Small Town In The Mountains – Watercolor Pencils – Step By Step

Brentwood, California, landscape, lesson, Mountain Diablo, mountains, outside, plein air, sketch, sketching, step by step, step by step painting, town, watercolor pencils
watercolour pencils
I was recently visiting my friend artist in a small town of Brentwood that is hiding between the golf course and just behind a highest point of Bay Area, San Francisco, the famous Mountain Diablo. We went to paint en plain-air style, e.g. we grabbed our art materials and went painting outside. 
The weather was beautiful. Everywhere I turned I’d seen a lovely subject for painting. I’ve chosen to paint a scene with a small town in the golf course hills with a huge mountain behind. My choice of the materials this time were watercolor pencils (I’ve previously wrote an article about watercolor pencils HERE ) . 

I’ve sketched the drawing with a simple pencil first, and then started applying my watercolor pencils. That was the part that was actually accomplished outside:
The trick with watercolor pencils is that you have to know what colors to mix and predict what outcome will be at the time you put  water on the paper. I intentionally was drawing with a limited pallet. Out of my 72 watercolor pencils that I have in the box, I’ve picked only 16 to go plein-air painting.
Here is the first stage of the drawing/future painting:
After, I got home the main work had begun. 
I’ve added more pencils in depth, then highlighted the drawing with ink:
Then, I grabbed a softest Kolinsky Sable brush Number 11 and dipped it in a clear water. First areas that were “watered” were large ones, the sky and the grass below. Then I started adding some water to the smaller details such buildings and trees:
Right away I’ve noticed that in some areas the wash of water made the colors too bright, in others the colors were simply “washed” away. But the good part, that with watercolor pencils you can always reapply the colors with one important warning though: the paper should be bone dry before you add more colors. 

After several times of re-applying the pencils and rejuvenating them with water (clear water on the soft brush), the painting was completed and now it is ready to see the World!! 🙂
watercolour pencils step by step
Cheers from 

Sorrento Lemons

commission painting, Home Decor, kitchen gadgets, lemon, lemon theme, pillows with lemon designs, Sorrento Lemons, step by step painting, still life with lemon, Watercolor
Sorrento Lemon
A recent painting of mine grew up into a new commission painting and many interesting designs to follow. 

An art collector liked one of my paintings of Sorrento Lemons; but it was a little twist requested. The format of the original painting was a standard size; and, my client wanted a new, elongated one, in order to fit the painting into the interior of her sun-room properly.

We started working together discussing a composition, format, color theme; and I proceeded with the painting of a new piece with the new approach and enthusiasm. 

This time I placed a dark Alizarin Crimson (deep red color) on the bottom of the future black background. I have added one more lemon on a top to emphasize the elongated “flow” of the still life. 
After the background was completed, I carefully painted lemons and leaves one by one; and, I left the flowers details for a dessert (below the new designs you could see a little movie that captures the whole process).

I really liked the outcome of the New Sorrento Lemons. The juicy bright fruits looked so lovely and so festive on the deep dark background. 

I couldn’t hold my artist’s itch and created a few pillow designs right away.

And here they are.
lemons of Sorrento

Lemons of Sorrento

Sorrento Lemon
Thinking that I can also place the lemons on other background colors rather than just dark, I made a few designs that warmed up my artist heart.

I truly believe that Lemon Theme would look super grate on a few kitchen towels:
kitchen gadgets
..and why not on something else; for example, placemats, serving trays, or decorative glass boards:
lemon designs

But, as my followers might already know, the creation process has not stopped at those items. I also posted different designs with coasters, paper cocktail napkins, and even porcelain plates (four dozens for every taste) into the Lemon Theme Gallery
The birth of Sorrento Lemons was captured on camera; and, I made a few minutes long movie “shrinking” a couple of weeks process into a Lemon Still Life step-by-step creation:

www.artirina.com

French Roses – Step-by-Step Still Life

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Click HERE to see detailed image
Well maybe Roses were not French “per se” but they were sitting in the French room called Paris in a beautiful cozy hotel Inn At Depot Hill in Capitola, California.  My friend and I were staying there a couple weeks ago when visiting Capitola Art Festival. I started painting these roses life in the room, then took photo and finished the painting at home. And of course I started painting with the main subject, the roses, and the brass vase. 
Here are a few Step-by-Step pictures of the process:
The first under-wash for roses was yellow, but later on I was going to cool down with pink and violet. The bass vase came along pretty nice and the old granite table complemented the metal vase.

Background for the roses was a black tile. It helped me to achieve a great contrast to “push” the roses forward. A soft, future French walls, was a mix of Burnt Siena and Umber.

Roses needed a few good layers to bring the complex multi petal flower to life.

Layer after layer I was creating one petal after another. Good music on the back ground helped me to say focused and give my full attention to the roses, the models of the day.

At this stage the roses and the leaves are almost completed, just a few stokes needed to make the flowers pop-up and clean the pencil drawing with eraser.

Here the tiles of the fireplace started coming to life.And a vague reflection of the roses in the vase brought some depth  to the background.

And here The French are coming! The pattern of the tapestry style walls reflected roses, trees, birds, pastoral scenes.. Ah Mon Chéri the girl on a wall was saying to her party..

When I was a kid, my sister and I were painting walls in tiny little Summer house in Saint Petersburg suburbs. Our Grandma gave us full spectrum of paint and allowed us to use our imagination. Would she ever know that 30 some years later I will paint a French wall on my Rose Still life watercolor :0)
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Original Artwork
French Roses is 16″x12″ on 300 lb Arches Cold Pressed Paper
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And here I was just playing to see how wonderfully it would look on a greeting card, isn’t it..

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

Eiffel Tower – Phase III and IV

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These two Phases of building The Eiffel Tower are pretty much self-explanatory. The skies got more dramatic, the fist beam is painted on the tower. It still looks as a dream floating in the air, but nobody can say it is something other than The Eiffel Tower. A few brush strokes are enough to distinguish a silhouette. The figures are only drawn in pencil yet the negative space around helps us to recognize two young girls engaged in conversation.

Stay tuned: tomorrow will be more Eiffel Tower built on my blog :0)

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

Ranunculus Painting – Phase III

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The tablecloth is completed except shade under the vase. The vase will be glass so the shade will have to be light. I also started the first wash on some of the flowers. It is fum to paint them. Even from the first wash I had to remember about the overall shape of the flower and imply some of the petals.
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10″x8″ Watercolor Painting Step-by-Step

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

Ranunculus Painting – Phase II

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At  the Phase II for the Ranunculus painting I made a wash for the background and started on the tablecloth pattern, trying to place it in the perspective and keep it simple as intended. The challenge with the background is that until the flowers are worked on the pale green does not look appealing to me as I usually  choose the darker background when flowers are light. But we will see.
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10″x8″ Watercolor Painting (first wash)

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

Girl’s Portrait Study Final Phase

artist Irina Sztukowski, family painting, girl portrait, Irina's watercolors, step by step painting, Uncategorized, watercolor portrait

The Girl’s portrait is completed. I’ve defined hair, worked on eyes and lips. And at the final stage looked at the anything that needs to be fixed.

What did I learn?

– The shadow side of the face lit by the Sun needs to be painted darker than you think when mixing the paint. And even it looks exaggerated when it is wet it will dry lighter.
– The time to finish is the time when the artist thinks it is done. I could work on this portrait until the year end; but, it was time to stop. Sometimes it is hard to do so.
– Red hair requires pretty much all colors but Red: I used all shades of gold, which are yellow, transparent orange, burned sienna, green.
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I had a lot of fun painting this portrait, learned a lot, and now it is even a little sad it is done. But I need to move forward 🙂
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24″X18″ Winsor&Newton Watercolor on 140 Cold Pressed paper

Girl’s Portrait Study Phase V

family portraits, girl portrait, Irina's watercolors, step by step painting, step-by-step project, Uncategorized



This time I am identifying the body parts; but, not finishing them completely. Everything is touched and everything is needed perfection at this stage (ears, nose, eyes, lips) . I would call this period the most unsatisfying as I really want it to be completed but know that it is impossible to see unity unless you work on whole face at once. At least my Girl now gets more character, doesn’t she? 🙂