Enjoy the new video demo!

Here is me sketching and painting a couple of roses in a sketchbook:

A little sketch of roses to celebrate Mother's Day! I am using a Sakura Pigma Micron pen and watercolor paints on Fabriano Artistico hot press paper.

This was recorded with my new camera (Nikon D3300) which I have high hopes for: something along the lines of it filming and producing at least monthly videos almost by itself...I'm quite happy with it so far. Now, to find the time.

On a sort of related note, I have been talking about launching an online course for years and now that I have the equipment, I want to figure out what exactly this course will be about. When it comes to watercolor painting, I'm good at several things and I need to focus on one. What would you want to learn from me? I will love you forever if you let me know :)

What do you want to learn?

Day 13 - Lunchtime

Warning: this post also has a baby in it. Or, rather, a toddler. Because I can't post today's painting without telling you how Katia (our 1.5-year-old), while I was blissfully finishing the painting, took my bottle of sepia acrylic ink and spilled it all onto our living room floor (tile, fortunately). She then proceeded with multi-sensory exploration of the puddle of ink (full bottle, by the way...I only started it today). By the time I snapped out of my zone and began wondering why she was so quiet, she had ink on her face, in her mouth, and all over her body.

14 - 1.jpg

So...moral of the story? Don't have kids Don't leave your stuff where a toddler can get it and never ever let yourself be lulled into thinking you can do your own thing while the toddler is awake. A bit sarcastic...I'm sure I will remember these days fondly one day.

As for the painting, I finally tried something I wanted to for some time: the ink + watercolor method but on a larger scale. I used a half sheet of paper and a brush to apply ink. It was actually pretty fun! I don't have as much control of the brush line as I do of the pen when I work on a small drawing, so this was a bit out of my confort zone. But I liked it.

22 x 15 " watercolor and ink on hot press watercolor paper.

22 x 15 " watercolor and ink on hot press watercolor paper.

Day 12 - to France!

At least, virtually for now :) I got a few reference photos of windows and doors from Bix of France Painting Holiday and used one of them today. Not crazy about the result but happy that I actually managed to paint some. There are things I like and dislike about this painting, but in general, I declare it a dud, a stinker, a wiper. Any other terms for unsuccessful painting attempts? Often, my "wipers" turn into experiments (since I already know it can't get much worse, I'm not afraid to mess it up with wild ideas). On this one, I want to do a few things...One is to apply gesso with a bristle brush (for texture) over the timber and freshen up the color on top.


Day 11 - a few sketches from the days before

Things get crazy, no time for anything, etc. Here is a sketch of baby Ella (who is already 2 months old!):


And an animated gif of her created by the almighty Google through their awesome Auto-Awesome feature. I am having all kinds of fun with it. (Sorry if you hate pictures of babies...I can't help it! I promise I won't do it very often, though :))


The second sketch below is something I made based on a picture of a woman walking through an alley. Initially, I just liked the figure and the tall buildings around her (which were not dark or menacing in the reference photo). As I worked on it, though, it began morphing into an abstraction more and more and taking on a darker mood. I'm not sure it's finished. I like the transparent layers but I also want to see how far I can push it into abstraction and darkness. We'll see...


Italian Window, December Virtual Paintout

Or, I suppose, it's more of a door...Virtual Paintout is in Venice this month, and I just couldn't miss it! During my first few minutes of virtually riding in a gondola down the canals, I realized that you can't go to Venice for a couple of days. You have to spend at least a month there. Inspiration is going to stab you around every corner!

I found a dozen of spectacular views on my short walk but settled for this charming architectural detail of a balcony for now.

Day 30 - Avalon Pier, Late Afternoon

The day is finally here! This is the last painting of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge. A few days late, but I'm pretty sure nobody cares except me, and I did have some tough few days.  

Avalon Pier. 11x15" Watercolor and Ink on watercolor paper. $120. Buy here. 

The painting is continuing (and probably not concluding) my Catalina theme. I put quite a lot of time into this one, beginning with a a fairly complicated drawing: and even some masking (and if you know me, you know I hardly ever use masking liquid):

I also wanted to keep the sky fairly dark and wasn't able to achieve that in the first wash (stuff dries quickly here in the desert!). So it took several washes to get to where I was sort of happy with it. The rest of the painting was just a lot of detail and small-brush work, which I don't do that often, either.  

Avalon Pier, cropped. 

I made the sky area large intentionally, but it seems to make the whole painting a bit too gloomy...So I am considering a more conservative crop. What do you think? 

Day 23 - An Avalon Street in Ink and Watercolor

More Catalina! The city of Avalon, to be specific, the little street called East Whittley Avenue. I snapped the reference photo while pushing a double stroller with both of my kids in it up that hill.

East Whittley Ave. 7.5 x 8.75". Ink and watercolor on hot press paper. $75 (special pricing until October 1). Buy here. 

As predicted, I had no time or energy to do a daily painting yesterday. I had an amazing second (and last) day of my portrait painting workshop and I'm super proud of what my students were able to accomplish. However, I was also experiencing symptoms of a cold and of being very much pregnant, so by the end of the day, I was dead. With a little over a month left until we get to meet baby #3, I am glad to stop being so active and lay low for a while. Of course, I will want back in the saddle before I know it...but for now, I feel like taking a break. 

Day 10 - An Apple Tree Ink and Watercolor Sketch

One of these days I will make a blog post about making a watercolor sketchbook. Especially since my current handmade sketchbook is almost full and I need to make a new one! The sketch below is also from the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens paintout. I started it there but was too hot and otherwise pregnantly uncomfortable to finish. So I finished it today.

Apple Tree. Watercolor and ink on watercolor paper.  

I liked this apple tree on my first walk-through of the gardens and made sure to return to it at the end of the paintout. I was hoping for a more interesting light and for a shaded spot for me to set up my easel but things don't always work exactly the way you want them to when you're doing plein air. The tree was in the shadow and I was pretty much in sunlight.

Virtual Paintout - Romania

ink and watercolor aquabord painting romania bucharest 6x6" Ink/watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord. Location is in the city of Bucharest, Romania. Check out the other entries at the Virtual Paintout Blog! They're getting better every month.

Romania shares a border with Ukraine, where I am originally from. Virtually "walking" the streets of this beautiful city made me a bit homesick - which, I must admit, I have been for a while now... I know there isn't much point to it, the country where I grew up is not the same it was seven years ago, the people have changed, grown older, and we don't even talk anymore - and yet I can't help it. Something will always pull me towards that place on the other side of the world.


Art Impressions from Sacramento

So I am back in the land of hot sun, strong wind, snakes, and non-existent art stores. Regardless of the fact that this place sounds so horrible, it is good to be home :). Sacramento was nice, especially those few precious mornings when I was treated to an hour or two of extra sleep! I also managed to attend the Second Saturday Art Walk. If I had a thousand dollars on me that night, I would have spent it without regrets. I fell in love with dreamy and foggy abstracts by Bernie Weston, a Citrus Heights artist who is, alas, practically absent from the web. He uses a unique process where he builds up multiple layers of plaster and wax colored with dry pigments. I'd love to know more about it and see how it's done... Here are the pieces that I covet:

The 20/20 show at the 20th Street Art Gallery was also rather engaging. The idea was for 62 artists to "create a body of work consisting of 25 small square panels, 20 of which will be displayed at one time. Each 8"x8" panel will incorporate a cohesive theme in the artist's chosen medium." I was pleased to see some good quality art (and even one series on Yupo - although that one, in my humble opinion, would not qualify as good quality art).

I also met with Sandra, a fellow EDM (a sketching/art journaling Yahoo group) artist and a nice person who allowed me to sketch her:


Virtual Paintout - April 2010, and hello to Aquabord

This month we (the diverse bunch of artists participating in Virtual Paintout) went to Canary Islands. Thanks to this awesome monthly project, the list of places that I have to visit, keeps growing...And I get to paint street scenes - which is not very feasible when you live in the middle of nowhere and have a small baby.

So, this is Aquabord. I'm not sure yet how much I like it - but it definitely has some advantages. First, it is a board. It is rigid. It does not require matting and frame is optional. It is super easy to lift watercolor (ink too, but I found that to be a little harder. You can end up with grooves on the surface). What I'm not so happy about is that, using my normal amount of water, the paint dries way too fast and doesn't really run and blend and do all that watercolory stuff. Maybe I just need more water.


Another detail.