Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014

"Gretchen's Goats"
10 x 8
pen and watercolor
This is my last post in 2013. It is not an oil painting. Hopefully it is not too annoying that I keep posting my drawings here. I love sketching. This picture was taken by my friend. And, yes, I know it is against "the artist law" to paint from pictures taken by other people, but I witnessed the birth of this kid (is it what they are called??) and I named him! 

I wish you an Inspiring, Colorful, Free, Bold and Creative New Year! Cheers to 2014! Thank you so much for all your support in 2013.

P.S. I'm going to New York City for a couple of weeks and probably won't be able to post. I'm planning to visit museums, galleries, and places. I'll see you in the middle of January.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Red Gerbera

"Red Gerbera"
6" x 6"
oil on panel
Click here to purchase
Color was my aim today. I didn't think about tone or drawing much, all my attention was focused on color. I scrutinized on each piece of the composition duplicating each little hue I saw.  I used a lot of hues I normally don't use like Permanent Green Light, Thalo Blue, Sap Green and Viridian. 

Again, I included white in order to practice capturing it. I painted on a smaller panel, so I gave myself a permission to experiment and do whatever I wanted. It was a lot of fun.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Bottle and Onions

"Bottle and Onions"
10" x 8"
oil on panel
click here to purchase
Today's session was a high key painting. I mentioned before that I struggle with white. It is a hard color for me to deal with. Maybe that is why I don't like painting high key paintings because there is always some light color involved.

Today while working on this study I learned that white looks white when I keep shadows cool and lights warm. If my lights don't have enough warmth the subject looks dead, not convincing, so adding some yellow ochre and cadmium yellow light made my onions more alive.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Watercolor Sketch

"In the Field" 6" x 8"  watercolor sketch
Many times I've heard how important it is to keep a sketchbook, but rarely made a mark in it. Until a couple of days ago I made a watercolor set out of Altoid box and cut a watercolor brush, so it could fit in! (one day I'll share with you how to make one) Now I cannot stop sketching. It gave me such a great pleasure. I can experiment and draw something that I never would dare to paint with oils before. Instead of getting bored in a waiting room I just draw people. Actually it is quite tricky because they keep moving and it is hard to stay unnoticed...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fish and Lemons

"Fish and Lemons"
oil on panel
8" x 10"
click to purchase
I can’t imagine Russian cuisine without salted herring (great snack for Russian vodka). The only place I can buy it here in the US is a Russian also called European store, an hour drive, so I don't get it too often. I brought fish home and was about to cut one of them when I thought it would be great to paint it first!

It took me about three hours to finish this study. The fish got a little bit dry but luckily survived. Afterwards I enjoyed it with some Russian rye bread (no vodka) by myself, because my American born husband doesn't understand it... Well, more for me:) 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Practicing Patience

After Van Gogh 9" x 8" pen on paper
My friends and family know me as an impatient person. Being impatient often creates problems for me as an artist. I can give up a painting too soon or get too sad if I don't notice any progress in my work and quit painting for a couple of weeks.

In order to change that I decided to choose one of master's drawings and copy it as accurate as possible. So I chose one of Van Gogh's pen and ink drawings with a complex composition. It took me two days to finish this drawing and a couple of moments when I found lots of excuses to quit it. I needed to remind myself of many benefits of copying masters' work and practicing patience. I'm glad I did it...

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Still Life with Cabbage

"Still Life with Cabbage"
8" x 10"
oil on panel
click here to purchase
Another light and shadow still life. I made it pretty simple using just vegetables I had on hand. I paid extra attention to shadows, painted them more transparent. Though it is a small painting, it took me about three hours to finish it. I usually paint at night, so it is hard to notice how many hours I've been painting. I just get too absorbed in painting.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Potatoes and Onions

"Potatoes and Onions"
8" x 10"
oil on panel
click here to purchase 
I hardly ever use black in my paintings. For this one I needed a very dark background color. To be honest I was tempted to just use ivory black and get it over with, but went to Payne's gray instead. It is one of my favorite colors, although I hardly use it. I think Payne's gray is a mixture of black and ultramarine blue.
The most challenging part was to paint bottle with oil. I relied only on values, because couldn't identify colors. Stroke by stoke it started to look like a glass bottle. I don't remember when I used so many earth colors last, this painting needed as many of them as possible. I felt like an old master...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Reed Pen Drawing

I've been enjoying a book by the Metropolitan Museum of Art called "Vincent van Gogh The Drawings". I believe one can learn more about artist's thinking by his sketches, drawings and unfinished paintings than by anything else.

Van Gogh's drawings are amazingly detailed. It probably took him a couple of hours or maybe days to finish one. In his short lifetime he created many drawings. Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo once that "Drawing is the root of everything". And it made me get my pencil and a reed pen.

Unfortunately I wasn't outside looking directly at the subject, so a picture taken a couple of years ago in Russia became my reference:

"Lake Boats" 7" x 8" Reed Pen

Monday, December 2, 2013


8" x 8"
oil on panel
A little figure study was my subject today. I focused on light and shadow pattern of the scene and tried to keep everything that was in a shadow one value. My next focus will be using more color. I'll get there eventually... :)