Original art has a special attraction, energy and flare to it. I don’t think there can be too much art on any walls. I have usually some 200 works of art on display in my Art plus Life gallery, and it does not feel overwhelming or crowded. I rotate my art depending on demand and season. It feels very appropriate to have snow scenes and winter villages on display when Christmas is around the corner, and it is very obvious that spring flowers blossom around the gallery in spring.
I have a special love to small birds. I preferred them to any other creatures already as a kid. I assume that one should only paint what they know. I watch these birds during any season, and I have hundreds of sketches which I can turn into artworks later. I painted this particular painting “Robins, winter” last year. I painted 6 bird paintings. As it frequently happens, I felt I wanted to improve the color balance. So, I worked a few more weeks on this painting. I believe it became better and birds are more bird-like, as well, as the entire scene is lovely and welcoming and speaks for itself.
Robins, winter, 16 x 20 in (41 cm x 51 cm) acrylic painting on canvas
I do invite everybody to participate in a festive workshop at the beginning of December to try out how nice of an adventure it is to create something heart-warming and cheerful. We can choose the image, and some people usually prefer winter scenes, some illustration or wall decoration type of art, as well as some might go for birds. We also paint poinsettias almost every winter. I must admit, that is a subject which always works well on canvas and paper and looks great.
Workshop is on Sunday, December 10. It takes place between 12.30 and 3 pm. We will paint attractive 12 x 16 in images. Workshops are always fun. Participants also go home with a nice piece of art. I am attaching the “Robins, winter” painting for illustration, but I will certainly post more images as we get closer to the workshop date.
The best way to get into Christmas mood is to create art that suits the season. Let us celebrate in style with original art this year! Please let me know if you like “Robins, winter” painting and whether you’d love me to ship it to you!
Art products are available from Fine Art America.
My favorite from all products with this particular painting is the spiral notebook. It looks unbelievably good! Mugs also look impressive, so do actually lots of my art products and prints.
Celebrate in style will include my creations which I will try to post as frequently as I can taking into account that painting takes between 6-8 hours a day, classes about 4 hours a day with set-up and clean-up twice a week, setting up for photos, editing, posting online and promoting my art takes abnormally many hours and nobody has cancelled doctor’s appointments, treatments and the daily chores. I do also create decorations and have to put up some in the front, that takes additional 4 hours a day, plus the mess … I have to sell something so that I can buy my gifts, therefore, I hope for some response.
I have painted and created over years lots of art that can be a great gift or a fantastic decoration.
This time, I am featuring a rustic Christmas tree painting. This painting is acrylic and mixed media on 20 x 16 in canvas (or 51 x 41 cm). The background imitates wood, and it is created on canvas and also painted around the edges, so it does not need any frame.
Winter trees are so adorable, and when the first snow is falling … that means getting into the holiday and Christmas spirit immediately. Having this simple, yet beautiful tree on a wall is also a pleasure. I finished painting this tree image and I could not stop enjoying and looking at it.
The idea comes from the internet. I saw somebody had painted things and text on wood, and I really liked the idea of creating such a look. I just had to figure out how to achieve this without wood. I simply did not have any, especially somewhat suitable pieces. Well, I usually create what I do not have. This painting has also touchable and visible texture, so, it even feels like wood.
Let us celebrate in style this year! It is nice to have something original, not a print on the wall. It is absolutely ok to create something when we cannot buy it. Enjoy and let me know if I can ship this wonderful rustic tree painting to you!
Art studio is a place to create, recharge, work, relax, nurture big ideas, turn ideas into reality and dream. I like keeping my art studio well organized, neat and clean. It is because I’m used to that since early childhood: we had to clean all rooms in the house on Saturday, so that we can take a relaxing break in a dust-free and neat home on Sunday and start fresh on Monday. Early childhood habits stay with us for a long time, and I am grateful to my mom who always showed such a fantastic example of how to decorate with self-made things, how to sew something that really makes us stand out and how to use flowers and outdoor finds to make the space extremely cozy, lovely and welcoming. Thanks, mom!
I was a good student.
Therefore, my desk is always tidy and not overloaded; my painting tables are always organized so that everything I need is within reach. People who paint something more complicated than abstracted washes are aware that sometimes every minute we lose in crucial moments later requires working for hours to bring back the effect we had achieved. Timing is everything with water media, either acrylic or watercolor. That’s why I cannot answer phone, as well, if I’m in the middle of painting. Calling somebody is really bad habit unless there’s real urgency. I rarely use phone for calls, except when contacting doctor’s office or similar places. Phone is always at the wrong time. Always. There might be extremely rare exceptions when we are expecting a call, and even that is disturbing.
So, the studio is organized, tools and materials are in their right places, and cleaning never takes too much time. The golden rule is very simple: if you want to never look for something, find a suitable place for every type of items or every particular frequently used thing and always put it back where you got it from. I have no problem finding everything even when the power goes out: I do place everything back where I take it from and I also have a very good visual memory. Photographic memory, I’d say. Extremely good visual memory is the result of drawing and painting. I do not need any lists or written schedules since my head keeps it in the right order and allows recalling exactly when I need it.
It’s just so that if I am not assigning to something a label: important, memorize, I might or might not recall it exactly. I do make my brain aware of things that need to be remembered by paying a special attention or looking or reading that spot twice.
In my case, more technology has killed everything I was doing, and that has led to not that brilliant sequences. Therefore, I do not use and I am not willing to use any technology in my painting process. That means drawing and painting mostly from either real scenes and subjects, or imagination. That works well.
When I was studying at the University and even after that, I was really in portrait and figure drawing. Some people later in my life destroyed any desire to draw portraits. I just started to feel that only nature won’t present itself with lies and in a pretentious manner. I found beauty where I had not noticed it before, like in some simple piece of weathered wood, withered leaf, opening bud or branch of half-dry tree with bird sitting on it. I mean that type of things. Classes require painting more robust scenes because my personal preferences do not necessarily suit the vision of somebody else.
It is a huge advantage to have a specifically designed place for arts and crafts. I have a specific sewing place upstairs where fabrics, threads, buttons, zippers and all kinds of additional materials are neatly sorted in boxes and on shelves. I definitely need a place where everything is ready and waiting for creative outburst. I do not understand how difficult it must be doing arts or crafts at kitchen table since that can be used only for limited time. That is a bad situation.
When we were looking for a place, I noticed that Canadian houses are absolutely not suited for creativity: there is a kitchen, dining room, bedroom, one or more bathrooms, but nothing where to create. Basement doesn’t work, in fact, for art because artificial lighting regardless of how good or white it is will always distort the color. Colors are true only by the real daylight and for somebody like me who is extremely sensitive to shift in a shade of color this is crucial. Being in a basement doesn’t do any good for nobody because we need the daylight and, especially, sunlight.
Art studio: inspiration
Art studio: achievements
Art studio: beauty
Art studio: memories
Art studio: pleasure
Art studio: work
Art studio: inviting and rewarding space
If you do not have a place for your art studio but are very much interested in creativity and recycling things, sewing, crafting and similar activities: fight for it. We do not live only to sleep, eat and entertain ourselves at screens. I assume people who do not have any passion boring and just filling in the space where we could allow our creative spirit to lift us in previously unseen heights.
Art gets done so many unbelievably good tasks: decreases addictions, helps overcome depression and bad mood, makes us more confident and self-aware, allows feeling not lonely, takes away sadness and despair, opens our eyes to new possibilities, fills us with gratefulness and appreciation and, finally: it is the best way of meditation ever because we have created something enjoyable and usable at the end, too.
Definitely, it’s time your family has an art and craft studio, too: to take a break from screens and to realize that genuine happiness means creation, not only consumption.
I have been an art instructor for more than 35 years and I have spent thousands of hours watching how students start out with their paintings. I have also been a beginner in arts many years ago. Therefore, I am aware of tough things which we experience when using such a medium as acrylic. Especially, if this type of paint is a completely new to you.
Acrylic paints are very friendly. No smells, no known allergy causing components. I would advise people with sensitive skin to use gloves: they should be thin and match size of your hand.
Acrylic is easy to use because we can repaint, paint over, cover up and restart painting any areas which we assume not good enough, not suitable our intention and not nice enough. We sometimes need to wait until the first layer is dry. Overworking one spot causes to come off all wet paint.
Acrylic paints can be applied thinly, diluted with glazing medium or water and in a thick layer creating almost impasto effects. It’s just so that prices of paints have tripled since 2008 in Canada, so it is obvious that using modelling paste or different materials as a base is better than applying a lot of paint.
The biggest challenges are two. 95% of beginning artists who work in acrylic USE TOO LESS PAINT. A LOT LESS than required, actually. That results in uneven, streaky coverage or there is no distinction in color and value. We have to add the paint we are using most as it is almost gone. Acrylic dries fast, so dipping on it a few drops of water or slightly spraying it with water time to time will help hugely. It might be so that somebody gets overwhelmed with all information they have to absorb in first classes, but still: having just a small drop of paint on your palette is not going to work. USE DECENT AMOUNT OF PAINT! ALWAYS! Keep it slightly wet all the time while you are using this paint.
Secondly, partially covered canvas does not look good. We can check whether the coverage is proper by taking a picture. If the canvas fabric is clearly visible, that part certainly requires more paint, sometimes: much more paint.
By its nature, acrylic acts like a glue. We have to use this feature in our favor and so we do. We start with more abstracted, not that careful layers and move onto something more definite. WE SHOULD NOT START WITH FINAL DETAILS OR ASSUME THAT ANY FIRST LAYER IS FINAL. Apply at least 3-5 layers and then decide what else you do. Never judge an unfinished painting or make unreasonable conclusions about it. We fix and change EVERYTHING as we add more layers.
The second challenge is BRUSHING PAINT ALL AROUND. We need to place the paint wherever we want it and leave this spot alone. With that being said, we shouldn’t create strong fat lines with sharp edges for darker areas or road sides, field ends and similar. We want darker areas, not darker frames everywhere. To achieve that, we feather out the outer edge on that area. Just let the brush dance on your canvas and don’t worry about too much blending in the first few layers. By letting the brush slightly touch canvas on one spot we can hold the particular color on that area where we want it. Brushing paint around results in achieving uniformly flat color on the entire canvas or area. We have to use the color we want on the spot where we intend to apply it.
Instructor can demonstrate, explain or show principles, methods and approaches, but painting is still up to you. That means: you have to use the reference, remember to look at the reference whether it is a real abject or scene, or a photo thereof all the time, not only when you start the painting. That does not really happen in reality.
Painting is based on very many decisions we make every second; in fact, we make some hundreds of decisions every second. So, if you only follow the instructor, but haven’t decided anything for yourself, results will not be that great.
Why am I saying: pay attention to reference? I have to repeat that because most people don’t ever pay attention to reference. When we are just beginning the painting, they would have a brief look at it; and I notice after a small while that NOBODY LOOKS any more at the reference. YOU HAVE TO! Reference or value drawing (if you have created such) HAS ALL THE ANSWERS: where to use dark color, where to make strong edge, where to wash edge or lose it, where to place highlights and what exactly the shape of something is. It is extremely important, much more important than what brush to use.
Talking about brushes: always use the ones which you feel comfortable with and which suit the size of the area you are working on. Very simple. We use the largest possible brush for any task. Flat brush has MULTIPLE USES IN ACRYLIC. We can draw thin long lines with the edge of it; we can cover large areas using it flatly, parallel to surface in full width, we can use 2 different shades or colors on each end of the flat brush which simplifies and speeds up painting.
How does the painting or drawing happen? We transform the visually perceived information in the brain signals that eventually lead to our hand movements. Whenever our hand moves accordingly to decision we made, we achieve the desired result. The more decisions one makes and the more one understands why some parts are neutral, some have strong and some have weak values, the easier it is to paint or draw. Blindly following and copying RESTRICTS our ability to analyze, understand and apply creatively our vision.
We develop acrylic paintings from my sketches. The light barn with pink-red roof was painted by our youngest student Erin who is 11 and attends classes together with her mom. We just started a new project which we are also doing from a quick sketch of mine.
This post was waiting for a long time because I was very busy working on class images and steps.
Therefore, some images are from mid-December classes.
Painting, drawing and sketching manually is THE BEST MENTAL FITNESS EXERCISE. Nothing else can compete or compare to that. Period.
The gift certificate for my art classes should make the recipient happy: it looks very nice and it gives recipient the opportunity to get involved in creativity, learn and enjoy artistic activities. I thought it would be great that people who were buying gift certificates for art classes really could like and enjoy them.
I painted a watercolor image and took a few pictures of it.
Then I asked a printing place to add some text and print them.
Gift certificates look extremely attractive. To purchase a gift certificate, you do not have to attend the art studio in person, I can e-mail you either the actual gift certificate, or image of it, so you just print it off.
The actual painting looked better than the picture of it, which is most often the case with all my paintings regardless of how hard I am trying and changing settings on camera, light in the room, backgrounds and so on. It is very rare that photography of my painting looks better than my real art. The closest colors usually are when the image is taken with painting on the wall or together with other paintings.
However, I really loved how these final products came out, and some people are picking up these certificates already tomorrow morning. I’m glad I can give them something which looks great and festive.