Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ground squirrel

Ground squirrel in Banff  (28 x 26 cm)

We met this curious little guy in the Rockies a few years ago. He saw us eating chocolate and insisted we must share. We knew it was not good to feed the wild animals, but he was so persistent, he practically got in my lap. Couldn't resist and gave him a little piece and he allowed us to take a few pictures of him in return.
Ground Squirrel - sketch

"I love Swiss chocolate!"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A street in Mdina, Malta

Mdina, Malta ( Arches, 22 x 33 cm)
This is painted by a photo from a Mediterranean vacation a few years ago. Mdina, is a medieval fortified city, with narrow streets winding between the palaces and villas of the local aristocratic families. The yellowish local stone, used practically for all older buildings determines the ocher color of both Mdina and Valletta.

Below is my initial sketch, done in a few minutes only with a brush. I bought a sketchbook and a box of half-pan watercolors and was eager to try them. The other new gadget I was trying here was a water-brush. It has a little plastic water tank in its handle, which wets the brush when pressed. Turned out that it is a great tool for quick sketching outdoors - no need for a water container. This means that I can carry only my new little pocket-size box of paints, the water-brush and the sketchbook. All set for the coming spring!
Mdina - sketch

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Last snowfall?

This view is imaginary, but the situation it depicts is real. It snowed all day today. The day was gloomy and the roads were completely congested. In the morning the snow accumulation was less that 5 cm, yet I heard on the radio that there was one traffic accident happening  every minute, in and around the city. One would think that Canadians would be expert drivers in winter conditions, but the truth is that even two drops of rain stall the traffic in the Greater Toronto Area.
It is still March and snowfalls are still normal. Hopefully we won't get much of the white stuff in April...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Greeting card (n/a)
Just a small floral sketch to get me back in the mood for painting. I didn't have any orange paint, but as it turned out the cadmium yellow and cadmium red mix beautifully into all shades of orange. Which brings me to something I have been wondering about... It seems that in the artists circles using green paint is considered a weakness. "Real artists mix their greens" Yet there doesn't seem to be a similar attitude towards the other secondary colors like orange and purple. Is there any rational explanation to that? For example that there are reliable single pigment oranges, like cadmium orange, while premixed greens have a poor lightfastness. Or is there some dose of snobbishness in all that?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring bouquet

Bouquet of Snowdrops, 22 x 30 cm (n/a)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


22 x 30 cm
This is one of my favorite flowers, painted from a last year's photo. There is still some snow outside and the brave little snowdrops are the only flowers that dared to show their heads above the frozen ground.

If you don't see a close-up of a forget-me-not in this, don't feel bad. I had hard time persuading my mother too that that's how the flower looks from up close.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Bristol paper - 22 x 30 cm
In the last several days I had no energy or desire to paint. Things are very wrong when you loose desire for your hobby, so I had to do something to try and pull myself out of that hole.Decided to draw something, and this little ceramic jug with two strands of ivy sitting on my kitchen counter-top seemed like a good subject.
After finishing the pencil drawing below, I wanted to try it in color. So I sketched it quickly on four pieces of paper and did the pictures below.
The two on the top row are on watercolor paper, while #3 and #4 are on Bristol paper. Bristol is a very smooth surface (like the one for technical drawings) and the paints behave very differently. This was my first experience with it. It is hard to work wet-in-wet and to make smooth transitions, but it allows to create better contrast and the colors stay more intense, as they don't get so easily  absorbed by the paper. The first three jugs are done with quinacridone red, while the last uses cadmium red. It seems to me that the more opaque cadmium colors are better for still life.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Peggy's Cove

Boats at Peggy's Cove (22 x 30 cm) (n/a)

Fog at Peggy's Cove (30 x 22 cm)
Peggy's cove is a picturesque small fishing village on the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia. Its colorful wooden houses are spread on the rocks around the small inlet (cove). The entrance to the cove is marked by a lighthouse.
We visited this place more that ten years ago, on a cold rainy day, hence the foggy conditions in these views. These are just fragments from larger views, that do not show the actual village. Maybe in the future I will feel confident enough to paint more of it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Still the sea...

Black Sea
I found an old photo from a camping vacation at the Bulgarian sea shore. It must have been a late afternoon. The sky is filled with large clouds, whose colors range from yellow and pink to the darkest gray. I tried to reproduce that sky a couple of times. The above is not a true representation, but is the one that turned out more interesting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crashing waves

Arches, 28 x 25 cm

Another picture on the same subject. There is so much more in the sea theme to explore - boats, sails, ports and coves, stormy sea... I don't have to paint all of these now. If I get tired of the same subject I may decide to take a break with something entirely different. But it is exciting to know that there are still so many unexplored subjects.

If you have been wondering what happened with the thumbnail images in the blog lists over the last week, here is a link to a site, that somewhat explains the problem and suggests a temporary workaround - until Google comes up with a permanent fix: