Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mama Mia! So Many Roofs! Siena, Italy

The history of this painting goes back to the last year when I was preparing for the Sketchbook Project - Travel With Me. The sketch will soon end up in NY Library after it travels in the different countries. 

When I was painting a larger format it took quite a while even the overall tone of the painting is pretty much the same and contains primarily Ochre and Burnt Sienna (Note the town that is painted is called Siena). I couldn't understand what took so long to paint; and at the end I finally got it. The painting contains 17 roofs (big and small, close and far)! I guess, it does take time not only to build the roof, but as well to painted it. :0) 
To make the painting more "alive" I've added birds, some flowers on the back, geranium on the window sand hanging outside laundry. I thought this will give nice people presence in this old rustic town.

23"x17" Watercolor Painting on 140lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dancing Fire


When I placed four of my new abstract paintings together, I was surprised myself how the cold wet watercolors could transform into a hot powerful fire. Just in a few brushstrokes the energy of a dramatic composition moves the viewers' eyes from one figure to another generating a new Dance of Fire.

My favorite Dancing Fire painting remains this one:

watercolor painting

And you can see more Abstract paintings in my Abstract Gallery HERE


Each artwork is 6"x4" in Winsor&Newton Watercolors on 300 lb Cold Pressed paper

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Trip to Monterey or Not?

22"x17" Pastel on Tinted 80lb Paper

This was my Final Project and my Final Pastel Painting. 

The smiley model of this painting is an adorable boy from Africa who was adopted by  one great San Francisco family. His nature is just like a Sunshine. In fact, if to translate his name to English it would read something like that. The family is getting this portrait as a gift from the Artist.

I've used several techniques when working on this art piece. For the face, I put layer after layer with smudging technique, yet the eyes I've drawn with the point of a pastel stick in the sharp crisp strokes. For the fuzzy fleece jacket I placed my pastel stick horizontally on the paper and moved different directions to allow the texture of the paper to shine through. When I took the original picture it was not that colorful at all. The background was a concrete pavement with a few pigeons on a back. I decided to combine two in one. I got one of the photo references that I had from my trip to Monterey and made the little boy "travel" to that beautiful place. 

And now when my semester is over, I need to get inspired to paint as bring as pastels with my lovely watercolors. The "models" didn't wait too long. The day started bright; and my fresh-picked garden roses posed for me if they were asking to paint them in the future:

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lemons And A Playground

Painting in pastels is not easy for the watercolor artist like me. The dry medium tries to jump off the paper; and God forbid you sneeze or say "Ahhh".. forget about the last layer you worked on so hard ;)..
These two artworks are painted (yes, yes, they say PAINT) in pastels. And as much as I love watercolor, I have to admit I liked the outcome of these two (really want to say DRAWINGS).

I was really nervous about lemon skin though. In watercolor I would just dab the brush slightly with complimenting color and take out some dots with a dump pointy brush. Here, I had to make lots of pastel dots. It sounded as I am knocking the door (if somebody watches The Big Bang Theory.. it was like thousands of Sheldons .. never mind :0)...and the bad part: the dots did not want to stay! Thank God for a good advise from the teacher to fix the layers; otherwise, I could never make this post happen. 

Tomorrow I will place my last pastel that I've painted this semester in class. It is truly The Final.
16"x22" pastel paintings with Rembrandt pastel on tinted 80lb Pastel Paper

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

Never Late To Practice

If somebody told me twenty years ago that when I turn 40+ I will paint balls and cylinders again, oy, I'd laugh very hard. Yet here I am, taking a drawing class for my degree. And the best part that I enjoy it. When teacher said we'll do simple still lives, one per 3 hour class, I couldn't believe its possible. My academic experience from Russian art schools told me it is impossible as we mostly painted in pencil (graphite) with very fine applications. Here we were supposed to use charcoal, sanquine, and white crayons on a tinted  and very fine paper. These materials helped to speed up the process. It was not too easy to block out of watercolor-mind and use dry techniques. But it was fun.
I thought I will share some of non-watercolor art that I've done in the class this semester while I am working on one pretty urgent commission painting (not yet to be disclosed).
And by the end of the week you can see my masterpiece with pastels. Gosh! I have not used pastels literally 20+ years! You will be the judge :0)
Each Drawing is on 18"x24", Tinted 80lb Pastel Paper with charcoal, sanquine, and white crayons. 

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

Free e-Book

I am so happy to admit that my blog is taking a new turn. 
With its almost 150 posts that reflect not only my art but deliver deep thoughts from my heart; it received more than 800 warm encouraging comments. Meantime, I was wondering: how in return I can be grateful to my followers and subscribers. And last week it just hit me: is so easy to be generous! I created a special art book that contains more than 80 paintings from a few recent years. 
I thought it will be a great thing to offer the following: 

Each person who signs up to have updates from my blog by e-mail will receive a free art-e-book from me.

Have a splendid day!

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Color is The Tango?

red orange

abstract art
abstract painting

…or Flamenco?

These few paintings are the part of my new Dancing Collection (in Abstract– Décor - Collage gallery). It started when I asked myself a question: what color are the dances such Tango, or Flamenco, or classical ballet? And this question led to an idea to create a several series of paintings:

·        Dancing Fire (part of it you see now)
·        Dancing Water (coming in the near future)
·        Dancing Wind (need to work on color palette first)

I think that certain dances definitely apply to the descriptions above as well as certain colors.
For instance, Tango and Flamenco are just begging for Scarlet Red, Electric Yellow, and Burned Siena.
One of the legends about the origins of Tango is that it came from Buenos Aires, Argentina; which at the end of the 19th century had quite a diverse place. A good mix of immigrants from Italy, Spain, Britain, Poland, Russia, Germany and other European countries brought their touch to the creation of this pulsating dance. Between 1910 – 1913, Tango was introduced to Paris and later spread across the Atlantic quickly becoming an international phenomena.
On another hand, Flamenco dance is pure Spanish and has a long history going back to 1700s. One legend states that it was named after a gracious bird flamingo. As that bird Flamenco resembles a beautiful dance of exotic creature. Different legend claims that Flamenco is the traditional dance of Spanish Gypsies (flamencos) from Andalusia. 
Both Tango and Flamenco are hot and vibrant, just like their Fire colors. There is no doubt that a spicy flickering fire is involved in their music and provocative moves.
This is my color tribute to dance and music.
6”x4” Winsor & Newton Watercolors on 140 Cold Pressed Paper

More Abstract art? click HERE
For realism in Watercolors click HERE
fine art

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


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to Be a Woman Artist in 18th century

Digging through a lot of primary sources for my History class I found a story about one incredible woman who was actually not only earning money from her paintings: but, at some point of her life, selling her art was the only income source for her family. She was the first known woman artist here in America at the beginning of 18th century. And even though her primary medium was pastel, not watercolor; her portrait paintings are vibrant and fresh, which remind me an Old School watercolor art. Too bad there is no self-portrait that I could find (oy, I better hurry and make a few more self-portraits myself that couple of centuries forward historians don't complain when digging up my watercolors :0)

The essay below is written in academic style (bibliography, cited work, etc.) and it has emphasis on American history; but, when I wrote it I tried to imagine how women artists lived in 18th century; and how they survived.

One Portrait Two People Lives

Portrait of Anna Cuyler Van Schaick by Henrietta Johnston, 1725 Pastels, NY State Museum Collection 
Anna Cuyler’s (Mrs. Anthony Van Schaick) portrait by Henrietta Dering Johnston is dated 1725. Henrietta Johnston was noted first American woman artist who actually earned living by making art. When she painted this artwork at age 51 she was already an accomplished artist who made her name by painting portraits, mostly in pastels. Her style was well recognized and she had an established clientele among her friends and acquaintances. Being an artist at the beginning of 18th century was not an easy job even for men. Being an artist woman in the man-in-power dominated society was complicated task indeed.
Between the end of 17th century and the beginning of 18th century America is experiencing social and political turmoil. Although there was obvious expansion of English empire, the end of 17th century greatly disturbed already shaking European colonies. Variances between reach and poor, free and slave became more obvious. There was continues disagreement between settles and Indians. Religious movements tried to dominate each other. The beginning of 18th century returned stability to English North America together with economical growth and incoming immigrants seeking a better life in the New World.
It is interesting to note that Henrietta Johnston chose the portraiture and medium of her paintings as many other artists of 18th century not only due to a fashion but as well to availability, economical and commercial situation of that time:
As it was in painting, American draftsmanship before 1800 was
dominated by portraiture. Among the earliest examples of the
genre were in the medium of pastel, imported into the American
colonies as far back as the first decade of the 1700s and best
exemplified by the extensive production of one of this country's
first notable female artists, Henrietta Johnston (ca. 1674–
1729) (Avery)
At the time when photography was not invented the artists who made portraits were quiet popular. Henrietta’s talent was not only appreciated but as well in a big demand. Unlike many women of 18th century who were not seen working as in the modern sense of understanding, Henrietta earned making her art. She was able to make what she loved to become her profession. Her life was fulfilling yet not a trouble-free. Born in France, immigrated to England, and later moved to the New World, Henrietta’s life had some glory as well as some difficulties. After being married to her first husband for ten years she became widowed at age 30 with two little children on her hands. And even thought her first husband belonged to a high society of England; after his death Henrietta’s life had to have new turn:
In 1705 she married Reverend Gideon Johnston (1668-1716), a
graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, who was the vicar at
Castlemore. Appointed Bishop’s Commissary in South Carolina
by the Bishop of London, in April 1708 Johnston and his wife
arrived in Charleston. (Severens)
And even though at the beginning of 18th century South Carolina where Johnston’s moved in 1708 became one of the richest British colonies in North America; the family’s personal life faced a lot of economical difficulties. But there was one precious thing that could not be taken from Henrietta; and, actually helped family to survive difficult times, her talent:
Reverend Johnston became the Rector of St. Philip’s
Episcopal Church, and repeatedly wrote to the Society of the
Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts requesting payment
of his salary, which was often delayed. In one letter he states:
“were it not for the assistance my wife gives by drawing of
pictures…I should not be able to live,” indicating that Henrietta
Johnston was compensated for her portraits, making her the first
professional woman artist in America. (Severens)
Henrietta’s portraits are simple and show the great school although it is not known where she received her art education. We can only guess that the portraits resembled the subjects; but, they certainly have a character that the artist caught on the panel with her beautiful pastels. Her female portraits are very gentle; usually dressed in chemises and carrying feminine romantic mood. Portrait of Anna Cuyler represents Henrietta Johnston’s style in all its glory. The lady on the portrait is dressed in warm gold-toned-sepia silk gown. Her face is beautiful yet real. The artist did not simplify the features; instead, she presents the actual woman with the strong character. From New York State Museum online project we learn about Anna Cuyler that she was born in Albany in 1685 and she was the oldest daughter of Johannes and Elsie Ten Broeck Cuyler. Her father was a famous merchant and even was appointed a mayor of Albany and her mother was the daughter of one of the founders of the Albany community:
In 1712 twenty-seven-year-old Anna became the second wife of
thirty-year-old Anthony Van Schaick, Jr. He was a son of a faming-
based, early Albany business family. Over the next fourteen years,
Anna gave birth to at least nine of the previously childless Van
Schaick's children - the last arriving as she passed her forty-first
birthday.( Bielinski)
Van Schaick family requested to paint Anna’s portrait in 1725 when Anthony Van Schaick was commissioned lieutenant and captain of militia by Governor Hunter. At the time when portrait had been painted Van Schaick family was well known and respected in the colony. Henrietta Johnston captured a young woman, a wife of the official figure, a mother of nine children in one small pastel painting. Just by looking at one portrait painted almost 300 years ago in America and by learning sources of information we can reveal the history of a country, the history of one person and her family, and the history of the artist’s life.

Cited Works
Avery, Kevin J. "Late Eighteenth-Century American Drawings." The Metropolitan Museum Of Art. 2000-2011 The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, n.d. Web. .

Bielinski, Stefan. "Anna Cuyler Van Schaick." The People Of Colonial Albany. New York State Museum, n.d. Web. .

Severens, Martha R. "Jonston, Henrietta De Beaulieu Dering." South Carolina Encyclopedia. University Of South Carolina Press, n.d. Web. .

Additional Bibliography

Perry, Lee Davis. Remarkable South Carolina Women (More than Petticoats Series); Globe Pequot; First edition; ISBN-10: 0762743433

Forsyth Alexander, ed. “Henrietta Johnston: Who Greatly helped…by drawing pictures.” Winston-Salem, N.C.: Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, 1991. ISBN-10: 0945578032

Middleton, Margaret Simons, Henrietta Johnston of Charles Town, South Carolina: America’s First Pastelist. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1966. ISBN-10: 1135797714

Foner, Eric Give Me Liberty!, Volume I, Second Seagull Edition, 2008. ISBN: 978-0-393-93255-3

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

Monday, May 14, 2012

Small Art From Heart Expo

Last night I was contacted by Small Art From Heart exhibition coordinator and got invited to participate. This exhibition is featuring the artists from around 40 different countries and will be hosted in Newaygo, Michigan in August – September of this year (www.SAFTH.com). The artists are given the opportunity to present their small art pieces, ACEO paintings. I chose three originals from my miniatures collection.  What I liked the most researching the website and the Exhibit statement that it oriented to small school children who will be exposed to the art, get inspired, and try to make their own. Therefore, with my absolute pleasure, I am placing my three artworks for a donation to benefit a children's charity. It always feels good to apply your talent for a good cause.
2.5" x 3.5" Paintings. Winsor & Newton Watercolor on 140 Cold Pressed Arches watercolor paper

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

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thank you Mom

All the cards in the World for my Mom!

With coming Mother’s Day this Sunday, I went back in times and looked at the things that my Mom did raising me as an artist. This humble modest woman, who was working in the Construction Bureau as the engineer, never held a brush in her life, and was raised in 50s by the Communist Soviet Union where everything what you do is predicted, written, controlled; this woman was encouraging me so much. She had no doubt that I will be an artist one day. In fact, I told her this news at age four.

When I was five, I remember I was in the hospital after a painful surgery of lymph-nods removal. My Mom gave me a first perspective drawing lesson there. In a playful manner she opened a huge secret for me that the sink in the bathroom of the hospital room is not square as I see. Not only it has thickness; but it appears having some parallel lines that are trying to meet far at the horizon. I was listening with open mouth and tried to copy her little drawing. Later the same day, I was looking at all things in my hospital room and drew them in perspective lines: the bed, the table, the mirror.

We also had a game in my family. I used to come to my Mom and bug her, Mom, Mom what should I paint? She would always say; Paint a Bunny. Then I went to my desk and after a silly bunny sketch I’d paint something else. Imagine, how many bunnies were sitting in my room by the time I become a teen.

In my teen years, not only my parents brought me to the art school, which kept me pretty busy and away from the street; my mom also found how to “talk” to her teenager-girl. She started writing me poem-letters; and, I would write her a poem in response. Later I’ve created a self-made book with her poems and illustrated it.
When time came to go to college, my mom posed for me half naked for hours on end that I could have plenty of figure drawings for my portfolio in the art school.

Sometimes I wonder what you would do for your child to succeed in this world. The answer comes easy. Everything! And I know it because my mom did.

But the most important thing I’ve known about my mom is that she is extremely proud of me. It does give me a lot of responsibilities; but, it also makes me happy.

There are not enough cards in the World to give to my Mom!
Thank you Mom!

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is Abstract Real?

Is abstract real? In terms of realism.. 

How do we name an abstract painting and how does this apply to a viewer’s life experience? These and other questions I’ve discussed with the Maryland artist Kimberly Goodge last week when my husband and I were traveling to Baltimore and Washington, DC. As the artist who focuses mostly on realistic paintings I couldn’t imagine myself to paint abstract impressions. It just did not fit my style of careful approach to the painting, learning the details, and thinking of composition many times before touching the paper. Kim inspired me to look at the painting abstract process differently; she encouraged me to try and not to be afraid. And I did. 

I’ve decided to name my abstracts Inspiration One, Two, and Three. Abstract painting in impressionist style does not allow thinking slow calculating each detail; especially with watercolor abstract when paint is applied wet-on-wet. It is a great exercise thought for the artist like me. I enjoyed it tremendously; and, hopefully, my abstract paintings do show that.

Now back to the question “if the abstract's real”? Or, shell I reverse it and say: “can Realism be Abstract?” Take a close look at the middle of the flower, the veins of the petal, the rainbow on the bubble, or at the sand on the beach. Do you see what I see? Let’s call it Abstract Realism, or better Real Abstract!

Three Abstract Watercolor Paintings
14"X10" Winsor&Newton on 300 lb Arches Cold Pressed Paper 

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sneak Peek at My Studio

My Palette. Only when picture was done I have realized that the palette has a virtual flower on it  It just happened :0)
The Artist at work..

My Book Shelf 
Art Supplies

Entry to My Studio

My Inspirational Notes

Magazines and One of my Art Books
My Working Desk

On My Desk. Pardon the clutter. Sometimes it's even worse!

Next to My Studio

One of the Creative Shop owners asked me to show around my studio. She interviewed me for the future article. And I thought to share the pictures and the interview here. I personally always love to learn how other artists work and how they organize their space.

Here is the short interview:

How does your studio reflect your style?
My style is Contemporary Realism and luckily my studio is real, spacious, and light.

What is the favorite part of your studio?
I have two favorite parts in my studio. One is my desk where dreams come true; and another one is the fireplace where I can dream.

What pieces in your studio inspire you?
My Art, my calendar with the tasks to do, and my inspirational notes.

Do you have any handmade or vintage decor pieces?
Maybe not so vintage; but, yes, I do have handmade pieces: the wooden sign “Studi:0)” that my husband made; the jewelry holder, the dummy for my knitted scarves, boxes, stands, just name it!

What is the favorite color palette and how did you implement this in your space? (wallcolor, artwork, items etc)
As I love painting flowers, my favorite colors are All-Flowers’ Colors. As my studio is made of white and light-wood furniture, the paintings that I place in it make it shine.

What is the one tool used in your creation process you treasure the most?
My brush, specifically Kolinsky Watercolor Brush. It never fails!

What are the books or magazines that inspire you?
Watercolor and Watercolor Artist magazines as well as the Art Techniques books together with the Splash series of watercolor paintings from different artists.

What changes/upgrades would you like to make in the future?
Oh, it’s the right time to ask! Just last week my husband and I were talking about the renovation. We are going to place special bar with extra lights on the ceiling, replace the industrial rag with Italian tiles, and create flat horizontal slots for a larger paper supplies and for paintings.

Please include the link to your shop, blog, twitter and facebook.
With my pleasure! Prepare the long sheet of paper and a pencil :0), here you go:

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

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Step-by-Step Watercolor Movie - Girl's Portrait

In this short step-by-step watercolor movie, the white paper transforms into a painting of a sweet girl, in which all colors of the rainbow highlight this Little Cutie’s personality.

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

Watercolor Mandarin On Packaging of Saison Yogurt

Saison Mandarin Yogurt  -  new product on European market with my watercolor peeled and whole mandarin illustrations that I've pai...