California Landscapes – Point Arena Lighthouse

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California Landscape

When painting this gorgeous landscape I had to practically “built”
the rocks layer by layer. It took me a couple of hours to achieve the texture
of the rocky cliff with its washes, cracks, grass, and clays. I was doing it
patiently with passion, thinking that Mother Nature did the same her way but it
took a few million years :0)
Here are a few interesting facts:
The Point Arena Lighthouse is situated on the closest point
of land to the Hawaiian Islands in the Continental United States. The point is
surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean which keeps the area cool. This Lighthouse
is set in one of the most spectacular and peaceful surroundings on the northern
California coast. The Point Arena tower is the only Pacific West coast
lighthouse of significant height that you can climb to the top! Access to the
lantern room provides a panoramic view of the rugged California coast and of
the ocean.
A Little bit of history:
The first lighthouse at this site was constructed in 1870.
The brick-and-mortar tower included ornate iron balcony supports and a large
Keeper residence with enough space to house several families. In April 1906, a
devastating earthquake struck the Light Station. The Keeper’s residence and
Lighthouse were damaged so severely that they had to be demolished.
The new lighthouse began operation in 1908, nearly 18 months
after the quake. It stands 115 feet (35 m) tall, and featured a 1st Order
Fresnel Lens, over six feet in diameter and weighing more than six tons. The
lens was made up of 666 hand-ground glass prisms all focused toward three sets
of double bullseyes. It was these bullseyes that gave the Point Arena
Lighthouse its unique “light signature” of two flashes every six
seconds. This incredible optic, that held an appraised value of over $3.5
million, was set in solid brass framework, and was built in France. Prior to
the introduction of electricity, the lens was rotated by a clockwork mechanism.
The Keepers, or “wickies” as they were called, had to hand crank a
160-pound weight up the center shaft of the lighthouse every 75 minutes to keep
the lens turning. Light was produced by a “Funks” hydraulic oil lamp,
that needed to be refueled every four hours, and whose wicks would have to be
trimmed regularly. Later, two 1,000 watt electric lamps were installed to
replace the oil lamp, and a 1⁄8 horsepower electric motor was installed to replace
the clockworks.
Nowadays (since 1984) nonprofit organization called the
Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers takes care of this place providing diligent
historic preservation of this beautiful place.
(info:courtesy to wiki and pointarenalighthouse.com/)




www.artirina.com 

Pink Rose Buds

Fine Art, flower, garden, Irina, Irina's art, pink rose, realism, red geranium, roses, Sztukowski, Watercolor, watercolor technique, waterrcolour
blossom
This little pink Lady named Rose was blooming in my garden a couple of month ago.. The morning Sun just hit the petals, and the background was still dark from the shadow of the fence. 

The challenge in this Pink Rose painting was that I wanted to leave the geranium on the background but keep it very vague, not popping-up so to speak. Instead, I wanted to make my Pink Rose shine. Any professional artist will tell you that if you want to have something on the back ground make it cooler than the front; and, vise versa: make the foreground warm to pop-up. 

In this painting of the Pink (almost purple) rose everything is opposite to the usual rules: the rose color is cooler than the background colors. 

How did I achieve the contrast? I’ve loaded my brush with very juicy red. After masking the rose drawing, I’ve applied wet on wet technique, in several layers, until I was satisfied with the deepness of the red geranium. Then, I’ve painted the rose in a very light washes, ending the session with almost dry-on-dry application.
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Original artwork Pink Rose Bloom is 10″x8″ on Fabriano Extra White 140lb painted with Winsor&Newton Watercolor 

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

Making Life A Little Brighter – Fun Tree Of Life Series

abstract, bestsellers, bird, bright, cat, Fine Art, flower, Happy, heart, Irina, Irina's art, life, Nature, silhouette, Szutkowski, vivid art, Watercolor
abstract
With all the recent serious things such judging, writing for CWA, preparing for the shows, and meantime working on a couple of commissions; I really wanted to loosen up and make something just for fun.

Here is my little Fun Tree of Life series

First, I placed some random swirls on Strathmore 140lb Cold Pressed paper, then I washed them off. Next, more swirls were coming, and more and more using dry-on-wet technique. When this was done, I applied wet-on-wet nice juicy wash of rich colors such Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, and all what I felt is right for this project from my pallet.

Still sounds too serious?
Ok, ok.

Here is when the fun came. When paper was dry, I looked at each swirl and it basically “dictated”, moved my hand to where I felt putting the branches of the tree, plus a little cute additions to the trees that made it fun.

Impression I and Impression II (above) are all about birds and flowers.
Impression III and Impression IV have hidden birds, plus one of them is full of fruits and has a curious cat:
red yellow painting
In Impression V the cat is hiding on a tree. And Impression VI is caring two hearts and two love birds:
hunting cat and bird

Just like in real life, we grow, we thrive, sometimes don’t see things right in front of our eyes, sometimes are happy just by looking at a simple flower or a birdie, or find love where we least expect it… 

Oh, I am getting again too serious.. better stop and keep working!
:0)



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

Pears Trio

art that sells, canvas, Fine Art, Irina, Irina's art, myrtle wood, pear, pear art, pears, realism, realistic, Still Life, Sztukowski, Watercolor, watercolour
watercolor pears
Oh Pears, Pears! Each time I paint them I think about a figure painting. They are just like humans: not two pears are alike, are they?

These three ladies I painted on special Watercolor Canvas made by Fredrix. I loved to experiment. If to look closely, there is texture of the canvas is seen. 

The pears were from Farmers Market. They perfectly showing their imperfection: pretty as Nature intended.
The shelf that they are sitting on is made of Myrtle Wood. My husband and I picked the wood from the shop in Oregon; and, then he made the lovely shelf that I cherish.
Myrtle wood has quite interesting texture and it is one of the rare woods in the world.

Per www.myrtlewood.com 
No other hardwood excels Oregon Myrtlewood in
beauty of grain and variety of coloring. Golden tans and muted reds, yellow
greens and soft grays, ash blonds and seal browns, often patterned with velvet
black for striking designs within the wood. Here is nature’s artistry
unsurpassed!
 (read more here)

I had fun not only painting those pears, but also got lost in the grain of the wood. At some point, while painting it, I was thinking I painted marble shelf, not a wooden one.

Now, back to the pears. 
Here are just a few pears for the road
 :0)

They do look good when they sprinkled with a few drops of water:
still life painting
SOLD


A single pear on a watercolor board Aquabord does make a personal statement 
(the story about it is in the previous post here): 
realistic painting
SOLD


And, even with coffee, pears look appealing, playful, and yummy: 
cerafe
SOLD
(prints are available in my Still Life Gallery here)

**************************************************************

Original Painting Three Pears on The Myrtle Wood Shelf is 8″x10″ Watercolor on Fredrix Canvas


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

Glass Rocks Roll To Sacramento

art show, art that sells, bestseller, display, Elk Grove, Irina's art, juried show, painting glass, realism, realism in watercolor, rocks, rose, Sacramento, Sztukowski, Watercolor
Elk Grove Art Gallery
One of my favorite paintings the Rose with the Glass Rocks was accepted into a juried Art Show  at Elk Grove Art Center in Sacramento area. 

The rose in this painting was a fresh cut from my garden. The morning dew was already gone, but I wanted to play with drop-like texture that day. I placed the rose on the window and dropped a few glass rocks next to it. Each rock reflected the world: the sky, the tree branches outside, one even showed the rose view distorted through the glass:
Realistic Still Life
I am so glad that my Rose with the Glass Rocks will be on display at such famous Art Center in the Capital of California :0)

June 1, 2013
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
AWARDS PRESENTATION @ 7:00 p.m.
The show continues through June 27th
GALLERY LOCATION
9080 Elk Grove Blvd. in Old Town Elk Grove
Wed. – Sat. 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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Original Painting Rose And Glass Rocks is 10″x14″ on 100% Cotton Artist Watercolor 140lb Cold Pressed


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

White Oleander Painting

bestseller, flower, garden, Irina's art, Irina's watercolors, Oleander, poison, realism in watercolor, Sztukowski, Watercolor, watercolor flowers, White Oleander painting
Watercolor art
Do you see white flowers? 
Aha, it is a White Oleander, the one that is growing down my street.

 This yet poisonous (see the story here ) but such beautiful bush amazes me each time when I take a walk in the neighborhood.   

And now I’ll explain why I asked about white:

I painted these Oleander flowers without using any white color, and on a top of it there is not even a  spec of white paper left on the painting. Before I began to paint, I made a good “rainbow-ie” wash on the paper. Then I dried it nicely, reserved the space for the middle of the flowers and started playing with one wash after another on the flowers’ surface.

Yet the real magic began when I worked on the background. The so-rather-not-white flowers all of a sudden became united and quiet white against the dark of the background colors.

I love that kind of magic!! 
:0)
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Original painting White Oleander is 20″x16″ on 300lb Arches professional watercolor paper


http://irinasztukowski.blogspot.com/2013/05/white-oleander-painting.html

Eiffel Tower – Phase V and VI

apricot blossom, art studio Irina, commission, Dramatic Sky, Eiffel Tower, Fine Art, first place, France, French, gift, Irina's art, Painting, Paris, Spring, Uncategorized, watercolor by Irina, yahoo groups
The stage V and VI of the painting look as if I was rebuilding The Eiffel Tower from the top gradually grounding the construction, isn’t it.. In the stage V, I started placing the details high above moving slowly to the bottom in order to give the weight and to see the contrast. 
Stage VI is the most enjoyable as the tower starts looking almost completed; yet, still there is a lot of work to do. One would say, it is done, just work on the figures a little; but, I think I cared away with the lacy look of the Eiffel Tower. I caught myself while painting that I felt being in Paris that exact moment, physically! Great feeling, eh. And it’s not too expensive way to travel ;0)
And here is one more highlight from my artistic journey: the painting Apricot Blossoms won the First Place in May theme  SPRING in Yahoo Group.
Larger Image of the painting is HERE
In Every Piece Of My Art
There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Rebuilding The Eiffel Tower

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Detailed Image of the Original Painting: Here
My client asked if I could paint The Eiffel Tower for her (original art was recently sold) but instead of one lady she wanted to see two young girls. The painting would be a gift to her friend who she met in Paris. When start working on the new art piece, and having the original image handy, I wanted to make a new one as if it was the only painting I ever did of The Eiffel Tower. I’ve been to Paris twice; but unfortunately pictures didn’t turn out great (a good excuse to go there again, eh :0) .. 
The day I’ve received the commission request the skies in my area were so beautiful and so dramatic that I rushed to take a good photo reference to have it for my future art:
Even though the girls’ figures on the painting were important they should not distract the attention from the main subject, The Eiffel Tower. Better, if they would be engaged in some kind of conversation, and maybe about the beauty of Paris and the Eiffel Tower itself. 
I made a few figure sketches for my client to choose. I really wanted to leave the scarf on one of the girl to show not only the style, the breeze; but more, keeping it as the romantic Paris-like piece, which by flowing with the wind would bond two figures together. And, it should be the brightest spot of the figures. The figures were supposed to be painted pretty much in one color: 
This sketch (above) was engaging but it was a little detached from the mail subject.
My client chose this sketch. It was not only showing a nice conversation, but as well the dynamics. One girl was pointing towards The Eiffel Tower as if they just discussed its grandiose beauty, which suddenly appeared from the cloudy skies. 
Stay tuned. Tomorrow I am posting first two phases of the painting.
In Every Piece Of My Art
There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul