Painting fruits

Fruit is a great topic for a beginner, don’t you think? There are beautiful shapes, lots of work with light and shadow, and it may or may not be realistic. Loosely painted fruit can still look recognizable and yummy.

But I decided to paint realistic apple – whole and cut in half. Or as much realistic as I can. I spent several hours layering various reds and then lifting them back before I got a pretty good whole red apple. But it was so lonely, even though the sketch of the half already existed next to it.

So I decided to add more fruit to make company to the apples and let them feel happier. Plus no paper waste! 🙂

I would probably change the composition a bit, if I thought about the other fruits right away. But pretty good on the first try, what do you think?

I have to admit that without pandemic, I probably wouldn’t started with watercolors. Today I know it would be a shame. Painting gives me great pleasure (more than drawing) and I cannot wait for further improvements.

Watercolor is an exciting adventure!

Love and hugs,

Ivana

Painting landscape

I have never wished to paint landscapes and I probably can’t even appreciate a well-painted landscape. I love being in the landscape and perceiving it with all my senses. Smell its scent, feel the sun’s rays or raindrops on my skin, hear the birds singing, touch the bark of the trees, taste the herbs or berries along the way. Eyes are only a part of the whole experience.

But then there is my artistic challenge and one of its topics is painting landscape.

When I tried to paint what I know from my surroundings – like the surface of a pond with several trees in background, it became a disaster. Perhaps because I painted at night under artificial light, without any reference picture. And it was the first time I tried to paint water surface. You really don’t want to see it 🙂

I felt much better after painting the ocean on the shore, even though I live hundreds of miles from the sea. But youtube knows everything! One of my favorite artist teacher Jenna Rainey just posted appropriate tutorial there, so I did what I watched. And you know what? I spent about a quarter of the time with a better result. It is worth to learn from someone who knows what he or she is doing.

According to the tutorial of Jenna.

Yesterday’s attempt to paint the landscape was a compromise between the two approaches. I used a reference picture of the landscape and did it my way. I am quite satisfied, so I can jump to the next topic of my artistic challenge. Hope you like it too 🙂

Love and hugs,

Ivana

How many colors in my palette?

I am celebrating one-year anniversary of watercolor painting. Even in such a short time, I gained some experience, some of which surprised me a lot.

For example, I would never believe how much difference in results paper makes! At the moment, I am still balancing on the edge of price/performance rate, letting exclusive brands for later.

But what about paints? I love colors! Do I need to buy every existing tone? NO!

Today I’d like to share how my experience with color selection developed.

Yellow – most popular, most used

I used three full-pans of yellow in a year! Mostly because of mixing greens. After that I decided to add green to the palette, the yellowish-green to be more exact.

Anyway I consider practical having two yellow pans in the palette at the same time. One for mixing with blue and the other for mixing with red or separate use. Otherwise you will wash the pans and money too often.

Both of my yellows are cadmium lemon – not really cold, but certainly not a warm tone of yellow. Although it is nice to have a warm yellow to mix with red, it is horrible to get a nice green with it!

Originally, I had yellow ochre in the yellow scale. I won’t fill it anymore because it can be easily mixed just like orange.

Red – hell or paradise?

If the cold/warm definition matters somewhere, it is definitely red. I am not completely satisfied yet, but I am in the process of trying. On the warm scale of red I am currently using Ruby (PR 170) and it may be subject to change in the future. I am open to your experience and recommendation.

In general, warm tones of red are suitable to mix with yellow to get peach and orange tones, but it is almost impossible to get nice purple with it. Then you need a cold red, whether it is called rose or magenta.

I have Quinacridone Rose (PR 122) and I am extremely satisfied! It can be beautifully mixed with both blue and yellow, even if you don’t get a strict orange.

Blue – my source of green

As a person, I am not a fan of blue. I like turquoise and love everything green, and that’s what my paintings look like.

Originally, I bought only Ultramarine (PB29) and suffered from trying to mix a nice green. Impossible, because Ultramarine has a reddish tone inside. It is better to use it solo or with magenta/rose.

Soon I added Azure Blue, which is turquoise tone of blue (PB15+PG7). I love it solo and in the mix. There are beautiful tones on both, yellow and red (magenta) scale with it.

Today I added Cobalt Blue (PB28) to the palette, which will replace Ultramarine in the future. Cobalt Blue doesn’t have the reddish tone inside, so it is more suitable for mixing. Hopefully.

What’s left? Not necessary, but sitting there

Brown. Originally, I had umbra in my palette, but I was disappointed with its greenish tone inside. That’s why I used to mix brown from red and black. Today I added Mars Brown to the palette and we will see.

Violet. Easy to get it from Rose and Azure Blue. Anyway I added Quinacridone Violet (PV55) today – to complete 12 pcs and to try.

Black. As I said, I used to mix black with red to get browns, and black with azure blue to get misty green like for eucalyptus or sage leaves.

Gold. Metallic color of the Aztecs for special effects.

So, how many of colors do I really need?

Yellow in two pans, red and rose (magenta), azure blue for sure, cobalt blue perhaps. It makes 6 pans. The other 6 are for pleasure. It means you can get a huge number of colors even on a limited budget.

Then, you can spend the money for high quality paper!

In the picture above you can see factory color codes as well as the code of their pigments. The rest are mixed colors or better to say some of them.

Love and hugs,

Ivana

P.S. Since beginning, I have been using the White nights brand of paints.

Being a winner

Most people like to feel like a winner, at least from time to time. For some, a small victory on a daily basic is sufficient, others need to accumulate wealth or climb the highest mountains in the world. The greater the risk, the greater victory and often also pride.

Folk psychology says “Feel like a winner and you will get it”.

But is it that easy for everyone? Being a winner means leaving a number of losers behind. And many people are not willing to give the loser’s label to the others, because they used to get them too often earlier. They may have a traumatic experience with a so-called winner, who climbed on the backs of others, often by humiliating them.

Being a winner in a healthy way means to remain humble and supportive to all who have allowed him to win. And always take into account feelings of the losers behind.

So I painted a fake winner, who is blinded by his own glow. One could see a winner whose glory extends to heaven or a gilded dummy in the backyard in front of a poorly painted wall. It’s up to you 🙂

I would like to meet just a few fake winners and a lot of sensitive ones. Then it would be nice to join them.

Love and hugs to both, winners and losers!

Ivana

Dreaming

We’ve been living with pandemic for a year and it doesn’t seem to be better. Hospitals are about to collapse, even young people are dying, only the virus happily survives in new mutations.

From many reasons our little country is having a hard time just now. We are probably facing a strict lockdown in a few days. Listening to the bad news made me dream about the coming spring and my walks among flowers.

Until politicians find agreement on the lockdown’s terms, I will keep my dreaming. I need walks outside, even if I have to wear a top-class respirator on my face. Which became a reality since today.

Anyway, I hope to use my boots for walking not for gardening.

Stay healthy!

Love and hugs,

Ivana

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

Painting animals

After revealing my blindness to perspective, I felt to challenge myself and paint a four-legged animal.

The first animal that came to my mind was a hippopotamus! A weird choice for someone, who lives in Central Europe and loves walking in local forests, where are a lot of wild animals but certainly no hippo.

It took me time to realize that this choice was made by inner coward. He accepted the challenge, but cut most of its thorns. So I painted a four-legged animal, hidden deep in the water.

In fact, it is more like a sketchbook illustration, a hippo in two versions. Don’t ask how much graphite and eraser it cost before I could use the paint, although the legs and body are hidden 🙂

How I love the kingdom of plants!

But the challenge must go on. My next topic belongs also to the animals, and it is a bird!

Btw. Which of the two hippos do you prefer? Personally, I vote for the open mouth. I consider him safer even though I don’t know if he is screaming or yawning. What do you think?

Love and hugs,

Ivana

Candle light madness

First of all, happy new year to all of you! Like most I believe that 2021 will be better and safer, opportunities for prosperity and mobility will return, our joy and creativity will grow. Hopefully.

I need a bit more creativity at the moment. Since the end of the year, I have been stuck with candle light. Many attempts, not very visible progress. Believe or not, the candle lights above are the more successful ones. I decided to post them with a little hope to break the trap and start another project.

The funny thing is, that candle light should be a shortcut of an old lamp, shining in a snowy street. I changed the original plan, because perspective is my nightmare and both, the street and the lamp, include a big portion of it. I know, there are rules and tools how to handle perspective, but the basic problem is that my eyes just cannot see it.

You definitely know various magical pictures with visual illusion. I have never seen expected illusion in any of them. My eyes see what is painted and reject the illusion. It took me long to understand, that perspective belongs to such illusions. All those tricks on a flat surface are supposed to create the illusion of 3D.

I admire everyone who can do it! But my eyes or the brain are not equipped with this particular chip converting 2D to 3D.

Of course I could drill myself, but all the joy would disappear from my painting. It doesn’t make sense, I need joy more than perfect paintings. So, I could continue to avoid objects with high level of perspective. Perhaps, but how long?

Something in my gut tells me to make my own rules of perspective using the set of skills and disabilities I have been given. I hope to find enough courage for it soon. If you have advice or recommendation, I would appreciate it!

Otherwise I spend too much time and energy on so called shortcut like the candle light.

Thanks for being with me.

Love and hugs,

Ivana

From the moon to the galaxy

In recent days, my painting has been somehow attracted directly to the night sky. I was thrilled with the challenge, but worried about the result. So I needed more attempts.

In addition, I am not a landscape lover and I promised in summer that I wasn’t going to paint any. Half year later, I wished to combine the night sky with the silhouette of wooded landscape!

We have a proverb, which I cannot translate well, but which exactly corresponds to that situation. It’s something like “You always get the biggest slice of the rejected bread”.

It’s exactly me, and such situation is repeated again and again. Whenever in my life I said with full conviction “No, thanks, this is not my way”, sooner or later I just wanted to do it. Does it happen to you too? If yes, how often?

I think about the source of it, while the last layer of my watercolor galaxy is drying. Looking at the painting, I see the endless possibilities that are stupid to limit by frightened beliefs. And that leads me to realize that the problem is not that I don’t know myself enough and still don’t know what is and isn’t my path.

The whole galaxy says that we create boundaries in our lives and usually make them much tighter than they are given to us. Not only me, but many.

I wish for all of us that the catcher from the first painting would capture our fears and nightmares, and we could open the door to a wide galaxy of possibilities.

Feel free, stay safe and happy holidays!

Ivana