Friday, December 16, 2011

Chocolate Lab - Cocoa's Christmas

This was a commission painting that my client ordered for a friend. The dog's name is Cocoa. As you see she was just interrupted from exploring a new neighbor in the green scarf. Cocoa realized that Christmas is right around the corner when she was dressed in red outfit and the room was filled with jingle bells. What a wonderful time! Merry Christmas!!
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8"x10" Winsor&Newton Watercolor on 140 Arches Cold Pressed Paper

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Girl's Portrait Study Final Phase

The Girl's portrait is completed. I've defined hair, worked on eyes and lips. And at the final stage looked at the anything that needs to be fixed.
What did I learn?
- The shadow side of the face lit by the Sun needs to be painted darker than you think when mixing the paint. And even it looks exaggerated when it is wet it will dry lighter.
- The time to finish is the time when the artist thinks it is done. I could work on this portrait until the year end; but, it was time to stop. Sometimes it is hard to do so.
- Red hair requires pretty much all colors but Red: I used all shades of gold, which are yellow, transparent orange, burned sienna, green.
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I had a lot of fun painting this portrait, learned a lot, and now it is even a little sad it is done. But I need to move forward :)
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24"X18" Winsor&Newton Watercolor on 140 Cold Pressed paper

Friday, December 9, 2011

Girl's Portrait Study Phase V

This time I am identifying the body parts; but, not finishing them completely. Everything is touched and everything is needed perfection at this stage (ears, nose, eyes, lips) . I would call this period the most unsatisfying as I really want it to be completed but know that it is impossible to see unity unless you work on whole face at once. At least my Girl now gets more character, doesn't she? :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Girl's Portrait Study Phase IV

Today is definitely a Hair Day (good or bad? you decide).. I've added some gold in my girl's hair. Even she is a Blond now she is positively going to be a Cute Red Head. I've used wet-on -wet technique thinking that later I can touch the hair with the small (dry-on-wet) brush in order to define them. I know some artists that do not focus on defining hair and it does look great with the accent on the face and eyes, but for this portrait I think I will stick to my usual technique.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Girl's Portrait Study Phase III

I've worked on the dress pattern trying to frame the face, but not to overdo. At this stage I've only placed two washes on the girls face to distinguish the shadow side and part that's on the sun. There are more washes to the face to come as more contrast is needed. The common practice shows that when painting a sunny day you would have a difference 40% between shade and sunny side. So I have to remember to exaggerate the shadow side when painting(plus remembering that watercolors dry at least 30% lighter).
The first touch of girl's hair shows the Blond; but I will need to work towards the Redish Blond to match the model's personality.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Girl's Portrait Study Phase II

I've added a few shades of red into the cold purple to make it warmer and made the bottom of the painting more intense to settle down the future portrait. Can't wait to start working on baby's face. The background is pretty much done (unless I will want to insert an object or two.. we shell see)... It looks a little dark now as the girls face is not yet touched.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Girl's Portrait Study Phase I

I have not painted kids on the large format paper. This is my first try on 18"x24". I've met the girl this Fall at one party. The sun was shining just right and the parents were so kind to let me taking my future photo-reference that I've jumped to the opportunity. The girls personality is just amazing. Like a lot of Red Heads she was shining from inside. Shy at the beginning, she revealed her smart and talkative nature after the first half an hour of the party; and, became the main subject of admiration. The same moment when I took her photo she was sitting herself comfortably in the huge chair and all of a sudden she heard the dogs barking nearby; she was not scared, no, instead she was curious if this dog can jump over the fence that she can see it. What a Cutie!
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After the drawing I've started the painting by covering the main area of the portrait with Masking Fluid around the edges and the middle of the portrait with the cut out paper. I've started the painting with the wash of yellow and alizarin crimson slowly moving to a darker (ultramarine blue and violet) colors. The reason I've chosen these colors for the background is that the girl has rainbow-flowery dress and I thought it would be nice to include the colors of her dress into the background wash.
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The composition that I've chosen is also very unusual for me. The girls portrait is moved to the far right when I left almost a half of the painting for a background. I've done it intentionally to emphasize the feeling of sun and wind and make the viewer wonder what is there? what this girl sees? I believe this composition gives more space for imagination.

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Angel

A little Christmas Angel spreads his wings ready to go on our Christmas Tree. My sister and I are decorating it this year. When we were kids we could not even imagine to have an Angel as a decoration. Soviet Union times prohibited all sort of things that imply religion. Even Santa was called Father Frost in order to avoid any religious meanings.
But we did make wishes on the New Year eve. The deal was to make as many wishes as you can while clock strikes 12. I had one wish per second. And now, in the Holiday Spirit I really wish for pretty much one thing (besides World Peace and Health for my Family and Friends and myself of course). I wish that my right arm would never fail and my eyes will be strong and sharp to paint more art.
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8"x10" Winsor & Newton Watercolor on 140 Cold Pressed Fabriano
Photo Reference - Masha Batkova

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cherries - Aquabord Study

One more study of Aquabord. I love the texture, but it is not easy to paint on this surface; yet the decorative effect wins the prize and I think this small thick square boards will make a very good affordable gift for the art collectors that do not want to spend a fortune but still want to make a unique gifts to their friends and family. I especially love how it looks on the easel. More pictures are here
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5"x5" Winsor & Newton Watercolors on Aquabord 1/8 thick

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nude Pear

painting of a pear
Watercolor Food - Painting of a Pear - Artist Illustrator Irina Sztukowski 

This Painting Print Is Available
Don't you think that each pear is different and each of them has its own personality? When you look at the pear you would never say Mister, right? People refer to these fruits as Ladies all the time. Even woman shape is called a Pear Shape one. In fact, in Russian language pears carry a feminine name.
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When I looked at this Miss Green Beauty I've noticed the obvious nudity. She was shy but proud of her curves. It was impossible not to paint her.
I've challenged myself using a watercolor board again. Lots of water, lots of dabbing, but the needed effect was reached; and, I am happy about it. The advantage of the board is that you can place it on a wall or on easel without framing. The board is 2-3 mm thick, which gives the painting durability and decorative feeling. Also, the rough surface of the board brings some interesting character to the painting texture.
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And here is the small tour into the Pear History:
Pears are one of the world's oldest cultivated and beloved fruits. In 5,000 B.C., Feng Li, a Chinese diplomat, abandoned his responsibilities when he became consumed by grafting peaches, almonds, persimmons, pears and apples as a commercial venture. In The Odyssey, the Greek poet laureate Homer lauds pears as a "gift of the gods." Pomona, goddess of fruit, was a cherished member of the Roman Pantheon and Roman farmers documented extensive pear growing and grafting techniques. Thanks to their versatility and long storage life, pears were a valuable and much-desired commodity among the trading routes of the ancient world. Evident in the works of Renaissance Masters, pears have long been an elegant still-life muse for artists. In the 17th century a great flourishing of modern pear variety cultivation began taking place in Europe. And in popular culture, the pear tree was immortalized alongside a partridge in the 18th-century Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Early colonists brought the first pear trees to America's eastern settlements where they thrived until crop blights proved too severe to sustain widespread cultivation. Fortunately, the pear trees brought west to Oregon and Washington by pioneers in the 1800's thrived in the unique agricultural conditions found in the Pacific Northwest. Today's Northwest pear varieties are the same or similar to those first cultivated in France and Belgium where they were prized for their delicate flavor, buttery texture, and long storage life. (ref: http://usapears.org)
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5"x5" Winsor & Newton Watercolor on Watercolor Board by Aquabord

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Curious Eyes

It is amazing how two curious eyes can make us happy and smile. My client found me on Etsy and purchased this Sniffer for her mom in Canada. I painted this dog from memory, I don't know his name or where he lives. I don't even know if it is HE or SHE. But I am very happy that these two curious eyes and one wet sniffer will make happy one old sweet lady in a different country :)
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3 1/2" x 3 1/2" Watercolor on Paper

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Merging Feast and Christmas





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Preparing for the Art Show that I am organizing this Saturday I've decided to combine my Flower Garden with the Christmas theme. Mass media makes people think about Christmas way before Thanksgiving feast; it is now becoming so common to start shopping for Christmas even before the Halloween night.
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The Art Show will be held in a small retirement community and I am sure that residents will be more than happy to get some cute stocking stuffers from the local artists. It is only three-artist show but the company is very unique. Besides myself, there will be two of my friends, acrylic painter Vera Lysenko whose talent knocked the door in her early 50s; and, my long time friend Evelyn Smith, the jewelry creator whose awakening for the arts happened in her early 60s. One day learning how to make jewelry saved her (literally) from the heart attack. Both of these artists are self-taught and I am grateful having these people as my friends.
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I am sure the show will be fun. And I believe that there are three important things to make a great successful Art Show:
1. Be prepared
2. Do not get discouraged (no matter what!)
3. Shine (inside and out)
Besides acrylic paintings and jewelry there will be my watercolors and prints, note cards and notebooks, magnets and brochures. Every single item that I present will contain my watercolors; even scarves that I knitted ( I called them Knitted Palette) will come with the Giant Gift Tags made from my Poinsettia painting.
And we will have a lot of free gifts for old folks such 2012 calendars, bookmarks, gift tags, and cute postcards. After all, the great time of Holidays is approaching; we need to make if fun and generous!


In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul
www.artirina.com

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Smallest Lilac in The World



Hm... maybe it is not THE smallest but it is surely the smallest Lilac Bouquet I've ever painted. This painting is the part of my art project where I work with the memories from my childhood. The assignment was about a some kind of shelter where you as a kid felt yourself safe and protected. I decided to build a model of my Grandma's Porch and covered Veranda. A lot of good family memories are there. The painting you see will be a part of the interior. I will make a tiny teeny frame for it and place it on a wall.
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Have you ever tried to paint or make something from your childhood by just using your memory?
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2"x1.5" Winsor & Newton on 300lb Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Breakfast? Anyone?


14"x16" Watercolor on 140 lb Cold Pressed
Long time forgotten I painted this still life several years ago for our favorite breakfast place here in Martinez, California. I am so glad that this small restaurant, Copper Skillet, stays in business surviving these difficult economical times. We don't go out as often as we used to go; but, each time we decide to go we think about a local place. It keeps community ticking; therefore, we love to support those mom-and-pop.

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Black & White Watercolor


Oh that was an interesting commission.
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My client asked to make a painting from black and white photo of her grand kids. The painting was a surprise gift for her daughter. When I looked at the photo reference I thought the lighting was quite unusual. Girls face is lit up from the bottom left corner, which makes the portrait being different from a standard setting. The composition of the photo has rotating dynamics. But I gave it a try and painted first 5"x7" small sketch and next 8"x10" painting. In the step by step photos you can see that I've started with the background (wen-on-wet technique) and then moved to the faces. The girl's face was a challenge, so I did it first. As the fist small painting that I made supposed to be a sketch I've inserted a flower with the color center in the girls hair by playing with the process and complementing the black and white approach of the rest of the painting.
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The client loved them and purchased both watercolor paintings. And her daughter was more than pleased to receive such an exclusive gift. My last observation is that when people give a painting gift to their loved ones it goes beyond what some expected merchandise can do; and, by bringing a giver an extreme satisfaction it also makes a person on the receiving end so happy, surprised and delighted (even the painting is Black&White ;)
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5"x7" and 8"x10" Payne's Gray Colour from Winsor & Newton on 140 lb Cold Pressed Paper

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Friday, October 21, 2011

Needed Some Colors

After a Black & White commission that I am going to post after tomorrow I needed some really bright splashes of colors. And I needed to make it loose. No details! No background! Attention is on the subject matter. The vase is my favorite. It looks so great together with yellow and red of roses. And I've used absolutely unusual paper for watercolor this time. My son finished his drawing class and brought left over (pretty much not used) pad of Series 400 Stathmore Bristol.. Quite interesting experience to paint on it: makes you think about Impressionists and their fast techniques. Next time I'll try very wet-on-wet using this paper. It is exciting to try different materials.
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20"x16" Watercolor on Bristol 400 Series Strathmore Paper

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tomato Dance - Morning Harvest

I can't be happier with this year crop of tomatoes. We left for a camping trip for just a few days last weekend and when we came back our garden turned yellow and red from tomatoes! My favorite time when I pick the tomatoes and smell the green fresh cut stems. Better than any perfume!
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I've painted this painting with pretty much limited palette of three yellows and Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red. The most complicated mix was for greens and shadows, which contains all that what I used in tomatoes plus Burned Siena and a little Purple Violet.
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10"x 8" Winsor & Newton Watercolor on White Fabriano 140 lb Cold Pressed

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spring in The Tea Garden


11"x14" Watercolor on 140 lb Cold Pressed
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This painting and few others were recently accepted in the Best of Worldwide Watermedia book by Kennedy Publishing for 2012. It was sweet to receive the e-mail from the publisher about their selection.
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This painting has a very emotional value for me. I love to visit Japanese Garden in San Francisco Golden Gate Park. And each time I am there the garden looks different even they don't change the exterior much. But the blooming plants that what makes it different and interesting each time I go there. The painting was made in the Spring of 2009 when my Dad came to America for the first time to celebrate his 60th Birthday. I took the photo reference and painted the garden after my Dad left. And every time I took the brush to proceed painting I remembered the good times with my Dad.

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Friday, October 7, 2011

Watercolor Cards

Decorative Style in Watercolors One of my printing companies screwed my printing order sending me 100 Note Cards with the images that I have not ordered. The back side was blank with the cute red and black outline. I've decided to utilize the back side by painting flowers and making greeting cards ... Doesn't take too long for an Artist to use the Creativity ;).. SOLD
Someones mistake will be turned into a pleasure of painting and potentially into a profit. I'll eventually place them into my Etsy Shop.
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As they say: Everything is happening for a reason!


SOLD
watercolor cards

SOLD
Watercolor

SOLD
botanical painting

SOLD
Botanical watercolors

SOLD
Round glass vase

SOLD
watercolors

SOLD
Watercolor cards decorative botanical style

SOLD
In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul



For more Flowers, please see my Floral Gallery HERE

or



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Love, Light, Lemon!


Lately wherever I go and whatever I do the Dutch Still Life is following my art journey. Two weeks ago we started studying Dutch Art in my Art History class. Week ago I went to the Legion of Honor museum in San Francisco to see Dutch private collection. And last week my husband and I were traveling to Washington, DC and happen to come to the Smithsonian Art Museum; and, guess what, we crashed into a Dutch Still Life there, surprise! I can look at the still lives painted by old masters forever and ever and never get tired of them. The professionalism, the symbolism, the details! Incredible!
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The still life that you see in this post has it's story as are all paintings (usually). The coffee pot was brought by my extended family Great Grandpa from Poland when immigrating to America in the beginning of 20th Century. The G-Grandpa is long time gone; but the coffee pot is in our family. One day I was sitting in my studio and winter sun hit the old table with the cup of coffee on it. The light was so sudden and so inspiring that I've grabbed what we had in the kitchen and dining room and started setting up a still life before the sun beam disappears. Lemon, Rose and Grandpa's coffee pot won the prize.
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The dark background reminds me Dutch Still Life style. I didn't think about symbols when setting it up, we can just have a brainstorm and come up with many. I named this still life painting Love, Light, Lemon! as it seemed to be very poetic and implies some kind of song.
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20"x16" Watercolor on 300 lb Cold Pressed Arches, Winsor & Newton Watercolor

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Thursday, September 22, 2011

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge - Two Love Birds









San Francisco was always a very interesting subject for me to paint. And lately I’ve got an opportunity to express my admiration of the Bay Area to the paper. My client asked me to paint a piece for her wedding anniversary from the picture where she and her husband had a wonderful time playing in the city and resting at the beach by Golden Gate Bridge. I fell in love with the idea immediately as it was a great romance there. Although the original photo was a little bit on a grey scale, therefore I felt it would be great to add a few shades of the blue, fading pink and yellow to the sky and a little burned sienna to the hills. When I’ve researched the picture before painting, I’ve noticed how so Red Golden Gate Bridge is not any red when you look at it from the distance. Besides, it is almost grayish pink at the far end. That what Miss Perspective does to the colors.
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There were a few people fishing on the wave-breakers. I eliminated them giving my couple some privacy. Instead, I’ve placed two tiny egrets on the rocks (the sub name of the painting is Two Love Birds)... A few English Daisies on the front added a little romantic mood (there was a dead grass on the picture that did not feel right for the idea of the anniversary gift).
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My client loved the painting, but she didn’t want to frame it. She loved it on a wall unframed. I’ve got a cradle board and mounted painting on it; and I’ve painted the sides with white acrylic to give a completed look. Using Watercolor Fixative will protect the painting from the moisture and I hope the painting will last to the family to at least their 75 wedding anniversary and beyond  J
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Winsor & Newton Watercolor on Arches Paper, 16”x 20” , cradle board

In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Recent Bestsellers - Art For Home Decor and On Merchandise

The last few weeks were very busy at my Online Gallery . Many art pieces from abstract to hyper realism were sold for a home interior ...