California Landscapes – Fort Ross

California, fort, Fort Ross, history, landscape, national park, North, ocean, old, realism, Russian, settlement, Watercolor, windmill

realism in watercolors
A couple of weeks ago I pointed my brushes North and went to explore some new (for me) places.

One of the stops was at Fort Ross, California

For my painting, I’ve picked up this historical landmark. I liked the scene with Old Windmill against a blue sky and the ocean.

The history of this place is interesting and rich.
(I’ve found a few interesting facts online)

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Fort Ross, originally Fortress Ross is a former Russian establishment on the west coast of North America in what is now Sonoma County, California, in the United States. It was the hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America between 1812 to 1842. It has been the subject of archaeological investigation and is a California Historical Landmark, a National Historic Landmark, and on the National Register of Historic Places. Nowadays, Fort Ross is a part of California State Historic Park. 
Fort Ross is a landmark in the history of European imperialism. The Spanish expansion went west across the Atlantic Ocean, and the Russian expansion went east across Siberia and the Pacific Ocean. 

For many years following the Russian presence, Fort Ross was preserved and maintained as a single large holding by its successive owners. The site was operated as a rancho through the Sutter and Benitz periods (1841-67), as a logging operation during the Dixon/Fairfax years (1867-73), and as a ranch, port and social center during 1873-1979. 

Although land use changed over time, its continuous status as a large holding helped to bridge the transition from a ranching community to the 3,386 acre state historic park we have today.

In the 19th century Fort Ross had a port in the northwest cove which was used extensively by ranchers in the surrounding community. There was a store, a post office and a telegraph station; the old Russian buildings housed a hotel, a dance hall and a saloon.

 It was one of several social centers for residents of the area. Fort Ross continues to be important to local residents, and many have volunteered their time, resources and expertise to assist in the park’s development and growth.

These days, Fort Ross has changed from a ranching community in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to the popular state historic park of today.

(courtesy to WiKi and FortRoss.org)  
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Find A Cat in Benicia – Plein-Air Painting Session

Bay Area, Benicia, bestselling artist, California, CWA, history, landscape, Painting, plein air, realism in watercolor, San Francisco, seascape, Sztukowski, Watercolor
building mountains shore watercolor
Benicia is a small town in Northern California. It is only 15 minutes from where I leave. Cozy streets with restaurants, gift shops, and a beautiful San Francisco Bay shore attract a lot of artists. CWA plein-air artists group had the same idea: to come, to see, to paint. 
We made an attempt to come here last year, but October rain chased us away. This year the weather couldn’t be better. 
I was sitting on the shore and panting a visitors center with its palm trees. The building covered pretty much all the bay beauty; but you can still see Mountain Diablo, sparkles on a water, and even a fisherman in his little boat. 

If you look closely, you also will find a few birds and….a….. cat! I am not telling you where it is. You will need to look for it :0)

A little bit of Benicia’s history:
In spite of the fact that now it is a tiny little town, back in 19th century, for more than a year, Benicia was serving as California Capital in 1853. 
In 1860 there was an area dedicated to US Army Arsenal, an armory place. Historical building are still bringing joy to the visitors: The Clock Tower, The Camel Barn (yes, yes, they used to have stables with camels for transportation).
Being a major connector in transportation business back in 1860s, now Benicia is a quiet lovely place to visit for  fun and for arts. It has regular art exhibitions and art openings in its Galleries, promotes arts through Open Studio events, provides many art classes for children and adults. And needless to say, it is a great place to visit for a plein-air painting session.

All artists from CWA had fun painting different places in Benicia that day:
plein-air Benicia
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Original painting “Benicia, California” is 12″x16″ Watercolor on 140lb 100% cotton Arches
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For more paintings with California Landscapes please visit my Gallery California here:



In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul



Sketching Italy – Part I

buildings, city, history, hotel, Italia, italian, Italy, map, realism, sketch, sketches, Sztukowski, tourism, tourists, town, trip, Venice, voyage
After a long long flight, having a refreshing ride in a water taxi, my husband and I landed in the comfortable room of one Venetian hotel:
interior
The couple of sketches I made there were at the time when, after running around the town overwhelmed with heat and the history, we had a chance to cool down for a few minutes and rest:
lamp window door table mirror
Beautiful canals with waters from turquoise blue to milky emerald, flowers on the windows, and polls in the water attracted my attention the first day of our city discovery: 
cityscape
Two gondoliers were resting before the next ride. No rush, no hurry, they knew the next group of tourists is inevitably coming:
Italy sketch bridge
After walking through narrow streets where the Sun never hits the ground, it was nice to find a relatively large square surrounded with two canals and an army of buildings:
monument buildings Italy
But not only the canals that historical part of  Venice is made of. One of the main artery of the touristic mecca was Via Nuova, wide enough to fit even a car or two passing by, and with its colorful old buildings and shops, shops, shops:
Venice Italy trip
After three wonderful days in Venice, visiting museums such Palazzo Ducale, Biblioteca Nazionale, Modern and Ancient Art exhibitions at San Marco Piazza, Accademia and many gorgeous churches and cathedrals, we had to prepare to leave for a new endeavors that were planned on our Italy tour. 
Sitting in the lobby of the hotel Europa & Regina and waiting for the water ride to the train station, I had a few minutes to sketch my last Venetian interior:
Armchair Table Room

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In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Eiffel Tower – Phase VII and VIII

commission, Eiffel, France, history, Irina, learn to paint, Paris, realism in watercolor, step-by-step projects, Sztukowski, The Eiffel Tower, Travel, Uncategorized, watercolor tutorial
It is all in details. One by one, beam by beam, I was building The Eiffel Tower observing the original structure and meantime retaining the artistic approach to the painting. I also started working on the figures, but had to keep in mind they are far away and should not be pronounced too much. Yet I grabbed the magnifying glass in order to paint the girls carefully. 
Viva Eiffel! My Tower is almost completed :0). Tomorrow I am placing the final art with the link to the details.
In Every Piece Of My Art
There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul