Riding My Bicycle Everywhere

bicycle, bicycle art, California, illustration, landscape, landscapes with bicycles, marina, mountains, paintings with bicycles, Russia, Saint Petersburg, San Francisco, Sztukowski, Watercolor
decorative watercolor artwork
These days I am playing with bicycle illustrations for my Bicycles Gallery
There is certainly something romantic in the image of a bicycle with the landscape. The painting is telling the story; and, everyone would have his or her own story to tell for sure.

My story is that I am riding my bike virtually to a lot of places on Earth, because as an artist I can :0)

I’ve ridden my illustrative bicycle with the basket full of sunflowers to the mountains (above artwork)

Then, I brought my bicycle to a marina with the bridge and the sailboats at the shore:
sailboats at the shore
Later, I’ve decided to travel to San Francisco and park my bicycle right next to the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge:

San Francisco California Watercolor Landscape
I’ve even “traveled” with my sweet vintage bicycle to Saint Petersburg, Russia; where I parked it next to the monumental waters of Neva River:
Watercolor Cityscape

I had so much fun on my virtual travels!
And a good part of painted bicycles, that no matter where you go, the tires will never get flat!! :0)


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

abstraction
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:

realism
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!


www.artirina.com


Back To The Future

art, Dramatic Sky, Irina, landscape, miniature, Nature, Russia, Russian, style, sunset, sunset landscape, Sztukowski, vivid, Watercolor
watercolor miniature
It is interesting how things are turning in my life. 
While I was chatting online about visiting Tyrus Wong exhibition at Disney Family Museum, and teaching the guests how to paint dramatic skies by wet-on-wet technique (in the previous post) ; something from the past came to my Inbox. 

My friend sent me photos of the miniatures that I’ve painted almost 20 years ago… I’ve looked at them and recognized the Tyrus Wong style of painting.. 

Hm.. maybe, I looked into the future when I painted these two little pieces back in Russia? 

Who knows! 

But, speaking about my friend’s e-mail, the timing was just right! :0)

Silhouette Tree Bush Water Sun
In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Tulips With Sunflowers Mini Art And Fun Commissions

Church, coffee, commission, cookies, Fine Art, Irina, realism, Russia, sandwich, sketches, soup, Still Life, sunflowers, Sztukowski, tulips, Watercolor
watercolor realism
While working on a couple of projects, I wanted to place a few miniatures that are only 3.5″ wide. Above Tulips On The Window painting looks good and fresh with “vanished” edges. 

And this little Sunflowers contain my favorite contrast combination these days: a warm yellow against cool blues:
yellow blue floral still life
Meanwhile I continued working on my projects. 
The Colors Of Russia art show was quite successful (read the previous post here). As the follow-up I was asked to make a few more paintings for the clients, who loved the original show:

Russia Sketch
Another fun commission was something outside of my usual work. One client, a restaurant owner, asked me to make a little design for a business card that would contain some “FOOD items”. The challenge there for me was to simplify the paintings in order for them to be seen (be “readable”)  in a small area of a teeny-tiny business card… So, it was interesting to make it happen. 
The original artworks were 8 inches tall.

One of them had to have a symbolized bowl of soup:
food art
Another one had to “read” coffee and sandwich:  
Kitchen Art
I couldn’t resist to place a couple cookies there.

The design of the business card (the visual part of it) had to show the soup far in the background and the cup of coffee in the front:

The main text of the business card could be placed over the bowl of soup..


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



Saint Petersburg, Russia – Travel With Me – Sketchbook Project

Blood Cathedral, Church, Russia, Saint Petersburg, sketch, sketchbook project, Travel, Uncategorized

This year I am participating in The Sketchbook Project 2012 World Tour and I chose the theme Travel With Me. The book has only 14 pages and it will have 14 of my original watercolor sketches. I decided to place seven countries that I’ve visited or lived in; and, other seven will be the countries and places that I dream to visit.

And what is the better choice to start with if not my home country that I’ve been for 32 years of my life, Russia, Saint Petersburg. The sketch that you see is about Blood Cathedral (

The Church of Our Savior on the Spilled Blood)

, an amazing piece of architecture that was built in early 1900s. I lived 10 minutes walk from this church but was able to visit it only in the late 90s as it was closed for restoration for more than 30 years. The building is decorated with tiny pieces of mosaics, gold, blue, terracotta. Each inch is worth looking at and admire.
This is the first sketch for my book. Thirteen more to come.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
4″x6″ Watercolor on 90lb Cold Pressed Paper