Saturday, December 27, 2014

Painting Fast

Corfu, watercolor 30 x 23 cm

Maliovitsa, watercolor 30 x 23 cm
The free time over the holidays helped me find some peace of mind for painting. These two are influenced by Roy Simmons' little book on Loose Watercolor, which I found so inspiring, I had to grab the brushes and do some quick paintings. The first one is a view of the city of Corfu from the water. The second is in the Bulgarian Rila mountains. I have painted this view before, with much fussing and fiddling. Now I finished it in about 30 minutes and I like this one much better.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Narrow streets

A Walk in Dubrovnik, watercolor 23 x 30 cm

A Walk in Venice, watercolor 23 x 30 cm

Monday, December 22, 2014


Wishing you all Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Venice in Morning Haze

 Venice in Morning Haze 4, watercolor 30 x 23 cm
 A few years ago while walking along Piazza San Marco in Venice an enormous cruise ship sailed through the strait, dwarfing the city and its beautiful buildings. I had the feeling that this is completely out of place, uncanny and indecent. A pedestrian near by looked at the ship with utter contempt and said just "Americaano!" thus expressing the common feelings to this grotesque picture.

This spring, I happened to sail into Venice on a similar monstrous ship, at the end of an Adriatic cruise. No, I am not proud of that. However, this gave me the opportunity to take some very lovely pictures of the city at dawn. It was only 5:30 in the morning and the sun was not yet above the horizon. While slowly sailing through the canal I could enjoy the view of the back-lit city skyline and the mist raising from the water.
Venice in Morning Haze 3, watercolor 30 x 23 cm
These are a few watercolor sketches I made from those photos. I posted them in reverse chronological order as I think that they are getting better. Initially I was using Ocher, but then decided that the light and hazy effect calls for transparent pigments. So, the top two are done with Indian Yellow, Alizarin and Ultramarine. The other important thing is to have enough paint ready and work very fast before hard edges could form. I wasn't so good at this, apparently. A larger size would need more preparation.

Venice in Morning Haze 2, watercolor 30 x 23 cm

Venice in Morning Haze 1, watercolor 30 x 23 cm

Monday, November 17, 2014

Another view from Dubrovnik

Placa Street in Dubrovnik, watercolor 40 x 54 cm

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A small bouquet of roses

A small bouquet of roses 2, watercolor, 30 x 22 cm

A small bouquet of roses 2, watercolor, 30 x 22 cm

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Roofs and umbrellas

Red Roofs, watercolor 36 x 26 cm 
Cafe by the Harbor, watercolor 36 x 26 cm
A couple more scenes inspired by views from Dubrovnik. It's been nice to paint sunny scenes while the first snow is falling outside.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Old Town Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik, watercolor 54 x 36 cm

Sunday, September 21, 2014


Gladiolus, watercolor 36 x 54 cm
The Gladiolus flower is a symbol of moral integrity and power. Does moral integrity bring power!? I want to believe that, although sometimes it doesn't seem this way...

Friday, September 19, 2014


Door 1, watercolor 22 x 30 cm
Doors 2, watercolor 22 x 30 cm
Although I photographed these doors in Valletta, they may be from anywhere in the Mediterranean region. I painted them a week ago but didn't find the time to post them.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Maltese Fishing Boats

Maltese Fishing Boats, watercolor 54 x 32 cm (n/a)

Maltese Fishing Boat, watercolor 22 x 30 cm
I passed through the fishing village of Marsaxlokk on the east shore of Malta, during a sightseeing bus tour this spring. I was quite disappointed that we were not allowed to get off the buss and all my photos of these picturesque boats have an added blue haze from the bus window. This is where painting comes handy - I could enhance the colors and change the scene as I like it :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

More from Valletta

Building in Valletta, watercolor 
Building in Valletta, charcoal sketch
A couple more scenes from Malta. In the top one the challenge were the intricate details of the building. In the end I decided to go against the architect's design and to align all columns and capitals so I can paint it in fewer lines. 
The bottom painting became too overworked. Nevertheless, I'm happy with the complex repetitive patterns - the row of parked cars and the multitude of covered balconies. Simplifying complex architectural subjects is not an easy task... 

Street in Valletta, watercolor 30 x 40 cm

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Maltese balconies

Maltese balconies, watercolor 23 x 30 cm
These enclosed wooden balconies are one of the very typical characteristics of the Maltese architecture. Some are painted in bright colors, others have been neglected for decades. Some have elaborate carvings and decorations. Most are the size of a small balcony yet some of them are large and curve around the corner of the buildings. They are everywhere, sometimes hundreds of them in just one view.

Street in Valletta, charcoal sketch
Maltese balconies, charcoal sketch

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Valletta from the sea 1, watercolor 54 x 30 cm
Valletta from the sea 4,  watercolor 30 x 23 cm
A poisonous atmosphere at work has been killing my desire to paint and draining my creative energy for a couple of years now. Painting makes me feel better, but like today, often I have to force myself to take the brush. I'm glad I did, as I feel much better now.
These are four attempts at a view of Valletta, from a photo I took last month when approaching the city from the sea. It was an early morning, when the sea was still very calm. There were beautiful reflections in the water. I tried slightly different techniques, although in the end they all look very similar. There is something I like in each one, but most importantly, I enjoyed painting them.

Valletta from the sea 2, watercolor 40 x 30 cm

Valletta from the sea 3, watercolor 30 x 23 cm

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scenes from Valletta

Between the world cup, gardening and catching up at work I finally found some time and energy to paint. The two value sketches, done during a couple of football matches, helped to get the motivation for the large paintings.
These two I did following Alvaro's technique, which is perfect for city scenes with stark contrasts of light and shade.

Valletta, Republic Square, watercolor 54 x 40 cm
Valletta, Republic Square, charcoal sketch
Valletta, the Library, watercolor 54 x 40 cm
Valletta, the Library, charcoal sketch

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sketching people

I'm back from a longish trip, but haven't got back to painting. So, here are a few more pages from my sketchbook of people who happened to sit in the same place long enough to finish a sketch.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

From the sketchbook

A few sketches from Bulgaria.

Tsarevets is a fortified hill where the medieval capital of Bulgaria was located. Not much is left from the buildings and fortifications, but the sight is picturesque nevertheless.

The other two sketches I did very quickly trying to capture a beautiful mountain view, before the rain clouds had gathered.
Tsarevets 1

Tsarevets 2



Thursday, May 22, 2014

From the garden

Yellow daffodils, watercolor, 30 x 22 cm
Purple iris, watercolor sketch

Primulas, watercolor, 30 x 22 cm

Saturday, May 10, 2014

More poppies

Poppies 3, watercolor, 22 x 43 cm
Poppies 4, watercolor, 12 x 43 cm
A couple of more attempts, but instead of the transparent colors from the previous post, I used cadmium red and yellow here. I like the spontanaety of the previous two much better

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Poppies in the wind

Poppies in the wind 1, watercolor, 28 x 33
Poppies in the wind 2, watercolor, 28 x 33
I have been quite busy lately, and after a break it is sometimes hard to get back to painting. I decided to try to do poppies with the simplest possible brushstrokes. I like the result. Maybe I'll explore this some more...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Clay Water Pot - PADT challenge

Old Water Pot, watercolor, 22 x 28 cm
I love ceramics. A few years ago I even did a couple of pottery classes, which unfortunately showed me that I lack the required strength in the arms and hands for decent results on the pottery wheel. But I didn't stop being fascinated by the endless variety of rounded shapes of old ceramic vessels and the lovely natural colors that traditional glazes produce.

So when I saw the picture of an interesting clay pot in this month's challenge at Paint and Draw Together I had to give it a try. My focus were the colors of the glaze, so I painted only the pot for simplicity. Although, the carved wooden fragment and the shadow patterns on the floor are a composition each in itself too.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Daffodils, watercolor 28 x 38 cm
There was a pot of small daffodils on my table, waiting to be painted. I've always found it hard to paint yellow flowers. I had to exaggerate the orange of the little "trumpets" to give the flowers some dimension. I cannot wait for all the spring bulbs to start blooming in the yard...