Watercolor mania? Yes, incurable

It isn’t so that I am completely obsessed with painting, but I have given thousands of workshops and classes just within the last 4 years. There were moments when I had 5 or 4 every week. Every class or workshop required some reference painting, plus, I certainly wanted to paint something on my own, as well. My problem is that preparation for any class and workshop and my own paintings always took so much time that I never really got to selling anything seriously. I would put on the “Open” sign, and that was pretty much it. I am realizing now that I have so many paintings which would easily fill up the largest gallery.

Watercolors up to 11 x 14 in (28 x 36 cm)

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Some are framed, some matted 

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Scenery washes and birds

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Some blue and pink shades

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Most of them make great greeting cards, as well

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Most of these paintings are in piles and wrapped up because classes involve a lot of splashing, so nobody actually gets to see them. That includes me, as well, because I rarely have time to sort things out. These are just some of small size (7 x 10 and up to 11 x 14) and medium size (12 x 16 to 22 x 18) watercolors. There are still lots of unframed or not signed, many large and very large and for those I have no place at all, they are stocked upstairs to prevent from damage.

12 x 16 inch (30 x 41 cm) and up to 20 x 16 in ( 51 x 41 cm) watercolors

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Flower power

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Pure watercolor and pen plus watercolor

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Lovely reds and pinks

 

Rose, wild rose and edge of poppies and tomato

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Fall leaves and spring flowers

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More detail

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At least 4 tulips are available

I did not even realize that, but the number of paintings has reached sort of tipping point. I would need at least 3-4 times larger space to either hang it all or display in any other way. It is time to reconsider everything and become more serious about doing something with all this art which, quite honestly, has taken numerous hours of drawing and painting. I always enjoyed that, but I am short for storage and space. What good do these paintings if nobody ever can see them? Therefore, I would be very happy some of them found new walls and homes.

Anyway, most likely I will have to repeat this before Christmas and holidays, but still, I believe, these are very attractive paintings which would look great in any place, especially in a proper frame.

All details and separate images are on http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/inese-poga.html

Everything $100 to $350. Shipping extra. Thanks if you checked them out!

If you ever doubted whether to start drawing and painting, just go for it. Being addicted to painting is not the worst that can happen. It is an entirely distinctive new world which never stops surprising.

Please accept these unpretentious flowers

How did flowers evolve?

From happiness.

What gave them their fragrance?

Love.

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.

Pansies for Mother's Day

Please accept these unpretentious flowers as small thank you for everything you are to your children!

The irreversibility of our life and pleasurable projects in pink

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. Blossoms in pink watercolor project One: choose the reference image and draw the main lines with pencil or do a drawing from memory. Apple blossoms drawing 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. Apple blossoms drawing for art class 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. Pen and watercolor apple blossoms We were applying various shades of simply yellow, red, crimson red and dark red with blue. Apple blossoms pen and watercolor illustration These projects took us about 3 hours in total. Pink rose in watercolor, botanical illustration 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. Pink blossoms: watercolor project for teens and adults 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. Glue and watercolor cards We also created some three-dimensional, very quick glue and watercolor cards. They were effortless and fun to make, still look very nice. Hearts and red berries: glue and watercolor 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. Watercolor rose and apple blossoms: watercolor for teens and adults 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.

Try something different: painting with sponge

I decided that adding some new technique wouldn’t disturb. Why not to give it a try?

This time it was application of watercolor using a sea grass sponge. It worked well with acrylic (I will post these pictures separately), it seemed it could work nicely with watercolor, as well.

I could see after the first attempts that it is advisable to test colors first. There are lots of brands, many types of paints, it’s hard to know whether the chosen colors will or won’t mix well. The big fear was not to overdo right at the beginning. Sponging sort of takes away easily, and it takes no time to lose focus and to forget where exactly was I intending to place any particular paint. I did not plan for these paintings, I just got straight to sponging. I would advise anybody who is trying this technique to plan a small bit ahead. Sponge allows to create beautiful watercolor backgrounds, like distant trees or forests, it is amazing how quickly some spots get textures, and it is a fantastic for layering watercolor paints. Simply don’t forget to test your colors.

It seemed that Hooker’s green light and dark in combination with French ultramarine, Cobalt blue, Payne’s grey, Lemon yellow and Burnt sienna or Burnt umber worked better than Sap green in any combination unless I mixed only 2 or 3 colors in all layers.

Sea grass sponges are inexpensive and available at any art store, that’s at least where I got them. Every sponge is slightly different, so will be textures created using these sponges. I cut my sponge in smaller parts, and used every time that part which seemed to be the most fitting. Sponge has to be made wet at first, and we should squeeze out all excess water before picking up the paint with it.

Sponging works on wet paper (wet in wet application), and we can paint nice distant backgrounds this way. It creates thicker layers and attractive irregular shapes when applied on dry paper. It is possible to create the entire painting this way, and it looks especially great when we combine different techniques.

Generally speaking, application of a sponge helps loosen up, and sponge is a good tool to vary paint application techniques.

