Seashells Seascapes And Artist’s Inspirations

artist, illustrator, impressionism, interview, paintings, plein air, realism, seascape, seashells, shells, Watercolor
I was approached by a Great Britain college student who explored my art for a research paper. It is great that young generation is interested in realistic watercolor paintings. This particular person was interested in my Seashells and Seascapes paintings.

I answered a few questions for this little interview; and, I am happy to share them here.



1. How did you start to make these paintings? What got you into it?

Seashells and beach treasures always fascinated my artist’s soul. Since the childhood I would be sketching my findings at the beach. My dad told me that each seashell holds a sound of the sea; and, as a kid I would be placing the large seashells, listening for a long time, imagining where it came from. At home, we had a large collection of seashells, which friends of the family brought from all over the world. Needless to say, my favorite book those days was Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid fairy-tale. My favorite jewelry was a little string of pearls that my grandma gave me. 

2. What do these pieces say/express about you?

Later on in life, I was fascinated with Old Masters Dutch Still Life paintings and Renaissance realism. I’ve research the symbolism of seashells, pearls and water in paintings. I found out that the seashells represented the world of exploration, power and wealth, scientific discovery, and brief passing of time on the planet Earth. Opened seashell suggested vanitas overtones of the brevity of life, or could be interpreted as having erotic implications. And a different shell might represent each continent as visual tribute to the exploratory travel and scientific discoveries of the day. I also learned that Pearls symbolize prosperity and vanity, wisdom and Imperial authority. Both pearls and water have long been symbols of purity and femininity. I started painting seashells, pearls and seascape artworks challenging myself to realism in watercolor when learning from oil masterpieces. I think, all this fascination and thorough research express my love to the history of art, painting techniques, and endless desire to succeed. 

3. What motivated you to create your pieces?

My motivation in creating seashells and other beach treasures paintings was to present not only beauty of Nature but the realistic approach in watercolor that can brings together history and contemporary times, classic oils versus fluid properties of only century and half old medium.

4. Describe your creative process?

When painting still life with shells and pearls, I carefully research the subject. I usually have my models right in front of me. I make a sketch. I take a few photographs. Then I draw detailed drawing but very lightly that the pencil does not overwhelm future watercolor transparency. I never use white (opaque) paint; I leave the white of paper shine through. Sometimes, for the background I use sea salt to make the water and color “curl” and “spread” in unpredictable ways. 
When I create semi-realistic decorative paintings with seashells and water, I marry realistic approach with abstraction. The watercolor is an amazing medium, it can do it all. 
When painting seascapes I follow two types of techniques. One is spontaneous Impressionistic style painting En-Plein-Air, e.g. painting in Nature at the spot. Or, I paint from memory and multiple photographs that I take on my travels. The studio paintings turn out usually more detailed as I invest more time not being tied up by weather condition and sun moving fast.

5. What are the messages/feelings are you trying to get across or expect people to have when interacting with your artwork?

I convey my love to the Nature, timeless beauty of the seashells, pearls, and water into my artworks with a strong desire for my Art Collectors feel my fascination of what the World can offer. A small finding from the beach, a seascape painting inspired by a walk along the shore with my husband, documenting the beauty in my art are priceless. I feel that no treasure of the World can be compared with these simple things. 



Cheers from 

Live To Create!!!



San Francisco Bay Area Watercolor Painting

Benicia, editorial, hills, illustration, Martinez, ocean, rocky shore, San Francisco Bay Area, sea, seascape, sketch, Watercolor, watercolour
Editorial watercolour landscape artist illustrator
Yesterday, when I painted this sketch of San Francisco Bay shore from Martinez point of view to Benicia, CA; I was thinking that I was very lucky to paint this area el Plein-Air style so many times. 

Plein-Air painting does not allow to sit and paint too long. An artist has to be fast and free with the brush strokes. It teaches to find main point and to “forget” some details.

In this sketch I achieved all el Plein-Air points: spontaneous approach, fresh color theme, and free outlines. 

Cheers from

Florida Keys – Travel Watercolors And More

Faro Blanco, Florida Keys, iguana, Islamorada, Key Largo, Key West, lighthouse, Marathon, paintings, pelicans, seascape, Watercolor, watercolour
Florida Keys Islamorada sailboats shore
Last week I had another adventure of my life, traveling along the shore of Florida Keys with my friends. Amazing trip and unforgettable scenery. It was certainly a paradise for an artist’s eye. I had an opportunity to paint a few watercolors there and brought tons of memorable photos that one day can transform into paintings.
Above seascape watercolor painting is from  Islamorada little town. Translating from Spanish, Islamorada is a Purple Island. When looking at the clouds’ color in the distance I understood why they named this beautiful place after one of my favorite hues. The scene was so serene, so lovely, that I couldn’t not to paint it.

We also visited a larger town of Florida Keys, the city of Marathon. Besides fishing, diving, and sailing, it has a big tourists’ attraction, beautiful Faro Blanco Lighthouse that proudly stands in the marina of Hyatt Hotel right next to the Palm Island:
watercolor seascape
Another gorgeous place that I’ve visited was John Pennekamp State Park:

This, from the first glance, peaceful place showed us its habitat pretty quickly. I was amazed how much wild life Florida Keys have and how close you can get to meet the “residents” who in return don’t even care about tourists taking the pictures:

Florida Keys
Amazing trip! True discovery of Florida Keys beauty and hidden secrets! 

Cheers from

   

Painting Plein Air

impressionism, landscape, Monterey, outside, Pacific, Painting, plein air, rocks, seascape, shore, sketch, sketching, Watercolor, waves
plein-air style
I will be never tired painting plein-air style as long as I am able to go outside and withstand surprises of the Nature. Painting outdoors has its own charm and challenges; yet, still it is very enjoyable and the artworks have a special feeling to them. You cannot wait for too long painting under the open. The weather changes constantly, especially if you are at the ocean shore, like example above. It is my recent painting of one of my favorite places on Earth, Monterey Pacific Ocean shore. I’ve painted there many times and each time it comes out differently. The painting of Monterey above is free, though I “blocked” it in the ink lines to give it illustration kind feeling, e.g. I’ve illustrated the scene in the fast brush strokes with watercolor first and then “locked” the picture by adding rigid lines to amplify the stiffness of the rocks and power of the ocean.

Another plain air painting of Monterey shore is more impressionistic style as any of my outdoor paintings of Monterey:
Pacific Ocean shore impressionistic artwork

Here, I didn’t want to add the ink. The weather was so hot that it dried watercolor quite fast so the edges of each brush stroke were defined enough without any additions.

In comparison, the next plein-air painting of Monterey shore strives pretty much on energetic ink lines, the watercolors here are secondary. This free-style painting of Pacific Ocean shore is more a sketch than a complete painting, but it does have certain charm and spontaneity to it:

Pacific Ocean plein-air painting

Yes, each plein air painting tells a story of that specific day, but it also speaks for the mood of the artist. As an example, here is my recent plein-air landscape artwork of the calm sunny day from this week. The Spring is taking over, the grass is bright green, and many trees are opening their blossoms. A simple, yet informative landscape that illustrates a coming of a new season:

pond trees flowers Spring in California
My friend took panoramic photo of the area where we were painting that day, and I got into the picture by chance or intentionally. I don’t know. But this photograph shows so well the power of a fresh air and the creating artist, The Observer, who, during the plein-air painting trip, merges with the Nature!


 Cheers from

Watercolor Seascape – Pacific Ocean – Gualala

California, Gualala, Irina, low tide, Pacific Ocean, Sea Ranch, seascape, Sztukowsi, Sztukowski, Watercolor
Pacific Ocean Shore Low Tide
During my stay at the vintage ranch that I wrote about in the previous post I also had a chance to have a nice drive through the woods and reach the Pacific Ocean shore, near the Sea Ranch. 

The small town Gualala is sitting right at the shore, making rare tourist or passing by person wonder about its beauty. There are no better words that the official website of this town says:

Gualala? What’s That?

“Well, it’s a name that’s hard to pronounce and even harder to spell. Sometimes it’s hard to remember. Some people call it gwa-LA-la, but the natives call it wa-LA-la. This comes from the Kashaya Pomo Indian phrase, “ah kha wa la lee” which means, “Where the water flows down”, which makes sense–for the river goes out to the ocean right across from the center of town, right by that big sand bar where the whales stop for lunch every year.    It’s up on the coast of California, north of San Francisco a ways. Not a big place, like some of those expensive resort areas. But, you know, once you’ve been to Gualala you’ll never forget the wonderful times you had there. You’d love it. Use the links at the top of the page to look around and get to know the place.” 
(http://www.gualala.com/)  


I loved looking at the low tide revealing the shore, where the ocean was splashing rough waves to the sand line and all of a sudden the water stayed still right after that. I loved painting that uneven fence that goes miles and miles along the shore right from the Sea Ranch. The day was just perfect for painting this seascape in watercolor

And as always there are more seascape paintings in my

San Francisco City Skyline Watercolor

abstract, Bay Area, blue, California, landscape, San Francisco, San Francisco Skyline, seascape, silhouette, Skyline, Sztukowski, warm, Watercolor, watercolour
contemporary art California seascape
Location! Location! Location!

Living in one of the most beautiful places on earth, San Francisco Bay Area, gives a very good favor to an artist’s imagination. 

I love looking at San Francisco silhouette from Treasure Island. 

I always wanted to paint the skyline and the time has come. 

For these designs I carefully drew the silhouette of this beautiful City and filled them with my abstract artworks. 
It definitely created a unique pattern that resembles the Golden Gate City, yet does not interrupt the viewers’ eye with too many details of the modern life.

And for those who like the clear city skylines with white background, I made another , more abstract-ish silhouette of San Francisco that would look cool on stretched canvas with black or white edges:
contemporary painting California seascape
Location! Location! Location!
🙂


www.artirina.com

Stormy Seascape Vintage Style

British School, De Young Museum, impressionism, landscape, mountains, ocean, old masters, realism, rocky, sailboat, San Francisco, sea, seascape, shore, style, Watercolor, William Turner
Ocean watercolor painting Old Masters style
In eager anticipation of a future trip to see William Turner‘s exhibition, that is taking place this Summer at the De Yong Museum in San Francisco; I’ve decided to create my own vintage style seascape painting:


In this artwork I followed not only good traditions of Old Masters of the British School; but also allowed myself to apply some fast brushstrokes in Impressionistic style.

Pretty much whole painting was completed in a dry brush technique when I used a very hard bristles (two size brushes), creating layer after layer to achieve the deep sea rough waters, the rocky mountains, and dramatic skies.

A lonely sailboat heading back to the harbor to escape the upcoming storm, The shore mountains are still lit by the sun in some places, but very soon, all will turn dark from the shadows of the clouds and those powerful ocean waves.

An interesting mysterious story:
When I finished the painting, I noticed a smiley face in the clouds. I left it there, thinking, “it is probably William Turner, looking at my art and saying: Good Job Irina!! Well Done!!”
🙂



www.artirina.com

Window With The View

California, collage, decorate, ocean, San Francisco, sea view, seascape, triptych, view, wall art, Watercolor, window
watercolor
Recently, when my family was looking for a new house, I’ve noticed that a lot of times there was something missing in the decor. Some houses had nice layouts; but, some of the walls were looking lonely and empty to me. 
My imagination didn’t let me wait any longer; and, I started creating designs with the view. And that is how the Windows With The View series was born.
Imagine, a painting that becomes a window! It will allow the art collector to fulfill two things at once: a piece of art and a perfect desirable view from the window.
All of a sudden an empty wall would reveal an ocean view like that:
watercolor painting
Or, a painting with the Fall Forest…
season in watercolor
…will bring a warm touch to any decor. Though, it might bring a magic time freeze too: the seasons will stop moving and it will be all time Autumn in your living room (unless you change the theme once in three months, of course):
house decoration idea
Yet the view with the lake and monumental rocks is timeless. It might be great view for a home office or upstairs loft:
painting of the water
And I have no doubt, that no one in the world would resist a nice view of the Golden Gate Bridge for their Summer house or permanent location :0)
realism in watercolor
The search for the new house led me to a creation of a new series; a combination of old and new paintings, and numerous ideas for a perfect window view.






California Landscapes – Point Arena Lighthouse

beach, California, grass, historical, Irina's art, landscape, lighthouse, ocean, Pacific Ocean, Point Arena, rocks, sea, seascape, shore, summer, Sztukowski, Watercolor
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 

Find A Cat in Benicia – Plein-Air Painting Session

Bay Area, Benicia, bestselling artist, California, CWA, history, landscape, Painting, plein air, realism in watercolor, San Francisco, seascape, Sztukowski, Watercolor
building mountains shore watercolor
Benicia is a small town in Northern California. It is only 15 minutes from where I leave. Cozy streets with restaurants, gift shops, and a beautiful San Francisco Bay shore attract a lot of artists. CWA plein-air artists group had the same idea: to come, to see, to paint. 
We made an attempt to come here last year, but October rain chased us away. This year the weather couldn’t be better. 
I was sitting on the shore and panting a visitors center with its palm trees. The building covered pretty much all the bay beauty; but you can still see Mountain Diablo, sparkles on a water, and even a fisherman in his little boat. 

If you look closely, you also will find a few birds and….a….. cat! I am not telling you where it is. You will need to look for it :0)

A little bit of Benicia’s history:
In spite of the fact that now it is a tiny little town, back in 19th century, for more than a year, Benicia was serving as California Capital in 1853. 
In 1860 there was an area dedicated to US Army Arsenal, an armory place. Historical building are still bringing joy to the visitors: The Clock Tower, The Camel Barn (yes, yes, they used to have stables with camels for transportation).
Being a major connector in transportation business back in 1860s, now Benicia is a quiet lovely place to visit for  fun and for arts. It has regular art exhibitions and art openings in its Galleries, promotes arts through Open Studio events, provides many art classes for children and adults. And needless to say, it is a great place to visit for a plein-air painting session.

All artists from CWA had fun painting different places in Benicia that day:
plein-air Benicia
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Original painting “Benicia, California” is 12″x16″ Watercolor on 140lb 100% cotton Arches
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For more paintings with California Landscapes please visit my Gallery California here:



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