Monday, April 29, 2013

Power of Social Media

"Thrift Store Bottles"
10"x 8"
oil on canvas panel

I was thinking how wonderful that we live in the Internet era, and can connect to each other via different social networking services. I live in a small town where it is very hard to find someone who loves to paint from life. I felt quite isolated here. I was going plein air painting by myself for a while , but soon noticed that it is hard to stay motivated.

A couple of months ago I started looking for different options around and found a website where artists can post their paintings and get feedback and also sell their artwork. And despite my low confidence in my work and lack of experience (I've been painting only for a couple of years)  I joined it and can tell how great it has been finding people around the world with the same passion in painting.

One day I saw a post on Facebook of an artist announcing a new workshop in Eugene. It is about two hour drive from where I live. I didn't care about the distance. I wanted to meet people who love painting and learn from them. So I did. I am sure that nothing is better than painting with other artists and feel this great creative vibe in the room. I became a much happier painter that way... 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The NYC Lady

"The NYC Lady"
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

I've heard a couple of discussions between artists about painting from photographs. Some suggest using only pictures taken by you. Richard Schmid, a well-known artist, suggests painting a certain subject several times before using its photograph. I think if you use a picture as an artist, which means you don't copy it but use it as a guideline, there will be no harm.

This photo wasn't taken by me. I found it in the Challenge section of Daily Paintworks site and loved its values and light and shadow interplay as well as composition, so I decided to paint a study...

Friday, April 26, 2013


6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

I'm following my plan about dividing my time into painting time and study time. This study was done in my painting time and, as planned, I did not think about what I was doing, but painted quickly and spontaneously. I tried to capture my feelings about what I was looking at. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Apples and Glass

6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

This was a 45-minute challenge. I had these apples sitting in my studio for a while waiting to be painted and I always chose something else to paint or to do. Finally it was their turn.

I decided to divide my time into painting time and study time. In my painting time I will not think about what I am doing, but paint instinctively and spontaneously (using my right brain). I will try to capture my feelings about what I am looking at on the canvas as quickly as I can.

In my study time my goal is not to complete a painting, but to study some aspect of nature. It might be to try to capture the color relationships on a particular evening landscape scene, or on a bouquet of flowers in a still life setup. Some other exercises I go through are:

♦ study the structure of a particular type of tree or a type of rock formation, or any particular type of object.

♦ explore the notan (dark/light harmony) design possibilities in an intimate part of a rocky cove, or the design of shadows on an old stone wall.

♦ improve my understanding of form by painting a still life.

♦ do some compositional studies from the old masters to explore how they used particular organizational structures in their work, or how they created an interesting composition out of the scene.

In all of these activities, my focus is on learning, not on producing a finished painting. This takes the pressure (to do a “good” painting) off me and helps free me up to be more adventurous.

As Barry John Raybould mentioned in his lessons, "the students who paint faster and looser, learn more quickly."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Complementary Colors Challenge

"Complementary Colors: Red and Green"
8" x 10"
oil on canvas board

I'm taking a class and this study was one of the assignments. We had to choose any complementary colors from three pairs - green and red, yellow and purple or orange and blue. I chose red and green.

It was interesting to decide which color to use to paint yellowish apples. The plate actually was golden, and in my study it looks more silver. Well, at least it looks metallic. I need to paint such challenges from time to time. It really teaches a lot about values. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Red Pears

"Red Pears"
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

Here is another study of pears. They looked almost identical. My job was to paint them slightly different, so I decided to make one a little warmer than another. No two elements should be the same in a painting - that's what I learned from some experienced artists.

I pay attention to some of "the rules" of composition and forget about the other... which is so human... We are just not perfect and of course our art reflects it. And I don't think it is a bad thing...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Painting Light

 10" x 8"
oil on canvas panel

There were a couple of challenges in this painting. First - painting glass, second - painting flowers.  Flowers are very beautiful by itself and it is impossible for me to paint them prettier than they are in reality or even slightly suggest their delicacy. Therefore I just focused on how light travels through the set up hitting garlic then the vase, stem, first petal, second etc...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Painting White

"Blue, Red and Yellow"
8" x 10"
oil on canvas panel

I find painting white is very hard. This still life's main purpose was painting white background in such a way it wouldn't look dirty in the end. The tonality of this painting was bluish, so I mixed bluish white by mixing ultramarine, cad. yellow and alizarin crimson. I really enjoyed trying to harmonize colors in this study. The more colors the harder it is...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tulips and Metal

"Tulips and Metal"
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

I've challenged myself with a complicated composition this time. When I looked at these warm red tulips I instantly wanted to paint them with metal for dramatic contrast. It was interesting to compare brass and aluminum. The bowl is quite old and lost its metallic shine which made my job a little bit easier.