Don’t miss the Culture Days 2013 Event

Everybody who is interested in seeing how culture and accessibility to arts and self-improvement is facilitated and supported at artist-run galleries and art schools is welcome to check out Art plus Classes and Life plus School Culture Days event on September 28 and September 29 between noon and 4 pm.

Brief schedule for these events is as follows:

Saturday: For anybody who ever wondered how easy or difficult it is to start drawing or painting. Try for yourself and find out if that is something which you might be interested in. Demos, hands on activities, ideas for home decorations and DIY things. There are many to look at and get inspired from.

Birds with culture

Sunday: New artistic retreats are on the way. Find out how they will work. Dealing with problems, moods, aches and pain, anxiety and depression: art as medication and cure. Treating loneliness, lack of happiness, problems and life challenges with color. Killing boredom, dissatisfaction and emptiness: the way back to true yourself. Find it while playing around with images and paints. Explore the meditative state of immersing yourself in what we are calling “art retreat for your soul”: a process of applying color, arranging your thoughts into images, describing your feelings with color or images, so that afterwards we get an understanding of what is bothering you and why. This enables people to resolve their problems, improve their medical conditions and realize how little is needed to achieve piece of mind.

Don’t miss these events. The admission is free and materials are provided by the artist. The location is excellent and easy to find and access: downtown of Whitby, intersection Mary/Perry, just one block from either Dundas E or Brock N. Free parking.

That’s it, our last art class of the spring term

We said good-bye to each other until the fall. There were lots of hearty and sincere have-a great-summer wishes and thankful hugs. Teen class was obviously not that excited, but the pleasure of seeing big surprise in parents eyes when they hardly can believe in the great achievements of their kids is hard to describe.

Floral watercolor painting demo: using washes and negative painting technique

Quick floral demo, just the first part

My art students are very different, some would paint small details for hours, some don’t find still life exciting, but all of them wanted to become more skilled, more insightful and more creative.

The best results are achieved with patience and persistence. Time is the most challenging factor, and we are so often short of it. Those students who were able to find time, definitely enjoyed their creative experience.

Rural acrylic painting, barn painting

The adult acrylic painting class was doing rural scene with barns. Even though, not everyone was able to attend the last class, I have to admit that their progress was very obvious (when students start to come to classes, they have absolutely no experience with acrylics).

Acrylic painting of old barn, in progress

Barns are amazingly pleasurable things to paint

Paintings are still in progress, but I’m sure they will be done after a while

We used only red, yellow and blue, and applied these colors in very loose washes

Negative watercolor painting technique: floral

Painting negatively with positive attitude

Teen watercolor painting class

We are paying the most attention to the development of observational skills, and less to implementation of the photographic likeness what camera sees.

My fall schedule is more compact, all classes take place in the middle of week, so that students don’t have to miss them because of parties, celebrations and long weekends. I have also separated landscape painting and floral/still life painting. I am starting acrylic painting classes for teens 12+ in the fall, as well. There were many requests.

Should there always be a story behind the painting?

The story behind the painting is believed to be one of the best ways for selling art. Well, that really depends. When selling online, we don’t even know who’s bought the art, and when selling in person, it’s not always a good time for stories.

Spring forest: acrylic painting on canvas
Spring forest: acrylic painting on canvas

An interview with an old artist comes to mind when I’m thinking about how much art critics and art reviewers love rich wording.

Orchard in bloom: acrylic painting of apple trees in spring
Blossoming orchard: apple trees in bloom, acrylic painting

A young journalist pays visit to a much experienced, fairly rough artist and asks for permission to write an article about his art. The artist just keeps working, and seems to be neither too excited, nor too denying about this idea. Thus, the journalist takes out her notebook and starts questioning the old guy.
“How is that all of your art is structurally so multi-layered, multi-faceted and multi-reflective when depicting just routinely flat, boring and standard, sometimes underappreciated subjects? How can it show the underlying emotional hidden mystic concepts of these subjects in such an enormously effective and mentally enriching way?”
“Well, I just grab some paint and brush it on.”
“Sounds very simple, but how could you master describe the energetic overload in these trivial scenes which are jammed with overlaying structurally heavy, spontaneous brush strokes which seem to evoke in us the ancient and primary instincts and passions?”
“Well, I suppose, you see it now: I just grab some paint and brush it on.”
“Sure, your painting style is just fantastic and breathtaking. How about your artistic concepts when choosing these uninteresting subjects, but painting them in the way we experience things we never even knew about, not to mention we could see them captured in this vibrant, rigorously abundant manner which takes us to other dimensions and to futuristic domains of our mind?”
“Well, I don’t think, anything else says it better, as: grab some paint and brush it on.”
“Thank you, master. Would you like to share some of your secrets about implementing in your work this indescribably multifold capture and immediate expression of this vivid, eternally uplifting, intricately subdued and emotionally unvarnished light fractures?”
“Well, it’s kind of tough: just grab some paint and brush it on until you like it”.

