Category: Art blog

Browse drawing lessons, painting techniques, art show reviews, art history lessons, and studio notes in the art blog by Veronica Winters

how to blend colored pencils with solvents

How to blend colored pencils with a solvent

In this 1-minute video I show the basics of colored pencil blending with Gamsol. You can substitute Gamsol for another solvent like Turpenoid Natural.

You must have wax-based colored pencils like Prismacolor Premier or Luminance for this technique to work.

It works well on dark to medium colors. I use a different technique for blending the lights. 🙂

Stay kind,

Veronica

 

Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! 

 

Or go to my website www.veronicasart.com to subscribe!

how to draw a portrait in colored pencil

How to draw a person in colored pencil step by step

Here you’ll find the information how to draw a person in colored pencil step by step. Over the years I’ve drawn various subjects, but drawing people is becoming my passion. I love to draw stories and emotions though the human form. Before we start, please consider the following drawing tips that will help you find, or set up the subject for your project.

Before you start drawing

  • Pick the person to draw that will keep you interested and motivated to take your artwork to the finish line.
  • Always consider and study the lighting on your model. Most colored pencil artists work from pictures. Learn to take good pictures as your reference material. To begin you may look at portrait photography online to understand how the light changes the form.
  • Keep track of some professional artists working in the field, and study their artwork for composition, design, and the use of a color.
  • If you just start out pick the image with a face looking straight at you. Eliminate the head’s rotation for now that complicates things.

Step by step demonstration

I had a photo shoot with my model, positioning her under a single light to give me definite shadows.

In this demonstration I use a very light grey, smooth, printmaking paper, the surface of which is similar to Stonehenge paper pad. I also draw with the Prismacolor Premier colored pencils and Luminance. I use Gamsol solvent with a synthetic brush and Caran d’Ache full blender for blending.

how to draw a person step by step

 

  1. I work on the outline of my drawing on a sketch paper, and then transfer it to my high-quality drawing paper. It’s crucial to get the anatomy right at this step. Therefore I take my time and check for mistakes by looking at my drawing in the mirror. I keep fixing the outlines until the portrait looks good to me. Next I create the underpainting by working from dark to light in one dominant color that I see in my photo. Here I use dark brown to complete the initial shading. I focus on shadows only to block them in with the consistency needed to develop a sense of light and shade.
  2. In the second step I carefully introduce the second color and slightly overlap it over the first one to create softer transition into the light.
  3. In the third step I focus on the face and add warmer colors (yellows and pinks) in the middle tones.
  4. In this step I throw the same colors I’ve used in the face into her neck, arms and even hair. This is important to do for color unity, so that everything ties together visually. This is the main reason why I work from general to specific, and don’t draw one area from start to finish, ignoring the rest of the picture.
  5. I introduce the blues and lilacs into her shirt that creates a play between the warm skin tones and cool hues of the clothing. As usual I work from dark to light, so I shade the darkest folds first, then add the middle tones and finish up with the lights. Please see below how I approach drawing highlights on colored paper.
  6. In my last step I work on the background that compliments my subject. Here I’ve experimented quite a bit. I added silver acrylic paint to paint the seahorses, so they change their color slightly, depending on the viewer’s position to the drawing. I din’t use any Gamsol on the face because it would make the darks appear too harsh. I fixed the drawing with a final fixative for dry media, spraying it twice outside.

Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf

 

Blending & background:

Blending

There are two basic colored pencil blending techniques. One requires blending with a solvent and another with a colorless blender that looks like a pencil. Sometimes one technique is better than the other. While the solvent dissolves the pigment and moves it around fast, making the color look darker and blended, some colors may look too harsh after the application. The pencil full blender ( I recommend the one by Caran d’Ache) blends all the colors equally, but the process is very time-consuming especially if you work large, and requires a very heavy pencil application to achieve even blending.

Background

Background is important. Never draw your subject without considering the color and value of the background behind it as the background determines contrast and edges. You must have enough color on the page to do the blending with Gamsol. Otherwise, there is not enough pigment to dissolve the colors. Be conservative in your application, and never allow your solvent to run like water. Use a small brush to have a controlled application. Let the first layer dry completely.

In my drawing I painted the seahorses with the acrylic paint after the blending. You need to have a good brush for this that keeps a fine point. I didn’t use any water to spread the paint around, but used it for cleaning up the brush periodically, because the acrylic paints dry super fast.

In my second layer I shaded with the same colors with a much heavier pencil pressure.

In my third layer I added light grays and blues to make softer transitions and to achieve a different effect of “soft fuzziness”. I also shaded with grays to neutralize the brightness of the colors so that the background doesn’t “compete” with the figure.

Drawing of white fabric and highlights:

I use pure white colored pencil only over some previously applied color underneath it, reason being white by itself is a cool, dull color that needs a punch. I shade with white with the heaviest pencil pressure over the previously applied light color. I consider the color temperature of the highlight (warm or cool) as well.

What tutorial would you like to see on my website? Post your comments below. 🙂

Listening to the voice within, 15×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper

“Finding the voice within” is the artwork about understanding and trusting yourself to navigate in this world. It’s inspired by the healing energy and colors of the ocean that’s symbolized in the female form.

 

These are some of the tutorials available for download. They teach the basics of color theory, layering and blending in colored pencil.

 

 

 

 

 

how to draw a portrait in colored pencil

Portrait drawing in colored pencil: as love grows within

 

 

In this post I show my basic process of drawing a portrait. While I prefer painting from life, a lot of times it’s not possible. So, I take pictures of a model and then draw from my monitor or a picture. I often add additional elements to my drawing that are not photographed. Here you see me place orchids to the right. Usually, I create drawings as my studies. Some of them become paintings in the future.

Colored Pencil Drawing step-by-step:

Colored Pencil Drawing step-by-step
Step 1

how to draw a portrait

In the beginning I focus on blocking in the shadows, using dark brown and sienna brown.

 

Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
how to draw a portrait
Step 2

Here I add color for the middle tones.

how to draw a portrait
detail

Tip: In my experience, drawing larger is actually faster than drawing small. Since colored pencil is a very slow medium, we tend to draw small. But I figured that I spent more time shading the 9×12″ pieces, had less detail and experienced more problems working small. So I increased the size of this drawing to 15″ x 22″ and it made a big difference to me. I didn’t have to force and cramp every detail in there, yet it looks complete.

 As love grows within, 15x22" lightfast prismacolors and luminance on printmaking paper
As love grows within, 14×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper

About this artwork

Love is  a complex feeling that begins with self-love and self-care. Love moves and helps us grow. Sometimes it’s hard to find love:  it can be as elusive and fragile as these beautiful orchids, but thus we are blessed to see the beautiful things in daring places where others may see nothing at all.

Share my post on your favorite social media platform today!

Tutorials:

On my website you can find several step-by-step colored pencil demonstrations and art books available in a digital and print format. 

 

eyes-to-see

The miracle of traveling to Nicaragua: how it changed my perception

In June 2012, our group leaders Jeff and Stelli Munnis organised a mission trip to fly to Nicaragua. Through the Seeds of Learning, a non-profit organization supporting the education projects in Latin America,  we worked on the school building project in a small town of San Ramon, situated in the beautiful mountainous area, not far from Matagalpa. Chamba and Mina were the local leaders, responsible for the project’ completion and our well-being. 🙂

Our group arrived to the country to complete the interior and exterior wall painting, the construction of a separate kitchen (Nicaraguan mothers volunteer to cook lunches for their kids daily), and the building of some pathways with benches around the school. I must say that our expectation how the school is supposed to look like has nothing to do with the ones build in Nicaragua. Those are small, simple buildings with few rooms and fenced windows.

Since I came back from Nicaragua, I’ve been asked a number of questions that I’d like to answer here in my blog post.

One of school building projects in Nicaragua organized by the Seeds of Learning.org

What did I bring from my trip?

I bought a few handmade pieces from the local artisans that included a couple of handbags and some jewelry made of real, colorful seeds. But what I really brought from my trip were the intangible things. Mainly, a change in my attitude about life. It was an intense period in my life when I had to look inward to understand myself and my needs, to clarify my goals and purpose, and to just appreciate life a whole lot more than I used to.

One of Nicaraguan girls in school

How much was it?

In short, $2100 including the ticket … Some questioned my decision to spend my money on this kind of a trip that didn’t include the luxurious accommodations and a beach resort, rather made me look at the incredible level of poverty, made me sleep in a hot and humid room with a bunch of strangers (our group members were the strangers to me at first). I also took cold showers (there was no hot water in the houses), drove over the pitiful roads, had stomach pain, sweated for hours under the blinding sun, inhaled the paint fumes with the dusty, polluted air, missed out on my daily intake of the NPR news, as well as running, baking, drawing, painting, and not drinking the hot Earl Grey tea. I can go on and on.

A beautiful kid Jose

What did I gain?

A lifetime of raw experiences and a change in perception… I saw the pure joy and happiness derived from simple pleasures – the interactions with friends, family and strangers that reminded me of my native country. The Nicaraguans had no access to infinite shopping, the Internet, gaming, or workaholic lifestyle. I didn’t encounter the unspoken, spiritual emptiness often observed in the West. As many choose to live the American dream owning a house, two cars and a dream vacation each year both good and bad comes with it. Owning a house often defines our identity. We work for it. When the house is lost due to fire or other accident, it feels like everything is gone.We feel as a failure. It happens as we often focus on getting the nice things, become the slaves to our endless need to work to support our lifestyle. This is the exact opposite of the Nicaraguan culture. Their focus is family, the cultivation of relationships and friendship.I was never interested in possessions or the accumulation of stuff, coming from the former USSR where everything was rationed, and in this country I found a similar to my culture focus on friendships.

Of course, Nicaraguans also have problems. Poverty is one of them. Yet, diving into a different culture was like breaking out from a shell that guarded my settled world. It was refreshing to look at the sincere enjoyment people had in their daily interactions with each other. It became the time to acknowledge their struggles that often involved hard, manual labor, and to appreciate my lucky existence living in the U.S. It was about seeing the humanity in simple things and actions, finding value in life, and accepting myself and therefore others.

In Nicaragua we all had some rough times that reinforced our gratitude for having the very basic things back home, like warm running water, electricity, air-conditioning, and the rudimentary appliances that cut on our time doing the housework.

But most importantly, I woke up from my sleep, redefined my beliefs and habits, stopped being so self-destructing that settled me on a path to my emotional freedom and peace. If you follow my art @  www.Veronicasart.com , you will see some of the artwork that features the Nicaraguan children.

+ Originally published in the summer of 2012.

Nicaraguan landscape

To learn more:

  • Stelli Munnis http://www.stellimunnis.com/about/ and Veronica Winters talk about their art installation Eyes to See, filmed by WTAJ TV, State College, PA on Nov.2, 2012  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNBNSozqy4Q
eyes-to-see
Eyes to see: U.S. Valanteers in Nicaragua

Eyes to See: U.S. Volunteers in Nicaragua, photo book, 160 pages

In this beautifully illustrated book, Stelli Munnis http://www.stellimunnis.com/about/ and Veronica Winters share what it’s like for Americans volunteers to travel to Nicaragua with the nonprofit organization, Seeds of Learning. Although volunteers travel to Nicaragua to build or renovate a school building, the real work happens when things are torn down. As the barriers between people are removed, and the walls individuals erect inside themselves are torn down, they become authentic and caring with one another. Volunteers return to the U.S. feeling different about themselves, others, and the world. They can’t help but feel deeply moved and touched by the hearts and spirits of the Nicaraguan children and people. The book contains over 100 full-color photographs that capture the spirit of what it’s like from the perspectives of volunteers, the children and people of Nicaragua.

My pictures represent a journey to a country with little means yet abundant friendliness. It is a place filled with strong women, free-spirited children, and laid-back men. The Nicaraguan way of life is slow-paced, hard labored, and dedicated to familial relations and friendships. It’s also a place where coffee growers, farming communities, and local co-ops harvest the land and live simply.

Images of children take a special part in this book. They had a natural, unspoiled ability to pose for my Nikon without any preconditions or special arrangements that others typically require when being photographed. They were neither rude nor aggressive; rather, they were kind, well behaved, and loving. I was drawn to their natural beauty and eagerness to communicate with our group of strangers and foreigners. This experience was deeply touching and filled my heart with love and gratitude.

The lush tropical landscape, verdant mountains, and blue skies with billowy clouds provide the backdrop to many of my photographs. It was my intent to capture the spirit of the Nicaraguan people and their rustic lifestyle, while also showing the architecture, housing, and utilitarian objects used in everyday life.

My sole purpose for creating this book is to let curious hearts see and understand the country. It’s a powerful and transforming experience to travel to the second poorest country in the western hemisphere and witness how people there live. It my sincere desire that my photographs will inspire many Americans to travel to Nicaragua with Seeds of Learning or donate to their organization. They are committed to providing children and communities with a tangible opportunity to improve their lives by having greater access to education.

Thank you for your interest in our work and for supporting this project!

-Veronica

how to draw a portrait

The importance of daily practice that develops your drawing skills: drawing tips

Drawing daily is essential to advancing artist’s skills. I used to struggle with the depiction of human form, drawing stick figures. Studying in state schools I struggled to receive the classical art education that’s available today in a number of atelier schools popping up throughout the country, which didn’t exist back in 2001. It took me many years to “learn” how to draw, studying here and there without the backbone of a complete system that is now offered by the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York. Over the years I learned several things that I’d like to share with you here.

