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!

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!

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.

Yellow hibiscus blooms: acrylic class is doing fine

I have noticed that sometimes students feel disappointed when they discover that drawing and painting actually takes some time, effort, skill and practice. Many people who are interested in creation of art use to watch YouTube videos and demos, and painting seems to be so easy and effortless, especially time-lapse demos, that when it comes to painting on their own they are really surprised how it didn’t happen with the first brush stroke. Any medium, and acrylic is no exception, requires to learn and figure out its advantages and drawbacks, to get used to its features and to understand how these paints really act and work on canvas or on paper. Mixing colors is a science on its own, and we still have to add to this the creation of image, planning, drawing, creating perspectives, compositions, we have to take into account values, contrasts, layout, so on and so on.

Well, one or two classes cannot give a complete understanding neither about the application of paint, nor about the painting process. We also need to be patient because sometimes the painting just doesn’t happen in a blink of an eye.

Even though, everybody was interested in still life painting in the Thursday group, I had to admit after the first classes the object which consisted of quite a few jars, cups and apples was too difficult to re-create. Two of my most dedicated students completed the painting, and their results were surprisingly good, but the rest didn’t have the persistence to overcome the initial difficulties and some just dropped out.

We decided to go with flowers as the next object. Some new students joined the class, as well, and we will probably do more scenery in the future just like the other group which has been busy with birches all October. It seems the hibiscus was liked by everybody, though.

 

Yellow hibiscus: model for acrylic painting class

I have taken many hundreds of pictures over 3 years since I have this plant. There are periods when it is resting and doing not so great, and there are moments when it looks breathtakingly beautiful with its large graceful yellow blooms which can be as big as a medium size plate. I keep this hibiscus outdoors in summer, and I obviously have to accommodate it indoors when the temperature drops.

Working on first layers

 

I don’t think anybody would complain about the lack of inspiration when this amazing plant is in full bloom. The color alone is worth a kingdom. I didn’t finish my demo yet, and some students only got done the first part, but our results were quite satisfactory this time.

Good start: new students joined the Thursday acrylic painting class

 

Acrylic painting can be relaxing as well

 

Acrylic painting class for beginners

Acrylic painting classes for adults and young people

Painting is progressing nicely

Enjoying the class: it is also fun and pleasure, not only work

Art classes for adults and teensWe started from the center and moved with the image and paint outwards as we progressed. It looks this approach is not only saving time, but also offers a lot of advantages when developing the image. The final paintings should be excellent.

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.