Playing with Mirrors and Crystals, Seashells and Sea Salt

art by Irina, crystal, old masters, Painting, realism in watercolor, salt, sea salt, sea shell, seashell, step by step, Still Life, technique, Watercolor
Realistic Still Life
When painting this rather classic style still life I used some very old and some modern techniques. 
A buzz about Camera Obscura   or Camera Lucida on how the Old Masters used all available and imaginable tools to achieve realism in their art, including the use of mirrors; all that and a bit curiosity inspired me to make one experiment. 

Usually, I use mirror when I estimate an almost complete artworks of mine. The reflection helps to “abstract” from the subject of countless hours of work and see it with the new eye.

But, yet, I have never painted the way I painted this still life.

It is known that painting crystals is not an easy task, especially looking closely at each sparkling edge that can mislead the artist’s hand.
So, instead of painting from live still life, I used the mirror. From the very beginning, I’ve looked not at an object of my painting but into the mirror. And, I’ve painted the reflection: 

For the background I’ve used a modern technique by applying sea salt into wen-on-wet paint. After the salt dried, it created a beautiful texture that no brush can do:

At the very end I checked the accuracy of values by, again, using mirror’s help: I’ve placed the painting upside-down and looked at the reflection, made a few additions until I was satisfied with the result:  


The Old Masters technique was quite fun to use and really helpful! 

Seashell Collection – A Great Beginning

beach house, bestseller, coral, decor, design, Home Decor, interior, Irina, ocean, pearl, realism in watercolor, sand, sea, sea shell, seashell, Sztukowski, water drops
watercolor art
This decorative collage with seashells, pearls, seaweed, and sea stars was a follow-up on my new collection painted on handmade paper. 
One of my students wanted to learn how to paint realistic water drops. I had a cool idea to teach while painting myself; but, not only plain water drops. As I like to challenge myself, I’ve set up a whole scene with my seashells collection, surrounded with pearls and water drops:

It was fun to paint not from photograph, but live, creating a composition on this lovely handmade paper. 
Here are the four first examples of the outcome. The paper has uneven edges, which makes it look authentically handmade. When scanning the artworks on my computer I placed a rough canvas behind to emphasize the edges of the paper:

realism in watercolor
(click on image or HERE to see the details)
I created the sand-like background using a toothbrush technique, when you load the watercolor on a toothbrush and then brush your finger (carefully!!) across the bristles creating uneven yet very cool texture:
water drops in watercolor
(click on image or HERE to see the details)
I had the sea stars, pearls and shells in my collection. But I had to find the seaweed online to see how to paint it:
Watercolor Realism
(click on image or HERE to see the details)
In this painting (below) it was a real challenge. When I pulled the masking liquid from the paper (where the shell is), the glue of the liquid pulled the first tiny layer of the paper for me… Thanks to handmade product! At first, I thought I’ve ruined my artwork. But when I started painting the seashell itself, the roughness of the paper actually helped to create the cool natural seashell body texture:
(click on image or HERE to see the details)
And that how my Seashell collection started. Huge thanks to my friend who gave me those cute seashells more than 5 years ago.

I’ve also looked at my previous watercolors with seashells (last post is here). And created one more collage with those shells:

painting sea shells
Somebody might say, oh she is crazy about those seashells! And I’d say YES. More than that: I didn’t stop on painting those shells and creating collages. I’ve even got myself more gorgeous shells online: some seashells from Philippines, Mexico and India. So, there are more seashells paintings to come!

I guess I still have that Little Girl inside me that loves the ocean, fresh breeze, while walking on the beach and searching for the shells:
watercolor painting
(click on image or HERE to see the details)
My seashell collection is growing so much now, that I had to create a special gallery on FineArtAmerica, which I called 
 (click HERE to see it)

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

She Still Sells Sea Shells…

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Click on Image to see the details
While ago I published a post She Sells Sea Shells… And today one more sea shell is created and gone. I talked about symbolism of the sea shells and pearls before. I just wanted to say, that it appears my customers love this subject very much, and I believe it is due to a symbol of eternity and love besides the wealth and beauty :0)
And here are the other shells that recently found their homes:

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All original pieces were painted in 5″x7″ size with watercolor
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

She Sells Sea Shells on the Sea Shore

advanced, art, beach, bestseller, bestsellers, corals, Irina, pearl, pearls, realism, realistic painting, sand, sea shell art, sea shells, seashell, seaweed, shell, Sztukowski, watercolors

SOLD

SOLD

This trio reminds me a little song that I was learning in my English class back many many years ago… My friend and I attended this class for fun. We were probably 16 or 17 and decided to learn English.. If only I knew that in 15 more years I will study English for real here in America. Good memories!…………………………………………………………………………………………… You never know what you have ahead; although, you should always think about a positive outcome and know that everything you do is for a REASON..

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5″x7″ Watercolor on 140 lb Cold Pressed Paper

For more beautiful Still Life Paintings please click HERE
For realism in watercolors please click HERE

fine art paintings
More seashell paintings are here:
realism in watercolor advanced technique
One of my favorite paintings that also includes seashells is the Girl And The Ocean artwork that became one of my bestsellers
bestselling  art