Lavender Botanical Drawing And Painting – Coloring Book Update

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It was so much fun to create a Lavender painting from the Coloring Book that soon will be published on my Author Page; and, it was even more fun to document the painting process in a small video with the help of my co-author Masha Batkova:

Cheers from 

Live To Create!!!


Update effective 04/20/18

Coloring Book Link:

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 

Sunset And Trees Watercolor Lesson

bright sunset, Home Decor, impressionistic, landscape, lesson, step by step, sunset and trees, Sztukowski, Watercolor, watercolor landscape, watercolor lesson, watercolour
impressionistic watercolors landscape with trees
These three landscapes look quite similar yet they all have their own story.
The first one was painted from the photograph that my friend gave me one day. She took this picture while traveling with her husband long time ago. I loved the bright sunset and black monotone trees on the foreground. Half year ago, the same dear friend lost her beloved husband of 51 years. When recently we were talking on a phone I asked her if she might be interested in watercolor lesson to try something new in her life. I offered her to paint the same bright landscape that you see on the left. She listened to my offer in disbelieve: How can she paint if she only held a brush once in her life. When she visited my studio, I performed the lesson to her, explaining step by step how to paint this bright sunset landscape. She did a great job. We had so much fun. And she left with completed artwork and a happy feeling that she learned something new that possibly might become a new hobby. 
The third painting I created when I was teaching last weekend a retired couple. The husband was looking forward to rejuvenate his love to watercolor that he developed long time ago when he was 15 years old. But the business life kept him away from this hobby; yet, now he was trying to grab the brush again. His wife never painted in her life, but she also was curious to try it. We painted together and both of them ended up with a finished artwork to bring home. 

And now, I want to explain step by step how to paint this bright, yet quite simply executed beautiful landscape in 10 easy steps.

Materials:
Paper (better 300lb Arches Watecolor Paper)
Flat Brush (any brush is good approximately 1 inch wide)
Round Brush #8 or #9 (approximately 1/4 inch in diameter)
Round Brush #4 or #6 (approximately 1/8 in diameter)
Sponge (either natural or just torn kitchen sponge)
Container for water and couple of paper towels.
Watercolor paints (better in tubes)
Red
Yellow
Purple
Black
(yes, only four colors with make this painting shine!)

Step 1:
Water the paper with flat brush
Step 2:
Paint two horizontal strips of yellow in the middle leaving a white 1 inch stripe in between (using same flat brush)
Step 3:
Next to the yellow (while it is still wet) paint the red color in diagonal streaks above the second yellow line and horizontal streaks below (using the round brush #8 or #9) . Because paint is hitting the wet yellow color, it will melt and create a nice soft clouds like feathers.
Step 4:
Next to the red, add some purple diagonal streaks on the top (the sky area) and horizontal on the bottom (using the same round brush). Make sure that purple doesn’t touch yellow as it might create unwanted gray messy color. You can also add black color above purple to make the sky more dramatic. 
Step 5:
While paper is still wet, in the space that you left white (from the step 2) you can place a little uneven purple line that would indicate a forest line in the far background.
Step 6:
Relax and have a cup of tea as you need the wet painting to dry completely.
Step 7:
When painting is completely dry, take the round brush #4 or #6 and dip it generously in the black paint. Paint uneven vertical lines indicating the trees, and horizontal smaller lines indicating branches. 
Step 8:
With the black paint paint the waves underneath of each tree. These waves will be reflections of the trees.
Step 9:
Grab a sponge, deep it in the wet black paint and start applying with gentle dabbing motion around the tree branches. 
Step 10:
Enjoy completed artwork! 
🙂

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! 

The Apple Fest

apple, apples, bestsellers, fruits, how to paint apple, Irina, realism, realism in watercolor, step by step, Still Life, Sztukowski, Watercolor
watercolor painting
A part of my large painting is completed: an apple part. While painting those little apples I was wondering how many times I did so (never though I painted apples in the water with watercolors :)..

I remember the times (20 or so years ago) when my teacher placed an apple as a part of a still life and explained that the roundness of this “object” will attract the viewer’s eye. And it truly did, especially with the metal spoon pointing to that apple:
realism in watercolor
I painted apples big (a real size):
watercolor on Aquabord
(on a watercolor Aquabord )
And I painted apples as small as to fit on teeny-tiny 2″x3″ paper:
watercolor miniature
miniature painting of fruits
Once, I’ve even created an instructional sequence on how to paint an apple in six easy steps:
watercolor artwork
It was cool to imagine how the apple “grew” on a white piece of paper:
I guess, for me, apples are really fun to paint: none of them, even though look alike, is the same. Each has it’s own personality:
realism in watercolor
Just like these two Cuties above were pushing their Brother over the board; or, the freshly-picked apple below is happy to spread its arms-leaves under an afternoon Sun: 
Realism in watercolors
Like they say “an apple a day keeps the doctors away“; my apples , quite contrary, surely kept me busy and pretty close to my studio
 :0)


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



Best Golf Course View in San Francisco – Lincoln Park – 17th Hole

artist that takes commisson, Bay, Bay Area, California, commission, Flowers, Golden Gate Bridge, Golf Course, Lincoln Park, Painting, San Francisco, step by step, Sztukowski, trees, Watercolor
Golden Gate Bridge View
One of my customers ordered this commission painting of the gorgeous view of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. I have not realized at the beginning that the park was a famous golf course on a top of the hill. And that precise view was from 17th hole of Lincoln Park

I liked the idea that the given picture had good three points of visual interest plus the personal meaning to the customer of course.
Starting the painting from the skies and the Golden Gate Bridge, I gradually moved to the foliage of the trees. When these two backgrounds were completed, I continued with paining the bushes and the flowers maze in the front. They had to be painted with the most details; and, by the way, took me the longest time “to build”.

Here are a few pix of work-in-progress that I supplied to the customer along the way. As usual, commission paintings take much longer time (compare to the artist’s choice art) due to the communications (agreements, suggestions, approvals), and constant updates:
sketches
Panorama

California Trees
Bay Area San Francisco
The Original Painting Lincoln Park – San Francisco is 9″x12″ Watercolor


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

Disney Family Museum Workshop

Apple Painting, Disney, Disney museum, lesson, open studio, realism in watercolor, Seven Dwarfs, Snow White, step by step, Sztukowski, Walt Disney
..or.. 
How To Paint An Apple in Six Easy Steps 
With 
Three Simple Colors
Disney Family Museum
This upcoming weekend I was invited by Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco for an Open Studio event, which is the part of a special exhibition 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: 
The Creation of a Classic

I am going to paint and show the public some basic watercolor techniques. I’ve decided to play with an apple painting and paint it with only three colors, with more symbolic and elementary approach. My goal was to make it simple, desirable, and easy to accomplish; that anybody would be able to at least try to make their own apple painting. 

I’ve created a board with six drawings and paintings that show a few stages:
step-by-step process
The challenge was to paint an exact apple. So, I created a few stencils that apples on my papers and papers of the students will look alike. It will people not to be scared about a drawing, yet give them more time for watercolor applications.

Step-by-step instructions are given above, under FREE button. Enjoy!!

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




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)
……………………………………………… 
Original Artwork
French Roses is 16″x12″ on 300 lb Arches Cold Pressed Paper
………………………………………………
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

Step-by-Step Watercolor Movie – Girl’s Portrait

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In this short step-by-step watercolor movie, the white paper
transforms into a painting of a sweet girl, in which all colors of the rainbow highlight
this Little Cutie’s personality.

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

Step-by-Step Painting Video – Boys And The Ocean

beach, boys, how to paint, instruction, Painting, realism, realistic, step by step, Watercolor
It is time to place some step by step pix in one place; and, I thought a short video shot will really serve me well. Here is one more video created today:
https://youtu.be/Lv-3vTgK7EU 

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