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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

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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.

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.

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

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/

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.

I had to forget about art for a while

It’s been a while. Again. I haven’t disappeared, I was just having a surgery because my worsening condition did not provide with a better option. If you are following my secondary blog, you probably know how I had to struggle with post-surgery complications. Updates are here: https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/07/18/the-inappreciative-patient-and-my-lost-summer-pleasures/

It didn’t go as smooth as we expected.

It is the first day since long time when I can type a small article. It was rough, that’s all I can say. My student Liz came to see me and brought me some nutritious food when I realistically was unable to do anything. Thanks Liz, that was the best care ever!

Liz and Gord had also left a beautiful flower bouquet, card with wishes to get better soon and a gardening book. Very thoughtful. I do not have many friends here, if any at all, so this was I appreciated sincerely. Here you can see what’s left from the colorful bouquet by now. Honestly, I was so bad I could not even speak with them on the day they came, and I am genuinely sorry for that. The small bird was attached, too, and you know, I just love birds.

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Small bit left over from the cheerful bouquet 

Artistic projects and any painting did not cross my mind, although, it helps doing something. I just couldn’t. When I was not in a nightmarish sleep, I was dizzy and shaky, basically side of this treatment are not pleasant. Well, I am just starting to see things clearly and walk around slowly and carefully.

Last class was in first half of June, and that’s how the gallery looked like at that moment.

Art sale Whitby Ontario

Before heading to surgery, I tried to keep calm and work on finishing some small 16 x 20 inches paintings that were left unfinished. I will call them “Idyllic 1” and “Idyllic 2″which means to me a place which is totally different from the current reality. More idyllic images will follow.

Art for your cottage

They might need some work, but I intend to leave them as they are because these paintings are for ever linked to this pre-surgery moment when I needed dreamscapes to avoid the daily anxieties and suffering.

Art for your cottage

If everything goes better and smoother, I could restart some classes as early as in August. We will see.

The sale to raise funds for my treatment was very short because I had to deal with health issues. I would love to invite anybody to either look at Fine Art America site (on the right side is a link), or just scroll through my paintings and the blog. Ironically, when expenses reach peak levels, there is no energy and chance to make any income. If you are somebody who won’t be hurt by spending $50-$100, I could send you some originals, especially small to medium size watercolors. FAA has all kinds of products from prints, phone cases, pillows, T-shirts, purses and bags to shower curtains and more . I receive a little bit, $2-$10 from each sale, but that is still great. I am hoping to recover soon to the point when I can do something: it is so intolerable to just sleep and stay in bed when there is so abnormally much to do. I also hope the crisis is over and, therefore, the future will be definitely better.

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.

Short introduction in main issues which everybody encounters when they pick up pencil or brush

Lesson 1

You always wanted to draw or paint: it seems it does not want to happen.

You will need patience, courage; willingness to experiment and make mistakes, as well as, you should be ready to put into your learning process efforts, work and time.

Any drawing and painting starts with being able to see and feel. It does not start with knowledge of techniques and all kinds of tools and mediums.

I have given countless classes and workshops over many years; it actually feels like I have been teaching arts all my life. It is obvious that all people who would love to start painting or drawing do not get past the first problems and give up this fantastic activity before they could even become aware of easy fixes which there are just for anything when it comes to creation.

The main thing with visual arts is the ability to see and to understand what one is looking for. Most people will definitely be sure that they have eyesight good enough and that they can see everything. That is not true at all. While we are seeing things around us, we are not seeing them in an artistic way. I suppose the inability to perceive values, shapes, colors, lines and their relationship, as well as correct scale, depends on what one has been doing and using for drawing and painting before.

It’s not rare that artists also simply copy an image and then transfer this copy onto paper or canvas. Many artists do a lot of image editing with some software so that the image is ready to copy and to apply paint on it. They believe that will save time and efforts and make painting process easier. That’s not true either. Do not do that, do not copy any photos or images if you want to ever draw and paint without fear and with confidence.

A complex drawing might take me between 30 minutes and an hour, but that’s about it. I will have everything in my drawing: values, composition, correct scale since I’m usually doing the entire canvas or paper size drawings as opposed to thumbnail sketches, and I can start doing whatever I want with it: use for watercolor, pastel or acrylic and so on. I won’t need editing, adjusting, copying, enlarging.

Therefore, if you want to be ever free from computers, laptops, screens, all kinds of measuring devices, grids and photos, start learning to see.

I have noticed this for millions of times: people do not see anything in the reference photo or picture. They see a flower, a tree or fence, but there is nothing behind that. I am also using real objects: fruit, vegetables, flowers, flower pots, leaves, cups, bowls, glasses and similar stuff, and that does not usually help at all. No attention gets paid to shadows, value distinction, correct size, potential composition, contrasts and layout. Every single person can draw and paint as soon as they understand what they have to see in that object. That refers to drawing figures and body parts, as well.

It is hilarious how there are so many separate art lessons like: How to paint an apple, How to paint a bird, How to paint a spring landscape, How to paint a cup or glass, so on. The answer to this: you can paint anything; you can draw anything once you are able to see it. To see it in an artistic way taking into account things which other people don’t know exist. Therefore, lesson 1 is: place some object in front of you and look at it. Look carefully at dark and light spots, visible lines and shadows, direction and size of any shapes. Starting with very light and general outlines try to get the exact shape. Start with very general shapes and lines and move towards details. Repeat until the object or objects get dimensions and start to take on shape. I will illustrate it in more detail in some upcoming posts. Yes, it all comes from our eyes and brain, and hand with pencil or brush just makes the brain signals visible. How do these signals get into our brain? Our senses and our memory, plus imagination contribute to this process. That is why drawing and painting is the best tool for fixing memory issues, taking care of brain flexibility and for prevention of mental diseases.

Value sketch for lily painting lily drawing

Value sketch in the actual size is the best help one can have

White Lilies Acrylic painting 20 x 16 inches

Lilies

I have elaborated a new approach to acrylic painting since many people want to learn it, but results are quite often disappointing and don’t make them happy. This new approach uses the specific features of acrylic (fast drying time, ability to work over dry layers) and turns them into the biggest advantage. Results are quick and stunning. Most people don’t even believe they could paint it. There is a small remark, however: as long as they follow my steps and take into account the guiding suggestions. I don’t think I will bother with online classes because the live art classes are the only ones which make real sense. It matters how much water or how much paint, or what medium on what surface one uses. It matters how fast the previous steps are done and it matters how you move the brush and mix the paint. Everything matters, and we can correct mistakes right there where they happen, therefore, it is important to have a teacher which can directly see why some things work and why some others don’t.

Red poppies acrylic painting 20 x 16 inches

Poppies

For illustration: we are painting large flowers in Thursday classes. 2 hours at a time.

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!

The red of roses to warm up at minus 20

Are you buying the overpriced, bad quality pushed out with extreme amounts of chemicals Valentine’s Day flowers or are you rather painting them? I’ve asked my husband every year: please do not buy these stems with half-withered petals at the top. It’s not that I don’t love flowers and it’s not that my husband doesn’t give me flowers. It’s just this day and the over-the-top exaggerated excitement about it which cause me nausea, sort of feeling of huge pressure to engage in eating chocolate hearts which I am not excited about at all. I simply do not like chocolate too much or any other sweets.

I hoped that some people, who are not fans of Valentine’s Day just like I am not, would love to paint a rose. Red is a beautiful color which warms up both physically and mentally. We could have been doing any other red flower, as well. Unfortunately, the response was weak. Well, bars will be full and florists will be doing just fine.

Red is supposed to be a very difficult color because diluting it with white creates pink, and adding yellows cause it to become orange. It’s even more difficult color using acrylics. The quality of acrylic paints has gone down extremely when I compare the same paints as they were in 2007-2008 and as they are now. I’d guess it’s too much added binders, sort of polymer glue stuff and less pigments, therefore, the paint loses any kind of brilliance as it dries. Lucky guys who are not allergic to oil paints and their smells! I tried water soluble oils because I hoped to really do oils again, but the stuff I bought was of such an unacceptable quality (Winsor and Newton, Artisan) that I am pretty much regretting I went for this huge spending (these paints were anything but cheap). They still had a bad smell reminding me of old fish oil or something similar, and they had no similarities with the real oils since they felt mostly tacky, not workable at all. Although, I used flow and fast dry medium, it took 3 months!!! until they finally felt dry to the touch.

The red rose, acrylic painting

My rose to inspire on Thursday workshops

So, yes, I hoped we could do some attractive red flowers or rose. I’m happy now I don’t have to do this painting session because it’s extremely cold at the moment, and I think I’d rather snuggle in some warm blanket and watch nothing on TV. That’s what our Rogers TV provides us with here: nothing. The very few not repeated programs are news and talk shows. They all talk and show the same content: celebrities who I basically do not know, disasters, crimes and politics. Most of advises on shows like City Line and similar are fairly or pretty dumb and answers to the presented problems or issues are obvious. These are usually very well-known things which for some unknown reason are supposed to be some kind of discoveries. People go: OOOHH! and AAAAHH! and WOWWWW! Really? Well, flatness and lack of imagination is the new standard for talk shows. All the same. Again, again and again. Therefore, I rarely watch TV. Almost never.

Returning to flowers: there is nothing better than to paint flowers in bright colors in a freezing cold and nasty winter day. Treat your art as pleasure, learning experience and relaxing activity. That prevents from getting frustrated and disappointed.

I did a few value drawings for watercolors, but I suppose I could post them some other night. Cheers!

P. S. Please check out the lifeschool blog, as well. If you are more of life style fan, you could follow that one. The most recent post looks at self-admiration and superficiality of social media: Detachment from reality on social media

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