Celebrate in style: the best way to get into Christmas mood

Celebrate in style, Christmas gifts

Second featured painting

Original art has a special attraction, energy and flare to it. I don’t think there can be too much art on any walls. I have usually some 200 works of art on display in my Art plus Life gallery, and it does not feel overwhelming or crowded. I rotate my art depending on demand and season. It feels very appropriate to have snow scenes and winter villages on display when Christmas is around the corner, and it is very obvious that spring flowers blossom around the gallery in spring.

I have a special love to small birds. I preferred them to any other creatures already as a kid. I assume that one should only paint what they know. I watch these birds during any season, and I have hundreds of sketches which I can turn into artworks later. I painted this particular painting “Robins, winter” last year. I painted 6 bird paintings. As it frequently happens, I felt I wanted to improve the color balance. So, I worked a few more weeks on this painting. I believe it became better and birds are more bird-like, as well, as the entire scene is lovely and welcoming and speaks for itself.

Bird painting for sale, holiday and Christmas art

Robins, winter, 16 x 20 in (41 cm x 51 cm) acrylic painting on canvas

It is also on Daily Paintworks

I do invite everybody to participate in a festive workshop at the beginning of December to try out how nice of an adventure it is to create something heart-warming and cheerful. We can choose the image, and some people usually prefer winter scenes, some illustration or wall decoration type of art, as well as some might go for birds. We also paint poinsettias almost every winter. I must admit, that is a subject which always works well on canvas and paper and looks great.

Workshop is on Sunday, December 10. It takes place between 12.30 and 3 pm. We will paint attractive 12 x 16 in images. Workshops are always fun. Participants also go home with a nice piece of art. I am attaching the “Robins, winter” painting for illustration, but I will certainly post more images as we get closer to the workshop date.

The best way to get into Christmas mood is to create art that suits the season. Let us celebrate in style with original art this year! Please let me know if you like “Robins, winter” painting and whether you’d love me to ship it to you!

Robins, winter, bird painting for sale

Art products are available from Fine Art America.

Celebrate in style, Christmas gifts

My favorite from all products with this particular painting is the spiral notebook. It looks unbelievably good! Mugs also look impressive, so do actually lots of my art products and prints.

 

Celebrate in style: art that suits any taste, first featured painting

Celebrate in style: art that suits any taste, first featured painting

Celebrate in style will include my creations which I will try to post as frequently as I can taking into account that painting takes between 6-8 hours a day, classes about 4 hours a day with set-up and clean-up twice a week, setting up for photos, editing, posting online and promoting my art takes abnormally many hours and nobody has cancelled doctor’s appointments, treatments and the daily chores. I do also create decorations and have to put up some in the front, that takes additional 4 hours a day, plus the mess … I have to sell something so that I can buy my gifts, therefore, I hope for some response.

I have painted and created over years lots of art that can be a great gift or a fantastic decoration.

This time, I am featuring a rustic Christmas tree painting. This painting is acrylic and mixed media on 20 x 16 in canvas (or 51 x 41 cm). The background imitates wood, and it is created on canvas and also painted around the edges, so it does not need any frame.

Winter trees are so adorable, and when the first snow is falling … that means getting into the holiday and Christmas spirit immediately. Having this simple, yet beautiful tree on a wall is also a pleasure. I finished painting this tree image and I could not stop enjoying and looking at it.

The idea comes from the internet. I saw somebody had painted things and text on wood, and I really liked the idea of creating such a look. I just had to figure out how to achieve this without wood. I simply did not have any, especially somewhat suitable pieces. Well, I usually create what I do not have. This painting has also touchable and visible texture, so, it even feels like wood.

We will have workshop on December 9th. If you are not that far and reside in Durham region, Ontario, you certainly could take part and paint something similar for your own pleasure. Please apply here:  https://inesepogagallery.com/classes-workshops-schedule/

Celebrate in style: art that suits any taste, first featured painting

Let us celebrate in style this year! It is nice to have something original, not a print on the wall. It is absolutely ok to create something when we cannot buy it. Enjoy and let me know if I can ship this wonderful rustic tree painting to you!

Art is created in a different dimension

Art is even more than meditation. It transfers us to a different place, it happens in a different dimension and it results in a completely different experience.

I need, just like most of us, to shut off the world here and there.

To recharge, regain energy and clean my internal, soul-bound me.

I know that somebody might say: well, there are important subject and totally unimportant, and trying to paint unimportant things is just waste of time.

It doesn’t really matter, not one small bit.

It is totally possible to forget to eat, to forget what the weather outdoors is; what day it is and whether there are some urgent chores to be done.

The funny thing is that everybody can get into it.

I certainly would advise to let everything disappear time to time.

 

These are my lovely veggies

Love veggies is available from studio, this website and DailyPaintworks site:

$150 plus shipping in Canada $20 and to USA shipping is $25 because this is a large painting Love veggies

At least on my computer, better color balance is visible: ash berries or rowan berries, watercolor, The fall branch is also on DailyPaintworks:

Branch of ash berries

Sunflower sketch

 

I also got finally better pictures of sunflower sketch and ash berries. Well, in order these pictures were normally visible, every picture should be featured at the beginning of post. I just  really do not care about many things, and frequency of posting is one of them. I am in the middle of a creative uplifting swing. I hope it takes me somewhere higher.

Culture Days: free sketching event

Culture Days is a big deal in Canada. I must admit people love these free events and it is also a fantastic motivation to get involved.

We should love culture and we should implement creativity in our schedule regardless of what day or month that is.

People who do arts and creative things get much less depressed and they are less affected by bad news that surrounds us.

They learn living mindfully and consciously, and care about balance: while creativity takes some money that we put in materials, tools and space, it gives back a lot, too. That is not always countable in dollars and measurable by profits, but the gain is rather in experience. That is an incomparable experience, and if you have never tried to create something or engage in creativity, you most likely do not know how uplifting, encouraging and healing this experience can be.

My personal goal is to convince more people to devote some part, even if it is a small part to art and artistic self-expression.

Creativity is life, light and future. Consumerism is a dead-end and self-destruction.

Art culture reveals the nation’s true potential and values.

Although, I have absolutely no sponsors as large art places do, I still wanted to offer everybody to try sketching. Just to see how much fun it can be and that one doesn’t need any previous art experience to get started. I will provide with all materials.

I always bring watercolor sets from my annual trips to Europe. Therefore I will give away 2 watercolor sets which can be used indoors and outdoors for sketching and watercolor painting. If you intended to sign up for either Tuesday daytime or Tuesday night watercolor painting class, so you have a chance to win these watercolor sets tomorrow.

Giveaway: 2 sets of watercolor paints for beginners in painting.

To give some inspiration to these who are interested in acrylic painting, I am attaching 2 images.

Art is light. A large, very textured, light filled acrylic painting “The path of fall”

Acrylic, 30 in x 24 in (76 cm x 61 cm), only for pickup in Ontario since it is quite heavy, $600

Color in waterfall: acrylic on canvas, 24 in x 20 in (61 cm x 51 cm); $420

Ships in Canada approx. $40 and to USA at approx. $50


Culture and art are two sides of one creative experience.

It is rainy and nasty today, but I hope the sun will be out tomorrow.

Therefore, I kindly invite everybody who can make it to come to my studio tomorrow between 1 and 4 pm. I will also show and explain pros and cons of art materials, as well as demonstrate them in action.

Culture days should bring art and creativity to every person in the local community. Just don’t be lazy and come out for a pleasant and great experience!

Different approach to art class: focus on relaxing and stress-free creativity

I am offering a new art class this fall: to paint and to relax letting all concerns and problems go. The key to creativity is being relaxed and not to expect miracles, but learn creating them.

I noticed that some students were taking art classes way too seriously, and being not in a relaxed mood does not allow achieving the same results what people, who always take things easy, do.

I want to make a welcoming environment for creation so that purely technical goals become secondary while painting.

American traditional art teaching pays too much attention to the technical execution of art while leaving the emotional and spiritual side totally neglected. Especially, when I just relocated to Canada, it was definitely overwhelming how sometimes artwork would scream: I am technically perfect, every smallest dot and line is where they should be and every color is exactly as the textbook requires. That is why some artists go for big lengths: they trace and copy photos, and redraw and repaint everything what in digitally adjusted photo is. Where is the creativity? That allows achieving a perfection which frequently lacks feelings and does not move emotions. I would like to emphasize: the creative process is the most valuable part of the artistic phenomenon.

