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.

0 Replies to “Nothing compares to summer painting outdoors”

    1. Thanks Margaret! It was very difficult to bring these watercolors to some kind of finished stage. It is not easy to sit for longer than half an hour, so I just took some 15 minutes here and there during those few days when my head is not totally foggy from all medications. Well, at least something. It is so nice you noticed these paintings because people rarely check out posts. I am really glad about that because I can also post just maybe once in 2 weeks now because of all treatments and it is so great to hear something good about my works.

      1. I’m glad you managed something; it was obviously worth it! I really hope that all those treatments work well and as quickly as possible.

  1. ‘We used to have a huge garden and orchard in Latvia, the house was on a hill and a long, meandering path run through the garden. The garden has symbolic meaning for me. It means the abundance of everything: harmony, beauty, balance and uninterrupted life where everything is blossoming, ripening, growing. Winter in the garden does not represent an end or death: it is a silent period before the garden wakes up and continues making us happy and healthy.’ Your home in Latvia must have been beautiful. Have you written any blog posts about it?

    1. I believe I have, and one post was very similar to what you are saying because we used to have a house on a hill in Latvia, as well. Everybody loved this place and people would usually stop by, all my classmates would drop in. It was called “Kalna iela”, the Hill street. Down the hill was going a path which was surrounded by old apple trees, plum trees, pear trees, cherry trees. We had a huge garden all the way down the hill with all kinds of vegetables and fruits and berries. When governments changed we lost the biggest part of this, and that literally killed my dad. I saw his face on that day, when all our beautiful garden on which creation dad and mom had spent some thirty years was behind the fence. It was fenced off by the new law coming into force. Dad’s face turned white and then red and I knew that was the moment when his heart refused to take this any more. This house isn’t there any more,, the have removed all the old trees which were subjects of my poems, stories and paintings and there is a new simple modern building. I avoid walking that street when I am in Latvia, not to disturb the beautiful memories. It’s my birthday today, and we had such fantastic birthday celebrations in that old house! Therefore, such old fences, parts of gardens and similar are things I love to paint.

      1. Precious memories indeed. I can see why you wouldn’t want to walk that way anymore. Such heartbreak for everyone. My great grandparents small farm is now covered over by Christchurch City airport. I remember visiting the farm when I was very little, and I do feel sad that piece of our family history has gone. However that situation is not the same as yours. There was no one left to look after the farm so it was sold. I hope there is some brightness and well being for your birthday. I send many good wishes and hope your day will have happy memories.

        1. Lots of memories, especially about this particular day. Well, we didn’t bother with cakes and similar stuff, but I could skype with Latvia and husband had a gift and flowers for me. The only thing I wished for the next year was good health. If I have that, I can turn around mountains again. I would love this part of the year or even the last 3 years just evaporate in the fog of eternity. It is great to start with hopeful expectations, and they just might come true.

  2. Hi Inese…your finished paintings are so wonderful…I just LOVE your style and fell I would be able to pick your paintings out of a group of others. I am sending you white healing light and I urge you to honor your body during this hard time of recovery. And to be outdoors…even if just a few minutes each day…I know would help you tremendously. Sending much love and many blessings 💚

    1. Thanks Lorrie! Anything which I draw or paint being outdoors or setting up indoors has much more feel and much more personality. I am certainly sitting outside for a moment here and there, but the heat and humidity make the wound worse, so that leaves just some moments in the evening. Every morning is treatment, even on Saturdays, it’s become like going to work. Counting days, but so many yet. Well, curing wounds is an expensive undertaking so I really hope to sell something directly or indirectly. Have no choice.

  3. Keep your chin up! Inese beautiful works and keep those lovely thoughts of good things coming – you are on the mend which is so important – Wishing you success always

    1. Thanks so much Liz! We found an envelope which said from the fellow artist, and there were 100 bucks inside. We could not imagine anybody else putting this so useful gift in the mailbox. It comes in the right time: straight on my birthday. I am 100% sure that was you because I do not know many people who would do something like that. I also appreciate a lot your wise and kind words. I certainly hope this year will be much better. I am already over the crisis and on the way to recovery.

  4. I love the way you say to paint… it is for me the hardest thing; to pain my interpretation of what I see and not try to be so precise or accurate. I’m working on it though and your words help me to remember to do so.
    You have had such a difficult few months. I so hope the healing soon takes place and that you find a method to sell your beautiful paintings. Diane <3

    1. Thanks Diane! Well, I’ve been watching for so many years how some people paint effortlessly and some struggle because they think they have to. I’m usually trying to offer the easiest ways to art because every single person benefits from it. There is Absolutely no substitute for painting, drawing and expressing oneself. Those parents who think art is something very secondary to important subjects are wrong. Usually people who engage in arts tackle and handle everything else simpler and easier, too.
      I am very impatiently waiting for improvement. One part heals well, the other could do better, it certainly takes time. I have set September 20th when I expect to be at least to some part ok. I will see how it goes. I am very tired of daily treatments, along with all other stuff they make my life a mess. I can live with that if I know there will be a result. Who knows. I hope there will be.

    1. Thanks. I’m up and down. I have to restart medications, unfortunately, which I really do not tolerate that well. The health care is just not that good, I mean, I cannot get in touch with doctor and while there are 4 different people sort of involved, nobody is available when I need them. It’s not going right or smooth. I need patience, but I seem to have run out of it. The financial side is really bad, I have to try to do something, but like today again, I cannot even get up. Maybe tomorrow will be a bit better.

        1. Well, I don’t know any in Canada. This is just a surgical wound, it basically requires monitoring and switching meds as necessary. The problem is that I don’t get to see a doctor often, it’s impossible to make frequent appointments, it’s more like once a month. Lots of things can happen during that time.

  5. Bonjour BELLE INESE

    Mes vacances sont terminées

    Je viens faire un petit passage dans ton univers

    Mais avant je veux te dire que

    Tes petits messages sont comme la flamme d’un feu de bois

    Qui dans mon cœur , me mets de la joie

    Ton amitié est une étoile qui brille dans le ciel

    Elle est éternelle

    Passe une très bonne et belle journée

    Gros bisous Bernard.

    Je remercie tous ceux et toutes celles qui sont passées sur mon blog pendant le période de mes vacances

    J’espère que toi aussi tu as passé un bon mois d’aout et que tu es en pleine forme

    Bisous Bernard

    Passe une très belle journée


    je passe comme promis sur ton joli blog

    Je te dépose un rayon de lumière

    tendresse et bonheur

    Ton blog j’aime le feuilleté lire tes écris , tes poèmes tes montages ou autres toujours un énorme plaisir de découvrir tes nouveautés

    Passe une très belle journée que ce soit en famille enfants ou entre amis

    Bisous amitié


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