Heart To Heart

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These few hearts are my preparation batch for CWA Outreach Lesson that my colleague and I performed for Clayton Elementary School. Fourteen fearless Brownie Girl-scouts grabbed their brushes and moved to the unknown. 

We taught kids how to apply wet-on-wet, painted with invisible wax candle to reserve the whites, and how to make a creative art by using only three colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue. 

The art of the kids was amazing. As always, we were stunned by imagination of a young brain. Each painting was unique, fresh, enchanting. 

Here are just a few paintings of that gorgeous kaleidoscope:
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My Original Art “Two Hearts for Valentine’s” is 14″x10″ on 300lb Cold Pressed Arches 


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

Small Town In The Mountains – Watercolor Pencils – Step By Step

Brentwood, California, landscape, lesson, Mountain Diablo, mountains, outside, plein air, sketch, sketching, step by step, step by step painting, town, watercolor pencils
watercolour pencils
I was recently visiting my friend artist in a small town of Brentwood that is hiding between the golf course and just behind a highest point of Bay Area, San Francisco, the famous Mountain Diablo. We went to paint en plain-air style, e.g. we grabbed our art materials and went painting outside. 
The weather was beautiful. Everywhere I turned I’d seen a lovely subject for painting. I’ve chosen to paint a scene with a small town in the golf course hills with a huge mountain behind. My choice of the materials this time were watercolor pencils (I’ve previously wrote an article about watercolor pencils HERE ) . 

I’ve sketched the drawing with a simple pencil first, and then started applying my watercolor pencils. That was the part that was actually accomplished outside:
The trick with watercolor pencils is that you have to know what colors to mix and predict what outcome will be at the time you put  water on the paper. I intentionally was drawing with a limited pallet. Out of my 72 watercolor pencils that I have in the box, I’ve picked only 16 to go plein-air painting.
Here is the first stage of the drawing/future painting:
After, I got home the main work had begun. 
I’ve added more pencils in depth, then highlighted the drawing with ink:
Then, I grabbed a softest Kolinsky Sable brush Number 11 and dipped it in a clear water. First areas that were “watered” were large ones, the sky and the grass below. Then I started adding some water to the smaller details such buildings and trees:
Right away I’ve noticed that in some areas the wash of water made the colors too bright, in others the colors were simply “washed” away. But the good part, that with watercolor pencils you can always reapply the colors with one important warning though: the paper should be bone dry before you add more colors. 

After several times of re-applying the pencils and rejuvenating them with water (clear water on the soft brush), the painting was completed and now it is ready to see the World!! 🙂
watercolour pencils step by step
Cheers from 

Painting For Publishing For A New Art Book

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blue watercolor artwork home decor
I was invited by a publishing company Linea Editorial, which is located in Barcelona, Spain; to participate in a new book called One Watercolor Every Day. Their creative team selected my painting Spring In The Mountains. This artwork depicts an old blooming tree against the endless blue sky with mountains and birds in the background. It is a symbol of the beginning: a new life, a free spirit and eternal wisdom.
I am so happy to be a part of the book that will be published in 2017. It will contain more than 100 artists throughout the World. What an honor! I am very very pleased 🙂
I wanted to tell a little more about how I created this painting. 
The story of the creation of this artwork is quite interesting. One year, I was invited to teach the class at Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. The main idea of the lesson was to explore wet-on-wet technique. My first impulse was to teach the students how to paint sky. The subject with the blue sky and the tree just popped in my head. The lesson that I was giving in San Francisco was a great success. Art students enjoyed very much to learn a new skill. 
Later on, this artwork was selected by jury of the artists for the art show called Feeling Blue that took place in Naperville, IL Art Gallery
I have used two different techniques to achieve the desired results. Most of the painting is completed in watercolors; but, I used wax in order to reserve the whites of the flowers and the tree bark. Usually, I use masking liquid, but this time I wanted to make something that does not have to dry slow (as my student would not have so much time at the lesson). Then I employed a wet-on-wet technique mixing phthalo blue with a little bit of ultramarine. When the paper, 140 lb Cold Pressed Arches, was dry, I painted the tree with ultramarine blue right out of Winsor&Newton tube, and added black watercolor for the contrast. The blossoms of the tree, the mountains, and the birds were painted by using a dry-on-dry technique where a minimal amount of paint is applied to the dry paper with gentle brush strokes; and, where the artist has full control of building up an intensity of the painted subject.  
My Spring In The Mountains painting is truly going to travel a lot next year, now in the form of the publication in the art book. 
How many wonderful surprises are still there for my art?! 
I am so excited 🙂

Sunset And Trees Watercolor Lesson

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impressionistic watercolors landscape with trees
These three landscapes look quite similar yet they all have their own story.
The first one was painted from the photograph that my friend gave me one day. She took this picture while traveling with her husband long time ago. I loved the bright sunset and black monotone trees on the foreground. Half year ago, the same dear friend lost her beloved husband of 51 years. When recently we were talking on a phone I asked her if she might be interested in watercolor lesson to try something new in her life. I offered her to paint the same bright landscape that you see on the left. She listened to my offer in disbelieve: How can she paint if she only held a brush once in her life. When she visited my studio, I performed the lesson to her, explaining step by step how to paint this bright sunset landscape. She did a great job. We had so much fun. And she left with completed artwork and a happy feeling that she learned something new that possibly might become a new hobby. 
The third painting I created when I was teaching last weekend a retired couple. The husband was looking forward to rejuvenate his love to watercolor that he developed long time ago when he was 15 years old. But the business life kept him away from this hobby; yet, now he was trying to grab the brush again. His wife never painted in her life, but she also was curious to try it. We painted together and both of them ended up with a finished artwork to bring home. 

