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Sunday, June 30, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 30!

"Banana and Apple"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100


My challenge is over! So what did I learn by doing 30 paintings in 30 days?

1. My painting skills have improved.

2. I have more confidence in my work.

3. I’ve met new friends on the Internet. It has been a lot of fun sharing this challenge with you. My hits to my blog increased more than 10 times. Thank you so much for your support! It was very helpful.

4. I no longer torture myself trying to decide what to paint. Painting every day gave me freedom to paint it all and experiment with color, brushstroke and composition.

5. It helped me to create a daily routine of painting and posting on my blog.

6. It brought more joy to my work. I don’t think about creating great work I just experiment and finally have fun!

7. I learned that I could paint and go to work, spend time with my family and friends and travel. I have to say that’s a lot of pressure though. I did feel burned out at times but I didn’t let it stop me from painting.  

8. I let go of the outcome. Painting daily left no time for overthinking and often made me very happy with the result.

9. I learned to work faster and be more productive.

10. I painted more in 30 days than I did in 6 months. Just in time for an upcoming art festival in Salem, OR.

It was a very fulfilling experience. Now I’m going to post as often as I can. And I will have time to visit other artists' blogs and see what they are up to. I neglected my family a little bit, so I plan to make up by taking my dog to the beach and cooking for my husband today. 

I have so much respect for the artists that do it every day...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 29

"Yellow Tomatoes"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100

I'm happy to be back and paint in my studio again. Plein air when it rains is not too much fun... 

I enjoyed painting reflections of tomatoes in the metal plate. It is amazing how sharp some of the edges of the reflection are. For a better composition I wish I had turned the tomato on the right facing inwards...

My challenge is almost over! I'm going to write down and share with you all I gained with it tomorrow with my last painting. It will be interesting...

Friday, June 28, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 28

"Red Barn"
8" x 10"
oil on canvas
$150
My last day in Joseph, OR on the way home I stopped for a quick sketch of this barn. It was still overcast and the sky was gray, but I was intrigued by black doorways and a window of the building. I spent about 50 minutes working on it. I used bristle brushes instead of synthetic and learned that I can apply paint more thickly...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 27

"By the Mountains"
8" x 10"
oil on canvas panel
$150
It was a 45 min study in Joseph, OR. It stopped raining and was sunny for a couple of minutes. So I went on a hike to a very beautiful place on a top of a hill with many flowers and gorgeous view. I would have spent more time there painting if it wasn't very windy.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 26

"Red Barn"
10" x 8"
oil on cotton panel
$150
I was driving in the country near Joseph, OR looking for a place to paint and saw this barn. I have to say there are many red barns around. I just needed to find a good spot to park my car and set up the easel. Preferably if it is not near highway. I enjoy quiet places...

I was in the middle of painting when suddenly light changed. It became dark. I looked up and saw that a huge black cloud was hanging over my head. Quickly I folded the easel together and jumped in the car. But I was so excited to finish the study, so I came up with a plan of painting in the back of the car. I had to sit in a crossed legged position and the canvas was too close, but I managed to finish it. I have so much respect for all artists that paint outside all the time...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 25

"In the Country"
8" x 10"
oil on gessobord
$150
I'm out of town visiting Northeast Oregon. I'm staying in Enterprise and drive every day to Joseph. What a beautiful place! The mountains, the lakes and rivers, pastures. The only thing that I'm not very excited about is rain. I forgot my easel umbrella and was a little desperate for a couple of hours. After all I came here to plein air paint. I was watching the rain and as soon as it stopped for a while I went out...

This study was done in about 50 min plus an hour driving around and enjoying the scenery. I love country! Every time I visit, it gives me a lot of inspiration.

Monday, June 24, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 24

"A Family"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
This study was painted with one brush I had purchased recently. It is a synthetic flat. As in my previous attempts I limited painting time to an hour...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 23

"Oysters" 6" x 6" oil on gessobord $100
I saw a couple of wonderful paintings of numerous artists with fish and crabs and was wondering how they managed to paint them. Did they use ice to keep it fresh or maybe for the love of art it had not to be eaten? Anyway I thought I would try it myself.

So I bought a dozen of fresh oysters. Yum! Usually I eat them cooked in a restaurant. Because I wanted to paint an open oyster I had to find a video on Youtube on how to do it. And that is not easy without a special knife I have to say. With the help of my husband a couple of them were opened and eaten raw. I know that my Russian friends get jealous by reading this because oysters are a big delicacy there. Sorry guys...

I wanted to use ice to keep it cool but it didn't work because it melted very quickly. Finally I just set up my timer for an hour and painted. It was fun! Of course I ate it after I finished my study. It tasted fine...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 22

"Plum and Apples"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
I just couldn't walk by these wonderful green apples the other day. Of course I wasn't after healthy fiber, I needed something exciting to paint. After I bought them I kept thinking I needed plums that would look great in a composition. I went to a store today and found black plums. They don't look black at all. I used a lot of Alizarin Crimson that is grayish red...

Friday, June 21, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 21

"Squash"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
I noticed that I usually paint with only two brushes. I know that some artists use a different brush for lights and darks or sometimes for different colors like blues or yellows. Not me. I'm not organized enough to do that. With my two brushes (a bigger and a smaller ones) I paint all my studies. I go through a lot of rags to wipe excess paint from the brushes...

I used Rembrandt lighting (a small concentrated light source is positioned to one side so that the light falls at a sharp angle) for this moody, dramatic study. I like lost edges like the ones in the shadow areas of the pitcher and the squash... 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 20

"Transparent Blue"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
I love painting small studies! A timer became my new friend. I keep an eye on it constantly while painting. One hour limit for a still life really works. There is little chance I can overwork a painting in an hour. And another thing and the most difficult - I cannot continue changing or improving anything after time is over.

I was exploring blue today. I was interested in painting two blue glass subjects: one is more transparent than another. I was focusing on values and colors through the whole process. Like I mentioned before I had no time to stop and think about my subject, so there are no details in that study. I only had thoughts like "What colors do I need to mix to get this deep blue? or Where is the darkest value? etc."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 19

"Copper Kettle"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100

I mentioned in my previous posts that I paint slowly. In order to change that and make my work more energetic and alive I decided to limit my painting time. This study was done in one hour, so I had no chance to focus on details and over-think the process...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 18

"Red Onion"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
I loved reds of that onion. Deep, rich and very intriguing colors...

I never painted a red onion before and it shows in my study. I like how fresh it looks. It is necessary to paint unfamiliar items or to learn how to see familiar things with fresh eyes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 17

"Tea Time"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
 
I had this yellow cup for a while sitting in my studio but couldn't use it in any of still lifes. I've been experimenting with bright colors, and it came handy for a tea composition.

I like hot tea with lemon that I used to drink a lot in Russia to get warmer. You probably think about a different traditional beverage that might make you feel warmer. Yes, vodka is Russians' favorite drink after tea I would say. Though I'm not in Russia I still love to have a cup of tea with sugar and lemon when it gets chilly here at the Oregon Coast...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 16

"Orange Reflection"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100

I don't think this composition would be complete without reflection. It makes the study more interesting and complete. I was playing with arrangement and came up with the idea of using a piece of glass to get distinct reflections. I learned that reflection of an object has less contrast, less details and less color intensity that the actual object. I hope I could capture it in the study.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 15


"Teapot and Nectarines"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
Half of the challenge is done! I have another to go... So far so good. I really enjoy going to my studio every day and posting to the blog. With you help, dear fellow artists, it is coming to life.

Today I wanted to focus on color. I noticed that almost nothing in the composition can come to life without gray. It just doesn't look right. Even my bright nectarines had to get a little bit of gray here and there.

I also want to share my set up. It looks very unprofessional, but it works! It is just a cardboard box with only three side left. I can rotate it anyway I want and adjust my light from any direction I can...



Friday, June 14, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 14

"Apples and Metal"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100

I bought this metal gravy-boat in a thrift shop a couple of months ago and just couldn't find a composition to use it in.

Today in my studio I thought that dark red color of the apples would look interesting with teal paper that I use in my set ups, but it needed something else. It couldn't be anything colorful, so the boat was perfect!

I loved painting those shapes of reflection. There is also no metal color as I found out. Metal is very reflective, so I just needed to see how surrounding colors change their intensity in the reflection...

P.S. I made little changes to my blog. Finally! I was thinking about it for a while. After visiting other artists blogs and researching what they have made, I created a header, made font bigger,  removed a couple of options. I hope it will be easier to read it now..

Thursday, June 13, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 13

"Eggplant and Tomato"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
 
In this study I tried to paint looser and faster. I know that speed comes with more experience but to me even minus 30 minutes in thirteen days mean a lot... I am very proud of myself. Instead of three I spent only two and a half hours on this painting!

I enjoy watching my mentor, Sarah Sedwick, painting. Her decision making process goes very quickly, she premixes colors and applies them very fast. It is amazing to see how in about an hour her painting comes to life...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 12

"Grapefruit"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100
 
Well, it was very hard to start painting after a couple of failed panels. But I had to. I knew I didn't want to quit halfway. So I went to my studio and started painting.

My job is to show up in my studio every day and to start painting and not to worry if it is going to be successful or not. It is not up to me... Elizabeth Gilbert in her inspirational TED talk said "Ole!’ to you, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 11

"Poppy"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
$100

I enjoy painting flowers but often overwork them. That one turned out pretty fresh I think.

I had to wipe off two paintings I did yesterday. The first one I did of a model in a garden in the morning. Even that I didn't like the painting I enjoyed time with a great group of artists from Eugene. I had met them a coupe of months ago. They meet once a week for a painting session. This time it was outside with a model. What a wonderful idea! But sorry, I need to practice some more painting figures. I hope there will be time when I could share a successful figure painting with you.

The second one was in my studio painting iris. The flower looked so beautiful. But I had no luck with that one either. I spend too long working on it and overworked it. It had to go...

You know when I dare to wipe a weak painting off, it makes me feel free. Highly recommended!

Monday, June 10, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 10

"Orange Pepper"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord

Today I decided not to hold myself back with the orange color. I just used it pure out of tube. Well, the pepper was very orange and I tried to paint what I saw. Of course the blues of the bowl make it even brighter...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 9

"Iris"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord

A couple of times I drove by a house with beautiful iris in the yard and kept thinking how wonderful it would be to paint that flower. The universe had heard me and yesterday a friend of mine mentioned that she had iris at home and if I would like I could take a flower for my still life...

It made me think about synchronicity that Julia Cameron mentioned in her book "The Artist's Way". "Watch out for what you pray for; you just might get it" - is so true.

I might be on the right track because I get so much help from people including wonderful advise and words of support from you, guys, flowers to paint, ideas... Thank you so much! It gives me strength not to give up and to keep painting...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 8

"What's for Breakfast?"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
 
It is interesting to see how an orange affects subjects around it. The plate's rim becomes orange and there is orange reflection in the cup. Interesting how orange turns red when it gets affected by similar color of the slice.

Friday, June 7, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 7

"Peonies"
8" x 10"
oil on canvas panel

Pink is my least favorite color, but everything lately seems to prove me wrong. My wonderful husband brings home flowers quite frequently (I am so lucky), and they are mostly red or pink. I think pink might be his favorite color. He won't admit it though. :) And of course you don't say to people when they give you flowers that you don't like the color. Yesterday he brought home peonies and they were gorgeous except they were pink. I still decided to paint them and used all pink pigments I had on hand: Alizarin Crimson, Thalo Red Rose and Permanent Rose. I won't say I am fond of this color now, but I definitely had a good time getting to know it better..

Thursday, June 6, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 6

It seems to me that pears are the second favorite artists' fruit after apples. Why? I think it has something to do with its shape. It is very expressive. Each pear has its own character. Just like people...

"Third is a Crowd"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 5

I noticed that many artists paint avocados. I wanted to do it myself in order to find out what was so special about them. Well, I knew that they tasted good and were good for you..

I learned from a fellow artist that a cut avocado is more interesting to paint, and that lemon juice will prevent its darkening. I did it and have to say that I enjoyed painting it. First, its colors - different greens, yellows, oranges, and, second, the value contrast of avocado's skin, flesh and kernel. I'm quite taken by it I think..
"Avocados"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 4

"Poppies"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord

I visited a friend of mine today who grew an amazing garden with many vegetables, flowers, berries, and fruit trees. She mentioned before that she had poppy flowers that I might want to paint. I knew they were something special because she is an artist. I was right. I never saw poppies like these before: big and pink... The rest of the day I spent in the company of a very beautiful flower trying to capture its delicacy and color...

Monday, June 3, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 3

I feel very inspired. It seems that I never will run out of ideas for my paintings. Well, I realize that it only happens in the beginning of every undertaking in my life, but who knows where I will come with this challenge.

"Apple Slices"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord

Today I wanted to paint my red delicious apples that were waiting for me for a couple of days. Usually before I start painting I look at my previous work to get ideas (and of course at other artists' work). I noticed that almost all my subjects look spherical, so it needed to be changed, I thought, and sliced an apple...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

30-Day-Painting Challenge - Day 2

"Calla Lilies"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord

I spent about 1.5 hours trying to arrange my flowers. First, my set-up box was too small for them. I had to use a piece of board to create a table, second, I just couldn't find the right angle of the main flower, so it will look pleasing. Before I started I was sure due to the apparent simplicity of the flower that it will be a piece of cake still life. I was wrong. Now I can say again - painting is not easy...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

How to paint faster and looser...

"Cherry Tomato and Peppers"
6" x 6"
oil on gessobord
 
I loved painting this composition. Unusual perspective helps to see just abstract shapes not subjects. I loved curves of the peppers and how glossy and fresh-looking they are...

I bought them just because I liked the way they looked and actually have no idea how to cook them. One thing I know they must be hot, because I got a reaction while working on the painting and being close to peppers... And that is how I learned how to paint faster. :)

P.S. Today I'm starting a 30-day-painting challenge! I plan to paint every single day for the whole month and post my results good or bad here... This painting is my day number 1 one.