Creating is learning, learning means: living more intense

Any creation involves saying something about ourselves. That’s how we are telling others what our point of view is. True creativity is never copying and reproducing, but taking an idea that lives or is just born in our imagination and bringing it to life.

I regret seeing how plenty of instruction is meant to learn not principles and methods, but trying to reproduce a particular artist’s style and manner. Creativity is great not because we can do things that other artists or writers have done, but because we can create everything exactly as we want, have intended and imagined.

The use of color is a very personal feature, color mixing: a general approach to make a shade or tone we want, and therefore, learning the latter is important. Composition can be explained as good and impactful view on items painted on a particular size paper, canvas or other base material. There are generally applicable principles and that’s what we should know. Specific compositional approaches are a personal feature of a particular artist, and we should rather develop our own.

Choice of subject is always important, but we should remember that it is much more useful to learn principles of drawing or painting without sticking to subjects somebody else is painting in some particular manner and doing it great.

How and what always depends on us. The many ways for achieving the desired result we ae learning. Learning is an ongoing activity, and it’s erroneous to assume somebody knows everything. Experiment is the best teacher of all: how do we know if we never tried?

Mistakes and errors are an essential part of learning process. It’s silly to be afraid of mistakes and do nothing. Perfectionism most likely lives inside many minds, but that does not mean anything less than perfect has no value.

I personally always think: let’s see what happens. Everybody who is painting or drawing has thrown out lots of paper and damaged quite a few canvas. There is nothing bad about that. I had a girl who once said: I do not want to throw away this expensive paper just because I started the painting wrong. Well, it is much more difficult to correct wrong lines and colors than start a fresh work using the new knowledge. I believe that every task adds something to our knowledge and skills.

art-for-everyboy-to-create

Sunflower drawing

art-classes sunflower

Sunflower watercolor

I am not at home at the moment, but visiting my closest family in Latvia. I had a few sheets of paper, kid’s paints in fairly bad colors, meaning, they didn’t have the transparency or flow abilities of good quality paints, but still: I simply saw this bloom and these apples, and that; s what I do not have at home. I always prefer drawing from real subject. It was more difficult because the right tools and brushes are helpful, but I did not allow that stopping me. I could return to and reuse the same drawings with decent paints and better size paper or canvas, but these are results at this moment.

art-to-make apple drawing

Drawing for apple watercolor

art-we-love Apples watercolor

I would like to just remind that adults and teens are welcome to attend November/December classes which will start as soon as I get home.

Lifeschool blog deals with GREEN LIVING and importance of changing our perception in order the Earth was living and livable longer. I had to write about the green living for our survival because they are handled so much better in Europe. I have added lots of pictures. Since it’s the secondary blog, it is not that visible, so here is a special invitation. However, those who never read posts, won’t notice that either. Anyway, I hope it is a nice weekend approaching.

Links to 3 recent posts: they continue the same conversation about green living.

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/14/living-green-means-simplifying-and-enhancing-life/

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/14/the-new-perception-of-prosperity-and-green-living/

https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2016/10/10/the-very-green-walk-in-october-forest-we-have-to-end-consumerism/

 

Evolution of the blue cup, Part 2 Drawing and painting steps

I actually love drawing more than painting. During classes, I am usually giving quick demonstrations on what is the best way to draw some shape or object, what helplines to use, where to place something and why to do so. Students who have just started out need a lot of explanations why and what should be done in a drawing or painting. That includes explanations about different types of pencils, brushes, paints and paper.

I did not plan these drawings and paintings, but added to them some item whichever I needed to demonstrate at that moment. We don’t use masking fluid because the class is too short. We are using just paper, brush, paint and plenty of water; in fact, we are learning how important water and paper towel is in achieving the desired effect. Every step needs to be repeated for many times until its purpose is clear.

Drawing the blue cup and carrots

Adding watercolor to drawing

Adding background to simple watercolor still life

I drew the cup first so that students would know where to start. I added some carrots later since we needed to see how to apply watercolor on them.

I drew the pot at first and added some items as we needed to apply some watercolor paint. My painting style could be actually described as drawing with the brush.

 

Still life demo watercolor vegetables

Adding background to watercolor still life

I have been drawing for as long as I can remember, and any drawing does not take me much time and I don’t usually have to look at paper all the time. I’d rather try to look at the object while I am drawing. Since the light is changing, I have to work fast and mark the darkest values right away. I sometimes simply remember them and recall the scene later. Our goal was not to achieve very close likeness or very realistic appearance. We tried to focus mostly on the basic drawing.

Good tools are very helpful, however one should not put off artistic activities just because materials are not perfect. We can always get everything as we go.

I’m sometimes receiving messages like this one:

“I really wanted to learn drawing and painting all my life long, but something always came first: family, kids, work, tiredness, illness, lack of energy and later doubts whether I was able to even start it that late in my life. That never happened, I never found time for painting, and that hurts me because that was one of my dreams which could have been fulfilled so easily just having a bit more persistence.”

I’d say: do not let that happen.

Evolution of the blue cup, Part 1, drawing and painting in watercolor

Most of my students are absolute beginners in drawing. All of them expressed interest in doing watercolor still life, floral and some scenery paintings. Drawing from a real object is not the same as tracing a photo. Photography is already flat, and we don’t have to transfer anything in our imagination. We were following the basic steps for getting our basic shapes somehow right. My advice would be this: if you ever want to learn drawing freehand without copying ready images, start with drawing real objects. Even though first results are usually not breathtaking, improvement is steady, and this ability progresses with every new drawing one does. This actually means to exercise and develop our visual perception, to enhance the way we are seeing things. Everybody sees the same object in a slightly different way, and that doesn’t involve only one’s eyesight. Being able to transfer onto paper or canvas what we are seeing requires to know what we are looking for and what some particular object has which is worth implementing, keeping, emphasizing, enlarging, reducing, omitting, reproducing or transferring.

Almost after each class students would say that they are never going to look at some simple object the same way again would that be cup, carrot, flower, tree or sky. That’s exactly what I’m aiming for: to start noticing things which otherwise would draw no attention to them: shadows, values, colors, shapes, proportion and relationship within and between objects.

The beginner class means to start with explanations and demos about pencils, pencil lines, erasers, papers, brushes, brush strokes, ways of mixing up paint, mixing colors and finally applying paint on paper. Students who want to just try drawing and painting usually don’t have the best quality paper, brushes or paints. We are not using any masking fluid because the class is too short to wait until it would dry. The most embarrassing part usually is the bad quality watercolor paper. It almost seems that some Canson or Strathmore watercolor papers should have warning on them: do not use for watercolor painting. The weight was acceptable, it was cold pressed paper, but sometimes it was coming off in layers, not absorbing anything and so on. Well, we had to use what was available.

We began with mapping the paper: we allocated some spot to each object and did a very simple outline drawing. That sounds very easy; however, it took a while. Yet, we were trying out something completely new and not experienced before.

We applied the first washes. That took a while, as well. Beginner class is a very special one because people are expecting to make some discoveries and gain absolutely fresh experiences here. It’s not the same as a workshop with painters who already know what that’s going to be like.

Still life demo watercolor vegetables

My experience shows the following: students who have always been using photos cannot adjust to or it is more difficult for them to switch over to drawing from real life objects. Some of them were using grids, scaling and measuring each square, after that they drew in whatever was in the particular spot and accordingly applied paint. Some told they were unable to see shadows and shapes when there was a real set-up of some fruits, vegetables or other items.

Even though the first drawings may not be perfect, results will get better after a while, and there will be less and less objects which one cannot draw. Patience is still needed. I hope nobody expects to become a master in drawing just during one or two classes. Repeating at home what was learned in the classroom would be fantastic, too bad, many students don’t have time for that.

In my opinion, the best is: simply draw as much as you can, whenever time allows. It is not that important what the actual object is.

Tomatoes-parsley-jar still life drawing

Drawing classes for beginners

How else does exercising and practicing visual perception work? It facilitates the visual memory and some other brain functions. There is evidence that education and learning produce favorable changes in the brain regardless of age. Drawing and painting are always useful for stimulating the brain activity. Learning over time enhances memory and, thus, facilitates the survival of new brain cells.

Art classes: A worthwhile activity

What is the best way to never feel bored again? How to give one’s life a new meaning?  How to make long winter nights shorter not wasting time in the front of TV? Very simple: by doing something pleasurable and rewarding. Arts fits in this type of activities just perfectly. Not everybody feels like dancing or exercising every weeknight. Not everybody has a good company on his/her own. That’s where I come in with my art classes for beginners and people who simply enjoy colors, shapes and images. Some students will continue painting, some will have art only as a hobby, and some students will enjoy time spent in a nice atmosphere. Whatever way it is done, it is worth it. It is amazing to hear after a class how surprised and satisfied students are that they were able to create something on their own.

Resuming art and painting classes for adults

Wednesday acrylic painting group started to work on fall maple images

Lots of potential students are asking: do they need to be good at drawing or painting? The answer is: no, they do not. It is enough that somebody has found time, and this is a good way to spend it. People who feel they depend on their mobile devices, laptops and computers should give this some consideration, as well. We are learning how not to use any devices, printouts or digital references.

Adult acrylic painting for beginners

Thursday acrylic painting class for adults enjoyed drawing, sketching and painting still life. The first part is done, and results look very promising.

Drawing and some painting is done observing and re-creating objects on canvas or paper. It may be challenging at first, but this approach is the most natural one and provides with real artistic freedom.

Christmas Show and Sale: Art, Crafts, Gifts

It’s Christmas time again, and we are having our annual Christmas sale. It is richer and more interesting than ever before. I have no doubt, everyone can find something great, whether it’s a Christmas decoration, nice, hearty, one of a kind gift, painting, card or gift certificate. Gift certificates for classes and workshops are available every day, not only during the sale.

You can enjoy and possibly purchase more than 200 paintings and crafted gift items.

All decorations and gifts are crafted in the gallery and range in style from traditional to modern and trendy, both, regarding the color scheme and design. We have used mostly nature materials: fir and pine cones, apple-tree and maple branches, spruce tree branches and also some paints, glitter, tissue paper and interesting containers. You should definitely check out the one of a kind gift boxes, note books, diaries and photo albums.

We are offering only original paintings and art, including three-dimensional acrylic nature paintings in subtle and soothing colors.

Variety of Christmas cards can be ordered from the Fine Art America site: Inese Poga’s art collections

Please have a look at some gifts and decorations for sale.

Traditional Christmas colors

Crafted Christmas gift boxes

Crafted Christmas gift boxes

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Gold and red

Red and green: tissue paper roses and glitter on branches

Christmas gift box and red roses

Christmas gift box, very elegant and delicate, matches the Christmas decoration very well

Celebrating the light and warmth

White and red: Christmas gift boxes

Festive and uplifting, sparkle and shine: Christmas settings

I hope you enjoyed the decorating ideas!

Fall Art Festival at Camp Samac: Friday

I belong to people who have lots of duties, responsibilities, appointments, arrangements, etc. I am always planning ahead, but I often find myself balancing on knife-edge to meet all deadlines and to make all things happen. Generally speaking, I cannot avoid some rush with whatever I’m trying to do. Getting ready for art shows always involves some frantic adding of last strokes to some time ago created paintings, some sudden new painting idea just the night before the show; and, yes, that’s me typing the art sales sheets and printing labels just half an hour before I leave to set up the show.

This is how it looks at 10pm the night before the art show. I need my watercolors for signatures and small corrections, I need acrylics for adding some highlights or freshening up the lost darks. I need everything to be right there and all around. What a mess, really! However, this photo was taken before I started to do all of these adjustments. It looked much messier at 1 am when I decided to leave everything alone and get some sleep.

These paintings are waiting far labels, they are also getting checked for imperfections or missing signatures.

This is such a happy moment when the provided space is set up. It seems like nothing to it, and I really have to wonder, how could it take so incredibly much time and efforts?

I decided to do mostly trees this year, and when I stopped by, I found out that 3 paintings were already sold. Great news.

Why trees? I find them extremely human, having so much of character which people are often lacking. I don’t think there can be ever painted too many trees or flowers, these silent guards of our living space.

Autumn birch painting

Birches are stubbornly maintaining their white coats regardless of seasons. It’s not surprising they have found reflection in so many poems, paintings and stories. How to stay white is the lesson they teach.

We can respect maples for knowing how to lose their beauty in such a gracious and marvelous way, there are no regrets, just sadness for rapidly disappearing magnificence.

This maple road painting was done in my rich acrylic texture technique. Paintings of this type change colors as the surrounding light does, and depending on the viewing angle, foliage feels almost touchable at some moments. This painting was also sold straight after I put it out. These paintings exist only as single originals since no prints or similar reproductions can be made, and that’s what I like about them.

Materials for watercolor painting classes

Materials for watercolor classes are less expensive and last much longer than for other mediums.

You can use watercolor pencils, watercolor paints in tubes or set of pan watercolors when starting out. You do not have to buy everything right away, but small set or some paint tubes are necessary for the first class. If the class description specifies watercolor paints are provided, you can skip this paragraph.

Student grade watercolor paints will not have the same properties as artist grade paints because they contain more fillers and less pigment. There is still always something in between: not too expensive and with acceptable quality. However, it is better you get only a few tubes of excellent paint than 20 tubes or large set of bad quality paint. I love St. Petersburg watercolors for their brilliance and transparency.

It is extremely important to have a good watercolor paper because your painting results will directly depend on quality of paper and paint. We are using thick, rough, heavy, cold press watercolor paper. Not all brands will have the “ROUGH” paper, but all of them offer “COLD PRESS” paper. Please pay attention that we are using only cold press paper (it is written straight on a block of paper). The thickness of watercolor paper is measured by weight. So, the greater the weight, the thicker and better the paper. It is measured either in pounds per ream (lb) or grams per square meter (gsm). I would recommend, you look for paper which weighs at least 140 lb (300 gsm). The heavier papers are more expensive, so choose something from the medium range. I use either Arches, cold press, fairly heavy or we order online Saunders- Waterford paper.

Poor quality paper will buckle, warp and it will not allow to use some painting techniques because the number of washes is very limited on thin paper. Masking fluid can cause it to tear. Thin and poor quality paper simply does not have layers for paint to travel through them, therefore, water creates spots, sits on top of the paper surface, does not get absorbed and does not allow paint flowing and creating nice washes.

The size of your watercolor paper actually matters, too. It happens very often that beginners choose paper of a very small size. It is a wrong assumption that painting tiny stuff is easier. The smallest size you should go for is approximately 9 x 12 inches, and we are quite often using larger watercolor paper because it allows to understand painting techniques better and create art much easier.

To paint comfortably, you will need to attach your paper to some firm, but light base. It cannot be heavy, we need to lift, rotate, tilt it and so on, it has to be easy to hold and handle. Firm cardboard or something similar is fine. The base should exceed the painting paper size. Please attach it with the green painter’s tape to the cardboard or similar base.

We are using good pen for pen and watercolor drawings. I would recommend black pen which does not bleed with application of water, Micropen in sizes 0.2 or 0.3 is great.

Graphite pencils, medium soft or hard, and kneaded eraser, also known as putty rubber or artist grade eraser is also necessary. We cannot use the regular hard eraser since it damages the watercolor paper.

We do apply both: graphite transfer or copying paper for transferring our drawing onto watercolor paper and tracing paper for creation of large scale sketches when the drawing is complex or requires to show values clearly. These papers should be in size close to the watercolor paper. Please also have some testing paper which you can use for trying out colors or similar stuff. Cheap watercolor paper would do. I will teach you also how to transfer drawing without using any graphite transfer or copying paper.

We are using some small, medium and medium-large size brushes. Just make sure you buy watercolor brushes with soft bristles. Synthetic brushes are fine and inexpensive. We are usually fine with one flat brush (3/4 or 1 in wide) and two to four round brushes with fine tips. Sizes 6 to 12.

When painting with watercolor, it is highly recommended to use well absorbing paper towel. Paper towel is necessary for cleaning the brush, taking off extra paint or water and correcting your painting. Paper towel is necessary for every single step and class.

Palette can be very simple, just do not get something tiny since it is extremely difficult to mix up reasonable amounts of paint in something which is size of a quarter. If you think, you’d rather save the paint which is already on your palette, get some medium size palette with lid, that way you won’t have to dispose any paint, as long as it’s not dirty.

It is better to buy watercolor painting supplies in a specialized art store, I do not think Wallmart is an option for paper, brushes or paint, but you could get paper towel, painter’s tape, palette and base for attaching your painting there.

Wake up and get in mood for spring

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Living in more and more civilized world, we are loosing our ties with nature and seasonal cycles. Light and sunshine are very important factors which can tremendously facililate our energetic resource regeneration and our recreation, but lack of these essential elements causes inevitable destruction and death of anything organic and alive.

Lux aeterna – the eternal light, is the light in its highest meaning, light as a symbol of timeless flourishing and development.

I don’t think, it’s coincidence that “luxury” and Latin “lux” (light) have the same linguistic root. And, yes, the sunlight is a luxury which we are taking for granted.

Animals and plants are more involved in natural processes, and, no wonder, they thrive and bloom, and are at their energetic top-levels in spring. I suppose, humans were pretty much the same, but the artificial surroundings, which allow us to imitate any season and, thus, facilitate our functions regardless of the weather, don’t require us to feel and understand nature any more. Most of us have our shelters, and who actually cares, how long it’s going to rain or snow.

However, those of us who have still maintained the extraordinary sensitivity to underlying processes of nature, would probably agree that spring has not lost its importance as a driving force of the new seasonal cycle.

Nature wakes up, live juices start to circulate in trunks of trees, grasses and weeds lift up their tiny heads, buds are getting bigger and bigger with every second, first blossoms show their faces to the sun, and birds give the best concert of the year, especially when the day is bright and sunny.

Well, it’s really the right time for new initiatives, new challenges and wake-up activities. This is the renaissance time of our town, city, area, land, country, hemisphere. This is such a breathtaking renewal of our mind and soul, and our body shouldn’t be left behind.

We are welcoming the return of spring with our colourful floral paintings in my studio-gallery, and I will show  in my next post how we are drawing and painting these artworks.

We had exciting March break workshops

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

Chninese proverb

That is so true, and I would like to add, that knowledge or skills cannot ever bother you or become an abuse. What you have learned, is a life-long gain and a never ending opportunity to find out how exciting and unlimited one’s life can be.

We had a busy March break week. During the first workshop days we did a landscape, or rather marshscape with some marsh grass, distant trees and water. It seemed that the image was very well chosen, because results were genuinely impressive. We didn’t waste any single minute, and got almost done one more small scene with purple spring crocuses.

I think workshops are good for students who would like to refresh their skills, or get some inspiration for a new artwork.

 

Developing drawing skills

The truth is that we first have to learn seeing a three dimesional object in order to put it on a paper or canvas and recreate its  all dimensions with art tools and means.

 

Painting spring flowers

Alia and her beautiful painting of marsh scene

 

 

Culture Days 2011

Visual artist Inese Poga is inviting you to participate, create and celebrate arts during Canada Culture Days event on October 1st and October 2nd.

These events are especially designed for children, young people and adults who always wanted to try painting, drawing, or creating a collage, but never really got to it.

You will have an opportunity to practice watercolour, drawing and creating your own design of nature materials.

Please try to be at the gallery-studio between 3.30 pm and 4 pm if you would like to enjoy watercolour painting, and the collage project will start by 5 pm on October 1st. Hands on projects will be starting after 3 pm on Sunday, October 2nd.

This event will be very useful if you are thinking about improving, changing or making more attractive your home environment.

Artist also would like to announce her new project which will start this fall. Everybody interested in creating their own artwork or home decor is very welcome.

Please visit the Culture Days website for more detail, driving directions, map and location.

The gallery-studio is located in downtown Whitby, corner Mary/Perry Str.

http://culturedays.ca/en/2011-activities/search/results?location=L1N2P2&postal_code=L1N2P2