Perfection in art is not the best guiding idea because it simply does not allow unfolding the creative potential.

I hear this quite frequently: I’m not touching this painting anymore because I do not want to damage it. Well, leaving work unfinished isn’t good either.

I also wanted to make an art class which is impossible to replicate online: just because the content of this class rests on the presence and the interaction between me, group and everybody as an individual.

I will gear everything towards a great, interesting, amazing and positive experience. That means learning about oneself and art, and learning to be creative without the annoying pressure which some teaching venues want to impose on somebody who is looking for a new skill and ability.

We will use blocks of paper, so that at the end of this  positive painting session  everybody will have an image diary and will be able to continue adding creations.

Inspiration and immersion in calm, creative environment is something we do not find often or elsewhere.

I believe, this type of art class where experience and activity flow together creating emotional satisfaction, thus, releasing stresses and providing with a new perspective on the bothering issues in one’s life, will be well attended and appreciated.

It’s very interesting that I was away and did not do any advertising so far, but people were applying, in fact, a lot of people, that included the new daytime watercolor painting class.

I am adding as illustration some brush stroke and wash only paintings which do not need any drawing. We use only watercolor and water, and we watch what happens and how our thoughts and ideas look on paper.

Watercolor paintings without drawing: fun, relaxing brushing and interesting flow of pigment:

Leaf patterns, washes and more washes, available at $85

Leaf patterns

Road towards the fall

Distant storm

Side by side with summer, available at $40 

Side by side with summer

Sponge trees

October sketch

Art classes are for everybody because we will be using only our personal preferences with choosing colors, subjects and the way they look.

And finally, the best new watercolor painting “Water edge”, available at $85 plus shipping Water edge

Participants will have a lot of choice: they can draw, they can use pen or they can also do very abstract or semi-abstract art for their image diary. That’s why it’s called: stress relief with color and line.

Art classes and fall start soon

Fall art classes start soon. That is a fact. Fall is here. This might be the most inspirational time for poets and artists, especially these ones who are taken away by color.

My fall art classes usually resume in October. I went to Latvia earlier this year, so, art classes can start sooner and be long enough to learn plenty. It’s going to be October.

I had to think a lot how to arrange art classes this year: I tried 1-day workshops, 2-day workshops, monthly classes and 2 classes on the same subject. I tried everything, I believe. I will have 8 classes in a row this season because it felt as if previous approach did not give enough time for everybody, and I definitely do not like rushing people.

These classes are supposed to give a lot of space and freedom for interpreting subject in a very personal way. We have created wonderful paintings before, and they never looked the same. Every student had used their own view on things, and that is pretty much how art should be: originating in the artist, not in a photo which gets copied onto a paper or canvas. I would love that every class is experience and process and less an attempt to stick to perfection because when we do not get everything perfect we are upset. I encourage everybody to play with shapes, contrasts, colors and try finding the ones that make sense for that particular student personally. We are all similar and very different at the same time: why would we try to create copies of each others work?

We will have new fall art class: a  daytime watercolor and sketching class which will focus on pleasure and excitement that only colors and good mood can provide us with. I was told quite frequently that not everybody can attend the late afternoon class, so, here you go: meditate, relax and enjoy doing these watercolor studies that are suitable for absolutely everybody as long as they are willing to try some brushstrokes. This class does not require a lot of materials, and we will do exactly that: we will get lost in artistic freedom to create whatever we feel like at that moment. I have a pretty good idea how well this will work out, so, it should be a fantastic class if you are looking for a great pastime and if you feel you need to decrease your stresses and forget about problems.

Fall art classes: late afternoon watercolor and acrylic painting class will continue the good tradition of this studio: enjoy the process and learn in a relaxing environment. I have thought about new subjects which will be very suitable for exploration and studies, and I will try to gear students’ attention towards the use of tips and tricks, many different techniques and ways of paint application, as well as watercolorists will get a boost with their drawing skill.

When I am traveling from place to place, there is rarely time to sit down and quietly paint or sketch. As you know, I want my subject to be in front of me, whether that is a still life apple or some flower, or a scene. I quite honestly cannot stand repainting photos, so, I am very happy every time when there is a chance to get something on paper. It’s not much. My subjects had wilted and gotten bad while I was away, but still: that is at least an exercise. I did not have a desk or decent table, and I had to balance everything on my lap or stretch a bit in order to reach to water or paint which is a fun of some sort.

Some sketch and 2 watercolor paintings, that’s all I got done so far while traveling

Rowan berries or ash berries, as well as some sunflower and apples, we will try some nature scenes with still life elements in our fall art classes, too.

Quick sketch: inspiration for fall art classes

 

This really says: fall

 

 

 

I have noticed: if I cannot paint or draw for a longer time, I feel like I am missing something a lot. I hope you have nice plans for your fall season, as well!

Illustration or sketch: one, two, three: ready! How to start sketching

Illustration or sketch can be simplified in order to get it done outdoors or to complete indoors because sometimes the weather can be quite bothersome and not cooperating with our intentions.

I have had a chance to watch numerous people when they first learn painting or drawing.

I would love to share some observations because they might inspire somebody to just get a pencil, a brush and paper and go ahead.

Do we need rules in art?

It might sound strange, but most people believe there are many strict rules when we draw or paint. Maybe the instruction on some sites makes one feel that if you do not follow these rules you cannot paint or draw. That is not true. That is actually completely wrong.

While there are lots of tricks, shortcuts and favorite ways to get things done faster and better, one should not try to stick to something which we call strict rules. Not with creativity. Not in art.

That would mean the small kid who does not have an idea of rules and instructions should not be able to draw. But the small kid is able to draw. Every kid is able to draw and paint.

As people grow up they find out that life wants us to comply with requirements, regulations, rules and certain instructions. It’s no surprise they want to apply rules to everything what we do. I know artists who would call the way of paint application a rule, or the way of drawing something on paper a rule.

No rules, just do your best!

I would love to encourage these who want to try art, to just go with their intention.

I hear quite frequently: I don’t know anything about painting or drawing. Well, you don’t have to. You just have to start trusting your eyes and trying to draw or paint whatever you intend to.

What to use for watercolor sketching?

Everything you can afford or like. If you do not know whether you will continue or not, why would you buy $75 watercolor brush? We always use the largest watercolor brush that still allows achieving what we want. It’s pretty much common sense. You could survive with just one number 10 watercolor brush if it has a good fine tip. 20-brush sets from Dollarstore won’t do anything, don’t go for these.

If you are applying wet paint on your sketch, traditional sketching paper won’t allow that. It is too thin. That’s pretty much common sense, as well; it could tolerate dry pencil or some pen, but not washes, especially repeated washes or paint lifting.

I would advise to always use watercolor paper for drawing, sketch, illustration, practise, color or flow practise because that is thicker and can be made wet.

If you are a beginner, you can live with just beginner’s watercolor paint set.

You can do illustration or sketch any way you like

If you are afraid to draw right away with pen, do the initial drawing in pencil and go over with pen afterwards. Keep the best lines and erase everything else, and here you have a nice, clean, attractive drawing. Why to use pen? It is simply easier. Pen makes the outline clearly visible, all image looks finished and elaborated even when the drawing is far from perfect and watercolor washes will bring your artistic attempt to life.

There is no wrong or right way to sketch, to draw or to paint

All artists develop their own style over time. Should you expect the first attempts to be perfect? No, don’t do that. Always tell yourself: Let us see what happens. Treat all of your first year’s art as a practise, as an experiment. Some will be god, some will fly into the waste basket, and that is absolutely fine.

People call everything which did not come out perfect: a mistake. That does not always apply to art either.

Some artistic mistakes and flaws can become the foundation of your personal style. Some experiments can set the tone for anything you do in the future. Therefore: experiment, experiment and experiment!

I am attaching some works from previous sketching session.

Illustration or sketch can be carried out in any style you prefer

Illustration can be done easily.  I am advising to use pen just for simplicity and speed. It really helps. I also love the accomplished look of such sketches which can be definitely used as completely finished art on the wall or for any other purpose.

Illustration example: pen outline

First we draw with pencil the main lines. We draw lightly without using pressure. After that we repeat the best lines in pen.

Illustration: first washes applied over pen lines

Choose whatever colors you love and would want in your sketch. Activate with water. Test on testing paper how transparent the watered down mix is. Apply small amount of water onto the main image area. You can use spray bottle if it creates mist. Check against light: if the shine is about to disappear, that’s the best time for first washes.

Illustration is ready: more washes or less diluted paint, and we are done.

If you allow first layers to dry and then make your paper wet again, nothing will happen to the dried out first layers. It is safe to go over with water. Don’t rub or scratch with the brush; that will definitely take some paint of.

Corrections are done with paper towel when the painting is wet: pressing paper towel onto paper will take off most of wet paint. When the paper is completely dry, apply washes and use damp brush or paper towel to lift color or paint you don’t want. Repeat until you like it.

The thicker the watercolor paper, the more things you can do with it.

Cheap watercolor paper is for tests and some practice only. It is simply too thin to do something more.

You can choose any pen you can afford or like. Your pen can be different color, too. Black simply fits any other color and makes it stand out more.

Large sketch using much wider pen

All watercolor illustrations and sketches look great. If you want them to be better: practice more and don’t expect immediate perfection.

Where would we be without the beauty?

Beauty is the most universal, self-expressing phenomenon that does not require words or language knowledge. It is present in all walks of life, but it becomes something extremely perceivable due to art.

As we rush our daily schedules and spend most of the time running, we might not notice the moment when a bud opens. The magic moment when the fragile petals unfold and when the sun and rain pour life into it. It becomes a mediator of beauty. Every smallest vein and line, every nuance of color is so unique.

The biggest advantage of being able to create, draw and paint is the feeling of being a creator. We can do anything with the sheet of white paper in front of us. It’s our choice what goes on it. I choose the never-ending, personality enriching and mood uplifting divine features of the nature. It is a cheerful activity on its own. It is more than meditation, it is much more than immersing in oneself, it is the imperative life-continuing reveal of the underlying essence of life, and the essence of life is beauty.

Cherry blossoms, watercolor painting. Beauty unfolding

 

Apple blossoms, watercolor painting. Beauty in a very visual way.

Enjoy! Happy Mother’s Day! I know my mom will love these paintings.

How about a painting party?

Do you ever think that having a painting party or private painting event might be a fantastic way to have a good time and have a glimpse into art creation secrets? Many people admit they are extremely exhausted, tired and losing interest in their daily chores. There are plenty of people who suffer from the burnout syndrome. That happens especially when the job involves some kind of repetition and routine, and good results are not always there. It can be caused by clients or family who do not appreciate your efforts or lack of success in things you are trying to achieve. Winter time is causing depressive state of mind, and sometimes we simply are feeling that we need something completely new. New experience, new challenge, time for ourselves. It does not really matter how average or outstanding is the art we create at such events. We have to be somewhat realistic: nobody can become an artist within a few hours. However, we can still do something meaningful. It is better than simply snoozing on the couch or eating at the local fast food restaurant just because one is bored.

Creativity is present in every single one of us, it’s just so that it can be fairly tricky to put your creative abilities to the test. Well, people who love entertainment without negative side effects can certainly enjoy such an afternoon or evening.

It is fairly tough on me because I’m only one person who does everything, but I’m OK with that. It is not that such parties are every week. Therefore, you should try, too. Every neighborhood has art places that offer to enjoy painting with friends, family or colleagues.

Photo gallery shows a recent painting party. This family had chosen a scene with rocks and highly textured background. I placed all textures on canvas 2 days before the event, and it actually took me a while.

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Lifeschool blog talks about risks associated with the use of synthetic vitamins and supplements:

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2017/02/20/healthy-lifestyle-habits-that-put-you-at-risk-for-undesirable-side-effects/

Art instruction: achieve good results painting with acrylic

I have been an art instructor for more than 35 years and I have spent thousands of hours watching how students start out with their paintings.  I have also been a beginner in arts many years ago. Therefore, I am aware of tough things which we experience when using such a medium as acrylic. Especially, if this type of paint is a completely new to you.

Acrylic paints are very friendly. No smells, no known allergy causing components. I would advise people with sensitive skin to use gloves: they should be thin and match size of your hand.

Acrylic is easy to use because we can repaint, paint over, cover up and restart painting any areas which we assume not good enough, not suitable our intention and not nice enough. We sometimes need to wait until the first layer is dry. Overworking one spot causes to come off all wet paint.

Acrylic paints can be applied thinly, diluted with glazing medium or water and in a thick layer creating almost impasto effects. It’s just so that prices of paints have tripled since 2008 in Canada, so it is obvious that using modelling paste or different materials as a base is better than applying a lot of paint.

The biggest challenges are two. 95% of beginning artists who work in acrylic USE TOO LESS PAINT. A LOT LESS than required, actually. That results in uneven, streaky coverage or there is no distinction in color and value. We have to add the paint we are using most as it is almost gone. Acrylic dries fast, so dipping on it a few drops of water or slightly spraying it with water time to time will help hugely. It might be so that somebody gets overwhelmed with all information they have to absorb in first classes, but still: having just a small drop of paint on your palette is not going to work. USE DECENT AMOUNT OF PAINT! ALWAYS! Keep it slightly wet all the time while you are using this paint.

Secondly, partially covered canvas does not look good. We can check whether the coverage is proper by taking a picture. If the canvas fabric is clearly visible, that part certainly requires more paint, sometimes: much more paint.

By its nature, acrylic acts like a glue. We have to use this feature in our favor and so we do. We start with more abstracted, not that careful layers and move onto something more definite. WE SHOULD NOT START WITH FINAL DETAILS OR ASSUME THAT ANY FIRST LAYER IS FINAL. Apply at least 3-5 layers and then decide what else you do. Never judge an unfinished painting or make unreasonable conclusions about it. We fix and change EVERYTHING as we add more layers.

The second challenge is BRUSHING PAINT ALL AROUND. We need to place the paint wherever we want it and leave this spot alone. With that being said, we shouldn’t create strong fat lines with sharp edges for darker areas or road sides, field ends and similar. We want darker areas, not darker frames everywhere. To achieve that, we feather out the outer edge on that area. Just let the brush dance on your canvas and don’t worry about too much blending in the first few layers. By letting the brush slightly touch canvas on one spot we can hold the particular color on that area where we want it. Brushing paint around results in achieving uniformly flat color on the entire canvas or area.  We have to use the color we want on the spot where we intend to apply it.

Instructor can demonstrate, explain or show principles, methods and approaches, but painting is still up to you. That means: you have to use the reference, remember to look at the reference whether it is a real abject or scene, or a photo thereof all the time, not only when you start the painting. That does not really happen in reality.

Painting is based on very many decisions we make every second; in fact, we make some hundreds of decisions every second. So, if you only follow the instructor, but haven’t decided anything for yourself, results will not be that great.

Why am I saying: pay attention to reference? I have to repeat that because most people don’t ever pay attention to reference. When we are just beginning the painting, they would have a brief look at it; and I notice after a small while that NOBODY LOOKS any more at the reference. YOU HAVE TO! Reference or value drawing (if you have created such) HAS ALL THE ANSWERS: where to use dark color, where to make strong edge, where to wash edge or lose it, where to place highlights and what exactly the shape of something is. It is extremely important, much more important than what brush to use.

Talking about brushes: always use the ones which you feel comfortable with and which suit the size of the area you are working on. Very simple. We use the largest possible brush for any task. Flat brush has MULTIPLE USES IN ACRYLIC. We can draw thin long lines with the edge of it; we can cover large areas using it flatly, parallel to surface in full width, we can use 2 different shades or colors on each end of the flat brush which simplifies and speeds up painting.

How does the painting or drawing happen? We transform the visually perceived information in the brain signals that eventually lead to our hand movements. Whenever our hand moves accordingly to decision we made, we achieve the desired result. The more decisions one makes and the more one understands why some parts are neutral, some have strong and some have weak values, the easier it is to paint or draw. Blindly following and copying RESTRICTS our ability to analyze, understand and apply creatively our vision.

We develop acrylic paintings from my sketches. The light barn with pink-red roof was painted by our youngest student Erin who is 11 and attends classes together with her mom. We just started a new project which we are also doing from a quick sketch of mine.

This post was waiting for a long time because I was very busy working on class images and steps.

Therefore, some images are from mid-December classes.

Painting, drawing and sketching manually is THE BEST MENTAL FITNESS EXERCISE. Nothing else can compete or compare to that. Period.

The lifeschool blog reviews challenges during dark and upsetting winter: https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2017/01/17/how-to-feel-good-and-survive-the-dullness-of-depressing-winter-days/ Please enjoy!