The best way to start painting with watercolors

… is using pen and watercolor wash.

We all want our art to be great and impressive. However, if you are new to some medium or absolutely new to drawing and painting, you have to bear in mind: nothing happens right away and with the first brush stroke. I have had absolute beginners who were somewhat disappointed that their first piece of art wasn’t exhibition quality. Well, that is normal.

Every skill takes time, efforts and work.

Creation of drawing or painting involves lots and lots of information. Some people are courageous by nature and love to experiment, and that is a very good start. Some people are perfectionists and they believe everything they do must be either perfect or they are ready to give it up; and that is a completely wrong approach.

My personal attitude towards something new in painting: different subject, medium, tools or technique never focuses on perfection. I focus on potential. Something might work out and something might not. There will be easy parts and probably difficult parts. That way. I call this attitude: let us see what happens.

Progress is usually gradual. That is why we start with simple things and move to more complicated things.

Pen and watercolor wash is a great technique for beginning watercolorists. Some like it so much that they stick to this technique and turn it into their personal style.

If you are insecure about drawing lines with pen, sketch them in using pencil. You can draw over with pen and delete everything else. We have now clean drawing in black ink, and the white paper is not damaged.

Anything can serve as a subject: from your morning coffee cup to flowers in a vase or at the fence, from a bird at your window to sprouting vegetables in a garden. Any scene with some object is good, but flowers look extremely nice when done in pen and watercolor.

When somebody says they cannot draw, I don’t believe that. Most often that means they tried 1 or 2 drawings and these drawings were not splendid. So, they make a conclusion that they cannot draw. Talk to me after 200-300 drawings. That is a decent start. It is also much easier to point out what else one should do in order to create better art when they have done some attempts.

Pen and watercolor flowers and spring scenes

Flowers are extremely suitable subject for this type of watercolor application

Apple blooms in pen and watercolor: great starting subject

Birds fit in this category, as well

Spring mood with butterflies: excellent subject for beginners in watercolor

This exercise is for absolute beginners

Why to start with pen and watercolor? It is forgiving, it is easy and fast, and it allows learning watercolor application more effortlessly. The pen lines provide additional support. It is a flattering technique since practically any painting or drawing looks good regardless of how sufficient one is with watercolor only.

I have done numerous pen and watercolor paintings over years, just because it is fun, it is easy and looks fantastic.

How about a painting party?

Do you ever think that having a painting party or private painting event might be a fantastic way to have a good time and have a glimpse into art creation secrets? Many people admit they are extremely exhausted, tired and losing interest in their daily chores. There are plenty of people who suffer from the burnout syndrome. That happens especially when the job involves some kind of repetition and routine, and good results are not always there. It can be caused by clients or family who do not appreciate your efforts or lack of success in things you are trying to achieve. Winter time is causing depressive state of mind, and sometimes we simply are feeling that we need something completely new. New experience, new challenge, time for ourselves. It does not really matter how average or outstanding is the art we create at such events. We have to be somewhat realistic: nobody can become an artist within a few hours. However, we can still do something meaningful. It is better than simply snoozing on the couch or eating at the local fast food restaurant just because one is bored.

Creativity is present in every single one of us, it’s just so that it can be fairly tricky to put your creative abilities to the test. Well, people who love entertainment without negative side effects can certainly enjoy such an afternoon or evening.

It is fairly tough on me because I’m only one person who does everything, but I’m OK with that. It is not that such parties are every week. Therefore, you should try, too. Every neighborhood has art places that offer to enjoy painting with friends, family or colleagues.

Photo gallery shows a recent painting party. This family had chosen a scene with rocks and highly textured background. I placed all textures on canvas 2 days before the event, and it actually took me a while.

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Lifeschool blog talks about risks associated with the use of synthetic vitamins and supplements:

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2017/02/20/healthy-lifestyle-habits-that-put-you-at-risk-for-undesirable-side-effects/

Art instruction: achieve good results painting with acrylic

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 lifeschool blog reviews challenges during dark and upsetting winter: https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2017/01/17/how-to-feel-good-and-survive-the-dullness-of-depressing-winter-days/ Please enjoy!

 

Fall still life: where did the time go

Still life has been my most favorite subject ever since I can remember myself. I love setting up some fruit and arrange some leaves, flowers and jars, so that it looks exactly as I like.

Time is rushing us so badly that it sometimes feels I just wake up and go back to sleep. At least, I got this feeling recently. Along with doctor’s appointments, household stuff, daily meals, cleaning, laundry, classes, preparation of new images and steps for their painting, preparation of hand-out materials, advertising, social media posts, two huge medical writing jobs: that meant there was no time to paint. Although, my show is coming up and this is a gift season for which I should have been preparing. Well, I am trying to do at least something.

I put up a few decorations yesterday, and I had to give a class later, and that was it. The day just disappeared again. Anyway, I’m posting a watercolor still life which was done about 3 weeks ago, but THERE WAS NO TIME TO POST ANYTHING!

I hope my duties will somewhat balance out during the upcoming weeks and I can get to things which I really want to do: JUST SIMPLY PAINT. Starting image for a class is not quite the same: I have to take into account all distinctive levels of skill, and we often have absolute beginners, so that painting is just an illustration for what I am saying while teaching. Showing is definitely better than only telling about it. It is very helpful also that I can see and correct things which are usually problematic: very little paint, too much water, completely dry brush, dirty brush, putting too much pressure on brush and similar basic issues  which arise with painting supplies. The one thing which is ALWAYS WRONG when painting in any medium and any subject: trying to paint with tiny bits of paint or not having paint on a brush. We have to be generous! I think, generally, generous people also have much better results when creating art, they simply are not that much afraid of wasting anything. That certainly helps!

Still life with apples and fall fruit; 16 x 12 in, watercolor on Saunders-Waterford paper. I love drawing and I love good composition, therefore, still life is a perfect genre for me.

Painting still life means for me becoming these objects. I feel like the apple in this still life, or like the pear, or even the leaf. I love soothing and attractive colors. I will also not stop painting until the still life feel right to me.

Painting takes time; at least a few hours here and there have to be set aside, so that disturbances, interruptions or hassles cannot harm the image which lives already in the imagination. I just didn’t get this chance recently, but I’m looking hopefully to the future. I intend to draw and paint more simple still life paintings. Why? I cannot frequently get out into the nature, so that is what I have around. I believe drawing still life is as good practice as drawing faces or scenes with figures. The main thing is: we teach our eyes and brain.

Art prints and other artistic products are available from Fine Art America.

Enjoy!

Watercolor mania? Yes, incurable

Watercolor, watercolor and ink, as well as pastels are my favorite mediums to use because I am very good at drawing, I would say I was born being able to draw.  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 painting workshops and classes 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 take so much time that I never really get to selling anything seriously. I would put on the “Open” sign, and that is 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)

Some are framed, some matted 

Most of them make great greeting cards, as well, and look fantastic in white or light grey frames

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.

Flower power

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  Fine Art America.

You can view all images and then let me know if you would like to see if original is still available. Shipping will be extra.

Everything $100 to $350. Shipping extra. Thanks if you decided to check out my paintings and possibly get some art product, print or original painting.

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.

The magic attraction of drawing and making time disappear with watercolors

Drawing and painting takes time, and I was recently short of it. However, we created sketches from real fruits in our watercolor class, we did large-scale reference drawing for our still life painting and we are also about to finish the chickadees and birch painting in the evening class.

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 art therapy. It has good results!

I paint and create some drawing even when I cannot do anything else, when pain gets that bad that it prevents me from walking and standing. I paint and do drawing when I feel desperate, disappointed with the reality of life and when I am completely depressed because of strong medications which make me 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 or drawing is or how perfect the color combinations are. Art is so fulfilling that I cannot compare this with anything else. Drawing and painting cures.

One set-up of still life which resulted in reference drawing to be used for creation of a painting

Watching different students getting started with their first drawing or painting 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 a potential of being developed endlessly, it would be silly to expect mastery within a few hours. Therefore, I really appreciate the 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

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

This is just the first half, but we will finish this painting during the next class

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 to achieve anything. I always use the same paper that I give my students which is large size, between 16 x 18 in, 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 good art. If paper is too small to see and perceive, it will be definitely too difficult to apply paint on it. 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 mistake because thin paper won’t allow to lift paint and use multiple washes, as well as, to try other techniques. 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 and transparency.

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 drawing from real  subjects results in the best art because it gives one an absolute freedom of interpretation.

I am somebody who was born with the ability to draw and create a drawing from real or live subjects and set-ups. I am simply good at it.

Link to my drawing and painting classes: https://inesepogagallery.com/classes-workshops-schedule/

Well, there are lots of unfinished paintings,, lots of drawing I still want to do, just like always, but I hope following my advice more people will pick up pencils and brushes and get engaged in drawing and painting. There is simply 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 a huge power. Have a great week full of art!

The irreversibility of our life and pleasurable projects in pink

There is no “undo” command in our life. This makes everything we pursue, experience or achieve absolutely irreversible. Everything is a small moment, frozen in time. As I’m typing these words or you’re reading them, the past washes this second away and puts it in the big folder of our lifetime’s history. The cold sunrays of this disappearing day are pouring over the nearby rooftops and higher tree branches. This creates an illusion of warmth in the air. Yet, it is an illusion: as the quiet stream of twilight starts streaming in, we will find ourselves in even colder conditions, minus thirty or so.   How does this relate to pink projects? Very simple: when the environment is unfriendly, we should try doing something pleasant. Pleasant for me is drawing and painting something which takes me far away from this cold winter day and places in surroundings where I’d love to be. No tears, no regrets, no lost hopes: this is an easy mental transformation into a feeling-better-myself. We actually did similar project in the classroom. One project was all about yellow and orange, and the other was blooms and pink. These projects can be done by absolutely everybody whether they have any experience or not: they are as unsophisticated as one, two, three. Blossoms in pink watercolor project One: choose the reference image and draw the main lines with pencil or do a drawing from memory. Apple blossoms drawing Two: draw over lines which appear as being the most suitable with a black pen. Black ink can be used, as well, if somebody has it readily available. Apple blossoms drawing for art class Three: follow the reference image and your own feelings and apply colors which seem to you most fitting the drawing: one leaf or one petal at a time starting with light shades and going over in some spots with more intense color. Wash out connection lines with pure water. Drawings which do not look perfect at all become extremely beautiful with this approach. Pen and watercolor apple blossoms We were applying various shades of simply yellow, red, crimson red and dark red with blue. Apple blossoms pen and watercolor illustration These projects took us about 3 hours in total. Pink rose in watercolor, botanical illustration The rose was done in similar way, just skipping the black outline part. I had taken very many pictures during the last few weeks, but the flow of my time was so rapid, that I did not get a chance to share anything yet. I will have to post students’ works separately because there are quite a few. Pink blossoms: watercolor project for teens and adults It is amazing how it was impossible to get the correct colors in picture, so I took some photos just to compare with these paintings in context of surrounding environment, and they look much closer to how they are in reality. Just one more thing:  everybody can draw and paint and, therefore, create for themselves a beautiful rescue place from different troubles and hardships. However, we have to learn seeing things at first. This is almost like developing a much better perception of the surrounding world. We are used to see everything just walking by and running over. Now, it is time to stop and start noticing every line, every shade and later take a distance from it. That is the moment when we can put it on paper or canvas. Glue and watercolor cards We also created some three-dimensional, very quick glue and watercolor cards. They were effortless and fun to make, still look very nice. Hearts and red berries: glue and watercolor The instant internet presence in any move we make has also led people to slightly wrong understanding of being: everybody is comparing oneself to and competing with somebody else. I was reading the other day how one blogger felt unhappy because he thought his blog would be the best (how is that even possible, like generally the best?). Many people feel the same way when they try to express themselves artistically. The truth is: do it for yourself and your loved ones first and later you will see where this initiative or passion takes you. Mass media wants that: look at this and realize what you cannot. That is just so misleading, and it is also the wrong reason to become upset or unsatisfied, thus, giving up some nice thing which one has just started. Watercolor rose and apple blossoms: watercolor for teens and adults I’m also sending prayers to everybody who is on the road in bad weather conditions or those who need warmth. May you get home safe or find a cozy shelter.

Crafted and hand-made is the new luxury 2: nature helps with materials and subjects

I am slightly behind everything because my health was giving me hard times and, secondly, I had many workshops and classes recently. Although, I took quite a lot of pictures, I did not get a chance to post nothing.

Returning to hand-made items and DIY art, I must say we were dealing with pumpkin still lives for quite a while. Therefore, all pictures will show different stages of just started, half-done and almost done fall still lives with pumpkins, apples and leaves which we used very directly, sometimes even placing on canvas and simply drawing around. Lots of fun and it is very easy way to straighten out our composition because leaves are an extremely decorative element, they can be in all imaginable colors and we can place them anywhere filling up all spaces that need some coverage.

Classes provide students with ideas about different techniques, steps, approaches and methods when working on some particular project or theme.

Tips for beginning artists:

Using pre-toned or pre-painted canvas speeds up everything. You can use a mix of gesso with some earthy, brownish-yellowish or greyish-brown shades. Good colors to cover canvas are something medium dark made of yellow ochre plus burnt umber plus white or small amount of light blue, or yellow ochre plus burnt sienna plus white plus raw umber, or the same with small amount of blue. Our goal is to have not very light and not very dark, but attractive medium light shade. Such canvas works much better than pure white canvas, unless your painting involves a lot of white objects or large white spaces. Pre-toned canvas allows seeing and perceiving objects in a more correct manner, therefore, it is much simpler to add shadows, dark values, and highlighted spots.

First layers of paint should be applied using generous amount of not much diluted color. Don’t be afraid because acrylic tolerates quite a lot, and everything can be adjusted and straightened out! Sometimes beginners use paint very sparsely. It dries out extremely fast, does not give a chance for washing out edges and looks streaky. It is also wrong to stop working on some area because of fear to damage this spot. This might take some additional time, but results will be more pleasing.

When in doubt, start with medium dark, however, many objects require starting with deep darks. Medium dark is a good spot to be, because you can lighten it up and add stronger darks, and that is really useful for still life objects and floral painting.

Leave the tiny details and small adjustments for the end stage. There is no need to work out perfectly parts that will be covered with other elements.

It is always important to simplify the scene or image we intend to work on. That means to start with very simple shapes, very simple edges, and basic accents.

It is easier to apply wet acrylic paint over dry surface, especially when we need strong highlight and strong values. That prevents the fresh part from mixing in with the rest, and if applied incorrectly, can be swiped off with wet paper towel. The edge is rubbed off with dry or slightly damp brush. That allows connecting the freshly painted part with the dry part seamlessly.

Fresh acrylic can look much lighter than it will be after it dries. No need to worry that some part looks too light while the painting is wet. Darks are achieved easier; lights sometimes require the use of multiple layers and repetition of steps. Do not be afraid that you need to repeat some steps and paint application sequences. That is a completely normal process.

I hope everybody can follow these simple steps. For more assistance, you will just have to attend some art classes!

We created quite a few of great works for our own decorating needs. Some still need some work.

Pumpkin still life: works in progress

Pumpkin still life: works in progress

Pumpkin still life: works in progress

Pumpkin still life: works in progress 2

Pumpkin still life: works in progress

Pumpkin still life: works in progress 3

Practically finished painting

Pumpkin still life: works in progress: this is practically done

Autumn art painting class for adults 9

Painting loosely can be of great advantage

Art classes for adults: fall still life

Art classes for adults: fall still life

Res MY Pumpkin paint

Art classes for adults: fall still life demo version, still needs some work, but I will probably call it a day

Painting process mirrors life and that is fantastic

Art creation involves a large range of experiences and emotions: it is pleasure, but can cause problems; it makes us happy, but can be disappointing, achievements come after failures, and lucky accidents happen, too. Especially when paint spills all over your just finished painting, but it only lands on spots which really look better now, plus creates the feel of loose and natural paint application. Cannot happen that way? Well, there are some happy moments which arise from mistakes, and not only in art.

Should you be upset if you feel very attracted to painting, but so far haven’t had any chance to try it or are convinced you have no talent? Definitely not, because we learn painting or drawing with very various goals in mind: just for pleasure, as a hobby, for the love of color, desire to be creative, have something for yourself,  decorate home, paint a gift, prove yourself you can do it, paint like …, and so on, and so on.

When it comes to learning painting or drawing, it is no different from any other studies. Some people are fast learners, some are slow, some students like repeating the new approach at home, but the other ones only do something in the classroom. We all have distinctive ways of seeing and perceiving the reality, some of us have well-trained memory, some have plenty of life experience, and there are also people who can hear things better than visualize them and vice versa.

An art teacher gives directions, explanations, recommendations, advice and examples. During classes, your art teacher will show and demonstrate painting steps, paint application techniques, unusual materials and unexpected ways to apply paint; wrong and proper ways to place items or scenes on your canvas and good and bad mixes of paint. The teacher will make you aware about the fastest and the most effective methods to achieve the desirable effect and the simplest techniques when painting complicated subjects. However, the learning process requires that student’s involvement is as important as teacher’s, because the results directly depend on the effort students have put into their work. They depend on attention or lack of it, on willingness to take risks or not, on whether it is only an attempt or exploration of something new or serious interest and enthusiasm.

The most important part of learning process is our gain from it. That could be knowledge or skill, an idea or just inspiration.

What is the difference between an art class and workshop? Classes and lessons are usually ongoing and the particular matter is explored from simple to complicated, from easy to difficult, and from basic to advanced. There are sometimes classes which deal with very specific subject: trees in watercolor, water in acrylic, works created pouring paint, negative florals or glass in still life; or specific medium or technique: collage, ink and watercolor, watercolor and pastel and so on. Workshops are usually longer than a class and can have as an objective a completely finished work. However, students should not always expect any class or workshop resulting in ready to hang artwork, just because we have different learning and working speeds, and sometimes the new technique takes time to process it in our mind.

Secondly, the experience is an important part of any process. Even though, when watching somebody painting with ease, we assume there are no difficulties involved, that’s not completely true. We need some patience and we also need a positive attitude: if this did not happen today, it will happen sometime. And I can assure, it will. It is highly unlikely that nothing would suit us among millions of ways painting or drawing is done.

Pictures from our last week’s art class serve as illustration. This subject was much loved, and one painting is done, or by the end of class it seemed to be done. The fall gives us plenty of ideas and great things to use for direct observation and painting, not to mention the possibilities to interpret the fall colors! They can please everybody. Happy weekend with nice colors in mind and brushes or pencils in hand!