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

When Paris Comes To San Francisco

artist that takes commission, commission, commission art, Eiffel Tower, exhibition, France, Irina's watercolors, Paris, realism in watercolor, San Francisco, show, Sztukowski
This new painting accompanied with five others, is now on Geary Blvd in San Francisco. 
Recently opened Cafe Coco  invited me to show my large artworks there:

4201 Geary
(between 7th Ave & 6th Ave) 
San FranciscoCA 94118


I don’t think I’d ever be tired of painting the Eiffel Tower. Each time I do it, I find new intricate nuances. This time I made The Tower almost weightless, floating in the orange purple dramatic skies of Paris.

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Original Painting Eiffel Tower is 24″x17″ on 140lb Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper


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

Ranunculus Painting – Phase II

Florals, flower, flower painting, flower pot, Flowers, irina szutkowski, Irina's watercolors, original art, step by step painting, Uncategorized

At  the Phase II for the Ranunculus painting I made a wash for the background and started on the tablecloth pattern, trying to place it in the perspective and keep it simple as intended. The challenge with the background is that until the flowers are worked on the pale green does not look appealing to me as I usually  choose the darker background when flowers are light. But we will see.
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10″x8″ Watercolor Painting (first wash)

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

Ranunculus Painting – Phase I

artist that takes commission, commission, commission art, commission paintings, Florals, Flowers, Irina's watercolors, Ranunculus, Sztukowski, Uncategorized, watecolor flowers, watercolor flower

Drawing

Pale green suggestion for the background

Magazine cut-out suggestion

Working on the commission piece is not easy, but still enjoyable task. It gives the Artist space to create and propose, yet still keeps on the toes to meet the client’s needs. My client wanted an imaginary bouquet of Ranunculus flowers in the transparent glass vase. I was given the small cut out from Martha Stewart catalog to follow the color pattern, the tablecloth style, and the type of Ranunculus (as we now know there are more than 600 species in the World ). I also was told that the style of my Tea Roses paining and Roses in The Glass Vase painting would be the best when I decide on composition. And the background should be pale green not dark.

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First I decided on composition. As there will be lots of flowers and petals, I will do a very simple almost central composition. The Flower Symphony will speak for itself. Between tablecloth and Ranunculus flowers in the vase there should not be a competition; therefore, I will make a tablecloth flowers very simple and will try my best to work on realistic painting for Ranunculus.
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8″x10″ Drawing for Watercolor Painting

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

Drawing is The Key

artworks, drawing, Irina's watercolors, Lake Tahoe, landscape, realism in watercolor, seashell, Still Life, Sztukowski, Uncategorized



As we say “The Drawing Is The Key”; and it is absolute true. Drawing usually helps to analyze values and composition. It is extremely helpful to draw a little sketch before going watercolor. In my case I have almost a year between the drawing creations and watercolor paintings. And it happened in reverse. First I made watercolors (and I did make sketches before of course); however, when the need came to create new compositions, my watercolors helped me to choose the subject.


One assignment was given at the beginning of my Drawing Class this semester. I was asked to combine three spheres with line style hands and Nature. My watercolor “Lake Tahoe” helped me to fulfill the requirement. The still water of Lake Tahoe, the polished rocks and crisp winter air was the best choice when I created the drawing “Meditation”.
Another drawing that I named “Jewels of Love” was set up for shallow space realistic still life. And this time I used one shell from my shell collection watercolor paintings. The idea was to research the textures of different materials such metal, organic leafy object, glass, water, and sea shell. It was fun to remind myself again that the drawing is the most important part of any realistic painting if not all paintings in whole.
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22×16 inch Graphite Drawings on Paper; 5×7 inch Watercolor Painting (shell), 18×16 inch fragment of Watercolor Painting (Lake Tahoe)

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

Munich, Germany – Travel With Me – Sketchbook Project

art that sells, bestseller, commission, Germany, illustration, Irina's watercolors, Munich, sketch, Sketchbook, Sztukowski, Travel, Uncategorized, watercolour

