Sketches Of Chicago

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Irina Sztukowski Watercolor
This week I am visiting the beautiful City of Chicago. And the best way for an artist to remember the travels is to paint. 

Luckily both times I’ve been to Chicago, which was early Fall and now late Spring, allowed to feel comfortable spreading my Travel Watercolor kit on a park bench and lose myself applying line by line, brush stroke by brush stroke.

The above sketch was done in the garden that surrounds the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the most richest and grand collections of classic and modern art. I can spend hours and hours browsing there from old masters to Impressionists, from amazing sculptures to shocking modern art of the beginning of 20th Century. 

The next sketch was done in the shade of walking pass along the river. I was fascinated how the new architecture there fits the old style buildings gracefully and monumentally.

And there is so much more to see and sketch in Chicago. My watercolor Travel Kit and my photo camera are my best friends today!
🙂

Amalfi Coast Italy – Mediterranean Seascape

Amalfi Coast, Anacapri, Capri, Costiana Amalfiana, Italy, Positano, realism in watercolor, sketches, sketches of Italy, Sorrento, watercolor paintings of Italy
realism in watercolor

Remembering one great trip to Italy a few years ago, I painted this summer seascape; and, I felt as if I returned to visit Sorrento and Amalfi Coast all over again.

The beauty of the coast is undesirable. What strikes me there it’s the diversity of that 50-kilometers (almost 30 miles) of Amalfi coastline. The natural beauty of cliffs and grottoes compete with the beauty of man-made kind: gorgeous churches, rustic towns, lemon orchards. No wonder it is the point of destination for so many tourists. When we drove the coastal road, we had chance to visit Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello. 

In my art collection (e.g. Italy Gallery)  I have a few sketches of Amalfi Coast and its surroundings.

A view of volcano Vesuvius from Sorrento shore:

watercolor sketches of Italy
A little pass from the hotel to a rocky beach:

Watercolor sketches of Italy
A lovely cafe on the top of the cliff:

watercolor sketches of Italy
Impressionistic sunset above the Mediterranean Sea:

watercolor sketch of Italy
Rocky road alone the shore in the evening:

watercolor sketch of Italy
And, Streets Of Sorrento:

Italy

I yet had chance to paint Ravello or Amalfi towns, but there is Positano famous town here in my Italian collection of watercolors:

realism in watercolor

I love how the buildings are melting together with the mountains and flowers here.

Amalfi coast is beautiful. The Nature melts with man-made beauty so well. Though, I definitely loved Italian cities such Pisa, Rome, Venice, and Sienna for its monumental beauty:

realism in watercolor
realism in watercolor


My trip to Italy continues now on paper, and my vehicle in this case is painting tubes and brushes 🙂 


www.artirina.com


Sketching California

Bells, California, garden, lighthouse, Mission, Morro Bay, Morro Rock, Piedras Blancas, San Louis Obispo, sketches, sunset, Watercolor
watercolor sketch
My recent field trip to the south of San Francisco Bay Area ( 3 to 4 hours of unforgettable drive) brought a lot of good memories and some artful subjects.

Above painting is the capture of the sunset through Piedras Blancas Lighthouse silhouette.The sun was “rolling” of that big white rock down to the horizon.. the wind was crashing the waves of the shore. I admired the reds and oranges of the sunset at the Pacific ocean.

Then, going more into the land I’ve visited San Louis Obispo, a town which is famous by its Spanish Mission, which was established in 1772.
watercolor sketch
Behind the church I found a gorgeous garden that was hiding centuries old Mission Bells

watercolor sketches
If long time ago the town was a center of Christian education of that area; nowadays, San Louis Obispo is a cozy sunny place to visit the museums, walk in historical downtown, drop-in to the gift shops; and, for me of course,  a great subject for the sketches.

After a few days exploring inland, I got back to the ocean. This time it was Morro Bay, which is named after a mountain formation, the Morro Rock, that is sitting right next to the shore like a monument to fishermen life:

watercolor sketch
Founded in 1870s, Morro Bay now is a center of beach holidays; and, undoubtedly, tourism is the largest city’s industry.

Yet, it still remains a fishing port, Morro Bay has a national reservation for birds and wildlife refuge. 

During this art trip I also took many photos which will definitely inspire for many paintings to come.




www.artirina.com

Apples and Lime – Putting Hands To Work

drawing, Dutch Republic, Fine Art, hand, old masters, realism, sketches, Still Life, Sztukowski, Watercolor
realism in watercolor
Click on Image for a detailed view
I am making a very good progress on my complex Old Masters/ Dutch Style still life (my favorite thing to paint actually).. 

This is a complete, so to speak, fragment. Complete, but a Fragment. I played with the virtual frame to show that even a fragment can be sufficient when speaking about composition. The only thing I would change if I set this still life as a separate thing; I’d place the knife towards the apples.. But because it is a fragment, it will point “out” of the painting ..

Meantime, the drawing in the class required some serious hand work.. I’ve put my hands and some other students hands 
TO WORK 
:0)

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



Sketching Italy – Part III

Amalfi, coast, Colosseum, Forum, Irina, Italia, Italy, paintings, Positano, Ravello, Rome, ruins, sketches, sketching, Sorrento, Sztukowski, Vatican, Vesuvius, Watercolor
Part I is HERE
Part II is HERE
Although Rome looked so much as Saint Petersburg (Russia) to me as there are so many buildings in Saint Petersburg that were built by Italian architects back in 18th century; Rome, has its own, one of a kind, feeling when you come face-to-face to the older than old ruins

First thing in Rome, we’ve visited Colosseum:
ancient building

and next, the Forum ruins next to Colosseum. They surely remind people about thousand-years history and once powerful empire:
Roman old
Being in Rome only for two days was pretty intense as we had big plans. One of the days was devoted to a holy place, a country in the country, the incredible Vatican

As you see, no time to paint at all, but I painted Vatican‘s St. Peter’s Basilica a few years ago, and now it comes handy: 
Holy City
Most impressive for me in Vatican was the Papal residence, with paintings (fresco) from floor to ceiling, gorgeous statues, and mosaic floors. Sistine Chapel was impressive, but tourists there are not allowed to talk or take photos.. you can only breath in.. 

Leaving Rome after two busy days was like escaping ancient civilization, when we started heading South. Our point of view shifted to the one of the popular leisure places, Amalfi Coast… 

Passing Naples and Pompeii, we landed in a beautiful town Sorrento, with its view on volcano Vesuvius:

Naples view

cafe
Three Story high cliffs with the hotels on a top and a private rocky beach below: 
umbrellas
It was so relaxing that we had time to just rest and watch beautiful sunsets and the boats parked at the shore:
Mediterranean sea

italian landscape
After traveling along the coast and visiting very beautiful towns Ravello, Positano, and Amalfi (I can’t wait to work on my photos and start painting them in my studio); it was nice to relax the last 24 hours in downtown Sorrento with its lovely narrow streets full of souvenir shops, restaurants, and flowers everywhere: 

building flowers
Italy trip was fantastic! Unforgettable and inspiring for a lot future painting to be created…


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


Sketching Italy – Part II

best sketches, city, Florence, Italy, sketches, Sztukowski, tourism, Travel, travel sketches. travel the world, Tuscany, watercolor sketches, watercolors
For those who missed the first post, Part I is HERE
Leaving Venice was sad but I knew that Florence will not disappoint my artist’s eye. 

And the first thing I’ve run into was an art fair next to San Lorenzo cathedral, where artists were selling their beautiful art:
art fair in Florence
Florence in comparison to Venice is much larger and the colors of Florence are more solid and settled vs vibrant colors of Venetian buildings. 

Lots of towers in Florence are made of sand-color stones, reveling the age in the texture: 
streets of Florence
Hundreds of tourists occupied the plaza next to Palazzo Vecchio, a truly old, magnificent building. Each statue on the Piazza told a story, mythical or historical. 

plaza statues
Far in the distance, Neptune is overseeing the crowd. 
David (a copy of the original that we saw in Accademia ), is guarding the entry to Palazzo Vecchio:
nude statue
Besides the fact that Florence streets, statues, and fountains are like a museum under an open sky, there is also a largest collection of Renaissance art in Uffizi Gallery that I had chance to visit. Unfortunately, in most museums they don’t allow photo cameras; and, I could imagine, they wouldn’t permit a watercolorist sitting and painting there.. But the memory of a beautiful art will stay with me forever. 

One of the five days in Florence, we escaped the city going on 12 hour tour to Tuscany, where we had chance to visit Pisa, Siena, a thousand year old San Gimignano. On the way there, we admired Italian wineries of Tuscany and multiple Sunflowers fields:
Italy
On our last day in Florence we crossed the famous bridge Ponte Vecchio and stepped into the beauty of Palazzo Pitti  with its fountains and terraces.
Quiet walk at Boboli Gardens impressed with hidden paths,  peaceful ponds, and moss-green marble statutes:  
Boboli Gardens
The Florentine time was up and we headed out to the train station. Less than a two-hour train ride from Florence to Rome was lovely. We were passing by farms, mountains, old towns: colorful Italian landscapes: 
Italian landscape
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In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Sketching Italy – Part I

buildings, city, history, hotel, Italia, italian, Italy, map, realism, sketch, sketches, Sztukowski, tourism, tourists, town, trip, Venice, voyage
After a long long flight, having a refreshing ride in a water taxi, my husband and I landed in the comfortable room of one Venetian hotel:
interior
The couple of sketches I made there were at the time when, after running around the town overwhelmed with heat and the history, we had a chance to cool down for a few minutes and rest:
lamp window door table mirror
Beautiful canals with waters from turquoise blue to milky emerald, flowers on the windows, and polls in the water attracted my attention the first day of our city discovery: 
cityscape
Two gondoliers were resting before the next ride. No rush, no hurry, they knew the next group of tourists is inevitably coming:
Italy sketch bridge
After walking through narrow streets where the Sun never hits the ground, it was nice to find a relatively large square surrounded with two canals and an army of buildings:
monument buildings Italy
But not only the canals that historical part of  Venice is made of. One of the main artery of the touristic mecca was Via Nuova, wide enough to fit even a car or two passing by, and with its colorful old buildings and shops, shops, shops:
Venice Italy trip
After three wonderful days in Venice, visiting museums such Palazzo Ducale, Biblioteca Nazionale, Modern and Ancient Art exhibitions at San Marco Piazza, Accademia and many gorgeous churches and cathedrals, we had to prepare to leave for a new endeavors that were planned on our Italy tour. 
Sitting in the lobby of the hotel Europa & Regina and waiting for the water ride to the train station, I had a few minutes to sketch my last Venetian interior:
Armchair Table Room

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

Travel Sketches Book is Published

art show, bestsellers, bestselling watercolor, Blurb, book, e-book, Fine Art, Irina, library, NY, San Francisco, Sketchbook, sketches, Sztukowski, travel sketches, Watercolor, watercolour
World Sketches
My business plan for this year included publishing one or two books with my art. 

One book is out! 
Yey!

I started with publishing a small 26 pages, 9″x6″ book that contains 70 travel sketches. Some of these sketches I made for NY Library between 2010 – 2013; and, some were created for one upcoming art show in San Francisco. 

I thought it would be great to combine all of them in one book 
country sketches
The e-book in 
PDF file
Anyone can order by clicking on this
  LINK 
The hard copy is on Blurb.com below:
Travel Sketches by Irina Sztukowski | Make Your Own Book

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

2013 Sketchbook Project – California

bestsellers, book, California, paintings of California, Sketchbook, sketches, Sztukowski, Travel, travel sketches, Watercolor, watercolour
And here the rest of the sketches for 2013 project:









The Sketchbook is ready to travel to NY and explore the World in the Travel Library:
Today (12.21.2012) is my Mom’s Birthday, and some people said it would be the end of the World. Others mention that we are entering a beautiful time of Great Consciousness. Anyway, I am glad that we are alive and prosper. 
After calling my Mom in the morning I looked through the window and saw a gorgeous Sunrise with the Rainbow. Isn’t it a Wonderful Beginning of the day (and a possible new photo reference for a future painting) 
:0)
In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul