Monday, January 30, 2012

London, Great Britain - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

The last but not least sketch for my Sketchbook Project for NY Library - the Great City of London. London has been called "The World in One City". This tells a lot! With its diverse range of people, cultures, religious with its many attractions for the tourists from over the World London breathes the history and it's calling for a visit. In my mind I am already there walking down to Hyde Park, visiting British Museum and National Gallery, peaking at Buckingham Palace, and crossing the Millennium Bridge. And sure enough, the most recognizable London's view, 150+ year-old Big Ben (on my sketch) will not be able to escape my attention when I visit this beautiful City.
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4" x 6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Prague, Czech Republic - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

Here is my next to last sketch for the Sketchbook Project of NY Library. On this sketch you see the Old Town Square in Prague, Capital of Czech Republic. What I liked painting here is the big clock tower with it miscellaneous-brick walls. I just can imagine how each stone is breathing the history here at the Old Town Square. The photo reference contained a lot of modern things such booths, markets, bright advertisements on this square; but I eliminated them wanting to see this historical place as it would be seen centuries ago. I did leave people though in order to give more life to this stone-man-made beauty.
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4" x 6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Amsterdam, Holland - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

When I am going to Holland I will definitely start with its Capital Amsterdam. Being built in early 13th century by 17th century this city became a center of world economy. The rise of merchandise, political stability, and economical success gave opportunity to a lot of artist to thrive and polish their skills. The Dutch paintings, specifically Dutch Still Life, a my favorite of that time of the world history of art. I am hoping to visit as many museums as I can to see the original still lives by many favorite artists (just name a few: Jan Brueghel the Elder , Osias Beert,Osias Beert, Clara Peeters, Jan Davidsz de Heem).
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The sketch is showing one of the historical places of Amsterdam, the church of Sint-Nicolaaskerk
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4"x 6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed paper

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

Friday, January 20, 2012

Munich, Germany - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project


This sketch is about Marienplatz Old Town Hall, which is located in Munich, Germany. First built in wood it was completely destroyed by fire in 1460. Between 1470 and 1480, the old town hall was rebuilt in Gothic style by Jörg von Halsbach. I thing the Gothic pointing roofs and lace knitted architecture that what invites me in visiting Europe and particularly Germany. It is amazing how in spite the hardest time for Europe in 1940s its countries were re-born practically from ashes. In this scene the beauty of the yellow flowers compete with the beauty of another kind, the man-made one.
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4"x6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Warsaw, Poland - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project


When I am in Poland, I really would love to visit Warsaw, the city which history goes as far back as the 12th and 13th century. And when I am there it would be great to go St. Mary’s Old Church (in Polish: Kosciól Nawiedzenia Najswietszej Marii Panny). It is one of oldest buildings and one of the few surviving examples of Gothic architecture in the city, which was built in 1411. And in spite of the fact it was destroyed almost completely during World War II, it was reconstructed and brings joy to people in our days. I’ve read about this church that it became a symbol of the capital’s rebirth of post-war re-creation of the Old Town Warsaw, which was practically risen from ashes after a devastation of the war.
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4" x 6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vatican City - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project


During my visit to Italy I cannot miss the State of Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, which has a whole complex of different museums. My main goal is to observe the old frescoes in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. I just want to see with my own eyes these 16th century masterpieces.
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4" x 6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Siena, Italy - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project


Italia! Italia! I always wanted to go there. And my desire doubled if not tripled when last Summer I started learning about Medieval and Renaissance art in my Art History class. Italy became the center of art and culture many centuries ago. Artists from different countries went to learn art in Italy from old masters. Throughout the times the history was well preserved there. And I believe that unlike some of other European cities Italian ones keep their charm and remain untouched by civilization with its concrete-glass-high scrapers; or, at least I want to believe. I've also heard that Italian people are very nice. My friend lived in Italy for several years and when she came to Russia she said that the character of Russian people, their charisma reminded her Italian character a lot.
When I am in Italy, my first destination will be most likely Florence, Rome, and Venice. But if time and money permits I would love to visit Siena (you see on the sketch and will understand me why) and Positano. And wherever I go I want to paint, take tons of pictures, visit museums and churches and of course to see the original art in person. My sister and I even started learn Italian together. She is more advanced in this language than I am; yet I’ve recently learned one but very good phrase: Anno nuovo vita nuova! (which means New Year New Life!) There is something in this sentence very inspiring and promising, isn’t it!? :)
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4"x6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Monday, January 16, 2012

Stockholm, Sweden - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project


I traveled to Stockholm by Silja Line cruise from Helsinki. Only one night on the ship and you are in the most beautiful city of Sweden. Besides old downtown with its narrow streets and gorgeous King’s Palace; there are plenty of things to do for a historian as well as for a modern tourist who likes to shop in the old part of the town. Although, I was not denying shopping, one a very quiet and isolated area remained my favorite part of Stockholm. It is a well preserved historical place Skansen which is located on the small island of Djurgården not far away from the downtown. When you are there you practically fly in times and experience the old days Sweden with the countryside, old town quarter, small parks and gardens. You can feel, be, see the old village with its routines and tribal rules. And if you are lucky you can even witness how is the glassblower is making old style vases in the glass shop.
The sketch that you see is of my other favorite place where I happened to bring the group of tourists that I used to bring from Saint Petersburg. It is Stockholm City Hall (Stadshus) ; for some reason its tall part always reminded me Venice Bell Tower although I have not been to Italy yet.
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4"x6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Helsinki, Finland - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

I’ve used to go to Finland at least 5-7 times a year and visited Helsinki if not 20 then probably close to 20 times back in 90s. The reason was that I have shared two jobs at a Travel Company. One of them was a Marketing Manager and another was a tour guide. And because Marketing duties did not allow me to leave the country for a long period of time, 2-3 days trips to Finland suited me well. It took only a few hours to get to Helsinki by bus from Saint Petersburg (not counting hours of standing at the customs and checking luggage and papers of relatively big group of tourists). When my job of bringing my group to the City Tour and accommodating them to the hotel was done, I loved to walk to the pier, visit farmers market or Museum of Modern Art. And I came many times to the beautiful square and listened to music at this Lutheran Cathedral. I loved going to Helsinki, even it was intense work. I still found time for myself while my tourist were running around the city and shopping. Finland those days seemed to me cleaner and calmer than busy 6 million-people Saint Petersburg
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4"x6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Barcelona, Spain - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

Watercolor travel sketch
http://irina-sztukowski.artistwebsites.com/featured/barcelona-spain-irina-sztukowski.html
Spain is the country that woke up my love to the color. Being born in the North of Russia, in the city that has half year winter, and another half cloudy skies and gray weather; and when the Sun is literally shining only around 30 days in whole year (except the cold winter days with below 30 Celsius when you don’t want to show up your nose out of the door); in Spain I was welcomed by a warm sea, sunny days, friendly people, hot music, and absolutely stunning architecture. I thought nothing can impress me after leaving in the great City of Saint Petersburg. When I visited Barcelona and saw future Gaudi’s inspiration Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, it reminded me a sand castle made by a genius Giant. Looking fragile but meantime timelessly strong and eternal the Cathedral of Barcelona captivated my attention for a long time. I found myself in between time zones when I stopped keeping track on what was happening around and remained looking at the piece of art, centimeter by centimeter, exploring its beauty.

More sketches are in my new book Travel Sketches

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

Friday, January 13, 2012

Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

I went to Egypt with my son and my mom back in 1998. My son was only 9 years old and when we went to visit Karnak Temple and all adults were ah-&-oh looking at this thousands-years old wonder, my son decided to play Peek-a-boo with his Grandma. I found it funny how kids don't really care about the history, they always find something to have fun with. My mom on another hand was so excited that she, the engineer with 20 years career behind her shoulders, wrote a long poem about that day. I found gorgeous panorama where you can feel your are right there and feel yourself so small and young compare to the history. Here it is, courtesy of http://www.panoramas.dk/fullscreen7/f22-karnak-egypt.html
And here are some interesting facts about Karnak Temple:
The major difference between the Karnak Temple and many of the other sites in Egypt is how long the temple took to develop, as well as how long it was used. The construction of the temple started during the 16th century B.C. About 30 pharaohs gave a contribution to the buildings, which enabled it to reach a diversity, complexity, and size that isn’t seen anywhere else in the world. There aren’t many unique individual features of Karnak, but the number and size of the features is amazing.( from (http://famouswonders.com))
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4"x6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

Thursday, January 12, 2012

San Francisco, California - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

Here is the place where I live now; or no-no, not right next to the Golden Gate Bridge; but just an hour drive from it, the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. My husband and I love to come here some weekends and just walk along the bridge, feeling like tourists and getting some exercise. It is fun to walk to the middle of the bridge and look down. If you lucky you can see dolphins or sea lions below. Sure enough you should choose the weather with no fog; otherwise, you will only see the visitors that are walking next to you..
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4"x6" Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paris, France - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

As the second piece for my Sketchbook Project I chose a very recognizable subject matter. It is hard to believe that so many people (painters, poets, architects) thought in 1900s that this was a soar on the surface of Paris. I previously posted a few interesting facts about Eiffel Tower here. I've been to Paris twice with 12 years break in between. But each time I went there I still found something amazing for myself. Besides its obviously touristic atmosphere it somehow makes you feel wanting to visit it again and again. And I will certainly make sure I take tons of pictures when I come back to Paris one more time. The Eiffel Tower is fun; but my favorite places in Paris still are Musée d'Orsay and Musée Rodin with its gorgeous garden.
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4"x6" Watercolor on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Saint Petersburg, Russia - Travel With Me - Sketchbook Project

This year I am participating in The Sketchbook Project 2012 World Tour and I chose the theme Travel With Me. The book has only 14 pages and it will have 14 of my original watercolor sketches. I decided to place seven countries that I've visited or lived in; and, other seven will be the countries and places that I dream to visit.
And what is the better choice to start with if not my home country that I've been for 32 years of my life, Russia, Saint Petersburg. The sketch that you see is about Blood Cathedral (

The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood)

, an amazing piece of architecture that was built in early 1900s. I lived 10 minutes walk from this church but was able to visit it only in the late 90s as it was closed for restoration for more than 30 years. The building is decorated with tiny pieces of mosaics, gold, blue, terracotta. Each inch is worth looking at and admire.
This is the first sketch for my book. Thirteen more to come.
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4"x6" Watercolor on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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 ...