The long journey to a ready painting and deals continue for 3 more days

I have no choice, but to continue with advertising my art sale. 3 ladies responded. I am genuinely thankful for their support, and I hope they like their purchased paintings, however, taking into account the large number of items for which I do not have left any wall space and any storage space, which is due to the specific features of these premises, I would need much more sales happening. I have 3 days for keeping this going, and I hope to get maybe some walk-in people, as well.

I work a lot and hard to create my paintings. I know how much easier it is to make abstract art because that takes origin only in one’s imagination, and artists sometimes simply try to comply with market trends. Unfortunately, I am not in abstracts that much.

I’m too good with drawing, therefore, I cannot and do not want to skip that part. Over almost 50 years, I have developed excellent eye-brain-hand coordination and I do not need any grids, any photos, any help lines even when drawing portraits which I used to do a lot some 20 years ago. I stopped drawing faces because I always need a model which I really like (like my daughter, my niece, etc.), and I need this model to be patient enough to sit through painting sessions. Very few people have time nowadays for that, but I just do not like producing paintings from photographic source, and I dislike even more when somebody is copying photos. Meanwhile, so many artists take credits for literally editing and then copying the picture whether on a larger scale or on the same size paper or canvas. I don’t think that takes talent or is a gift and specific vision, this requires only patience, time and ability to apply paint accordingly with the photo. This is more executive work as opposed to creative work which involves only original scene, object or set-up without the use any additional tools.

The general opinion is usually that camera gets it right, and that is true to some extent only. If the distance between camera and object is small, or the distance within the scene is huge, camera will produce wrong proportions. Camera draws closer the closest part of the scene or objects, widens the middle portion and creates way more distant background part. You’ve all seen this how nose looks very large in regard to the rest of face when taking too close pictures. This is also very easy to see in case of reflections: when artist follows exactly the picture, not the scene in nature, the reflections of some not that far away objects will be stretched out for miles which is totally wrong when you compare that with reflection in nature.

Therefore, my point is that many instructions will make one not trust their vision, eyes and ability to recreate the same proportion, edge and line relationship and color transitions without additional tools. That is not true. However, to get to the level when one can do the so-called “blind drawing” which means you do not persistently look at paper or canvas but rather at your object and scene, takes trusting our brain and eyes, making decisions and allowing the eye-brain signals to be transmitted to our hand with pencil or brush. That means trusting ourselves more than camera or grid and believing that we can do everything what somebody else has already done. It also takes simply practicing daily and, at the end, this activity improves the brain functionality and flexibility to an incredibly high level, thus preventing loss of neurons, creating new synapses and taking care of good memory.

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Rural buildings

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A few of very many fall scenery paintings

When we sometimes look at a painting, it seems it didn’t take any time or efforts. It is due to the fact, that good art shouldn’t exhibit artistic struggles and technical difficulties, but mood and atmosphere of the painted scene or object. When we get past such struggles, the real creation takes place. Some of my paintings took 2 years to bring to a stage when I liked them. In average, each painting takes about 1 week to month to get it to the point when I am more or less satisfied with it. There are smaller watercolors which only take one to two days to accomplish, but any larger work requires much more time because most of my paintings are rather representative than abstract.

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Snow and winter scenes

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A bit different view: snow, winter and fir trees

Why do I love showing paintings in groups better than just posting one image at a time?

Internet display has huge drawbacks when it comes to art.

Firstly, small 8 x 10 inch paintings virtually look the same size as 3 feet by 4 feet paintings;

secondly, colors are much truer in group photos;

thirdly, the look of a painting and its colors will greatly depend on your device and its settings.

The differences are huge. I’ve also noticed that my paintings on Fine Art America site do not have the exactly the same color: some look completely green, and they are not in reality, some look very brown, but in reality these are grey shades. Certainly, the best way to know whether the painting speaks to you or not, is to see it in real size, to view it framed or unframed and to experience the personal impact it makes or doesn’t.

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A few of pink and white flowers paintings

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Wider view of white and pink flowers

The sale deals are still in effect, but shipping is extra because I learned by now that it can be high for very remote or difficult to access places. Everything is $100 to $450, but if you are interested and let me know your budget, we might work out some special deal. Fine Art America site for prints and other products:

http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/inese-poga.html

I hope, there are more people who would like some of my art. I’m posting only acrylics at the moment. Taking these pictures is time-consuming, as well; I also need a good light which can be a problem.

Many people clicked on “like”, however, only a handful actually read the previous post. Well, that’s just one more manifestation of never-enough-time-for-anything life we have.

I regret there was very little interest, and most likely the content of my previous post didn’t seem to touch too many people. I also understand that very many other artists who are among my followers will not buy any art, so the invitation goes out to the rest, and especially those who are only in a driving distance.

Art is the most space enhancing feature which there only can be. Just removing a few paintings from the wall, makes it look virtually empty, and my personal experience shows that there simply cannot be too much art around us.

Nothing compares to summer painting outdoors

Summer days are running away so fast that it is pretty clear: this summer is completely lost for me. I am usually waiting for summer so much that I do not even live during winter. It is certainly the best time to grab our paint box, some paper and go outside.

The weather isn’t too friendly in Ontario: I cannot recall so many heat waves and so many days without a drop of rain while I am here. My mornings are spent at a clinic, afternoons: fighting fatigue, so I just will have to put off my outdoor painting for some weeks yet.

When people ask: what should I start painting or drawing with, the answer is very simple. Draw and paint anything around you. There is nothing better than drawing from real objects and real scenes. Once you get used to it, you will notice how everything is more vibrant and livelier when we paint from life.

Summer paintings 1 chikadee

Lots of instructions start with: take a picture. I would love to say, however, if you have something set up or around you, do not take any pictures. I mean, if it is a large work and you are afraid, you’d forget the scene, well, you might also take a reference picture. The problem is that most people want to copy their reference photos instead of just using them. I might sound like an old vinyl, but it’s so silly to copy the photo and then pretend you painted it from scratch.

That’s why we have eyes and brain; we are supposed to use them as intensively as possible.

The next thing which matters is this: once you learn drawing, you are able to draw ANYTHING. This happens because you have exercised your visual perception, developed eye-hand coordination and your hand starts perceiving impulses from your brain.

Summer painting 3 old fence

My backyard

Is it important to stick with colors which somebody else is using? Not at all. It is much more interesting to explore and develop your PERSONAL color combinations. I also find that paints of different brands act very differently. My favorite watercolor paints are St. Petersburg artist grade paints. I haven’t seen anything else which has such transparency and allows mixing up all sorts of shades that easily. It is almost impossible to get a dull painting with these paints. The secret is the natural and pure pigments they use as opposed to many paint manufacturers who pretty much cheat and replace pigments with filers and binders. That means chemicals which do not enhance color or paint application.

Along with paints and brushes (I usually use just large round approx. size 12 and one size 6 brush for any medium size up to 20 x 24 in watercolor painting) an extremely important thing for watercolor is paper. When I am asking a student: why are you using this really thin and bad paper, they’d normally say, they are just learning and it’s not worth to spend money on a good thick paper. This is profoundly wrong assumption. Every paper will act differently. The thinner and lighter papers do not even absorb paint: it floats on a surface and creates ugly marks. It is also quite easy to lift paint, but not that easy to add more. My most favorite paper is not Arches. I do not like how paint keeps traveling through layers of paper even quite a few minutes after its application. I am using other heavy, cold press papers whenever possible.

Summer painting 2 Backyard summer

My lovely old fence post

If you practice on a bad paper, you won’t know how much easier it is to paint on a good paper. Watercolor paper is definitely the most important part of all supplies for watercolor painting.

I haven’t done much recently because I am trying to recover. It’s already a month after surgery, but it seems like I will need a lot more time.

The current lifeschool blog post tells a story about the ugly side of success and how this can destroy lives:

I would appreciate more than anything else a purchase of any of my paintings. After such a long period of time not being able to work, any financial support would mean a lot. I can certainly offer very good deals on originals, and prints and other products on Fine Art America site are inexpensive anyway. Since people rarely read these posts, this might go unnoticed, but anyway, I hope I can get something sold, there are about 600 paintings of all sizes.

Weekend painting tips to enjoy summer creativity

Some fine art tips, especially for beginners in acrylic painting can be always useful because many people have time and opportunity to do something about their creative intentions during the summer vacation. I will also answer some frequently asked questions. I have attached the demo art from a few recent art classes and workshops.

I’d still love to invite everybody to stop by and have a look at: http://inesepogalifeschool.com/ When I wrote the previous post, I hoped, the message was fairly clear, but it seems it wasn’t.

People quite often ask: how do I know if art classes are for me? Well, there are no guaranties that you are going to become an artist or that you will sell your paintings right away. Nobody knows if you will have enough patience and perseverance to continue either on your own or in a group. Anything artistic and creative loves practice, and only doing and repeating what one just has learned will give noticeable and later remarkable results.

I suppose, sometimes people have too high expectations when they come to the 3-hour fun painting workshop, and in general, one has to be a realist to some extent: if the participant has never painted before or has done some small bit of painting 20 or more years ago, the first painting will be an interesting exercise which helps understanding what that exactly means to paint with a brush and to try mixing up colors so that the created image can match our imagination, but I would not advise to expect it to be a perfection and best art ever created. Who gets better when just picking up painting? People who are able to take risks, to experiment and who dare to step out of their comfort zone.

Signing up for a painting class does not mean that painting will paint itself.

The instructor is not a magician, but somebody who can explain, show, demonstrate and here and there correct if something does not happen or goes completely wrong. Live classes are much better than any online classes because I can see right away what is causing a problem: too much paint, too less paint, too dry or wet brush and so on. We are painting not only with brushstrokes, palette knives and sponges, but also with hand pressure, heavy or light movement of the hand, arm or wrist. Application of paint is a big deal and that is something which is done best in the presence of an instructor. I usually would explain why the particular image or composition is good or isn’t, why the particular choice of color works or doesn’t.

Some tips for beginning artists:

Whenever you have time and chance, tone your canvas in a light cardboard color using burnt sienna, yellow ochre and white. Instead of white, we can use gesso, as well. Acrylic gesso is acrylic primer, it seals the pores on canvas or any other material you would like to paint on, that includes wood panels, plastic and similar stuff. It allows using less paint and it is easier to apply it.

Think in layers, separate in your imagination the part which is behind and underneath, in order not to apply any small details right away. I’m often seeing how everybody tends to move to fine details way too quickly, well before the entire scene is worked out.

We always start from the back and with the background. Unless there is a large very light part, we have to start with dark shades and medium darks. That seems to be the most difficult part to convince the beginners that we do not put right away the final color, but we build it up.

There is a big difference between applying color and building it up. The further we are in the painting the closer to the front part we move. That is a bit different with separate objects like in still life or floral painting. However, we always start with more general things and just afterwards move to particular parts and details. In oil or acrylic, we always go from dark to light and finish up with small areas of highlights. If we have lost the dark parts, we have re-establish them.

Always use the brush which feels the most comfortable for the part of painting you are dealing with. It is difficult to draw fine lines with a huge brush and vice versa: it takes too long to cover large are with a tiny brush. Over time, every artist develops some kind of attraction to a certain brush whether flat, fan brush or round. It is very possible to paint the entire medium size acrylic painting with a medium size flat brush from start to finish.

We should never try to get violently something on canvas if this doesn’t happen. As with all water-based mediums, timing is an important part of acrylic painting. We should always use large loose brush strokes for first layers and keep the textured impasto approach for the most important areas and for the end, unless you are using the texture medium or modelling paste, then the sequence will be different.

Whenever we move from one color to another, we have to rinse the brush and swipe it on a paper towel. It is important not to have too much water on a brush before you get the paint.

Acrylic paint darkens as it dries, therefore, the values might appear not as they are while the paint is wet. Extenders and flow medium can extend the working time, however, working with sticky paint may be not suitable for all areas, therefore, it is better to work on segments and also use spray bottle to spray some water over painting time to time. That has to a controlled amount of water, unless you’d like the paint to run and create its own patterns.

Brushes always must be left in water until we can rinse them under running warm water and wash with soap.

If the object or scene is very complex, it is great to paint the main parts just in one color: create a monochromatic base image. Changing and adding color is very easy, the most difficult part is achieving the right values: intensity, light and dark proportion.

If you think that some painting is not good enough and it is not worth trying to make it right, you can cover the entire canvas (previous painting) with a mix of gesso and some colors and start a new painting. The small imprints from old painting lines will add more texture, they most often look interesting and you can build up a thicker layer above the basic layers.

It takes a lot to damage an acrylic painting completely since you can paint it over for as many times as you wish and have time for (or patience). Being afraid to do something wrong in acrylic painting has no reason: you can correct practically anything. It will take more work, time and paint, that’s all.

Summer acrylic paintings flower meadow 1

3-hour workshop painting demo of summer flower meadow

Spring road acrylic painting for adult painting class

We were painting the spring road with Wednesday class

Spring road 2, Fun and pleasure workshop painting

Spring road 2, 3-hour Fun and pleasure workshop painting

White daisies Workshop painting

White daisies 3-hour Fun and pleasure Workshop painting demo

Summer flower fields, acrylic painting

Summer flower fields, acrylic painting which we were doing during the last 3-hour Fun and pleasure painting workshop

Wild flower fields, acrylic painting

Wild flower fields, acrylic painting which we were doing during another 3-hour Saturday workshop

Poppy field, acrylic painting

We are quite often painting poppies during classes and workshops because everybody loves them and they are very easy

Birches and bluebells, acrylic painting

Small birches and bluebells we were painting during the last 3 adult acrylic painting classes

True colors of wildflower fields

True colors of wildflower fields: trying to get a good picture

One thing which is very difficult for me is the inability to capture the exact look of the painting when taking a photo. Well, I never have time enough, and the lighting is not that great, as well. To see the real colors I had to take some pics where paintings are in an angle.

True colors of daisies, acrylic painting photos

True colors of daisies, acrylic painting photos

More painting details

More painting details

The correct angle to capture the real color

The correct angle to capture the real color

Happy summer painting!

Autumn silver and gold: large textured acrylic painting

I finally got time to finish a very large ( 48 in x 32 in or 1meter 22 cm x 81 cm) semi-abstract autumn scene. I did it in my favorite textured way applying thick layers of paint and acrylic medium over and over. This painting will be exhibited at my gallery entrance greeting all visitors and students.

Very large textured acrylic painting Fall trees in fog

Too bad, such technique is very time-consuming, but I’d love to do many more acrylic paintings using a rich texture since it adds to the impression tremendously.

I love birds and Natural Awakenings publishes my painting on the August issue cover

Once I started to paint and draw  birds, I unexpectedly found a new interesting scope of material. There’s so much to explore! My first paintings of birds were very approximate. I just tried to give them some character, that’s all. I’m paying more attention to the arrangement of colors, etc. on wings and other feathers and to their external anatomy.

I like most birds, and I really need to love or somehow like that stuff which I am going to draw or paint. That’s pretty much the reason I stopped painting human portraits.

Chaffinch in the grass watercolor painting

Chaffinch 4, watercolor painting of bird

Nature has the most wonderful variety of everything, from small to huge, from simple to complicated.

 

Chaffinch 3, bird painting in watercolor

I suppose, I will keep studying birds for a while. I do get tired of similar images, though, that’s why the next paintings to finish are three-dimensional landscapes.

Taking about landscapes: my painting “Overlooking the Meadow” will be on the cover of Natural Awakenings Magazine.

Overlooking the meadow

Natural Awakenings is a free publication about healthy living that is available in over 90 cities in the U.S and Puerto Rico, with a readership of over three million. I had my market scene on their cover in 2012, and immediately after that I sold some paintings. Well, if you happen to see this magazine, pick it up for free. They write about useful things there. I also find amazing that they contacted me already 2 times.

My students already receiving art awards

I was very pleased to find out that one of my students who’s been attending my watercolor painting classes for a year, has been granted the visual arts award.

 

Diana with her visual arts award

She said that she had received 4 awards, but this one was the award she was really most happy about.

Diana is very diligent, very attentive, has lots of patience, and is also ambitious. She started out with having serious interest in drawing and watercolor painting, and she got noticed at her school very soon. Diana’s goal is to master drawing and painting at a very high level, and possibly attend an art college or art school.

 

 

It looks like all it takes is to find some time and get started. Once somebody falls in love with drawing and painting, that’s pretty much forever.

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!