Sunday, November 22, 2015

More sea scapes

Minimalist Seascape 4, oil on canvas board, 20 x 15 cm
This subject proved appropriate for trying new media, so I finally opened the box of water-soluble oil paints, which I've had for two years. Good I did, as they were starting to dry in the tubes.
Oils feel quite different. You have to use so much paint and it is hard to layer it without wiping the paint underneath. It is hard to apply the rule of thinner paint over thicker layer, if you want a fluid background. I don't know if I would have the patience to wait for days for the oil to dry before I can do the next stage... Well, that's in general. The little seascape above I did in one layer, with carefully adding the white surf and the seaweeds on the sand with the palette knife.

And the same subject in watercolor - just a simple wet-on-wet wash
Minimalist seascape 3, watercolor wash, 54 x 42 cm

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Minimalist seascapes

Seascape 1, acrylic on canvas board, 30 x 23 cm

Seascape 2, acrylic on  stretched canvas, 50 x  40 cm
My first attempts with acrylics. So far no big surprises. It is easy to make smooth color transitions, similar to the wet-on-wet watercolor washes. Paints dry fast so no risk of fussing and fiddling. And no need to preserve the white for the crashing waves. I am not sure I know what I am doing, but I've been enjoying it, and that's what matters.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Girl with hat

Girl with hat, watercolor 23 x 30 cm

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A woman's face

Portrait of a woman, watercolor 23 x 30 cm
This is just a face from a magazine, not anyone I know. I wasn't trying to achieve resemblance, just focused on the washes that can bring up the features and was enjoying the process. This had an almost therapeutic effect on me, helped divert my thoughts from the nagging replaying of unpleasant situations. Creativity brings positive thoughts. So, friends, do go for it!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Toronto City Hall

Old City Hall, watercolor 40 x 30 cm

New City Hall, watercolor 40 x 30 cm
Two more views from Toronto - the old and the new city hall - two buildings with completely different styles. These are very geometric and required a lot of precision and attention. Not the type of subjects that promote a free style. I feel like painting something more lose, in more forgiving shapes next time...

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Toronto Streetcar 1, watercolor 40 x 30 cm
Toronto Streetcar 2, watercolor 40 x 30 cm
Toronto Streetcar 3, watercolor 30 x 40 cm
Despite having turned into a typical north american metropolis, with a dense downtown packed with high-raises, there are still some things that give Toronto character. One of these things are the red streetcars. They make a good painting subject, both with their color and the classic look. Have to paint them now, before the city decides to replace them with modern aerodynamic vehicles.

These three paintings are survivors. They were each in a different state of completion when the basement, where my studio is, flooded. For a while water was spraying all over them. Surprisingly, watercolors proved quite resilient, and after carefully drying them I managed to save them and complete them all.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Light on the path

The bicycle path 1, watercolor 20 x 22 cm
This is a country bicycle path, where we cycled on the weekend. Apparently, it was the light that captured my imagination in this view.

The bicycle path 2, watercolor 20 x 22 cm

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Bougainvillea, watercolor 40 x 30 cm
It took me many attempts to find a way to paint this beautiful plant in a not too concrete style. It is not an easy one to simplify.
Bougainvillea makes me think of the white-washed Mediterranean villages. It spells warmth, serenity and beauty all in one. So, I could not resist the temptation to buy a small potted plant this spring, knowing all too well that it cannot survive the Canadian winter. Will it tolerate the air in the house? Remains to be seen...
bougainvillea studies

Bougainvillea 2, watercolor 40 x 30 cm

Sunday, July 12, 2015


Toronto's skyline 20 years ago, watercolor 38 x 28 cm
This summer marks twenty years since my husband and I came to Canada. I will always remember the first scary days, when I felt like we have landed on Mars and there was no way back. Now, twenty years later, this is definitely my home.
And here is how this home has changed too. The top view is the city skyline back then, as seen from the port. Below is how it looks now. In the last few years high-rises have been growing like mushrooms in downtown. Everything changes...

Toronto's skyline - now, watercolor 38 x 28 cm
Here is another version of the Flatiron building from the previous post. This one is done almost entirely with ultramarine, brown madder and raw sienna. I also changed slightly the composition and did it more loosely.
Toronto's Flatiron building 2, watercolor, 40 x 52 cm

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Toronto's Flatiron building

Toronto's Flatiron Building, watercolor 40 x 52 cm
One of Toronto's iconic landmarks, still looking the way it did 120 years ago, although now surrounded by a forest of high-rises. Its real name is the Gooderham building, after the name of it's original owner. Flatiron is a description of its shape. There are a number of those in North America and around the world. Toronto's is one of the earlier examples and is quite prominent and attractive in its setting.

Toronto's Flatiron building, charcoal sketch