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.

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/

Dreaming goes on because art is timeless

Before you leave this site, please, spend a short moment with my other blog which is not that visible since it’s secondary (WordPress, it’s time to change that!!!), and the post tells a fairy-tale about Christmas: https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/12/22/christmas-fairy-tale-going-home/

Inese Poga's art show

Show, large room, right side

Inese Poga's art show

Show, large room, left side

Art for sale

Sun slightly disturbing, but the light was excellent

artbylocalartist Inese Poga

It’s good to wrap up things and have the feeling of “I have done everything I could, and it is what it is”. It would be certainly way better to finish the year in more elevated mood, like “Was this ever fantastic!” That’s not going to happen this time.

It’s good not to have any classes for a while because that allows getting back to me: doing things that I want and prefer, not only classwork. Giving classes is a big responsibility; it takes a lot of energy and time-consuming preparation work.

I certainly would like to move to my personal themes and my personal visions in art, but unfinished paintings are really standing in the way: you look at some, and it says: hey, just add a few brush strokes, just wash in some more background, it’s not going to be that much of your time! I end up spending a lot of time, and since these are paintings that I started a long time ago, my internal critic disagrees with some aspects. Why did I start this at all? Right, during the class. Why did I choose that much detail? Why didn’t I make it simple and with large accents? Basically, it’s difficult because I have moved on and it feels like catching up on some long time ago forgotten thought or idea.

I will try to be more disciplined and not start that many new paintings, but then again when I didn’t do demos on canvas, I suddenly painted a few great paintings … on messed up cardboard. The wavy texture shines through, and they are not any good for display. It’s even impossible to take any picture of them. You never know with painting: something good can appear where one didn’t expect that and everything can go wrong when we had high expectations. There are so many forces and energies involved that it isn’t by far as simple as “just do it right or according to your plan”.

Classes also put a lot of pressure on any teacher because teaching is also not that simple. I usually think and plan and sketch until I find the right image for a particular group. I also have to think about simplified ways how to put it on canvas or paper.

16 x 12 orchid by Inese Poga

Magnolia, the small version

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Gerbera daisy

artbylocalartist my favorite

Finally, got a better picture of poinsettia

artbylocalartist very red poppies

Ones side still pale, but I didn’t have any picture of these red poppies

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They all looked so attractive

artbylocalartist Barn reflection

We did recently this reflection, everybody loved painting it

artbylocalartist Sunset over shores

This was the subject for a Saturday workshop

artbylocalartist some birches

We are often painting birches

artbylocalartist autumn and birches

This is one of recent class paintings

I had put up a beautiful show, those who came were really impressed, but I believe, my timing was a bit off. I will start to prepare the next show “Blooms and Leaves” fairly soon, and that might be ready by the end of April or by May. Anyway, there is not such a thing as lack of paintings for sale at my gallery. It’s always open and available to anybody over the internet. Just ask.

Merry Christmas to these who celebrate it and fantastic holidays to those who have other celebrations!

Reds and gold for Christmas and holidays

How have you been? I was so busy during the past 2 months that I hardly could do anything else except work, work and work.

I thought it would be great to have a good show this year since the summer was not the best. It feels the 3 bad years are over and I can start fresh. Meaning: much better, at much higher level, much more efficient and much more skillful. That is not hard to do when health has returned.

I know how many people would love some art and there is not enough money for everything. I will probably try in the New Year posting some giveaways on Facebook (link is on the right: Art plus Life).

Well, I am completely behind posting schedule on either blog, this one and lifeschool. I promise to post some articles and poems more often once I get over Christmas.

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The theme of this year is: Reds and gold for Christmas. Red is such a warm and energizing color, we need it; we need it especially when it’s cold and nasty outside, or inside the heart. I was spending almost all day trying to get some pics for my show. Well, light was bad, but I tried, tried and tried until I was somewhat satisfied.

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Some new friendly birds

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Different settings

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No celebration without poinsettia

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Lovely golds and robins

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Golden light of candles

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It was difficult to guess which one was the painted poinsettia when I first looked at pictures.

I wish you not overdoing with gifts, but choosing soul-warming, mood-lifting and energy-giving things. Like a painting? Why not?

Creating is learning, learning means: living more intense

Any creation involves saying something about ourselves. That’s how we are telling others what our point of view is. True creativity is never copying and reproducing, but taking an idea that lives or is just born in our imagination and bringing it to life.

I regret seeing how plenty of instruction is meant to learn not principles and methods, but trying to reproduce a particular artist’s style and manner. Creativity is great not because we can do things that other artists or writers have done, but because we can create everything exactly as we want, have intended and imagined.

The use of color is a very personal feature, color mixing: a general approach to make a shade or tone we want, and therefore, learning the latter is important. Composition can be explained as good and impactful view on items painted on a particular size paper, canvas or other base material. There are generally applicable principles and that’s what we should know. Specific compositional approaches are a personal feature of a particular artist, and we should rather develop our own.

Choice of subject is always important, but we should remember that it is much more useful to learn principles of drawing or painting without sticking to subjects somebody else is painting in some particular manner and doing it great.

How and what always depends on us. The many ways for achieving the desired result we ae learning. Learning is an ongoing activity, and it’s erroneous to assume somebody knows everything. Experiment is the best teacher of all: how do we know if we never tried?

Mistakes and errors are an essential part of learning process. It’s silly to be afraid of mistakes and do nothing. Perfectionism most likely lives inside many minds, but that does not mean anything less than perfect has no value.

I personally always think: let’s see what happens. Everybody who is painting or drawing has thrown out lots of paper and damaged quite a few canvas. There is nothing bad about that. I had a girl who once said: I do not want to throw away this expensive paper just because I started the painting wrong. Well, it is much more difficult to correct wrong lines and colors than start a fresh work using the new knowledge. I believe that every task adds something to our knowledge and skills.

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Sunflower drawing

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Sunflower watercolor

I am not at home at the moment, but visiting my closest family in Latvia. I had a few sheets of paper, kid’s paints in fairly bad colors, meaning, they didn’t have the transparency or flow abilities of good quality paints, but still: I simply saw this bloom and these apples, and that; s what I do not have at home. I always prefer drawing from real subject. It was more difficult because the right tools and brushes are helpful, but I did not allow that stopping me. I could return to and reuse the same drawings with decent paints and better size paper or canvas, but these are results at this moment.

art-to-make apple drawing

Drawing for apple watercolor

art-we-love Apples watercolor

I would like to just remind that adults and teens are welcome to attend November/December classes which will start as soon as I get home.

Lifeschool blog deals with GREEN LIVING and importance of changing our perception in order the Earth was living and livable longer. I had to write about the green living for our survival because they are handled so much better in Europe. I have added lots of pictures. Since it’s the secondary blog, it is not that visible, so here is a special invitation. However, those who never read posts, won’t notice that either. Anyway, I hope it is a nice weekend approaching.

Links to 3 recent posts: they continue the same conversation about green living.

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/14/living-green-means-simplifying-and-enhancing-life/

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/14/the-new-perception-of-prosperity-and-green-living/

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/10/the-very-green-walk-in-october-forest-we-have-to-end-consumerism/

 

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.

Your support would be much appreciated

If you read this post, not only clicked on like, that would be wonderful.

I am finally returning to life and life is returning to me, however, the long time period of not being able to do much has its sequences.

I asked before the readers and people who wouldn’t be hurt by spending something on any painting for help and possibly support. It was fantastic how one lady bought a painting which should arrive at her place in the USA tomorrow, and I hope she will be happy with that painting. I hope there is somebody else among you who would not mind to support me after these terrible health struggles for quite a while.

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After giving so many workshops and classes and since I’m always painting along with my students, I have very many 16 x 20 in paintings.  We never repeat any single painting, so to speak to keep the inspiration flowing and our artistic juices fresh.