And now, I want to explain step by step how to paint this bright, yet quite simply executed beautiful landscape in 10 easy steps.

Materials:
Paper (better 300lb Arches Watecolor Paper)
Flat Brush (any brush is good approximately 1 inch wide)
Round Brush #8 or #9 (approximately 1/4 inch in diameter)
Round Brush #4 or #6 (approximately 1/8 in diameter)
Sponge (either natural or just torn kitchen sponge)
Container for water and couple of paper towels.
Watercolor paints (better in tubes)
Red
Yellow
Purple
Black
(yes, only four colors with make this painting shine!)

Step 1:
Water the paper with flat brush
Step 2:
Paint two horizontal strips of yellow in the middle leaving a white 1 inch stripe in between (using same flat brush)
Step 3:
Next to the yellow (while it is still wet) paint the red color in diagonal streaks above the second yellow line and horizontal streaks below (using the round brush #8 or #9) . Because paint is hitting the wet yellow color, it will melt and create a nice soft clouds like feathers.
Step 4:
Next to the red, add some purple diagonal streaks on the top (the sky area) and horizontal on the bottom (using the same round brush). Make sure that purple doesn’t touch yellow as it might create unwanted gray messy color. You can also add black color above purple to make the sky more dramatic. 
Step 5:
While paper is still wet, in the space that you left white (from the step 2) you can place a little uneven purple line that would indicate a forest line in the far background.
Step 6:
Relax and have a cup of tea as you need the wet painting to dry completely.
Step 7:
When painting is completely dry, take the round brush #4 or #6 and dip it generously in the black paint. Paint uneven vertical lines indicating the trees, and horizontal smaller lines indicating branches. 
Step 8:
With the black paint paint the waves underneath of each tree. These waves will be reflections of the trees.
Step 9:
Grab a sponge, deep it in the wet black paint and start applying with gentle dabbing motion around the tree branches. 
Step 10:
Enjoy completed artwork! 
🙂

Bringing Fall To Central Valley

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Trees Red Yellow Autumn watercolor
I prepared this Impressionistic style painting of the Fall landscape for one watercolor lesson that I performed last Friday. 

The school is located in Central Valley, California (in Kings County), where Fall is coming either late or never. Oh no, of course, they will get a few yellow and red leaves closer to November-December. But now, all trees are green, farmers are finishing harvest, and the only indications of Fall are pumpkins in the grocery stores.

At the lesson, there were 36 students from grade 2 to 6. All of them were thrilled to try wet-on-wet technique and could not believe they can paint a Fall Landscape within an hour.. But we not only accomplished this, we even had a few minutes for a Pumpkin card project using an illustrative technique. 

Everyone had fun, even a couple of teachers asked to give them a brush and started painting :0)


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

Disney Family Museum Workshop

Apple Painting, Disney, Disney museum, lesson, open studio, realism in watercolor, Seven Dwarfs, Snow White, step by step, Sztukowski, Walt Disney
..or.. 
How To Paint An Apple in Six Easy Steps 
With 
Three Simple Colors
Disney Family Museum
This upcoming weekend I was invited by Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco for an Open Studio event, which is the part of a special exhibition 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: 
The Creation of a Classic

I am going to paint and show the public some basic watercolor techniques. I’ve decided to play with an apple painting and paint it with only three colors, with more symbolic and elementary approach. My goal was to make it simple, desirable, and easy to accomplish; that anybody would be able to at least try to make their own apple painting. 

I’ve created a board with six drawings and paintings that show a few stages:
step-by-step process
The challenge was to paint an exact apple. So, I created a few stencils that apples on my papers and papers of the students will look alike. It will people not to be scared about a drawing, yet give them more time for watercolor applications.

Step-by-step instructions are given above, under FREE button. Enjoy!!

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




The Oldest Student I’ve Ever Had

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Last Thursday I was teaching seniors at Assisted Living facility in Pleasant Hill, CA on behalf of Outreach program with CWA
art class

old people painting

red cups

old artist
My oldest student that day was 98 years old. She did incredible job on following instructions, painting and most importantly having lots of fun.
We were exercising Spring and Easter themes through a negative painting approach, dotted technique, and even had time to try wet-on-wet approach. 
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Wonderful photos by Maria Batkova, who is now a proud CWA member and a great assistant

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