Cacti

My really first memory of cacti belongs to a little girl, who watched her father, taking care of small prickly plants and was terribly jealous. Dad made himself a special heating box and watered by exact number of drops each of his baby plant. That’s why I thought for a long time, that cacti are pampered princesses who steal love and attention.

Of course, I learned at school that cacti grow in dry deserts and are a small miracle of survival. But the child’s emotional experience was somehow stronger, so I avoided to meet cacti. Which is quite easy in Central Europe 🙂

What dramatically changed my attitude, was a holiday in the United States, especially traveling through Arizona and New Mexico. Suddenly I met real cacti. Huge, admirable, independent. No sign of pampered princess. I was amazed and speechless.

At that time I realized that the desert can be inhospitable, but it’s definitely not dead. There is a lot of life, just keep your eyes wide open and look beneath the surface. In terms of emotions, desert was one of the most powerful experiences in my life.

I am curious about your personal experience with this very special plant, or desert.

Love and hugs,

Ivana

Left in silence

I needed some therapeutic painting yesterday. To bring peace to troubled heart, I tried to paint the silence in the middle of snowy forest. Scenery, which I have seen only on TV in last years, while as a child I remember the snow every winter. It sounds like from my grandma when she remembered her youth 🙂

Anyway, I spent several hours trying to create a snowy serenity that I finally had to break by a snowman in front. And then the sleigh, forgotten by the child builders, made the point behind the whole story. Still, it’s a landscape of silence, but the signs of playful creativity bring a kind of hope and hidden joy. At least for me.

I’d like to share the feelings that yesterday’s painting gave to me.

With love and hugs,

Ivana

Wrapped well

Thank you for all the encouragement! It made me hungry to paint another topic from my 52 challenges earlier.

And because Christmas is just around the corner, I chose the topic “ribbon”. I got the result after about five hours, as I had never painted any ribbon before. That’s why it became part of my challenge 🙂

Hope you will like the gift, hidden inside. Let your imagination fly and leave me a comment on what you see under the ribbon.

With love and hugs,

Ivana

Mixing green

Actually, I don’t have any green in my palette, so mixing green is a must. Especially if you love to paint natural motives like I do. Getting the right hue of green then becomes an exciting challenge.

Before I touched watercolors, I had a clear idea. Green? Nothing complicated, just mix yellow and blue, and done! Ha, ha, it didn’t work so easily when came to practice.

My inner researcher brought me to play with options and create swatches of various mixed green. Finaly I was surprised how many of them I’ve got.

From inside of my limited palette I used following colors (White nights brand):

Yellow (PY154)

Cadmium Lemon (PY35)

Ultramarine (PB29)

Azure Blue (PB15:3, PG7)

Yellow Ochre (PY43, PY154)

Umber (PY43, PBr7, PBk7)

Ivory Black (PR102, PBk7)

OK, I have found something about pigments too. My inner researcher never sleeps 🙂 And yes, next time I will order colors with this in mind. But now, I work with what I have.

What do you think about the range of greens?

I love mixing yellow with the azure blue in both, light and dark values. Using ultramarine brings more olive tones, which is not bad as well, and to be honest, maybe more natural. But I still love the vibrant mix of the azure blue 🙂

Out of my expectation is the mix of azure blue with black. Such beautiful smoky blue-green! And useful as well. This one is highly placed on my preferences too.

How about you? How do you mix green if you do it? Any tips for a beginner like me? I would appreciate comments, sharing experience and a good advice.

Stay happy and creative!

Love, Ivana

Water brush yes or no?

Before I begun to play with watercolor painting 3 months ago, I spent a huge amount of time looking for the right supply. Not really cheap and questionable quality, it would increase my respect or fear of the wet technique. But not really expensive, because I didn’t know if or how long I would stay with watercolor. Finally I decided for the White nights of 12, and two round brushes 6 and 12.

However, I was fascinated by the possibilities that the market offers. Possibilities I couldn’t even imagine until I saw them! Because I wasn’t interested in brushes and paints before, I suddenly felt like Alice behind the mirror. So many temptations struggled with my fear. But you already know what won 🙂

Among all those miracles, I also met a water brush. It caught my curiosity, but I didn’t felt like I must to have it.

Then, it started to warm up outside, and I thought about painting in the fresh air. Not that I planned to paint landscapes! I rather liked the idea of sitting outside somewhere in the shade of a big tree and putting my fantasies or exercises on paper in the middle of green.

Trying to connect dream with reality, I was bothered by the idea of two water glasses there and operating with them. So I came back to the water brush.

And you know what? I love it! I didn’t expect it, but it’s true. The water brush met my expectation of painting in the shade of trees, but there is much more.

Due to the water tank, the brush body is more robust and fits better in my oversized hand. I may also have a fine motor skills disorder, but this brush gives me a feel of control over what I paint. Finally!

I love to hold my water brush not because of the water it contains, but because of the amount of material I can lean on. In fact, I still use a small glass of water even outside. It doesn’t get dirty so quickly, so the water brush saves paint consumption as a result, which is another benefit.

For painting of a large area I can still use a common brush, because a bigger size of brush brings a thicker holder.

Someone once told me that I had the character of a researcher. But he didn’t tell me that I would use this skill even for choosing painting supplies. I’m not easy for life 🙂

The painting above is made by water brush in the middle of beautiful old park nearby. Just exercise how to paint strawberries, the first attempt.

Hope you’ve had some nice excitement too, regardless the corona status.

Love, Ivana

Bubbles

Washing hands made me think about bubbles. Zero weight bubbles have the ability to bring us help in many forms.

I remember how we enjoyed creating bubbles through a straw from a cup of water with a drop of detergent that mom gave us to keep calm for washing dishes. It means she played with bubbles in her adult way, while we children admired the flying balls, reflecting all the colors of the rainbow. And of course, we tried to catch them. I can still hear our laugh in the garden.

Bubbles in the bath are also great. They create a light and even aromatic cushion into which you can bury your head and body, and there are still plenty of bubbles left to play if you want. You can enjoy it in various moods as a child, lonely or relaxing adult, or even in groups of two or more.

Remaining with literal meaning of bubbles, there is their enormous value in washing and cleaning disciplines of all kinds. Anyone who has ever tried to wash or clean anything with and without bubbles knows the truth about the difference.

But we also make no detergent bubbles. How often have you heard the sentence “Close yourself into a bubble to feel safe”? So we follow the trend. Keeping our inner self safe among billions people, we live in bubbles, losing real contact with real others.

Today’s paradox is that our mandatory isolation has helped a number of bubbles burst. As if the face mask replaced the bubble and people discovered what had not been seen before.

The Covid-19 virus is also kind of bubble inside a pandemic bubble, and works against us as well as for us.

It’s up to each of us which bubbles to choose and how to deal with them. Personally, I’m going to find a straw and return to the bubbles of childhood, to the bubbles full of rainbow.

Enjoy bubbles and share which bubbles you love or prefer, thanks!

Hug and love,  Ivana

Regarding watercolor painting, I was so focused on the bubbles that I thought about the rest only after I painted them. That’s why the dark background painted later made me crazy and additionally stole the original lightness and round shape of the bubbles. Now, they look more like snowballs than bubbles. But one learns through mistakes, right?