Monday, June 19, 2017


6" x 6"
If you are an artist, do you find yourself buying vegetables and fruit not because you're planning to eat them but because you loved the color or shape and wanted to paint it? I loved these organic radishes for their variety of color. They were perfect looking on display. When I brought them home and put on my still life shelf, the bunch didn't look as shiny as in the store. I found a quick fix for it - a spray bottle of water...
It was exciting to see the variety of green in the leaves. I think it was my favorite part.

Friday, June 16, 2017

In the Forest

In the Forest
oil on panel
It is good to be challenged. I don't paint in the forest very often. Ocean scenes have been my preferred subject maybe because of familiarity. I like hiking and wish I did it more often. My friend and I went painting outdoors, and he suggested we paint in the forest. We went to a couple of places before we settled at this particular location. It felt very good to be reunited with the woods. It smells amazing...
I liked the light and shadow on the path. Because I almost never paint in the woods, I was intimidated by the amount of trees and bushes, however reminded myself to think about shapes, values, colors and edges. And I did. It was a wonderful experience to paint something new.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Siletz Bay

Siletz Bay
6" x 6"
It was a nice non-rainy day today on the Oregon Coast. No wind. Perfect for plein air painting. I painted this particular area a couple of times and don't seem to get enough of it. It is never the same.

I went to the bottom where not very many people go. I like being left alone when I paint outside. I get so involved in the process that I can't stop. It was very quiet, didn't feel like I was near the ocean. Very nice to be back painting.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

30 days of painting Day 30!

Into the Mist
6" x 6"
I did it! So proud of myself. It turns out when you are a single busy mom, you can find time painting almost every day.  I learned a lot. I would highly recommend that challenge to anyone who wants to get better at painting or at anything else (I would like to do a 30-day-yoga challenge). It will definitely get your creative juices flowing.

Today was a beautiful plein air painting. My friend Andrew and I decided to meet every Thursday and paint. So today we went to the beach. It was foggy all morning long, luckily no rain. The scenery looked a little uninspiring at first. I knew it was deceiving. When I started looking and mixing colors, I noticed subtle color variations.

I was standing very close to the ocean, on a wet sand. I felt like the water could get me. Oh well, it was worth getting a little wet for a sake of painting. At some point, a big wave came and got the legs of my tripod. I noticed it just in time and ran away. It wasn't strong enough to take my equipment:

And here is the collage of all my 30 paintings:
Something tells me I enjoy painting flowers :)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

30 days of painting Day 29

Still life with Watermelon and Daffodils
16" x 20"
I felt proud of myself today. I normally paint no larger than 8" x 10". Today I totally got out of my comfort zone with a big 16" x 20" format. I still had daffodils from my previous (Day 27) painting, so I arranged the rest of my composition around them. (Can you believe my back yard daffodils are sill blooming?) I spent my whole day painting. I think I'll order bigger panels. It was challenging to paint bigger. I still used the same synthetic brush that I use for my 6" x 6" paintings, and it worked fine.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

30 days of painting Day 28

Purple on Green
6" x 6"
One hour is what I usually allow myself to paint a 6"x 6" painting. I thought that particular still life would be easy to paint. A simple flower,  the cup that I painted many times before and a simple vase. It wasn't that simple after all. I spent way too much time on the flower. I just couldn't get the temperature of purple in the shadows and lights. Not only values need to be right, also temperature to get the likeness. I tried very hard to see but couldn't, so I used my logic. The source light was warm, so the lights needed to have some yellow in them. I added yellow, still something wasn't right. After an hour of struggling I wiped the flower completely off and started over. It usually helps. My favorite part in this painting is the palette knife - just a couple of strokes and it looked convincing.

Monday, May 1, 2017

30 days of painting Day 27

White Daffodils
10" x 10"
I think it is my largest painting in that challenge. The funny thing that I didn't think how much more time it takes. My two-year-old daughter usually takes 2-hour naps. It is usually enough time to find something to paint, set it up, paint and clean up, all together to finish a 6" x 6" painting. 10" x 10", I learned today, takes longer to paint.
The daffodils that grow in my backyard are not traditional if I may say so. They remind me of a rose. And painting roses doesn't come easily to me.
My kid woke up when I almost was done, she wanted to join me paint. So I gave her kids paints and a brush and two of us were painting for a while. It was nice...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

30 days of painting Day 26

6" x 6"
I'm continuing painting shrubs from my yard. Today it is rhododendron that has a beautiful white/cream/pink blossoms. I mostly used the red/green palette for this painting. I really like interesting grays I can mix with different reds and greens. My favorite is a cool mixture of Alizarin Crimson and Viridian..

Saturday, April 29, 2017

30 days of painting Day 25

6" x 6"
I wanted to paint something red today. Blooming azalea from my yard was perfect. I love spring time with all the beautiful rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and magnolias. One of my most favorite parts of living here in Oregon.
With the light shining from behind I noticed the warm red in the lit parts and purple in the shadows. It was quite exciting to see it.

Friday, April 28, 2017

30 days of painting Day 24

Haystack Rock
6" x 6"
It wasn't raining today, so my friend Andrew and I went plein air painting again. I didn't want to miss the chance. This time we decided to go north to Pacific City, Or. It is just 30 min drive from where we live. On the way, I remembered my secret plein air spot where I haven't been for at least two years. There are not many people that know about it, maybe locals. I was very excited to see the couple. They made my painting more lively.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

30 days of painting Day 23

Boiler Bay
6" x 6"
I live on the Oregon Coast and it has been raining here nonstop. Oil painting when it rains is almost impossible as oil and water don't mix. Using an umbrella is not an option as it is usually windy. My friend and I decided to go plein air paint today rain or shine. We thought maybe there will be a gazebo or some kind of shelter where we could hide from the rain. We ended up painting from my car
sitting next to each other in my trunk. I think it is called dedication :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

30 days of painting Day 22

Herring with Bottles
6" x 6"
Another painting with herring today. Not very often there is a whole real fish in my studio. :)
I like the curved line of the fish and how dark it is on the top. Adding white background really shows it well. There is a lot of white which is really gray when I start painting it. I tried to mix as many grays as possible to make it more interesting, Painting white really trains your eye to see the varieties of color.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

30 days of painting Day 21

8" x 10"
I was born in Russia. Now I live in a small town by the ocean in Oregon, and there are no Russian stores here. Bigger towns and cities usually have several stores for people missing their home. I adjusted well to my new home, so I don't cook borscht and piroshki very often and totally ok eating local food.

Yesterday my daughter and I happened to be near a European store I once went to. One thing I sometimes miss is herring. You can buy marinated one in a store here in town, but it is not the same. The real thing is just salted fish, the whole thing. When you come to a Russian store you have to ask if they have herring in a bucket. That's the one I'm talking about. So that store had only one left. Of course, I bought it. They also bake bread there. It still was warm. That's what my still life is about today.

FYI Selyodochka is herring in Russian :)

Monday, April 24, 2017

30 days of painting Day 20

Lilies on White
6" x 6"
I had an hour to finish this painting. Strokes were laid on fast and without hesitation. There is a timer in my studio, so when it goes off I am not supposed to touch the painting unless I sign it...

I added a cup and a cream holder (they are almost not noticeable) to the white background for more challenge. Painting white is not easy, because white is the lightest color available. So I usually start with a highlight and compare values to it. The rest of white is actually gray.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

30 days of painting Day 19

Blocks on Green
6" x 6"
I find block studies a great exercise to train my eye to see colors. I noticed how much the green background affected the shadow area on the top of the purple block. Or the shadow area of the pink block turned quite intense warm purple because of the purple block affecting it. Sometimes I paint intuitively and sometimes I want to know why some areas are a certain color..