Stick to your plan and pay attention to reference

Lesson 3

Whatever we are doing, we need some kind of a draft in our head or some plan which we keep in mind. However, it is easier said than done. That especially refers to classes. I have noticed that most people want to draw or paint without any plan and without any thinking. It might be so that when starting out it is hard to know what parts or segments should be paid most attention to. There are lots of simple things which make the object look multi-dimensional. By far, those are not only darker and stronger values. Strongly emphasized edges or absence thereof, always darker spots behind the lighter areas also contribute a lot to the spatial perception, not to mention color if it is used. I remember from early years I was told that the darkest dark should meet the lightest light. It can be tough to implement, especially when not having a real reference, but just a photography or sketch. I am personally not excited about patterns which repeat in a regular rhythm such as petals or trees along the path, blooms on a branch and similar things which we unintentionally place on our canvas when there is no firm plan or sketch.

 

Magnolias, recent class demo and I always work together with students straight in front of the class

Why am I saying: pay attention to reference? Because most people don’t do that. When we are just beginning the painting, they would have a look at the reference image or set-up. After a while, I notice nobody looks any more at the reference. You have to! The only exception is when it is a completely abstract work which has been drafted in one’s imagination or when we paint from memory. Painting from memory takes practice, however, and beginning artists cannot handle that too well. 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 edges to lose them, 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 these ones which you feel comfortable with and which suit the size of the area you are working on. Very simple. We can use no brush at all, use a sponge or palette knife, that is a matter of a preference and choice. I know how some instructors want to make rules about everything. There are no rules in the use of tools. It is very obvious that using a very wide brush for tiny spot is simply difficult and vice versa. I know a lot of artists who create the entire painting with just one brush. I do that sometimes, too.

 

The Pink rose, recent class demo

So, the conclusion is: do not change things around dramatically or completely when the work is halfway through and always keep an eye on the reference. That’s why it is so rewarding to paint from real objects, live is live and photo is just a photo. Live comes with smell, touch, very visible shape and very noticeable values. Do not pressurize yourself and painting: there are moments when we need to stop and make a decision about the next step.

 

Purple pansies, finished just yesterday

Paintings and drawings really hate when they are not treated with due respect. It is much better to allow everything to develop in a natural way. For illustration I have attached the recent flower paintings. There are many more, but they just need finalizing touches. You know: painting is never done, right?

Please accept these unpretentious flowers

Flowers: the nature’s mysterious beauty that is so easy to reach, to enjoy and to give as a gift.

Where do flowers come from?

From happiness.

How did they get their fragrance?

From love.

How can they be so beautiful?

God allowed them to use any color and any shape to remind us

Beauty is timeless but lasts for a short while.

I hope all moms received plenty of flowers today. They are a thing of enormous beauty, and they can say everything without words, just like art.

I also hope you are showing your love to your mom while there is still time enough, and you are not too late with your “I love you mom!”

It is so easy to love a small child; it takes more than superficial attraction to love genuinely very old people. To understand them and to appreciate, and to be grateful they are with us. Moms of people who belong to my generation are getting close to 90.

Thankfully, my mom is still doing lots of good things, sewing and gardening, not to mention small daily stuff like dishwashing, or cleaning. She loves flowers, so I sent her some, although, the Ocean is between us, that cannot stop us from exchanging some words on the phone or over Skype. The distance has the ability to make things clearer and more valuable. Simple words can get a new meaning.

Well, I was not very productive recently, but I have made some watercolors for cards, something unsophisticated, but sincere.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mom, grandmother and great grandmother! I hope your kids, grandchildren and great grandchildren are blessings to you.

 

Please accept these unpretentious flowers as a small thank you for everything you are to my every single day!

Beauty never ends, flowers will live as long as we do and they will keep inspiring us. Always.

To praise the divine, to overcome the dullness of routine

By far, my life hasn’t been a fairy-tale, but rather continuous attempt to prove that our powers exceed the known limits we have put ourselves within.  I believe that talk solves nothing. I am deeply convinced that too much fake positivism and superficial “everything is fine” statements can actually cause harm. When our intentions remain only as to-do-lists, there is no result. There is huge gap between the real action and intent.

We often hear that life is not fair. Well, life as such is fair and fine, it is humans who make things become unfair and unfavorable for others.

Therefore, I wish there was much less pretending that everything is fine and much more doing in order it was like that.

For me, praising the divine does not mean unstoppable talking about it. That means bringing the beauty to people and making them understand how little, in fact, we need to experience the most valuable things on this Earth. There would be much less suffering if one day we had opened our eyes and started calling things their correct names. Becoming realistic is not a bad start.

The daily routine is absorbing plenty of time and taking large amounts of energy. People who are not rich have to deal with this whether they are happy with it or not.  Even though, I could do so many useful and exciting things instead of cleaning up and washing dishes or cooking, that is not going to change. I do everything fast, and I have a prevention system in place: to avoid general cleaning, I do not allow any dirt or messes to accumulate. I spend 12 hours or more a day quite often on medical writing. That is the job I make my living with. I wish I earned my living with teaching and doing art, but that is a bit of unreal idea at the moment.

The other energy drainer is my health conditions. Thankfully, I have a huge medical knowledge, so I can realistically access my options. I deal with that, too, as good as I can, and I do not pretend these conditions are going away or disappearing, because they are not. Not all wounds can be healed with good intentions and positive attitude: some take surgeries and some take long treatments. However, I refuse to be completely limited or defined by these conditions. Whining or crying is not going to help, so I am a realist and I am setting for me reasonable goals. This does not mean having a negative attitude; this is just honestly evaluating the situation and having it under control.

I have inherited love to the nature and all Gods creations from my great grandparents, grandparents and my parents. I strongly believe that family either makes one creative and resourceful or completely ignores this necessity by not appreciating the great experiences and benefits creativity has to offer, although, this does not always mean any financial benefits. I am genuinely thankful I have all skills and knowledge to dress myself, sew and design my clothes and outfits, to grow my own garden plants , flowers and vegetables, to cook fantastic meals with little efforts, to decorate my living space and create all necessary items for that and so on and so forth. This is all because of my family. Somebody might call me workaholic, but I hate simply sitting around and doing nothing. I cannot recall any single episode of my childhood or earlier years when I had to admit I was bored. I was always busy. Trying to make something from nothing. That is a great way to, a great way to live since I am seeing some opportunity just about everywhere.

Spring flowers for greeting cards

I am sending flowers to my mom every time whenever there is some important day or some celebration because I know she appreciates and loves them. We are far away, the Ocean is between us, but we can talk on Skype. My husband gives me flowers on every occasion, not only when there’s a celebration or birthday, but just for pleasure, as well. I have always fresh flowers around me, many are potted. I believe he does this because he knows how I am talking to plants and how much I enjoy them. They respond with adorable blooms and never-ending beauty.

Apple blossoms and butterflies for greeting cards

I feel that my duty is to teach other people to enjoy things which are not that costly, but rather a true source of happiness, pleasure and satisfaction. It would be tough going through life without art and beauty. The importance of brain fitness is completely ignored, but I am trying to make everybody aware how this can be achieved with simple sketching and drawing on a daily basis. If one can escape the age related dementia and loss of brain functionality just doing some visual art exercises, why don’t they do that? That’s a good question because physical body is always put first and mental and spiritual well-being is supposed to occur automatically which is absolutely and totally wrong.

I hope I’m doing my part and creating art pieces for our eyes to enjoy. To me, this means praising the divine every single moment not only in words, but with doing.

Robin nest Easter card

Robins nest: a greeting card, poster, art print, and wall art

Spring art prints flower wall art

View on the table of my paintings, originals are 16 x 12 inches each

Wall art for spring decoration

I struggled a lot to get the right colors on photos, some came out ok, some not that much

Butterflies and birds spring watercolor paintings

These are the new images for spring cards, Mother’s Day cards and cheerful prints to decorate our living space for warmer and lighter season. They look excellent as pillows, too, I cannot enjoy enough. Everything is available through Fine Art America at very moderate prices (link on the right side).

Pink rose watercolor painting Orange rose watercolor painting

Apple blossoms and butterfliesSpring tulips

Happy Easter and sunny spring for those who do not celebrate Easter!

The endless waiting for spring: flowers of my dreams

It’s still chilly and nasty out there in Ontario. The rain is just pouring down in cold streams tonight. Not a good background for happy thoughts. Although, we should appreciate the fact that it is at least not that cold anymore. One step at a time towards the warmth.

I remember my first spring in Canada: it was so sunny, so overwhelmingly warm, everything blossoming; and such insanely uplifting green was everywhere. I had already all the garden planted and coming up around this time. That was 10 years ago. We have experienced quite bad weather conditions since then, and, no, I do not assume anymore that Ontario weather is any better than Latvian.

It is no secret that we are already desperately hoping the weather forecast will have some good news for us, too. I recently looked at some of my paintings, and I don’t think I am going to paint or draw winter again any time soon. Instead, I am about to do way more florals, I worked out some nice flowers on the hill concepts, and when it is November I will paint autumn trees, distant skies and fog.

Since all my thoughts are in spring, with spring and about spring, my sketches, drawings and watercolors reflect that. These sketches or pen and watercolor images were all started as demonstrations. I am aware I have too many demo works on the go, and most of them never get finished, but that’s just the way I am. I cannot have one single class without demonstrating something. This something gets developed, and later it seems: it’s probably worth putting in more work.

I thought these could be perfectly used as images for greeting cards.

Spring rose

The spring rose

Pink spring lily watercolor illustration

The pink lily

Flower sketches in watercolor and pen: spring tulips

The lovely tulips

Spring daffodils, watercolor and pen painting

The gentle daffodils

Set of greeting cards with flowers

The set of greeting cards

It’s been also mostly dark, so it’s hard to catch a good day with a normal daylight to get proper colors on my photos because any type of electric light does not allow to have them as in reality.