These paintings look somehow better not photographed. The light hasn’t been too suitable recently, but regardless of how hard I tried, I did not get the balance on photos which is present on paper. This might be due to the distinctive number of layers at each part since camera sees everything not in the same way as the human eye sees. These things were tough to photograph, it was almost as bad as taking pictures of pastel drawings.

 

First layers of watercolor using a sea grass sponge

Different colors and textures: watercolor forest painting with sponge

Layering quite a few colors with sponge is interesting: we never know how it will look at the end!

Spring forest painting: watercolor

Simple sponge painting exercise

The distant forest is painted using sponge: the darks in the background look much darker than on paper, like I said before, camera picks out some spots and reflects colors differently from the human eye.

Sponge painting with watercolor

Sponge applied for background and some spots in the front

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Spring forest: watercolor painting using sponge

Mother’s Day card: check it out

I recently finished a watercolor painting which already initially was intended to serve as image for Mother’s day card. We started to draw birds at our teens painting class and got the painting done during 2-3 classes.

Chickadee mother's day card

I worked out two versions: one without text (when ordering, anybody can place their own text on the inside) and with short text.

Mother's day greetings

Both versions can be found and ordered as cards via Fine Art America website:

http://fineartamerica.com/pdfartworkmenu.php?artworkid=7289106

http://fineartamerica.com/pdfartworkmenu.php?artworkid=7289435

It’s needless to say that any painting can be bought as a print of many different types and with hundreds of framing choices at very reasonable prices and in excellent quality. Any purchase comes with 30-day money-back guarantee in case you are not satisfied with some aspect.

Fine Art America offers to download a free app if you are using any kind of smart phone, iPhone, iPad or similar device which has camera to view the particular painting in the chosen frame (there are really hundreds) or without a frame on the exact wall space or room space where you intend to place it. The app will apply your chosen size, therefore, you can see everything according to real proportions.

http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/inese+poga/all

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.

Painting classes: becoming more confident and artistic

To create  something from nothing takes creativity, knowledge and commitment.

We were doing some negative painting exercises, and after that we were getting ready for the next painting which will be seaside with some birds.

Psychologists are certain that everything is based on confidence and high level of self-esteem. Art helps reach these goals tremendously, and the acquired awareness that I CAN CREATE, I CAN ACHIEVE MY GOALS, is a new stepping stone when walking through the life.

Step by step, brush stroke by brush stroke: big things start with small accomplishments.

Everybody benefits from engagement in arts, and it is something valuable for the entire life.

Some artists of adult acrylic painting group completed their first painting, some their third paintings.

 

We are overcoming the fear from blank canvas and learning to apply paint with confidence, and results speak for themselves.

Adult acrylic class: nature paintings

It is never too early or too late to engage in creation of something artistic. We sometimes need 30 or 40 years to realize that art is what we want to learn. It is a pleasure to watch this happening as we progress more and more with every single painting.

Paintings in progress: experimenting with multiple media and surfaces

There is some certain stuff which I hate and usually avoid when painting. I do not like using masking fluid. I am using such a paper which allows for a lot of lifting, or sometimes watercolor canvas. However, watercolor canvas is not my preferred surface because paint goes on as easy as it comes off. It’s sometimes quite a struggle to cheat the paint onto canvas, it also takes a lot of time. watercolor and pastel paintings of fruits I’m combining acrylic ground, watercolor, fixative and pastels in order to draw with pastels on a stretched canvas. paintings in progress apple and floral still life I’m also stretching watercolor paper on bars, and I’m doing this all and going for that kind of trouble because I absolutely don’t like how paintings look behind the glass. Frame sort of contributes to perception of an image, but glass reflections definitely disturb it. I have some paintings under museum quality glass (that’s at least what I paid for), and there are still some reflections present. Besides, it feels as if color and image are not that directly approachable as in case of acrylic paintings. paintings in progress: amaryllis acrylic painting Unfortunately, I cannot do oils because of allergy, that’s why I am combining these media which I like. I don’t think, there is any absolutely flawless medium. Pastels leave a lot of dust and cause respiratory problems, they need to be preserved immediately; acrylic paintings are easy to store and hang, but paint dries out in no time, and any correction requires to go over quite an area. Watercolor paintings need to be preserved and framed. Glass + mat board + frame increase the selling price incredibly. My goal is to paint on any surface combining any mediums in such a manner that I never again need to frame my paintings, unless I really want it. Art buyers actually prefer paintings without frames, that gives them the freedom to frame or not to frame later and do that as they wish. combining pastel and watercolor on canvas None of these paintings is finished yet, but I quite like how they are coming out I’m experimenting so far, but soon I will see what works the best. It’s also fun to use watercolor pencils, pastel pencils, pastel sticks, watercolor on canvas, on paper, on board and just take a risk. The result might be unpredictable, but I don’t think it’s going to be unacceptable. Painting from real set-up, that’s the way I like it The last thing, which I really don’t like and do not advise my students, is painting from photos. Whatever the pros and cons, it’s more rewarding to develop one’s visual ability and drawing skills than try to go by a ready image.

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!