Heart To Heart

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These few hearts are my preparation batch for CWA Outreach Lesson that my colleague and I performed for Clayton Elementary School. Fourteen fearless Brownie Girl-scouts grabbed their brushes and moved to the unknown. 

We taught kids how to apply wet-on-wet, painted with invisible wax candle to reserve the whites, and how to make a creative art by using only three colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue. 

The art of the kids was amazing. As always, we were stunned by imagination of a young brain. Each painting was unique, fresh, enchanting. 

Here are just a few paintings of that gorgeous kaleidoscope:
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My Original Art “Two Hearts for Valentine’s” is 14″x10″ on 300lb Cold Pressed Arches 


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

Sunset And Trees Watercolor Lesson

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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! 
🙂

Illustrating A Book Workshop In Danville California

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Last week I shared my painting knowledge with the members of the Book Club at Danville library. Young readers, grade 4 and 5, met to read a book Planting The Trees Of Kenya: The Story Of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola. It delivers a true story about a winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Wangari Maathai who returned to her home country of Kenya and helped to save the farmland by planting the trees.

I was presenting a workshop: How To “Plant” The Trees On The Paper. For my lesson, I have chosen several techniques to show to the kids. 

First we did a background in wet-on-wet technique and later on (when paper was bone-dry) we planted a Whimsical Tree, full of happy branches, swirls, and birds.

As you see, each tree was telling its own story:

Children also learned how to paint Fall trees using dabbing technique and even a sponge. 
In one short session we probably “planted” one hundred of those trees. The Fall landscapes filled the room with the bright colors. I swear, if we didn’t have so much fun that day, we could even hear our painted birds signing on the branches of those trees ;0)

And even though, not all the trees in Danville, California, were yellow, orange and red yet; our trees, on the paper, were surely indicating a beautiful Fall season in its full glory! 


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

Bringing Fall To Central Valley

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Trees Red Yellow Autumn watercolor
I prepared this Impressionistic style painting of the Fall landscape for one watercolor lesson that I performed last Friday. 

The school is located in Central Valley, California (in Kings County), where Fall is coming either late or never. Oh no, of course, they will get a few yellow and red leaves closer to November-December. But now, all trees are green, farmers are finishing harvest, and the only indications of Fall are pumpkins in the grocery stores.

At the lesson, there were 36 students from grade 2 to 6. All of them were thrilled to try wet-on-wet technique and could not believe they can paint a Fall Landscape within an hour.. But we not only accomplished this, we even had a few minutes for a Pumpkin card project using an illustrative technique. 

Everyone had fun, even a couple of teachers asked to give them a brush and started painting :0)


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

Walt Disney Family Museum Open Studio

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Branch Blossom Birds
After visiting Tyrus Wong exhibition, and getting inspired; I’ve started the lesson with introducing wet-on-wet technique. Students of ages from 5 to 65 learned how to paint skies with watercolors. 

To my surprise, at the beginning, I got more adults than children coming to the class (the Open Studio event is build when anyone can come at any time and jump in painting with the teacher).. 

Later on, we got kids, who surprised me again, they were not afraid to try painting both projects: Sky in Style of Tyrus Wong and a Fall Theme. 
Everyone had fun. 
I have not noticed how quickly the tree hours of the lesson passed. We probably got between 40 – 50 young and not-so-young students happily learning new techniques painting with watercolor .. and some of them even went home with the greeting card made by themselves 
:0) 
(Photos by Maria Batkova)
In Every Piece Of My Art There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

The Oldest Student I’ve Ever Had

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Last Thursday I was teaching seniors at Assisted Living facility in Pleasant Hill, CA on behalf of Outreach program with CWA
art class

old people painting

red cups

old artist
My oldest student that day was 98 years old. She did incredible job on following instructions, painting and most importantly having lots of fun.
We were exercising Spring and Easter themes through a negative painting approach, dotted technique, and even had time to try wet-on-wet approach. 
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Wonderful photos by Maria Batkova, who is now a proud CWA member and a great assistant

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

Winnie-The-Pooh – illustrate a book – Workshop

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Detailed Images are in Art for Kids Gallery
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The work week was quite busy for me. Between the preparation for Tao House Art Show, attending CWA meeting and working in a Concord Gallery I also had a workshop in Martinez Library on Tuesday. 
This time I taught kids how to apply watercolor wet-on-wet (we played with the Winnie’s head for that), dry-on-dry ( his honey pot and a tree were just asking be painted that way), and we even learned what is the difference to paint free-hand vs following the given lines. 
It is amazing how the kids can absorb the information. Quick and easy! One little boy loved wet-on-wet technique so much that he painted entire second piece of art all over using not only all area of the painting but also mixing all available colors from his palette. 
Fun! Fun! Fun!
Be a judge, see the art report below:
In Every Piece Of My Art
There Is A Piece Of My Heart And A Sparkle Of My Soul

Water Lilies Watercolor

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Like MonetImpressionImpressionism in Watercolors
I was exploring a new surface for my watercolors: Watercolor Canvas. Before, I tried watercolor board and thought to try a canvas this time. The board surprised me with the fact that it was practically impossible to place the layers. When I tried to place second layer on it, my first layer would mix with wet surface and simply disappear. From my experience, watercolor canvas has better fluidity than a board; you can make a good wash if working fast and knowing what colors will go in what place (does not allow reapplying though); and, the canvas allows to place a second layer yet it should be darker than the previous one.

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And I was surprised how my hands were adjusting to the quality of the surface this time. Feeling that the colors will not flow like on 100% Cotton Watercolor Paper, my hands started applying paint in kind of pointing style (e.g. instead of sweeping my brush across I was “pocking” dots all over the surface with different colors or just making very short strokes). Quite interesting experience! My style changed completely in just a few minutes since I started painting. The surface dictated the technique. At some point I thought about Monet and his Water Lilies; how did he paint them? What did he feel? Although, yes he used oil paint; I guess I got the oil paint thinking then 🙂
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The advantage of the watercolor on canvas is that if you want you can place it on a wall without framing (though you will need to use fixative of course). Yet, lately I am experimenting with watercolor board (with stretched Cotton Paper) that also will not need frame except a cradle board. I’ve noticed that some of my clients would like to have watercolor paintings without frames in there collections. I was researching how to do that too. And I’ll share this experience with you in the future.
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9″x12″ Fredrix Watercolor Canvas, Winsor & Newton Watercolor, Aqarell-Fixativ by Schmincke & Co

For more Watercolor Canvases, Acrylic and Metal Prints with my art – click HERE

watercolors art

fine art Irina