virtual paintout

Tallinn (Estonia) - June Virtual Paintout

Happy Independence Day, comrades :) Hope you are having a fabulous weekend. Mine is going fine so far. I am finally experiencing a cautious return of art-making mojo, which I welcome with open arms. Making art makes me happy.

I haven't done a Virtual Paintout since last January, so this is extra special!

Tallinn. 15x22" Watercolor and walnut ink on hot press paper. Click on the image to buy.

Tallinn. 15x22" Watercolor and walnut ink on hot press paper. Click on the image to buy.

The process in this one is a bit backward: I started with a loose watercolor wash...

...and only after it was dry, added the drawing in walnut ink.

In case you are wondering, there was no pencil drawing. True, it's a risky business jumping straight into ink but it also has some advantages:

  • it keeps you a little looser, which makes your lines more fun

Ummm....that's all I can come up with :) My head is running slower than usual right now, what with fireworks well into the night, kids awake on and off, and me finally getting up at 6 am. I don't think I've had a reliable night of sleep since I was pregnant with kid #1. That makes it six years!

I received several questions about this painting, after posting it on my social media (are we connected? Check the icons under my beautiful face on the top right if you're reading this on my website). I will answer what I remember here.

1. Why walnut ink?

I like it for several reasons. The color is one, it looks less harsh than black India ink. I also really like the consistency and flow - it is very...liquid. What I mean is it seems like this ink will not clog the tiniest of the nibs. It's like colored water. And it's not waterproof when dry, it is very responsive to water. This can be a negative but I find it fun. Compare the figures in the image above with the finished painting. All it took is a bit of water-splashing.

2. Where can I get some?

Tom Norton Walnut Ink

Check your art store. I bought my first bottle from Daniel Smith (online) and the one I use now (Tom Norton), at a Utrecht (now Blick) here in Sacramento.

3. What is that thing you used to apply ink?

That thing is a bamboo quill (aka reed pen). It produces a somewhat uneven line and I do have less control but I'm okay with it :) . I picked mine up, on a whim, at the Utrecht store. Yasutomo makes a variety of sizes and there are endless other options, including making one yourself! I'm considering investing in a couple of these  >

Day 30 - Cape Cod Andirondack Chairs

After a short virtual trip to Cape Cod, I have added it to the list of places I would want to live in. Or at least visit in real life. And probably make more paintings of...

Today, just these two chairs overlooking a bay. Feels like a perfect spot to have a laid-back chat with a friend, or just relax to the sound of the water. Hope you like it :)

Day 29 - An Old Church on the Isle of Wight (Virtual Paintout)

It seems like during this 30 Paintings in 30 Days challenge, I couldn't stay away from architecture completely! It keeps peeking through the trees and suggesting itself in geometric abstract forms. But I did try :). Overall, I am pretty happy with how many landscapes I was able to paint during the challenge and I would like to spend a bit more time exploring the abstracts.  

11 x 15" Watercolor on paper. $95. Buy here.

So, with my challenge theme in mind, I gave the landscape a big part in this painting, while still keeping the church as the focal point. It was tricky modeling the building without any drawing - I usually like more structure in my structures. Here, I scraped the light areas of the church with a palette knife after laying in some color wet-into-wet. I added a few lines and reinstated the darks after it began drying.

House on a Hill - Virtual Paintout August 2011

watercolor and gesso landscape with birch trees and house in fairbanks alaska After a few months long break, I managed to create another painting for the Virtual Paintout project. It was one of those instant inspiration cases, which is a bit surprising given my reference image. Somehow, it really resonated with me - the high horizon, the birches, the grasses, the isolated little building...

Here is what it looks like on my living room wall:

watercolor landscape painting stretched on canvas stretchers

watercolor landscape painting hanging on a wall

The other news is that I'm 9.5 weeks pregnant and that I started teaching adult group watercolor classes. Being pregnant sucks, while teaching...I like it quite a lot so far :) I'm working on offering the basic class in other locations and I'm also developing an intermediate class.

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.


Virtual Paintout December 2010 - County Clare, Ireland

ennis ireland watercolor and ink painting street Ink and watercolor on Ampersand Aquabord, 6x6". Location is the city of Ennis, County Clare, Ireland. My husband was quite surprised that out of all the beautiful meadows and seashores and sheep and cottages that I could have found in Ireland, I somehow picked this street view. Well...I like the meadows and cottages, but my heart just aches for the narrow streets lined with old buildings, each and everyone different from its neighbors, with small shops on the ground floor and huge chimneys sticking out of their roofs...The feel of old Europe. Ireland has been my dream vacation spot for many years now and some day I will go there.

You can view all the other entries in December Virtual Paintout here. To my surprise, there is one pastel painting of the same street looking in the opposite direction!


Manhattan - Virtual Paintout

A very quick wax crayon and watercolor on yupo, 10x10". I definitely could have used fewer lines!

And a very dead day at a very local arts&crafts fair. It was their first day of the first year running the fair, and it was a Friday. And we got a thunderstorm by the end of the day - something that almost never happens here in the desert. Everybody at the fair is hoping for a better tomorrow, and me...I'm just enjoying a break from being a stay-at-home mom.

Copyright, Cheeseburgers, and The Artist's Husband

First of all, let me introduce my husband, who you might know of from occasional sketches and brief mentions, whose name is Terry, and whose last name I readily adopted after four years of observing agonizing attempts of English speakers to pronounce my Ukrainian-Polish-Russian maiden name. I did leave my first name pretty much in tact, though ;) A couple of days ago, my husband decided to start a blog about art, art marketing and promotion, our journey towards artistic fame, glory, and overall success, and about his own discovery of the artist within. I think it's an awesome idea and I hope he keeps up both the artistic ambitions and the documentation of them. The blog is called The Artist's Husband.

So...what does it all have to do with Cheeseburgers and copyright? Remember this painting?:

NOT cheeseburger in paradise :)
NOT cheeseburger in paradise :)

Well, I listed it on and I received an email from them...The rest of the story is on my husband's blog, check it out :)

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.

New sketches, and more paint chips

Virtual Paintout - Stavanger, Norway:

I misspelled the name of the town...such a shame. The sketch is on Yupo, around 6.75x7 inches. I really do enjoy virtual paintouts. I feel like some tourist-treasure-hunter when my little yellow Google guy hits the road in search of a nice view. I also read about the place.

This is my ex-neighbor's horse Dezel (pronounced as "diesel"), which happens to fit EDM 44 - an animal. A very beautiful animal. Oh yeah, I misspelled his name, too.

And EDM 109 - a clock!

Another paint chip :)

Virtual paintout and EDM 160

Some time during my very important blog-browsing and website-wandering, I have discovered the Virtual Paintout. It seemed like a great idea and I put it in my heart to start doing it someday. Well, this here is my virtual paintout for February. Not as big and serious as I wanted it to be but at least it exists. I still have a couple of interesting shots that I would like to do but I don't think I'll get to them by the end of the month.

The blobs in the background are my attempt at using a stamp that Nita Engle talks about in her book. Basically, you take a piece of illustration board, cut stuff on/out of it (a tree, for example), make a handle out of a piece of masking tape, put paint on the face of the stamp and press it to the paper. And then you find yourself surprised, disappointed (try again!), intrigued, hooked up...

In this case, I made mine out of a piece of floor underlayment. It didn't work quite like I expected, but it also surprised me in a good way: those rounded areas of foliage were not planned at all.

And here's EDM 160: a trophy or award. This one belongs to our friend and says "XR80 Indoor World Champion 2002" - whatever that means :) I only know it has something to do with motorcycle racing

This is another side effect of my recent home remodeling activities. I toned the paper in my watercolor Moleskine with latex flat finish interior wall paint. The rest is pen and conte crayons.