The best part of being able to create is probably that we only depend on our intentions and goals. There are no limitations in subjects or ways to create something. It is almost an absolute freedom, and pretty much nothing but our personal situation can be a set-back.

Freedom in creation means doing what one wants and prefers.  If it is technique that doesn’t work for you yet, you will just have to practice more.

I meet all the time people who think creating a painting is extremely easy. Most likely, instructions that say: paint like a master in one hour or time-lapse demos where a few hours of work are squeezed in just 1 minute make somebody believe that a decent size art takes only a few minutes. Well, try to paint just a wall or better start with smaller surfaces like a door. Even that takes time.

Creation takes time and efforts. When somebody looks at painting they sometimes doubt how that can possibly take 2 or 3 weeks working every day for about 6 hours. It depends on medium, definitely. Acrylic is much slower medium than watercolor. Whenever some part is dry, it is almost as if starting everything from new. Acrylic is much slower than oils also. That is why it takes a lot of layers and building up color and value.

The attitude totally changes when somebody tries doing painting themselves. There are people who believe that not that attractive first layers are sign of a hopeless art. That is profoundly wrong. I sometimes demonstrate how we can change and improve any painting (that includes my own art) by just adding dark shades and highlights or modifying perspective and number of details or elements. In that regard, acrylic is very forgiving and very user-friendly. The only limitation is time we spend on some art and time we are willing to spend on it. When it is a small painting, I do not feel always I want to continue working on it. Our personal attitude and preferences change over time, as well. That’s no surprise that we might not like subject we adored a while ago or we like colors we hated before.

That is normal. That is progress one or another direction.

Gallery view

Having painted blooms all around makes one feel fantastic. Even when my health is giving glitches, it’s a pleasure to be in the gallery and enjoy the elegant lines and uplifting colors.

If you never tried to create any art, it is a wonderful time to start out. The sketching season will be on soon, and that is just a pure pleasure being outdoors and literally absorbing the surrounding life, nature and beauty.

I hope to get some followers back since I lost of all of them while migrating the blog. I don’t think I have set up even all buttons yet, so, everything will come, just give it some time.

Please accept these unpretentious flowers

Flowers: the nature’s mysterious beauty that is so easy to reach, to enjoy and to give as a gift.

Where do flowers come from?

From happiness.

How did they get their fragrance?

From love.

How can they be so beautiful?

God allowed them to use any color and any shape to remind us

Beauty is timeless but lasts for a short while.

I hope all moms received plenty of flowers today. They are a thing of enormous beauty, and they can say everything without words, just like art.

I also hope you are showing your love to your mom while there is still time enough, and you are not too late with your “I love you mom!”

It is so easy to love a small child; it takes more than superficial attraction to love genuinely very old people. To understand them and to appreciate, and to be grateful they are with us. Moms of people who belong to my generation are getting close to 90.

Thankfully, my mom is still doing lots of good things, sewing and gardening, not to mention small daily stuff like dishwashing, or cleaning. She loves flowers, so I sent her some, although, the Ocean is between us, that cannot stop us from exchanging some words on the phone or over Skype. The distance has the ability to make things clearer and more valuable. Simple words can get a new meaning.

Well, I was not very productive recently, but I have made some watercolors for cards, something unsophisticated, but sincere.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mom, grandmother and great grandmother! I hope your kids, grandchildren and great grandchildren are blessings to you.

 

Please accept these unpretentious flowers as a small thank you for everything you are to my every single day!

Beauty never ends, flowers will live as long as we do and they will keep inspiring us. Always.

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.

Yellow hibiscus blooms: acrylic class is doing fine

I have noticed that sometimes students feel disappointed when they discover that drawing and painting actually takes some time, effort, skill and practice. Many people who are interested in creation of art use to watch YouTube videos and demos, and painting seems to be so easy and effortless, especially time-lapse demos, that when it comes to painting on their own they are really surprised how it didn’t happen with the first brush stroke. Any medium, and acrylic is no exception, requires to learn and figure out its advantages and drawbacks, to get used to its features and to understand how these paints really act and work on canvas or on paper. Mixing colors is a science on its own, and we still have to add to this the creation of image, planning, drawing, creating perspectives, compositions, we have to take into account values, contrasts, layout, so on and so on.

Well, one or two classes cannot give a complete understanding neither about the application of paint, nor about the painting process. We also need to be patient because sometimes the painting just doesn’t happen in a blink of an eye.

Even though, everybody was interested in still life painting in the Thursday group, I had to admit after the first classes the object which consisted of quite a few jars, cups and apples was too difficult to re-create. Two of my most dedicated students completed the painting, and their results were surprisingly good, but the rest didn’t have the persistence to overcome the initial difficulties and some just dropped out.

We decided to go with flowers as the next object. Some new students joined the class, as well, and we will probably do more scenery in the future just like the other group which has been busy with birches all October. It seems the hibiscus was liked by everybody, though.

 

Yellow hibiscus: model for acrylic painting class

I have taken many hundreds of pictures over 3 years since I have this plant. There are periods when it is resting and doing not so great, and there are moments when it looks breathtakingly beautiful with its large graceful yellow blooms which can be as big as a medium size plate. I keep this hibiscus outdoors in summer, and I obviously have to accommodate it indoors when the temperature drops.

Working on first layers

 

I don’t think anybody would complain about the lack of inspiration when this amazing plant is in full bloom. The color alone is worth a kingdom. I didn’t finish my demo yet, and some students only got done the first part, but our results were quite satisfactory this time.

Good start: new students joined the Thursday acrylic painting class

 

Acrylic painting can be relaxing as well

 

Acrylic painting class for beginners

Acrylic painting classes for adults and young people

Painting is progressing nicely

Enjoying the class: it is also fun and pleasure, not only work

Art classes for adults and teensWe started from the center and moved with the image and paint outwards as we progressed. It looks this approach is not only saving time, but also offers a lot of advantages when developing the image. The final paintings should be excellent.

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.

4 piece commission for beautiful room

My clients told they were unsuccessfully looking for a group of similar paintings for quite a while. Therefore, I got to paint four 24 x 18 inch paintings for an attractive living room. Everything else was done, only walls needed some refreshing accent pieces.
Red wild roses painting, commissioned art

These paintings actually had more functions: they had to serve as a bridge for the chosen color scheme between 3 rooms, add the finalizing touch to the walls and simply bring more life to the fairly neutral settings since the living room is connected to an open upscale kitchen area and to the dining room on the other side.

Acrylic painting: red wild roses

All 4 paintings needed to be similar, but have slight distinction in the layout of painted objects and background color.
My client was extremely satisfied because these paintings really made the look of this room more complete and more saturated.

Wild rose paintings for living room

It felt, they started to live and breathe in this room right away. Adding groups of paintings makes a lot of sense, and they can often suit the style better than one large painting in a medium size room. It’s an easy way to update, change or refresh the look of any room.

Style and desing: acrylic paintings of flowers

My clients told they’d send me a picture when paintings are on the wall. I suppose, they are going to look even better.

Spring time watercolors: bright, sunny and cheerful

Teen class has been very busy, as well. Some students were not present during March break, some could not attend classes because of Easter holidays, but we just keep going and enjoying the pleasure of being able to create something great, cheerful and uplifting.

Blue anemones: watercolor painting, teen class

Elaine’s vision of blue garden anemones

Purple anemones, watercolor painting

Mary’s painting of purple spring anemones

I have noticed, it’s so much in fashion to write books about anything, including art, all these books and e-books are supposed to be innovative, thoughtful and informative “how to” books.

Pink spring anemones: watercolor floral demo

Watercolor painting of pink garden anemones: demo version for adult watercolor class

While there’s some useful advice contained in a few of them, it’s most often a description of very common, very basic and very well-known stuff. The same about lots of DVDs, online art classes, tips, ideas, etc.

Kristina with her chickadee paintingKristina is genuinely happy since the chickadee painting came out extremely nice

However, there’s a big difference when painting on your own and in reality, and reading about it, or watching somebody else painting. You won’t know how that is until you try it on your own with a real brush or pencil in your hand.

 

Presence of a live teacher is extremely important. That not only speeds up everything, but also provides students with plenty of information in a very short period of time, allowing to experience and apply everything right there and right away.

This is a very direct and very immediate “how to”. Any question receives answer on spot, any problem gets solved straight at its origin.

Watercolor painting of chickadee in progress

Mary’s watercolor painting of chickadee in progress

Watercolor demo: chickadees in apple tree

Chickadees on blossoming apple tree background: demo version

Spring anemones, watercolor wash

Watercolor wash: spontaneous and simple application of watercolor

Well, those ones who want to learn something are very happy with my classes, and so am I because it’s always a pleasure to see fast development of young, talented artists, and to know that I have contributed quite a lot to this development.

When there’s a will, there’s a way

Some of teens have started attending art and painting classes at a very young age. Since we are dealing with a bit more complicated stuff and techniques than general art classes which actually are more play than learning, I prefer teaching teens from 12 years. We are working to achieve results, to make things happen. This is an excellent age for absorbing new knowledge and developing the personality. While many parents support kids’ involvement in artistic activities, there shouldn’t be put any pressure on choosing some particular activity. It is very noticeable straight from the beginning who is genuinely interested in drawing, painting and creating art, and who is just a passerby, somebody who does not really know yet whether he or she would like this type of activity, or not.

Our classes involve personality training, development and growth opportunities along with acquisition of typically necessary artistic skills, since the discussed matters are never limited to only color choices, composition and subject research. Creation always takes some effort; even though, we are trying to never show the difficulties we experienced during this process, but the great effortless final product of our imagination and artistic skills.

There are impatient teens and impatient adults. The same applies to seriousness, devotion, commitment and willingness. It is obvious that those with a goal and genuine interest always get faster and better results. This is something to consider before you sign up your daughter or son for art classes: will your kid have discipline and interest enough to attend the class regardless of any other issues? Isn’t that just a mood, a desire which will never get fulfilled?

It is easier to deliver excellent results in a small size teaching environment because I can teach taking into account specific individual needs and personal features of a particular student.

Watercolor painting of seagull

Bird paintings with watercolor

Some students enjoyed painting birds more than painting flowers, it always depends

Seagull watercolor painting

I am proud that our mutual efforts are resulting in fantastic achievements.

I am also sure that age actually does not matter: when there is a will, there’s a way.

Tulips in watercolor: artist Elaine

Since I’m documenting our achievements as we go, the progress is so obvious when I compare how some students were painting a year ago and how they are painting now.

Watercolor painting of tulips: artist Mary

Some paintings were just started during this class, and some got the final touches.

Watercolor painting for teens class: demo

The most important thing is that we are moving, and “We are moving fast” as one girl said after the previous class.

Christmas Show and Sale: Art, Crafts, Gifts

It’s Christmas time again, and we are having our annual Christmas sale. It is richer and more interesting than ever before. I have no doubt, everyone can find something great, whether it’s a Christmas decoration, nice, hearty, one of a kind gift, painting, card or gift certificate. Gift certificates for classes and workshops are available every day, not only during the sale.

You can enjoy and possibly purchase more than 200 paintings and crafted gift items.

All decorations and gifts are crafted in the gallery and range in style from traditional to modern and trendy, both, regarding the color scheme and design. We have used mostly nature materials: fir and pine cones, apple-tree and maple branches, fir- tree branches and also some paints, glitter, tissue paper and interesting containers. You should definitely check out the one of a kind gift boxes, note books, diaries and photo albums.

We are offering only original paintings and art, including three-dimensional acrylic nature paintings in subtle and soothing colors.

Variety of Christmas cards can be ordered from the Fine Art America site: http://inese-poga.artistwebsites.com

Please have a look at some gifts and decorations for sale.

 

Traditional Christmas colors

Crafted Christmas gift boxes

Crafted Christmas gift boxes

IMG_5178

Gold and red

Red and green: tissue paper roses and glitter on branches

Christmas gift box and red roses

Christmas gift box, very elegant and delicate, matches the Christmas center-piece very well

Celebrating the light and warmth

White and red: Christmas gift boxes

Festive and uplifting, sparkle and shine: Christmas settings

I hope you enjoyed the decorating ideas!