Acrylic painting of fall scene: fields, trees and sky
Serene rural fall scenery: acrylic painting on canvas

Images which are attached to this post have been painted as demonstrations for classes. I finished them afterwards since I never get time enough during the class while I am trying to follow up on each student’s work. So, that’s the story: paintings of elements which we had to practice on.

Acrylic painting of white and pink amaryllis

Pink and white amaryllis: acrylic floral painting on canvas

It took me a while, but these paintings are available at the gallery now.

Create art and make your soul sing

We all have our routine duties, we all have to make our living, but how about the soul? What are we doing to feed not only the body, but also our soul? Some people express themselves playing music or dancing, some are writing poetry or stories, and some love to create.

I don’t think anything compares with the wonderful feeling when I have a white pure canvas or sheet of watercolor paper in front of me, and I’m about to put down the first lines or brush strokes. Creation is the straight opposite to consumption, and I really have deep respect for people who love to create and give something to others instead of just taking and using.

Creating art is a rewarding way of self-expression. It takes away from our daily troubles and routines, and this time is never wasted.

Adult acrylic painting class

Our adult acrylic painting class for beginners: rural scene

Paintings by our students

Beautifully done painting

 

Wonderful first acrylic painting

Great painting of farmhouse

Great farmhouse painting in acrylic

We had busy October and November: there were lots of meetings with interested people, many adult and teen classes, and also the November workshop was successful.

We were discussing the magazine article which will be published in Laura’s online site devoted to making lives of women richer and more satisfying:

www.More2Life4Women.ca

This article will describe my personal and art concepts, I will also share my experience living both, in Europe and in Canada.

I had two extremely devoted and diligent students: Sharon and Christine. They created fairly large paintings to decorate their living and dining rooms along with small nature scenes.

 

Wild rose fields by Sharon

We spent approximately 6 hours doing large decorative floral paintings.

Christine’s poppy painting

No doubt, these paintings will make every space look more attractive and inviting.

I started Wednesday night acrylic painting class for adult beginners.

The first painting came out very nice, even though nobody had too much experience painting with acrylics.

I am running workshops once or twice a month. This time we decided to paint winter landscape, and we think a flower painting would be great subject for the next workshop. Workshop takes about 3.30-4.30 hours, and we get done the entire painting during these hours. I’m providing with template to speed up the drawing and planning part, that way we have more time for application of paint.

Ladies with their ready-to hang winter landscape paintings. Even absolute beginners can achieve great results.

Beautiful snow scene paintings

We had one more younger attendant, but she left a bit earlier because she already had done two winter and fir-tree paintings with watercolor. Watercolor is a faster medium, especially when painting winter and snow, lots of spots can be left white.

We are working on an old farmhouse painting with the adult group, and I will post ready paintings next Wednesday.

Fall Art Show at Camp Samac: Sunday

The Fall Art Festival at Camp Samac not only allows one to explore a wide variety of different artists works, but also gathers many hundreds of people interested in art, crafts and creative achievements. It was not surprising that the majority of artists presented smaller size art, art prints and art cards. Even though, there was a fairly large crowd of visitors at some art displays throughout the show, the most buying activity involved smaller, more inexpensive original pieces and art prints. The impression was that the original art was loved and admired, but not that much purchased.

However, taking into account the large number of participating artists (71) and the even larger number of art presented, I must say this event had great success and resulted in many nice transactions for artists and gorgeous acquisitions for art lovers.

We had many thoughtful conversations and discussions, but I only could get a few pictures from this event (with kind consent of the respective artists) since general photo taking was not allowed.

Judith Harper

Judith presented nature, floral, landscape and even figurative paintings in warm attractive colors. We had a great talk about different art issues and this show, and I was really happy to meet her in person.

Light in some of her landscapes was really impressive, and the gentle capture of nature made me think that Judith loves to paint objects which are meaningful and close to her.

Mike McGowan

Mike told his painting ideas originated in his imagination, and he had no need for photo references or direct object set-ups. His colorful abstract paintings and collages attracted many visitors, and he was very often involved in enthusiastic conversations with them.

The vivid colors were really  eye-catching, and he couldn’t complain about lack of interest. Mike also helped me with advice and explanations which I highly appreciated.

More info about Mike’s art can be found at:

http://www.mcgowanart.com/

Anne Labelle Johnson

Anne is well-known for her sensitive beautiful watercolor and acrylic paintings which depict various nature themes. She finds the beauty and magnificence in simple objects which we are often just passing by.

Anne uses a very specific dreamy blue in many of her paintings, and maybe the symbolism of blue is adding another feminine touch to these impressive paintings.

More information about Anne’s art can be found at her website:

http://www.bluewillowstudio.ca/

More information about these and other participating artists can be found at:

http://www.oshawaartassociation.com/

and http://www.pineridgearts.org/index.html

I was very satisfied with this show. This was a great opportunity to get better understanding of the local art scene, make friends, get to know other artists, and sell some paintings. 3 of my originals were sold, and I thought that was great because I did not bother with printing cards or getting art prints.

Fall Art Festival at Camp Samac: Friday

I belong to people who have lots of duties, responsibilities, appointments, arrangements, etc. I am always planning ahead, but I often find myself balancing on knife-edge to meet all deadlines and to make all things happen. Generally speaking, I cannot avoid some rush with whatever I’m trying to do. Getting ready for art shows always involves some frantic adding of last strokes to some time ago created paintings, some sudden new painting idea just the night before the show; and, yes, that’s me typing the art sales sheets and printing labels just half an hour before I leave to set up the show.

This is how it looks at 10pm the night before the art show. I need my watercolors for signatures and small corrections, I need acrylics for adding some highlights or freshening up the lost darks. I need everything to be right there and all around. What a mess, really! However, this photo was taken before I started to do all of these adjustments. It looked much messier at 1 am when I decided to leave everything alone and get some sleep.

These paintings are waiting far labels, they are also getting checked for imperfections or missing signatures.

This is such a happy moment when the provided space is set up. It seems like nothing to it, and I really have to wonder, how could it take so incredibly much time and efforts?

I decided to do mostly trees this year, and when I stopped by, I found out that 3 paintings were already sold. Great news.

Why trees? I find them extremely human, having so much of character which people are often lacking. I don’t think there can be ever painted too many trees or flowers, these silent guards of our living space.

Autumn birch painting

Birches are stubbornly maintaining their white coats regardless of seasons. It’s not surprising they have found reflection in so many poems, paintings and stories. How to stay white is the lesson they teach.

We can respect maples for knowing how to lose their beauty in such a gracious and marvelous way, there are no regrets, just sadness for rapidly disappearing magnificence.

This maple road painting was done in my rich acrylic texture technique. Paintings of this type change colors as the surrounding light does, and depending on the viewing angle, foliage feels almost touchable at some moments. This painting was also sold straight after I put it out. These paintings exist only as single originals since no prints or similar reproductions can be made, and that’s what I like about them.

Great TV show, and don’t be lazy in summer

I really enjoyed participating in the Rogers TV Durham Daytime show. Hosts Julia and Christian were very welcoming and supportive, there was actually nothing to worry about. TV presentations are my favorite events from now on.

I’m getting more and more very appreciative comments on my website, and more people are asking me also, how come that all my art is so much loaded with positive and uplifting energy. The answer is very simple: I’m creating my art in a loving way, and every little bit of my good energy goes into my paintings. It is true that placing such painting in a room brightens up the entire room. When my art goes to exhibitions, some walls are quite empty for a while, and it feels like big part of me is missing.

One of questions I was asked during the TV show was related to my attraction and devotion to art. I think, art has become pretty much everything for me:

Art is my cure for stress.

Art is my escape from troubles.

Art is my shelter when life is too stormy and unpleasant.

Art gives me the feeling of great balance, harmony and self-fulfillment. It is like a cosy armchair after tiring day, like a warm sweater in windy weather. It’s like music which makes you forget everything else.

There are moments when I’d be lost without being able to dive and completely disappear into the art creation jungle. And I’m so thankful for this gift, this ability to capture all the beautiful things with my pencil and brush.

When I was young, I was having hard times back in Europe. I was short of money regardless of long hours I spent teaching at 2 high schools, and there was nothing at all for dinner quite often, but I used to think, isn’t that wonderful that I can draw just about anything I need? That might be the reason some of my stuff looks genuinely realistic, however, I don’t do actually realistic paintings; even though, they’d seem to be of that type. I’m calling my style “romantically inclined realism”or in some cases it is “realistically inclined romanticism”. Both versions describe my paintings extremely well.

I’m trying to convince those who are doubting whether they should take classes  during summer. The season actually doesn’t matter. It is great to be part of something, it is fantastic to belong somewhere. Learning art and engaging in art is worth every single second you’ve spent doing it. It’s also worth every penny spent on materials and classes. Ancient romans were smart and highly insightful, and they used to say what I’m repeating here:

LIFE IS SHORT, ART IS TIMELESS.

Isn’t that fantastic: to be a part of something timeless?

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed, and see you in my art classes!

Happy Mother’s Day to Every Mom on the Globe

I’m on one side of this globe, my mom is on the other. We talk on the phone, and we meet in person every two years. The distance does not scare me as long as I know, I will hear her happy voice on the other end when calling. The best thing is to know that my mom IS THERE. She is going to be 82 this fall, and I hope to meet her around that time.

My mom: 80th birthday

We have one celebration in Latvia, that I’m missing here, in Canada. This day is called Angel’s day or Name’s day. My mom’s name is Irena, and her Name’s day falls together with Mother’s day this year. So, this is a nice reason for double greetings.

The older I’m getting, the more I have started to understand and appreciate my mother and everything she has done for me. I notice more and more features we have in common. I sometimes catch myself acting exactly the way she always is.

There are 2 grandmothers, 3 mothers, 2 daughters and 3 granchildren in this family. How do you think, how many are we? (Answer at the end)

My daughter, my mom and me during their stay in Canada

Too bad, we are never expressing and showing enough love, respect and appreciation to some person while that person is still around. I am never regretting things I have done, things I haven’t done, money I have spent, time I have wasted, but I will always regret I did not say my dad how much I cared about him and how much I loved him while it was still possible. He has passed away now, and there won’t be any more opportunities to do that.

That’s why I’m calling my mom as often as I can, I’m saying her all the best words I am able to find, and I’m showing her how much I care.

White lilies are my mom’s most favorite flowers. I was painting this pastel, and many memories came to my mind, and many good thoughts were implemented in this painting.

This for you, mom!

Happy Mother’s day!

I wish, every mother on this planet experienced some time how much loved, appreciated and honoured she is.

Happy Mother’s day to all Mothers!

Answer to question: We are 5: my mom, me, my daughter, and 2 grandchildren

Wake up and get in mood for spring

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Living in more and more civilized world, we are loosing our ties with nature and seasonal cycles. Light and sunshine are very important factors which can tremendously facililate our energetic resource regeneration and our recreation, but lack of these essential elements causes inevitable destruction and death of anything organic and alive.

Lux aeterna – the eternal light, is the light in its highest meaning, light as a symbol of timeless flourishing and development.

I don’t think, it’s coincidence that “luxury” and Latin “lux” (light) have the same linguistic root. And, yes, the sunlight is a luxury which we are taking for granted.

Animals and plants are more involved in natural processes, and, no wonder, they thrive and bloom, and are at their energetic top-levels in spring. I suppose, humans were pretty much the same, but the artificial surroundings, which allow us to imitate any season and, thus, facilitate our functions regardless of the weather, don’t require us to feel and understand nature any more. Most of us have our shelters, and who actually cares, how long it’s going to rain or snow.

However, those of us who have still maintained the extraordinary sensitivity to underlying processes of nature, would probably agree that spring has not lost its importance as a driving force of the new seasonal cycle.

Nature wakes up, live juices start to circulate in trunks of trees, grasses and weeds lift up their tiny heads, buds are getting bigger and bigger with every second, first blossoms show their faces to the sun, and birds give the best concert of the year, especially when the day is bright and sunny.

Well, it’s really the right time for new initiatives, new challenges and wake-up activities. This is the renaissance time of our town, city, area, land, country, hemisphere. This is such a breathtaking renewal of our mind and soul, and our body shouldn’t be left behind.

We are welcoming the return of spring with our colourful floral paintings in my studio-gallery, and I will show  in my next post how we are drawing and painting these artworks.