To find a bit of lasting happiness

Well, some of you probably noticed, I wasn’t posting for almost 2 weeks. Quite a while, but I obviously was busy, and the art blog starts to put a bit of pressure on me because I love inserting illustrations, but don’t have them ready sometimes.

It was a fairly important date last week: my studio-gallery has been 5 years at its current location, in Whitby, Ontario. It was the 5th anniversary since I started Art plus Life. Wondering where is … plus life? The other blog will come soon.

Although, I didn’t think it was a very remarkable date at first, as I scrolled through all pictures (I have many thousands of them), I could see that there has been huge progress, in fact, and a lot has been achieved and done during these 5 years.

I will not try to comment on all pictures, but since I thought seeing was more than telling, here we go: please have a look at the retrospective pictures gallery.

I started out with one student. I had 2 students after a week, and some more joined after a month. Wednesday class was the first one to become regular once a week class, with small interruptions it has been running since fall 2012. Teens Tuesday class was on since March 2012, as well. I started to hold Saturday workshops only about 8 months ago, it proved to be useful thing, so these will continue next September.

I look at these pictures, and it is hard to describe the mixed feelings: sort of satisfaction, sort of so much work in preparation, and lots of happiness, I have to admit. When most people come to this studio, they start from zero, since they have never drawn or painted before. We learn about paints, colors, brushes, papers and canvasses. I have been watching many talents unfolding and I have seen many depressed, exhausted and desperate persons turning into happy ones.

The Wednesday group feels like a family, we’ve been together for a long time. Diana used to be in this group, as well, but her life made a jump, and so we regretfully are not seeing her. Well, we welcome new students all the time, and the most incorrect assumption one can have is this one: painting and drawing is for those who want to be artists. Not at all! It is for everybody, to find peace, to rejoin with their soul, to spend great time, to make a good use of days when the weather is bad, to conquer addictions, to overcome fear and lack of confidence, to find a bit of happiness.

 

I have been working on my creeks which students already got done, and the brown cottage is our current project.

Recent art projects for adult painting classes

It’s clear that we are excited about blue at the moment.

Recent works in progress

To put some nice accent on this round date: 5 years, a show, sale and hands-on event follows in June 6 and 7.

 

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

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.

 

Blue bird watercolor paintings: common chaffinch in watercolor

Cardinal painting, sparrow painting, warbler painting

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.

Autumn energy acrylic textures

Textured autumn

Autumn birds 1 Watercolor on panels

Autumn birds 1

Autumn birds 3 watercolor paintings of birds

Autumn birds 2

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.

Materials for watercolor painting classes

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.

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.

This summer in local media

I participated in Sundays on the Porch with SilverStone gallery in Pickering. My husband Don was playing guitar and singing.

That was wonderful experience which allowed to meet new people and also give some painting demonstrations.

The weather was good, and there were people stopping by and checking out paintings we had taken with us, and also the very nice SilverStone gallery.

Everyone liked Don’s performance.

This Sunday in August was pretty windy, we really had to watch paintings, it seemed they might fly away.

 

This summer we appeared quite a few times in Oshawa, Pickering and Whitby SNAPs.

Here are the links:

http://www.snappickering.com/index.php?option=com_sngevents&id%5B0%5D=297146&lang=en

http://www.snapwhitby.com/index.php?option=com_sngevents&id%5B%5D=310621

http://www.snappickering.com/index.php?option=com_sngevents&id%5B%5D=297144

http://www.snaposhawa.com/index.php?option=com_sngevents&id%5B%5D=292971

Focusing on still life and garden scenes

It’s a great time to engage in plein-air painting.

I recently did a garden scene called “Take a Rest” with some flowers and garden tools.

I use real scenes and real set-ups to create my paintings, I somehow cannot paint using photos, I just can’t.

First I do a freehand drawing. The weather was very good for a while, so I could paint every day outdoors.

The other painting is a still life called “Kitchen Symphony”.

I set up all items in my gallery where is a good light,

and I also did a large freehand drawing first.

I think, both paintings came out quite nicely, however, it was very late when I took a photo of my garden scene, so the light might be not that perfect.

Hope you enjoy such art.

Summer art classes are about to start

I think it’s a very nice idea to engage in some art activities during the summer.

The weather has been very good so far, thus, enabling to paint plein air or outdoors.

Both of my recently painted watercolours got accepted into the 43rd Annual Oshawa Art Association Juried Show.

The garden scene I painted straight in my backyard, it can be viwed together with the Kitchen Symphony, a large watercolour still life, at the Robert Robert McLaughlin Gallery 72 Queen Street, Civic Centre, Oshawa.

We are doing a lot of still nature and floral drawings, so everyone is welcome to join our art classes during this summer.

Welcome to virtual art gallery by Inese Poga!

I intend to post in this blog all news and events which are happening in my real art studio and gallery in downtown of Whitby, Ontario.

The weather has not been too nice this spring, but summer hopefully brings more sunny days for plein-air painting.

My watercolour and acrylic paintings are often based on scenes just outside my studio. My huge backyard offers plenty of subjects for painting. There are more and more fresh ideas as everything blossoms and gets more beautiful outside.

I hope everyone joining me will have great time, gain very useful experience, good painting skills and become excellent in drawing.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at my real gallery and art studio.