Friday, October 31, 2014

Marmalade - A Citrus Serenade

citrus marmalade label

A combination of flavors of Grapefruit, Orange, and Lemon in one marmalade sounded oh so good to me. It waters my mouth even now, when I am writing this post. 
As an artist and illustrator, who created images for jams and marmalade labels, I had to juggle between different shades of yellow and orange there.

A Mr Grapefruit had to appear big, round, and light yellow (almost a pale yellow in this case):
marmalade label

On another hand, a much juicier yellow and bumpier texture were applied to a Sour Lemon:
citrus marmalade label

Sweet Orange, I called him a Happy Orange, had a nice warm skin and a shiny leathery leaves:
marmalade label

But my all favorite of this Citrus Bunch designs was a request to create a label painting for Whiskey Orange Marmalade.
Not that I am a big drinker, I was just challenged to paint glass one more time. And I liked it! In this watercolor, a good Old Masters traditional still life style was mixed with more modern illustrative techniques. The white background helps to bring up the juiciness of the fruit and transparency of yellow-orange whiskey...

More creations on citrus family are in my Jams Relishes And Marmalade Gallery on 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Best Christmas Story Contest

holiday story

As an artist and illustrator I paint artworks that usually tell a story. 

In the month of November I am running a contest for the Best Christmas Story that would apply to the above painting.

Three winners will be selected:
1st Prize
Quality Print of this Christmas painting 10"x8" on watercolor paper (signed by the artist, front and back)
2nd Prize
A dozen of cards from the Artist's collection that includes one hand-painted card.
3rd Prize
Half of a dozen greeting cards selected by the Artist.

Just e-mail me the story. 
It doesn't have to be too long (a half of printed page or a page will do good). Look at the painting of this Christmas Scene, imagine, create your own Christmas story

Please indicate if you want your name published when I place the story online between the 1st of December 1st and the 10th. The winner story will be next to the painting on my website; and, who knows maybe some day it will be in a book.
Live To Create!! 
Cheers from Irina Sztukowski

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gooseberry Goosebumps - Jam Labels Project

watercolor jam labels project

When I was looking at variety of gooseberries for my Jam Labels Project, I got some goosebumps realizing how many different kinds of those berries are in the world. They can be green, they can be red, they can be kind of green but with red spots. They also have many different sizes: round, oval; and, tastes: sweet, sour, sweet-n-sour. 

So my decision was to paint them all.
The green and round gooseberries above are composed in a compact still life, more suitable for labels with central composition.

Red gooseberries here, represent more botanical style.
The berries are hanging from a branch, heavy from the ripe fruit:
labels for jam

On another hand, I wanted to design Green Gooseberries (which by the way are Sunkissed with Alizarin Crimson Red watercolor here) in a little different, upright way. I imagined them being very happy, reaching to the Sun, ready to be picked and placed in the gooseberry jam:

jam labels project

Friday, October 17, 2014

Blackcurrant Redcurrant - My Current Jam Labels

jam labels project

Painting blackcurrant and redcurrant was fun. Those closely related berries brought some challenge for me as an artist. I had to juggle between botanical approach (e.g. realistic painting) yet still keep in mind that those tiny berries will be even tinier on the jam labels. So, in spite of my love to realism in watercolor, I had to simplify a little. 
I still wanted some details on the blackcurrant and redcurrant berries, so I painted them doubling the real size on paper. And when I painted, I had to step aside quite a bit in order to see the "whole picture" and not to get lost in the berry maze. 

It is interesting to note that when I painted blackcurrant, I had to apply red (Alizarin Crimson) as the first wash, in order for the black to have rather warm tint.
On another hand, when painting redcurrant, I used black and purple while red was still wet. That helped me to indicate transparency of the redcurrant berries, kind of see-through berry seeds feeling:

jam labels project

The jam labels project continues. I am not only eating lots of good fruits and berries, but definitely "killing" many birds with one stone: researching botanical structure of the fruits and berries, having good time painting with watercolors, and accomplishing a big important project.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jam Labels Project Rising

realistic painting

About a month ago I've received a request from one jam producing company from Great Britain.
They loved my Farmers Delight series, which was created after my first Jam Labels project:

farmers market delight

This company thought my style of painting will fit greatly the labels of their jams, relishes, and marmalade. 

realism in watercolor

There will be dozens of new designs that I will need to create. I am quite excited about this new Jam Labels opportunity. It will involve my artist skills and polish my illustrator skills as well.

Many hours of work are ahead; but for now, the jars are waiting for the labels 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Having A Sweet Tooth

watercolor honey

I remember when my grandma brought a honeycomb from farmers market (I probably was 4 or 5 years old) I kept asking her how those bees could fit in such little holes. I was absolutely sure that honeycomb was just like an apartment building for bees...

Good sweet memories! 

My grandma used to say:"Chew it up, the whole thing, the most vitamins are in the honeycomb itself".

Old fashion "chewing gum".

These days I definitely have a sweet tooth, not only for honey but also for painting :0)

realism watercolor

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Urban Abstract - Red City Lights

Geometric Decor

While working on some quite realistic and meticulously detailed project these days (updated to follow in the next posts), I felt like creating something crazy and abstract. The organic abstracts that are in my Decor Interior Design gallery are taking over, so in order to balance them, I moved to more geometric, non organic, so to speak Urban series.
The vertical lines of the brash strokes reminded me a large city. I left some light areas to create some kind of glow of the evening or even a night town.
So far, three artworks of Urban collection landed in my studio:

I imagined these paintings are quite suitable for not only a living room for example, but they might bring some warm glow in the bedroom areas as well:
watercolor decor bedroom

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...