This sketch is about Marienplatz Old Town Hall, which is located in Munich, Germany. First built in wood it was completely destroyed by fire in 1460. Between 1470 and 1480, the old town hall was rebuilt in Gothic style by Jörg von Halsbach. I thing the Gothic pointing roofs and lace knitted architecture that what invites me in visiting Europe and particularly Germany. It is amazing how in spite the hardest time for Europe in 1940s its countries were re-born practically from ashes. In this scene the beauty of the yellow flowers compete with the beauty of another kind, the man-made one.
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4″x6″ Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Helsinki, Finland – Travel With Me – Sketchbook Project

art that sells, best selling art, bestseller, Finland, Helsinki, Irina, Irina's watercolors, sketchbook project, Sztukowski, Travel, Uncategorized
I’ve used to go to Finland at least 5-7 times a year and visited Helsinki if not 20 then probably close to 20 times back in 90s. The reason was that I have shared two jobs at a Travel Company. One of them was a Marketing Manager and another was a tour guide. And because Marketing duties did not allow me to leave the country for a long period of time, 2-3 days trips to Finland suited me well. It took only a few hours to get to Helsinki by bus from Saint Petersburg (not counting hours of standing at the customs and checking luggage and papers of relatively big group of tourists). When my job of bringing my group to the City Tour and accommodating them to the hotel was done, I loved to walk to the pier, visit farmers market or Museum of Modern Art. And I came many times to the beautiful square and listened to music at this Lutheran Cathedral. I loved going to Helsinki, even it was intense work. I still found time for myself while my tourist were running around the city and shopping. Finland those days seemed to me cleaner and calmer than busy 6 million-people Saint Petersburg

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4″x6″ Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

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

Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt – Travel With Me – Sketchbook Project

Egypt, Irina's watercolors, Karnak Temple, tourism, Travel, Uncategorized

I went to Egypt with my son and my mom back in 1998. My son was only 9 years old and when we went to visit Karnak Temple and all adults were ah-&-oh looking at this thousands-years old wonder, my son decided to play Peek-a-boo with his Grandma. I found it funny how kids don’t really care about the history, they always find something to have fun with. My mom on another hand was so excited that she, the engineer with 20 years career behind her shoulders, wrote a long poem about that day. I found gorgeous panorama where you can feel your are right there and feel yourself so small and young compare to the history. Here it is, courtesy of http://www.panoramas.dk/fullscreen7/f22-karnak-egypt.html
And here are some interesting facts about Karnak Temple:

The major difference between the Karnak Temple and many of the other sites in Egypt is how long the temple took to develop, as well as how long it was used. The construction of the temple started during the 16th century B.C. About 30 pharaohs gave a contribution to the buildings, which enabled it to reach a diversity, complexity, and size that isn’t seen anywhere else in the world. There aren’t many unique individual features of Karnak, but the number and size of the features is amazing.( from (http://famouswonders.com))
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4″x6″ Watercolor Sketch on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper

Girl’s Portrait Study Final Phase

artist Irina Sztukowski, family painting, girl portrait, Irina's watercolors, step by step painting, Uncategorized, watercolor portrait

The Girl’s portrait is completed. I’ve defined hair, worked on eyes and lips. And at the final stage looked at the anything that needs to be fixed.

What did I learn?

– The shadow side of the face lit by the Sun needs to be painted darker than you think when mixing the paint. And even it looks exaggerated when it is wet it will dry lighter.
– The time to finish is the time when the artist thinks it is done. I could work on this portrait until the year end; but, it was time to stop. Sometimes it is hard to do so.
– Red hair requires pretty much all colors but Red: I used all shades of gold, which are yellow, transparent orange, burned sienna, green.
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I had a lot of fun painting this portrait, learned a lot, and now it is even a little sad it is done. But I need to move forward 🙂
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24″X18″ Winsor&Newton Watercolor on 140 Cold Pressed paper

Girl’s Portrait Study Phase V

family portraits, girl portrait, Irina's watercolors, step by step painting, step-by-step project, Uncategorized



This time I am identifying the body parts; but, not finishing them completely. Everything is touched and everything is needed perfection at this stage (ears, nose, eyes, lips) . I would call this period the most unsatisfying as I really want it to be completed but know that it is impossible to see unity unless you work on whole face at once. At least my Girl now gets more character, doesn’t she? 🙂