Mountain Rigi – Antique Watercolor – Turner Study

antique, antique watercolor, Blue Rigi, landscape, Red Rigi, study, vintage, vintage watercolor, Watercolor, William Turner
Old Masters study
After visiting William Turner’s exhibition in De Young Museum (my previous post Stormy Seascape Vintage Style showed how excited I was to go there); I became even more interested in Old Masters styles and techniques.

I have decided to study several Turner’s paintings with Mount Rigi. My point was to explore the ability of antique, 1894 watercolor paint set, which I have purchased last year for this specific purpose, e.g the study of the Old Masters techniques. 

I loved to challenge myself, and paint without the limits, yet being limited by 19th century pigments and tools. 

In this painting, I combined study of three different Turner’s paintings of this Switzerland mountain: Blue Rigi, Red Rigi, and Dark Rigi. 

I was lucky to see two of the paintings in the De Young Museum. I was standing for probably good twenty minutes exploring inch after inch of the Blue Rigi and the sketch of the Red Rigi, presented there at the exhibition:
antique watercolor

antique watercolor
Turner painted all three paintings in 1842. I have the antique watercolors sets ranging from 1894 through 1952.
The color pallet there is definitely limited, and the pigments are almost hard as the rocks. But, I love them. There was so much of excitement that was coming out or into me (or both) when I touch these paints with my brush. It is hard to explain. It needs to be experience personally 🙂 
The watercolor set (top left) was from 1894 and I mostly used that one to accomplish my painting.
I also looked at the print of the Blue Rigi by Turner, and the illustration in my book British Watercolors, where I found Dark Rigi:
antique watercolor
Somewhere, in the middle of the process, something magic happened. My brush wanted to add some details that were not in Turner’s paintings. 
The tour into the Old Master’s masterpieces allowed me to create my own art piece, full of light, color and fresh mountain air. I felt as if I was there in 19th century; painting this gorgeous Switzerland landscape. 
Wonderful feeling!!

Interview With The Artist

artist, career, interview with the artist, Maria Batkova, Matisse, Monet, realistic paintings, Renoir, Russia, Saint Petersburg, The interview, Tolstoy, Watercolor, William Turner
I was quite excited to be asked to join one artists’ team new project where the artists share about themselves. Various artists throughout the country were asked questions about their artistic influences. It was fun to be a part of this creative project and I decided to share the interview with my followers. 

The Interview

1. As a child, do you recall a significant moment when you felt truly affected or inspired by any particular artwork or artist?

As a child I can’t recall a day without a pencil, a brush, or a book in my hand. My family was encouraging my sister and I to be creative. Due to the Soviet era, and non existence of electronic devices we used our imagination by painting, drawing, making up our own stories in handmade books, cutting out and dressing up the paper-dolls, writing a family newspaper, constructing mini-theaters out of shoe boxes, supplying them with cardboard furniture, and our own mini-artworks.
Irina (left) with her sister Maria
Living in the historical center of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Saint Petersburg; we, literally, lived right behind the corner of several National museums:

travel sketches in watercolor
watercolor travel sketch
watercolor painting
My Dad often took my sister and I to the museums where I could see first hand the works of the famous artists.
My first introduction to the Old  Dutch Masters inspired me to paint my own still life paintings. I was stunned when I saw great marine scenes of Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky, or portraits of the society and Italian country scenes by the artist Karl Brullov

But the most and the first inspirational group of people in my life were my relatives. Grandma Maria was an exceptional craft artist. Her needlepoint and lace hand crafted artworks were amazing. My Dad, Nikolai, painted, made sculptures and created beautiful ceramics. Both, Dad and Grandma, shared their knowledge with me. My mom, Larisa, worked as an engineer and taught me drafting and perspective. Another Grandma Vera, a famous engineer in metallurgy, in her retirement years got obsessed with gardening, which definitely influenced my love to Nature. 

2. As an artist, what do you hope to convey with your work?

My artist’s goal is to achieve a balance and harmony between
the beauty provided by Nature and the ability of the artist to convey this
beauty on two dimensional surfaces. When this harmony is accomplished it evokes
a visual experience and generates the emotions between the viewer and the
painting. I believe that watercolor is the medium that can do it all. 
My passion is painting with watercolors, my main style is contemporary realism, yet I am also interested in abstract paintings and illustrations.
realism in watercolor
I do want to try all styles and explore all possibilities in art. 
realism in watercolor

realism in watercolor

Only one rule will be followed religiously: it will be beautiful. I know I can do it. I have only one challenge along the way; the shortness of the linear time of this one life on Earth :0)

3. What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I love to see the eyes of my art collectors when they receive the artwork. One look worth thousand words. 
A lot of time I communicate to my customers electronically, and send artworks by mail, so I receive heart warming e-mails. 
All of them are important for me. They melt my artist’s soul, they give me wings. 
Here, I want to mention one, that was quite memorable. 

Last year, I completed a commission piece for my customer. The artwork was a reflection of the poem that was given me before the process. The story was written, my job was to paint it:

seascape watercolor art
When the painting was finished and the customer looked at it, she said: Irina, if in your life you painted only ONE painting,THIS one; your life purpose as an artist would be accomplished right there!

4. What is your dream project?

Strangely enough, I have no dream project.
 Maybe because I try to make my dreams come true. 
I trust my intuition, 
I go with the flow. 

The Artist’s life do bring me projects by serendipity. A good example was a Jam Label project when a customer from Ireland was contacting me offering a long-term illustration assignment, which reminded me how much I love realistic paintings and botanical art:

I am so grateful to ALL my art collectors and customers! They make me tick. 

5. What artists, of any medium, do you admire? (Famous or not!)

I admire artists that can see the beauty of the world and have the courage to share this beauty with us. 

I kneel before the artists that polish their skill and make their craft better and better year after the year. And if the hand starts shaking and brush might not “listen to” the mind, these artists find the way to continue their shine and pass the knowledge. 

I respect the artists that sell their art without selling their soul. 

I appreciate when the artists help their clients to feel that they are the part of the creative process (in case of commission paintings). And if the customer is purchasing already made artwork or print, I admire the ability of the artist to invite the viewer to “live” the artwork, to be a part of the story, to feel united with the beauty of the art-piece.

If I name a few artists here, the post will not be enough. 
Ok, I’ll try:
Fiodor Tolstoy, Ivan Aivazovsky, Ilia Repin, Karl Briulov, Pieter Claesz, Rafael, Michelangelo, Nikolai Dudorov, Maria Batkova, Steve Hanks, Artemisia Gentilleschi, Henry Matisse, James Tissot, Patience Brewster, Jacqueline Gnott, Judith Leyster, John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Beatrix Potter, Vera Lysenko, August Renoir. Berthe Morisot, John Stuart Ingle, Elena Bazanova, Jan Kunz, Birgit O’Connor, William Turner, Alfredina Nocera, Claude Monet, Tan Chun Chiu, Henrietta Johnston, and many many many more!

Stormy Seascape Vintage Style

British School, De Young Museum, impressionism, landscape, mountains, ocean, old masters, realism, rocky, sailboat, San Francisco, sea, seascape, shore, style, Watercolor, William Turner
Ocean watercolor painting Old Masters style
In eager anticipation of a future trip to see William Turner‘s exhibition, that is taking place this Summer at the De Yong Museum in San Francisco; I’ve decided to create my own vintage style seascape painting:

In this artwork I followed not only good traditions of Old Masters of the British School; but also allowed myself to apply some fast brushstrokes in Impressionistic style.

Pretty much whole painting was completed in a dry brush technique when I used a very hard bristles (two size brushes), creating layer after layer to achieve the deep sea rough waters, the rocky mountains, and dramatic skies.

A lonely sailboat heading back to the harbor to escape the upcoming storm, The shore mountains are still lit by the sun in some places, but very soon, all will turn dark from the shadows of the clouds and those powerful ocean waves.

An interesting mysterious story:
When I finished the painting, I noticed a smiley face in the clouds. I left it there, thinking, “it is probably William Turner, looking at my art and saying: Good Job Irina!! Well Done!!”