Monday, February 27, 2017

Water Lilies - Monet Or Not Monet

Last weekend, when I was visiting a new exhibition at Legion of Honor in San Francisco, a special on Monet early years and his development as an artist; I was thinking of how people perceive art.
For example, when people look at my Water Lilies painting (above) many comment that it "looks just like Monet" . So, majority of people remember Claude Monet as a "water lily" artist, don't they!

But, what the exhibition showed to me and to many that Monet started painting in quite different, more realistic style before he found his, so loved by many,  "Monet" style.

I was browsing from one painting to another and I was astound how the artist was really developing and searching for his own style. If I'd show a few of the paintings that caught my attention to some people, they would probably say it is not Claude Monet.

Here are a few good examples:

Amazing art was presented at this exhibition. 
Some painting came from the U.S. National collections, others came from Netherlands, France, England. It was a blessing to see them all in one exhibition and being introduced to Claude Monet from a different perspective of his young years, his search of the style, his steps in the history of Art!

Cheers from 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bicycle For All Seasons

Spring Fall Summer Winter Bicycles watercolor silhouettes

The Spring is right behind the corner and I had an excellent idea to combine my new Bicycles creations that reflect each season into one Four Seasons painting design. This festive design has symbolism of each season: flowers, leaves, snow, blossoms; and, meantime it is all united with the Bicycle theme, which is for me personally became a symbol of youth, movement, and great outdoor times. 

The Winter Bicycle is full of cold colors of all shades of blue. This is a symbol of being able to overcome some hard times in life by dreaming of movement and a future enjoyment of the life:
Watercolor Silhouettes

The Spring Bicycle painting shows Cherry Blossoms all around it, yet the echo of the Winter season is still trying to steal the show. The cool of overall painting has a new season promises, a great beginning of a new Life:
watercolor silhouette painting bike ride season

The Summer Bicycle is filled with the field of Poppy Flowers. As the beginning of a warm enjoyable season, these flowers greet us with invitation for a nice ride outside:

watercolor silhouettes home interior decor for kids room

And my probably the most favorite design with bicycle today, is a Fall Bicycle. I feel that in the orange colors, the color of the Sun and Autumn Leaves there is so much energy being exposed, so much great warm enthusiasm, yet the symbolism of this season is such that we need to enjoy each day of our life while knowing that the Winter is inevitable: 
watercolor silhouettes home interior decor

All Seasons Greeting to all my Friends and Followers from

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Small Town In The Mountains - Watercolor Pencils - Step By Step

watercolour pencils

I was recently visiting my friend artist in a small town of Brentwood that is hiding between the golf course and just behind a highest point of Bay Area, San Francisco, the famous Mountain Diablo. We went to paint en plain-air style, e.g. we grabbed our art materials and went painting outside. 
The weather was beautiful. Everywhere I turned I'd seen a lovely subject for painting. I've chosen to paint a scene with a small town in the golf course hills with a huge mountain behind. My choice of the materials this time were watercolor pencils (I've previously wrote an article about watercolor pencils HERE ) . 

I've sketched the drawing with a simple pencil first, and then started applying my watercolor pencils. That was the part that was actually accomplished outside:

The trick with watercolor pencils is that you have to know what colors to mix and predict what outcome will be at the time you put  water on the paper. I intentionally was drawing with a limited pallet. Out of my 72 watercolor pencils that I have in the box, I've picked only 16 to go plein-air painting.

Here is the first stage of the drawing/future painting:

After, I got home the main work had begun. 
I've added more pencils in depth, then highlighted the drawing with ink:

Then, I grabbed a softest Kolinsky Sable brush Number 11 and dipped it in a clear water. First areas that were "watered" were large ones, the sky and the grass below. Then I started adding some water to the smaller details such buildings and trees:

Right away I've noticed that in some areas the wash of water made the colors too bright, in others the colors were simply "washed" away. But the good part, that with watercolor pencils you can always reapply the colors with one important warning though: the paper should be bone dry before you add more colors. 

After several times of re-applying the pencils and rejuvenating them with water (clear water on the soft brush), the painting was completed and now it is ready to see the World!! :)

watercolour pencils step by step

Cheers from 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Funny Teddy Bears - Children Book Illustrations

Children Book illustrtor

When I was asked to paint the illustrations with Teddy Bears for the book Bernard Goes To Music School, there was important trait to follow. The little Teddies had to be painted in accordance with the children songs. The one above was a prototype of "Ten In The Bed" about the cute brothers Teddy Bears that rolled over in the bed. And even though, I painted only five of them, peacefully sleeping in the bed, one was already "rolled over" without even noticing that! I wanted to make this illustration as fun as could be telling the story in the motion of the silly bears.

The next few illustrations that I pained with Teddy Bears was the one in the music class. This one contained a special rhythm of different motions and counts.  

Teddy Bear Walks, Walks, Walks, Walks!
Teddy Bear Runs, Runs, Runs!
etc. etc.

These types of illustrations have great interactive qualities. Children can play with parents while reading the book. They can definitely follow the protagonist Bernard and clap their hands together with his classmates.

Fun Fun Teddy Bears!

watercolor children book illustrations

For those who is reading my blog for the first time, here is a little info on the book:

The book is called Bernard Goes To Music School, written by Connie Du. You can find this book on Amazon. Just type Irina Sztukowski in the search window or copy and insert this link into the browser

The author’s note:
Bernard, a little boy, has gone to music school to start a musical journey that is about to change him profoundly in many ways… Initially he has difficulty singing those strange funny music notes and he often feels shy around people. He and other kids receive music training from Mrs. Tania, a lovable music teacher, who inspires him to sing and love music. He needs to practice countless times before he can overcome his shyness and sing beautifully in class. He learns a lot, has a lot of fun and makes friends in his music class but his achievements wouldn’t be possible without the unfailing love and encouragement from his parents throughout the journey. At the end of this story Bernard is not so shy anymore and he really enjoys being with his friends in music school! Music is a wonderful thing that can work magic on our children. (Connie Du)

ISBN-10: 1523864753
ISBN-13: 9781523864751

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Snowing In The Room

With these new designs, I am inviting snow, wind, winter blizzard into an interior of a house. And even though the Winter Forest artworks are full of dynamics of the harsh cold season, they bring an interesting accent into a room decor.

The Winter Blue Forest Silhouette adds cool hues to the living room:

When on another hand, this Winter Purple Forest would rock an interior of a all-purple-color lover:

These and other new paintings became a great addition to my Watercolor Silhouettes Gallery on

Watercolor Mandarin On Packaging of Saison Yogurt

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