Water Lilies – Monet Or Not Monet

art, Claude Monet, collection, exhibition, Legion Of Honor, Monet, Painting, water lilies, young years
Last weekend, when I was visiting a new exhibition at Legion of Honor in San Francisco, a special on Monet early years and his development as an artist; I was thinking of how people perceive art.
For example, when people look at my Water Lilies painting (above) many comment that it “looks just like Monet” . So, majority of people remember Claude Monet as a “water lily” artist, don’t they!
But, what the exhibition showed to me and to many that Monet started painting in quite different, more realistic style before he found his, so loved by many,  “Monet” style.

I was browsing from one painting to another and I was astound how the artist was really developing and searching for his own style. If I’d show a few of the paintings that caught my attention to some people, they would probably say it is not Claude Monet.

Here are a few good examples:

Amazing art was presented at this exhibition. 
Some painting came from the U.S. National collections, others came from Netherlands, France, England. It was a blessing to see them all in one exhibition and being introduced to Claude Monet from a different perspective of his young years, his search of the style, his steps in the history of Art!

Cheers from www.artirina.com 

Interview With The Artist

artist, career, interview with the artist, Maria Batkova, Matisse, Monet, realistic paintings, Renoir, Russia, Saint Petersburg, The interview, Tolstoy, Watercolor, William Turner
I was quite excited to be asked to join one artists’ team new project where the artists share about themselves. Various artists throughout the country were asked questions about their artistic influences. It was fun to be a part of this creative project and I decided to share the interview with my followers. 

The Interview

1. As a child, do you recall a significant moment when you felt truly affected or inspired by any particular artwork or artist?

As a child I can’t recall a day without a pencil, a brush, or a book in my hand. My family was encouraging my sister and I to be creative. Due to the Soviet era, and non existence of electronic devices we used our imagination by painting, drawing, making up our own stories in handmade books, cutting out and dressing up the paper-dolls, writing a family newspaper, constructing mini-theaters out of shoe boxes, supplying them with cardboard furniture, and our own mini-artworks.
Irina (left) with her sister Maria
Living in the historical center of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Saint Petersburg; we, literally, lived right behind the corner of several National museums:

travel sketches in watercolor
watercolor travel sketch
watercolor painting
My Dad often took my sister and I to the museums where I could see first hand the works of the famous artists.
My first introduction to the Old  Dutch Masters inspired me to paint my own still life paintings. I was stunned when I saw great marine scenes of Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky, or portraits of the society and Italian country scenes by the artist Karl Brullov

But the most and the first inspirational group of people in my life were my relatives. Grandma Maria was an exceptional craft artist. Her needlepoint and lace hand crafted artworks were amazing. My Dad, Nikolai, painted, made sculptures and created beautiful ceramics. Both, Dad and Grandma, shared their knowledge with me. My mom, Larisa, worked as an engineer and taught me drafting and perspective. Another Grandma Vera, a famous engineer in metallurgy, in her retirement years got obsessed with gardening, which definitely influenced my love to Nature. 

2. As an artist, what do you hope to convey with your work?

My artist’s goal is to achieve a balance and harmony between
the beauty provided by Nature and the ability of the artist to convey this
beauty on two dimensional surfaces. When this harmony is accomplished it evokes
a visual experience and generates the emotions between the viewer and the
painting. I believe that watercolor is the medium that can do it all. 
My passion is painting with watercolors, my main style is contemporary realism, yet I am also interested in abstract paintings and illustrations.
realism in watercolor
I do want to try all styles and explore all possibilities in art. 
realism in watercolor

realism in watercolor

Only one rule will be followed religiously: it will be beautiful. I know I can do it. I have only one challenge along the way; the shortness of the linear time of this one life on Earth :0)

3. What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I love to see the eyes of my art collectors when they receive the artwork. One look worth thousand words. 
A lot of time I communicate to my customers electronically, and send artworks by mail, so I receive heart warming e-mails. 
All of them are important for me. They melt my artist’s soul, they give me wings. 
Here, I want to mention one, that was quite memorable. 

Last year, I completed a commission piece for my customer. The artwork was a reflection of the poem that was given me before the process. The story was written, my job was to paint it:

seascape watercolor art
When the painting was finished and the customer looked at it, she said: Irina, if in your life you painted only ONE painting,THIS one; your life purpose as an artist would be accomplished right there!

4. What is your dream project?

Strangely enough, I have no dream project.
 Maybe because I try to make my dreams come true. 
I trust my intuition, 
I go with the flow. 

The Artist’s life do bring me projects by serendipity. A good example was a Jam Label project when a customer from Ireland was contacting me offering a long-term illustration assignment, which reminded me how much I love realistic paintings and botanical art:

I am so grateful to ALL my art collectors and customers! They make me tick. 

5. What artists, of any medium, do you admire? (Famous or not!)

I admire artists that can see the beauty of the world and have the courage to share this beauty with us. 

I kneel before the artists that polish their skill and make their craft better and better year after the year. And if the hand starts shaking and brush might not “listen to” the mind, these artists find the way to continue their shine and pass the knowledge. 

I respect the artists that sell their art without selling their soul. 

I appreciate when the artists help their clients to feel that they are the part of the creative process (in case of commission paintings). And if the customer is purchasing already made artwork or print, I admire the ability of the artist to invite the viewer to “live” the artwork, to be a part of the story, to feel united with the beauty of the art-piece.

If I name a few artists here, the post will not be enough. 
Ok, I’ll try:
Fiodor Tolstoy, Ivan Aivazovsky, Ilia Repin, Karl Briulov, Pieter Claesz, Rafael, Michelangelo, Nikolai Dudorov, Maria Batkova, Steve Hanks, Artemisia Gentilleschi, Henry Matisse, James Tissot, Patience Brewster, Jacqueline Gnott, Judith Leyster, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Beatrix Potter, Vera Lysenko, August Renoir. Berthe Morisot, John Stuart Ingle, Elena Bazanova, Jan Kunz, Birgit O’Connor, William Turner, Alfredina Nocera, Claude Monet, Tan Chun Chiu, Henrietta Johnston, and many many many more!

Would Monet Approve?

artists, discussion, impressionism, landscape, Monet, Portraits, realism, San Francisco, seascapes, thoughts, Watercolor
A couple of days ago I visited an excellent exhibition in Legion Of Honor in San Francisco: The Intimate Impressionism. And I was thinking what is the difference in our days between impressionistic style and realistic one. 
The art of Eugene Boudin for example, was quite realistic, when Auguste Renoir’s landscapes with pastoral scenes were more on impressionistic side.

I pulled a few of my works and investigated them with the new eye.

Here is somewhat impressionistic seascape:
and here is a more realistic seascape with the girl and the ocean:
Or, here is the impressionism style rose bouquet:
Vs the one in more realistic manner:
Same comparison between the portraits of pets. This cat is painted with quite realistic approach:
When this kitty brings somewhat impressionistic feeling:
My thoughts are that when I paint with fast brush strokes, looking more at the whole picture, or working outside in the plein-air situation when weather is changing rapidly, objects are moving; then, I think the artwork has more impressionism in it. Yet still realistic, the fast and fresh approach has impressionistic feel. On another hand, the details and carefully thought composition call for more realistic style. 

I hope Monet approves my thoughts 🙂

Per Oxford Dictionary,
A style or movement in painting originating in France in the 1860s, characterized by a concern with depicting the visual impression of the moment, especially in terms of the shifting effect of light and color.
A literary or artistic style that seeks to capture a feeling or experience rather than to achieve accurate depiction.

Painting With An Opposite Hand

Degas, experience, impressionism, impressionistic watercolor, Irina, Monet, opposite hand, out of the box, Painting, Sztukowski, watercolour
Sun Light Painting
Are you right-handed? Have you tried to write with the left hand?
Or, maybe you are a left-hander, who thought about drawing with the right one?
Try it! It is fun!
Those thoughts came to me when a couple weeks ago I’ve pulled my working arm in the elbow area. The pain was almost unbearable. It is better now.
I have put my right arm to rest for a day and did everything (EVERYTHING!) with the left one. Not an easy task, I can tell you.
I took a brush, placed my paints and water on the left side and dove/dived in.
I thought why not: 
And here is my attempt: The roses in my backyard. 
I’ve used a brush to draw instead of the pencil, then started painting applying the strokes one-by-one. No washes, no precise lines. At the end I grabbed a sponge and dabbed the rocky wall texture in. Maybe that was a secret of Impressionists: they worked with opposite hands ;0) ???
Quite new experience! 
Try doing something with the opposite hand. 
It is a fun challenge
Original Painting Roses is 12″x16″ on Strathmore 140lb Cold Pressed (painted with the left hand)

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