There is no “undo” command in our life. This makes everything we pursue, experience or achieve absolutely irreversible. Everything is a small moment, frozen in time. As I’m typing these words or you’re reading them, the past washes this second away and puts it in the big folder of our lifetime’s history. The cold sunrays of this disappearing day are pouring over the nearby rooftops and higher tree branches. This creates an illusion of warmth in the air. Yet, it is an illusion: as the quiet stream of twilight starts streaming in, we will find ourselves in even colder conditions, minus thirty or so. How does this relate to pink projects? Very simple: when the environment is unfriendly, we should try doing something pleasant. Pleasant for me is drawing and painting something which takes me far away from this cold winter day and places in surroundings where I’d love to be. No tears, no regrets, no lost hopes: this is an easy mental transformation into a feeling-better-myself. We actually did similar project in the classroom. One project was all about yellow and orange, and the other was blooms and pink. These projects can be done by absolutely everybody whether they have any experience or not: they are as unsophisticated as one, two, three. One: choose the reference image and draw the main lines with pencil or do a drawing from memory. Two: draw over lines which appear as being the most suitable with a black pen. Black ink can be used, as well, if somebody has it readily available. Three: follow the reference image and your own feelings and apply colors which seem to you most fitting the drawing: one leaf or one petal at a time starting with light shades and going over in some spots with more intense color. Wash out connection lines with pure water. Drawings which do not look perfect at all become extremely beautiful with this approach. We were applying various shades of simply yellow, red, crimson red and dark red with blue. These projects took us about 3 hours in total. The rose was done in similar way, just skipping the black outline part. I had taken very many pictures during the last few weeks, but the flow of my time was so rapid, that I did not get a chance to share anything yet. I will have to post students’ works separately because there are quite a few. It is amazing how it was impossible to get the correct colors in picture, so I took some photos just to compare with these paintings in context of surrounding environment, and they look much closer to how they are in reality. Just one more thing: everybody can draw and paint and, therefore, create for themselves a beautiful rescue place from different troubles and hardships. However, we have to learn seeing things at first. This is almost like developing a much better perception of the surrounding world. We are used to see everything just walking by and running over. Now, it is time to stop and start noticing every line, every shade and later take a distance from it. That is the moment when we can put it on paper or canvas. We also created some three-dimensional, very quick glue and watercolor cards. They were effortless and fun to make, still look very nice. The instant internet presence in any move we make has also led people to slightly wrong understanding of being: everybody is comparing oneself to and competing with somebody else. I was reading the other day how one blogger felt unhappy because he thought his blog would be the best (how is that even possible, like generally the best?). Many people feel the same way when they try to express themselves artistically. The truth is: do it for yourself and your loved ones first and later you will see where this initiative or passion takes you. Mass media wants that: look at this and realize what you cannot. That is just so misleading, and it is also the wrong reason to become upset or unsatisfied, thus, giving up some nice thing which one has just started. I’m also sending prayers to everybody who is on the road in bad weather conditions or those who need warmth. May you get home safe or find a cozy shelter.
I actually love drawing more than painting. During classes, I am usually giving quick demonstrations on what is the best way to draw some shape or object, what helplines to use, where to place something and why to do so. Students who have just started out need a lot of explanations why and what should be done in a drawing or painting. That includes explanations about different types of pencils, brushes, paints and paper.
I did not plan these drawings and paintings, but added to them some item whichever I needed to demonstrate at that moment. We don’t use masking fluid because the class is too short. We are using just paper, brush, paint and plenty of water; in fact, we are learning how important water and paper towel is in achieving the desired effect. Every step needs to be repeated for many times until its purpose is clear.
I drew the cup first so that students would know where to start. I added some carrots later since we needed to see how to apply watercolor on them.
I drew the pot at first and added some items as we needed to apply some watercolor paint. My painting style could be actually described as drawing with the brush.
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, and any drawing does not take me much time and I don’t usually have to look at paper all the time. I’d rather try to look at the object while I am drawing. Since the light is changing, I have to work fast and mark the darkest values right away. I sometimes simply remember them and recall the scene later. Our goal was not to achieve very close likeness or very realistic appearance. We tried to focus mostly on the basic drawing.
Good tools are very helpful, however one should not put off artistic activities just because materials are not perfect. We can always get everything as we go.
I’m sometimes receiving messages like this one:
“I really wanted to learn drawing and painting all my life long, but something always came first: family, kids, work, tiredness, illness, lack of energy and later doubts whether I was able to even start it that late in my life. That never happened, I never found time for painting, and that hurts me because that was one of my dreams which could have been fulfilled so easily just having a bit more persistence.”
I’d say: do not let that happen.
Once I started to paint and draw birds, I unexpectedly found a new interesting scope of material. There’s so much to explore! My first paintings of birds were very approximate. I just tried to give them some character, that’s all. I’m paying more attention to the arrangement of colors, etc. on wings and other feathers and to their external anatomy.
I like most birds, and I really need to love or somehow like that stuff which I am going to draw or paint. That’s pretty much the reason I stopped painting human portraits.
Nature has the most wonderful variety of everything, from small to huge, from simple to complicated.
I suppose, I will keep studying birds for a while. I do get tired of similar images, though, that’s why the next paintings to finish are three-dimensional landscapes.
Taking about landscapes: my painting “Overlooking the Meadow” will be on the cover of Natural Awakenings Magazine.
Natural Awakenings is a free publication about healthy living that is available in over 90 cities in the U.S and Puerto Rico, with a readership of over three million. I had my market scene on their cover in 2012, and immediately after that I sold some paintings. Well, if you happen to see this magazine, pick it up for free. They write about useful things there. I also find amazing that they contacted me already 2 times.
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.
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.
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).
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
Painting negatively with positive attitude
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.
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
Gold and red
Red and green: tissue paper roses and glitter on branches
Christmas gift box, very elegant and delicate, matches the Christmas center-piece very well
Celebrating the light and warmth
Festive and uplifting, sparkle and shine: Christmas settings
I hope you enjoyed the decorating ideas!
This post reviews art supplies for acrylic painting classes, pleasure painting and workshops. I decided to post also some pictures and brief explanations about art materials which are used in my acrylic painting classes. Note: pictures show Golden brand, we ARE NOT using Golden as a medium of our choice any longer. Tubes are difficult to open, they break and quality does not go hand in hand with the high price. Please keep reading to see what we prefer.
Summary: 3-4 brushes for acrylic, pencil, acrylic marker/s; 8 or 9 colors of acrylic paint; 16 x 20 inch canvas, white plastic disposable plate, 5 sheets of paper towel, please see below what brushes and paints.
You will need for almost every class or workshop acrylic markers or similar markers with medium fine tips which do not bleed with application of water in black, red, green and blue colors. If you can afford only one, please get black or dark brown marker. It is extremely important you have it. For initial sketching we are using any graphite pencil. Medium softness works the best.
Please get rather separate paint tubes than any sets. Do not buy beginner sets which consist of different fairly low quality brushes and paints which won’t work for any medium: neither watercolor, nor acrylic, nor oil. These brushes are difficult to use, too small and they are definitely not intended for larger size artworks. If you would like your paintings last, you should always use artist grade paints which won’t fade away that easily, and provide better covering and curing effects.
The colors we are using most often are:
White: Titanium white, required more than other colors, please get a good brand because the student’s grade white does not work too well. White is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
For darks: Black, and/or Raw umber, Black and/or Payne’s grey; if you can afford only one, please get Black
Red is important color: Primary magenta or Cadmium medium red; Quinacridone crimson, Crimson pyrrole, Naphtol red light or medium. Generally speaking, one dark red and one light red would do. Primary magenta covers the broadest range of necessary reds, but we love Carmine red (Crimson lake, Carmine lake) and Pyrrole red.
2 yellow shades: Hansa or Lemon yellow for light greenish yellow shades; Cadmium yellow medium for warm yellow. Yellow is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
Yellow ochre or golden ochre, yellow oxide: we use them quite often
Much used: Burnt sienna
Much used: Burnt umber (warm deep brown shade) or Raw umber (almost black brown which is used in many mixes for dark shades), we are also mixing it with lemon yellow for attractive green shades
We use a lot of blue: Sky blue, Prussian blue, Cobalt blue and Ultramarine blue
Prussian blue: very much recommended, we use it almost always
Cold shade premixed grey: to save time, but you can mix it up from black and other shades
You do not need any premixed green paint unless you are using large amounts of straight green. We are mixing up different shades of green.
Orange is useful for mixing up good other colors.
It is better to buy only a few tubes/jars of a good paint than have very many of bad paint. Other paints you will get as you go depending on what you like more/what you paint more. If you are limited to only 8 paints, you should get white, black, lemon yellow and Cadmium yellow medium, Prussian blue, Primary magenta, burnt sienna and burnt umber. It is great to have golden or yellow ochre, as well.
We like Liquitex heavy body most because of easy to use tubes, and Graham has fairly good quality acrylic paints, recently good option for starting out is Amsterdam brand acrylic paints and Liquitex Basics. Both have easy to use tubes, their whites, yellows and other light colors make sense. Golden is acceptable, but not recommended: bad tubes, difficult to open and close, and they have really bad Titanium white. Do not buy Open Golden acrylics, they are terribly sticky and bad for use in the class. We find the other brands unsatisfactory for many reasons. So called Galleria acrylics by Winsor and Newton practically don’t work, they act rather as a paste than paint, if you need something inexpensive, please stick with Amsterdam or Liquitex Basics.
Do not buy paints at Wallmart or Dollar store, crafter’s acrylics do not work for our painting style; but they have some really inexpensive good size canvas/canvas boards (16 x 20 in) which are good for practicing. For easier painting experience, art store canvas works better. If you are buying at Curry’s or other art store, choose canvas/canvas boards 16 x 20 in. Curry’s has better art products than Michael’s, and prices are more reasonable at Curry’s art store.
There are value packs of stretched canvas, 3 or 2, or even 5 together. Canvas boards are very inexpensive. Just remember the size: 16 x 20 inches. Painting on a ready to use stretched canvas allows to hang painting on the wall without a frame straight after you have finished it.
You will need at least 1 flat brush, about 3/4 or 1 inch wide, fairly soft, synthetic, inexpensive (look for something cheaper for acrylic or watercolor, not the stiff ones for oils) and a few round brushes with fine tip (size 4, 6, 8 to 12, it’s good to have a few). Generally speaking, the larger your canvas, the larger brushes. We use fan brushes, stiff cut out brushes for spotting (like the brushes for window or wood painting, just a smaller width). We adjust also flat oil brushes for this purpose. Bristles have to be uneven, we cut these brushes out using scissors. Please remember not to get oil brushes (they are not soft on touch and have visibly rough bristles) for basic painting with acrylics.
For texture effects, we can use seaweed sponges. Some have surface which is compiled of tiny sharp tops, choose those ones.
For strong textures, we are using modeling paste. However, drying takes a lot of time and we cannot apply it during the class. Whenever we need it, you’ll get instructions.
Having extender and glazing medium is a good thing, however, they are fairly expensive and painting can be done without these mediums, as well. Mediums help with blending or glazing, or keep the paint moist for longer time. Blending medium is a fairly good thing. However, we usually survive just using mist out of spray bottle.
Spray bottle with water helps.
We are using quite a lot of strong/thick paper towel, minimum 5-6 sheets for class; and any medium or larger size white plastic plate can be used instead of palette; very small paper plates do not work for this purpose, paper absorbs paint. If you have mixing paper, please place it in a flat box like a lid of a shoe box.
Plastic knives can be used for mixing up paint.
Please dress so that possible paint spots don’t damage your clothes, wear something which can be made dirty. We get spots even on sleeves, shoes, etc.
When it is snowy, muddy or dirty, you will need to switch to slippers or similar footwear.
I hope I covered the most often asked questions, and see you in my art classes!
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.
I decided to post explanations and some pictures showing art supplies which we are frequently using in our watercolor, sketching and drawing classes.
You can use watercolor pencils, watercolor paints in tubes or set of pan watercolors when starting out. You do not have to buy everything right away, but small set or some paint tubes are necessary for the first class.
Student grade watercolor paints will not have the same properties as artist grade paints because they contain more fillers and less pigment. There is still always something in between: not too expensive and with acceptable quality. However, it is better you get only a few tubes of excellent paint than 20 tubes or large set of bad quality paint. I love St. Petersburg watercolors for their brilliance and transparency.
It is extremely important to have a good watercolor paper because your painting results will directly depend on quality of paper and paint. We are using thick, rough or fairly heavy, cold press watercolor paper. Not all brands will have the “ROUGH” paper, but all of them offer “COLD PRESS” paper. Please pay attention that we are using only cold press paper (it is written straight on a block of paper). The thickness of watercolor paper is measured by weight. So, the greater the weight, the thicker and better the paper. It is measured either in pounds per ream (lb) or grams per square meter (gsm). I would recommend, you look for paper which weighs at least 140 lb (300 gsm). The heavier papers are more expensive, so choose something from the medium range. We use either Arches, cold press, fairly heavy or we order online Saunders- Waterford paper.
Poor quality paper will buckle, warp and it will not allow to use some painting techniques because the number of washes is very limited on thin paper. Masking fluid can cause it to tear. Thin and poor quality paper simply does not have layers for paint to travel through them, therefore, water creates spots, sits on top of the paper surface, does not get absorbed and does not allow paint flowing and creating nice washes.
The size of your watercolor paper actually matters, too. It happens very often that beginners choose paper of a very small size. It is a wrong assumption that painting tiny stuff is easier. The smallest size you should go for is approximately 12 x 16 inches, and we are quite often using even larger watercolor paper because it allows to understand painting techniques better and create art much easier.
To paint comfortably, you will need to attach your paper to some firm, but light base. It cannot be heavy, we need to lift, rotate, tilt and so on, it has to be easy to hold and handle. Firm cardboard or something similar is fine. The base should exceed the painting paper size. Please attach it with the green painter’s tape to the cardboard or similar base.
We are using good pen for pen and watercolor drawings. I would recommend black pen which does not bleed with application of water, Micropen in sizes 0.2 or 0.3 is great.
Graphite pencils, medium soft or hard, and kneaded eraser, also known as putty rubber or artist grade eraser is also necessary. We cannot use the regular hard eraser since it damages the watercolor paper.
We do apply both: graphite transfer or copying paper for transferring our drawing onto watercolor paper and tracing paper for creation of large scale sketches when the drawing is complex or requires to show values clearly. These papers should be in size close to the watercolor paper. Please also have some testing paper which you can use for trying out colors or similar stuff. Cheap watercolor paper would do.
We are using some small, medium and medium-large size brushes. Just make sure you buy watercolor brushes with soft bristles. Synthetic brushes are fine and inexpensive. We are usually fine with one flat brush (at least 3/4 or 1 in wide) and two to four round brushes with fine tips. Sizes 6 to 12.
When painting with watercolor, it is highly recommended to use well absorbing paper towel. Paper towel is necessary for cleaning the brush, taking off extra paint or water and correcting your painting. Paper towel is necessary for every single step and class.
Palette can be very simple, just watch out that you do not get something tiny since it is extremely difficult to mix up reasonable amounts of paint in something which is size of a quarter. If you think, you’d rather save the paint which is already on your palette, get some medium size palette with lid, that way you won’t have to dispose any paint, as long as it’s not dirty.
These are watercolor pencils. It is possible to achieve excellent results using these pencils either for the entire painting, or only for its initial stages.
It is better to buy watercolor painting supplies in a specialized art store, I do not think Wallmart is an option for paper, brushes or paint, but you could get paper towel, painter’s tape, palette and base for attaching your painting there.
I’m very proud that all students have found my classes very useful and exciting so far. They admit, they have learned something new and improved their skills every time they attended my studio-gallery classes.
Most students were absolute beginners, some of them were having art classes at school before. It is great experience to watch my students progressing so fast and developing nice technical and surprising creative approach.
My studio-gallery is a place which really inspires, it also has increadibly artistic atmosphere. I have learned patience working as a high school teacher back in Europe for many years, and I also happen to have profound methodical and theoretical background along with practical drawing and painting skills.
We usually start with creation of a pencil sketch.
Drawing flowers and different still life objects develops the specific visual qualities which are very important for an artist, especially in early stages. Students elaborate skills of being able to capture real 3-dimensional objects at first; it’s their own choice later whether they reproduce photos, or continue painting and drawing the real stuff.
We are doing not only floral paintings, but it comes to us very natural to engage in floral art during springtime.
These are just the first steps. Some students like the drawing part more, some prefer application of paint and color.
Whatever we would paint, we usually have to decide on color palette which will be applied in painting as we go. It is great to implement unexpected effects (positive accidents) when some paint splashes occur exactly on that spot where they were needed.
I paint along with my students and provide demonstrations as we go. This includes small corrections or new approaches, anything, which helps to reveal the chosen object.
Sketching is an important preparation step. In my opinion, being able to draw allows an artist to employ so many opportunities. If there were no cameras or computers all of a sudden, drawing would still allow to capture any scene or object as good as photography, if not much better; because there would be nothing between vision and perception of the artist. Research suggests that our visual abilities are very unique, just like our finger prints. This means there’s no other person who sees the same thing exactly as you do.
Diana’s painting is very careful and incredibly patient, and results are great.
Spring crocuses: Diana’s painting
Diana has been attending my art classes every single week since July 2011, and she has decided to go to an art school.
Jerica’s Easter lilies
I think, art classes keep student busy, develop unique mental and visual perception, allow to obtain new skills, and they are fun, as well. Besides, students create impressive paintings which can be framed or varnished for use without any frame, and that way, they can already decorate their house, give their painting as a gift, or even sell it. Some students have sold their paintings.
I am participating in Oshawa Art Association Spring Studio Tour which takes place on May 5 and 6 between 10am- 4 pm.
Everybody, interested in art, is very welcome to attend my studio-gallery and get the tour brochure and list of all included artists. I will post additional OAA Spring Tour info next week.
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.