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Not all of these 16 x 20 inch paintings are finished. I sometimes change my mind; I sometimes have moved forward and have no interest in subject any longer, and therefore quite often additional work or reworking are required. Whenever I feel like doing so, I keep working on these paintings, however, I would like to discontinue small size landscapes, and return to large and very large paintings. Even many years ago, I loved painting large art. Not only I find it more expressive and more impressive, it is easier for me to paint in that scale because eyesight does not get any better, but I hate wearing glasses when painting because they destroy the correct proportions and mislead in interpretation of a subject. That’s my intention: to return to large pieces and especially to still life because that was always my most favorite subject. Still life which consists of something man-made, live flowers and leaves which symbolizes life and either food, vegetables and fruits, or subjects like glasses, books, candles, watches and similar. I still love birds, and I am watching them; and I can say I do not need any more references to paint birds which are in my backyard. About 40 bird paintings are available at my gallery.

Fall path, full sheet watercolor

Fall birch path large watercolor painting

Summer path along the river, full sheet watercolor

summer along the river large watercolor

Spring creek has appeared here and there on this blog

spring creek, large watercolor

I have paintings which I haven’t seen for a while; these are large watercolors which took me a few months to paint a few years ago. I couldn’t frame all very large painting, therefore, nobody gets to see them because watercolor is sensitive without glass. Full size watercolors are not included in sales, but everything else is. I need to make space and invest in new paints and canvasses, as well as watercolor and pastel paper. As you know, good paper is expensive, but it’s worth it. Those of you who paint probably have experienced that difference between good and bad watercolor paper is insane. It’s possible to say right away on what paper some painting has been painted. Paint and water sit and float on the top of a cheap paper and they never act as on thick and multi-layer paper. That explains why some watercolor just do not look right.

A few small studies in watercolor

sky reflection, small size watercolor

Small watercolor of sky reflection

spring in the fields watercolor painting

Small spring watercolor

Not all paintings have pictures and some of them are visible only in group photos. I make also extremely textured paintings, and it is sort of impossible to get a good picture of a highly textured painting. Light is reflected brighter from higher spots and shadows also disturb to have the right balance which exists in reality, but not on a photo. Well, there might be even people who can come to the gallery in person; that certainly is the best because no photo can replace the impression of an artwork. Any painting up to 20 x 24 inches without frame ships anywhere.

I have uploaded quite a lot of art on Fine Art America; they have so many products with images that I have lost count. I get from any purchase $2 to $10, except greeting cards in which case it is $0.50 to $1.

My art and artsy products on Fine Art America http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/inese-poga.html?tab=artworkgalleries

I hope at least a few of you like something that much that they would not mind to own it. I mean especially originals. Please ask me about extremely good deals on 12 x 16 and 8 x 10 in watercolor paintings. I just learned my lesson that shipping with UPS was more expensive than painting, so any shipping will be extra. Thanks in advance!

Lifeschool blog talks about dreams that do not always come true, but hope is never given up: https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/09/11/the-soothing-sunday-thoughts-castles-of-sand/

Stick to your plan and pay attention to reference

Lesson 3

Whatever we are doing, we need some kind of a draft in our head or some plan which we keep in mind. However, it is easier said than done. That especially refers to classes. I have noticed that most people want to draw or paint without any plan and without any thinking. It might be so that when starting out it is hard to know what parts or segments should be paid most attention to. There are lots of simple things which make the object look multi-dimensional. By far, those are not only darker and stronger values. Strongly emphasized edges or absence thereof, always darker spots behind the lighter areas also contribute a lot to the spatial perception, not to mention color if it is used. I remember from early years I was told that the darkest dark should meet the lightest light. It can be tough to implement, especially when not having a real reference, but just a photography or sketch. I am personally not excited about patterns which repeat in a regular rhythm such as petals or trees along the path, blooms on a branch and similar things which we unintentionally place on our canvas when there is no firm plan or sketch.

Flower paintings in acrylic magnolias

Magnolias, recent class demo and I always work together with students straight in front of the class

Why am I saying: pay attention to reference? Because most people don’t do that. When we are just beginning the painting, they would have a look at the reference image or set-up. After a while, I notice nobody looks any more at the reference. You have to! The only exception is when it is a completely abstract work which has been drafted in one’s imagination or when we paint from memory. Painting from memory takes practice, however, and beginning artists cannot handle that too well. 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 edges to lose them, 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 these ones which you feel comfortable with and which suit the size of the area you are working on. Very simple. We can use no brush at all, use a sponge or palette knife, that is a matter of a preference and choice. I know how some instructors want to make rules about everything. There are no rules in the use of tools. It is very obvious that using a very wide brush for tiny spot is simply difficult and vice versa. I know a lot of artists who create the entire painting with just one brush. I do that sometimes, too.

Flower paintings in acrylic Pink rose

The Pink rose, recent class demo

So, the conclusion is: do not change things around dramatically or completely when the work is halfway through and always keep an eye on the reference. That’s why it is so rewarding to paint from real objects, live is live and photo is just a photo. Live comes with smell, touch, very visible shape and very noticeable values. Do not pressurize yourself and painting: there are moments when we need to stop and make a decision about the next step.

Flower paintings in acrylic Pansies

Purple pansies, finished just yesterday

Paintings and drawings really hate when they are not treated with due respect. It is much better to allow everything to develop in a natural way. For illustration I have attached the recent flower paintings. There are many more, but they just need finalizing touches. You know: painting is never done, right?

How to create better art with less effort

Lesson 2

Is that even possible? Oh, yes, it definitely is. So, how to create better art with fewer efforts and wasting less time? The answer is: sketch and draw. In my personal experience, it is pencil, pen and watercolor sketch which is the best preparation stage for paintings.

When somebody wants to apply for classes I usually would get this:

Well, I’d really like to paint. Something like that. Points to some landscape or floral, or still life. I see. Everybody is interested in the result and not that much in the path which led me to it.

If you are one of guys who jumped straight to brushes and did not take your time to explore the elements of a piece of art, I can understand you. People usually think watercolor and sketching is for watercolor artists who mask out white spots or those who get ideal washes just by swinging around the brush with some paint on it. However, there is a missing link between the idea of our art and it’s draft using pen and some color.

The real life shows that any potential artist and anybody who does art as hobby would have gotten much better paintings very soon if they considered sketching an important step to creation of a painting with any medium: watercolor, pastel, acrylic or oil. The truth is they all originate in one place: in our brain through our eyes and senses. Therefore, we should exercise our visual abilities (I’m talking more about importance to see in my previous post) and especially our visual perception maximally often.

The problem with not well developing painting is not the technique of putting on paint. That usually works fairly well after a few attempts. The problem most often is in our eyes: we do not perceive values, shapes, proportions and potential composition; therefore, we cannot come up with a neat plan to make painting elements work.

Sketch is done much faster than a painting. Sketching out objects or just values, putting them in a draft composition momentarily allows making a decision if that will or won’t work. Sketch isn’t the entire painting, but by doing it one learns much more about their subject. We find out that we need to look at it more carefully, more intensely, more accurately.

Painting tips 1 watercolor and pen sketch

Rough bluebell path sketch

Painting tips 2 watercolor and black pen sketch

Path to unknown sketch

I can compare creating art with writing. When people say I don’t want to sketch and I don’t want to know anything about drawing it is like somebody who intends to write a novel would say: I don’t want to know anything about spelling and grammar, I just want to write a novel, so give me the idea and off we go. The entertaining painting type of events also does a bad service: not only the entire idea does not allow anybody to really learn anything about creation of art, but the approach is just so wrong and materials the “drink creatively” events use are so bad that many people get the wrong idea.

Painting tips 3 Acrylic painting of white birches

Quick painting of birches, recent class demo, 20 x 24 inches

When somebody is just moving paint around the canvas in hopes that it miraculously will take the right shape and become the right color, I must say, unfortunately: it won’t. Painting is a summary of things we put in it. It also is the energy we put in it. Therefore, the sooner one learns about values, relationship between lights and darks, values, softness or roughness of edges, proportion and compositional layout of objects, the faster their paintings will take shape and look multi-dimensional. Lesson 2 is: the missing link between our idea and its incorporation into artwork is the value sketch whether in color, or black and white. Creating value sketches and color sketches is not a waste of time and paint: it is the straight path which leads us to much better art. I’d suggest: take the sketching classes and workshops, it helps hugely.

The magic attraction of drawing and making time disappear with watercolors

I have not posted that much about watercolors and drawing recently which does not mean we were doing no drawing, sketching and watercolor. In fact, it was straight the opposite: we created sketches from real fruits, we did large-scale reference drawings for our paintings and we also are about to finish the chickadees and birches scene.

I regret seeing how few people actually decide to engage in drawing and sketching because it is the perfect thing to get carried away by when it is not that pleasant outdoors. As many of you know, my health is very far from good, so, I’m using drawing and painting to a big extent as a part of my therapy. I paint and draw even when I cannot do anything else, when pain gets that bad that it prevents me from walking and standing. I paint when I feel desperate, disappointed with the reality of life and when I am completely depressed because of a strong medications which make one cry for hours and see no point in anything. It can be a bit difficult to get started, bet when I overcome the resistance, what a pleasure that is! I don’t always care how great the painting is or how perfect the color combinations are. Art is so fulfilling that I cannot compare this with anything else.

Drawing still life from real objects

One set-up of still life

Drawing still life art classes for adults

Which results in reference drawing to be used for creation of painting

Watching different students getting started with their first paintings certainly brings up some thoughts. When I have people with the attitude: I came to the class and teach me now, it can be tough. Teaching is only a part of the entire process, and whether somebody will achieve what they came to the class for, will definitely depend on their willingness to get engaged in the process of creation. Since it is a process and something ongoing with potential of being developed endlessly, it would be silly to expect mastery within a few hours. Therefore, I really appreciate these students who enter my studio with open mind and heart and who want to see this as an exploration of our abilities, as an experiment in our capabilities and as an enjoyable learning experience.

drawing still life Pen and watercolor sketch

Drawing still life: pen and watercolor sketch

First steps in still life painting watercolor classes for adults

First steps in still life painting: we did a very light line drawing and began to apply some paint

Applying layers of paint

This is just the first half, but I didn’t get any further yet

When we look at online, offline and otherwise prepared materials for somebody to get involved in drawing and painting, I must say nothing can replace the live interaction and face-to-face classes. Why? Because I can see right away what’s causing some problem: too much water, too dry paper, too less paint, too much paint, bad quality paper, brush or paint. When it comes to watercolors, everything matters, yet, the quality of paper is crucial in achieving anything. I always use the same paper that I give my students which is large size, between 16 x 18 and this time it was 18 x 24 inches. I have seen over the years how tiny and small paper prevents one from getting done anything. If it is too small to see and perceive, it will be definitely too difficult to apply paint on. Let’s just say if you are watching somebody painting online and you do not have a very thick, heavy and good quality paper, you can kill yourself, but you simply won’t achieve what they are showing you. Saving on paper is a bad thing because thin paper won’t allow to lift paint and use multiple washes, as well as, to do a lot of other stuff. My students are using paints made in St. Petersburg from real pigments. The difference in transparency and ease of application is huge. Once again, with bad paints, you won’t have the same results.

Chickadees and birches project which we did in Tuesday night class

Chickadees and birches project which we did in Tuesday night class, it is ready for sale, too, and I will upload it on Fine Art America site to get cards, prints, canvas prints, tote bags, phone case and pillows with this image, original is 18 x 24 inches

I am somebody who loves drawing, therefore, I’m also teaching to draw from real life, not photos whenever possible. I believe that is the best because it gives one absolute freedom of interpretation.

Well, there are lots of unfinished paintings, just like always, but I hope following my advice more people will pick up pencils and brushes. Just because there is nothing like it. It doesn’t ask one to be in a good shape or to be dressed up and look perfect, it doesn’t even require being in a good mood. That comes as an additional benefit along the way. I’m also seeing art as a tool to cure addictions and prevent from falling back into addictions because it has such power. Have a great week full of art!