Kat with a shell, detail, graphite on paper

What works:

  1. Drawing daily from life, even if it’s a small sketch that looks insignificant.
  2. Studying the great works of art. Yes, studying, not looking at. How does the artist solve a problem of the movement, composition, contrast, and color?
  3. Positive attitude and the acceptance of failure as part of the learning curve.
  4. Mentor’s help. (It’s worth your buck to pay a well-known, practicing artist to learn the tricks of the trade. Don’t expect those artists to guide you for free. There is a reason why they’re successful and their time and knowledge is valuable).
  5. Passion and the work ethic that drives you to work consistently.
  6. Having fun with the subject.
  7. Choosing the right place or school for you to study, if you wish to make a giant leap forward and become a professional. Follow your favorite artists and figure out where they studied or study with them. Some great art schools that give classical education are GCA, Studio Incamminati, Ani Art Academy, the Ryder Studio and many more!
  8. Drawing from plaster casts or classical sculptures at the museums. This is one of the cheapest and best ways to study the human anatomy before actually committing to drawing from a real person.
  9. Study the complex subjects separately. Draw one object at a time before combining them together.
  10. Sign up for free business newsletters /webinars written by practicing artists and crafters that will guide you how to set up and handle the art sales. Here are a couple of examples https://eshopmarketers.com and http://www.brilliantbusinessmoms.com/instagram-marketing-for-your-small-business
  11. Some good art books to have in your library: Anthony Ryder, “The artist’s complete guide to figure drawing,” J.D.Hillberry “Drawing realistic textures in pencil,” Jane Jones “Classic still life painting,” and you can also check out my art books that vary in subject and medium: http://veronicasart.com/art-instruction-books/
  12. Some good business books that are worth your time are by Jack White who is an amazing marketer and a practicing artist: http://www.jackwhiteartist.com/pages/books.htm. I also recommend “Making it in the art world” by Brainard Carey. He lists some unconventional strategies he employed to in his art career.
  13. Join groups on Facebook to keep yourself motivated and to receive quality feedback. (The Atelier Movement is one of the groups for oil painters, Colored pencil artist league is one of many colored pencil groups).

What doesn’t work:

  1. A fixed mindset where you believe that you can become great in a couple of lessons. There is no point in starting out on this venture, if you don’t have realistic expectations. It takes at least a year of consistent work to see permanent results.
  2. Inconsistency or a lack of work ethic.
  3. Trying to learn the material from someone whose artwork doesn’t represent your ideal image or a technique.
  4. The absence of motivation. No one will make you successful, unless you work on it!
how to draw a portrait
A study of Kat with a shell, 9×12″ graphite on paper

About this artwork

My art revolves around the beauty of the female form and the ocean. A combination of these subjects provides me with infinite inspiration. Although the idea for the image often comes to me during the photo shoot or long before, I largely rely on my final result – the photographs that captivate me with a sensual line, emotion, light and contrast. Therefore, the “right” model is essential to my artistic success. Usually good models are aware of themselves and know how they look from different angles. They also understand what facial expressions work, or what I want them to express.

The lighting on a model is also essential to my imagery. While the model creates the appearance, I create the atmosphere with the right lighting and the props. The Rembrandt lighting (high contrast, sharp edges) or the north light (low contrast, soft focus) by the window are the two great types of lighting that deliver consistent results.

I make studies before I proceed to painting. Whenever I skip this step, I fail. I end up working on a painting for a really long time with a mixed result. So this graphite drawing is my study for a future oil painting.

Hope this helps on your creative path.

Until then,

Veronica

the best colored pencils

The best professional colored pencils and graphite pencils for artists

 

Would you like to know what makes a big difference in your drawing? Yep, you guessed it, it’s the colored pencils you use! Ditch your Crayola and pick one of the brands listed here. You won’t be disappointed. And to make sure of that, here is a short video explaining you the difference between a good pencil and a bad one.

The video

 

What makes the professional colored pencils different?

  • lightfastness
  • lead’s softness
  • durability (breakage of its core)

Brands worth your buck:

 

 

  • The absolute best are Swiss made Caran d’Ache Luminance. They have the best lightfastness rating, the strongest core and the softest lead to produce professional colored pencil drawings. They are the most expensive ones too, sold at $4 per pencil.
  • Prismacolor Premier colored pencils have a very soft core and nice coverage, but not all of them are lightfast. You should download their lightfastness chart to see the rating of every pencil they have. LF-1 and LF-2 are good to go, but avoid using pencils with the # III and # IV ratings. They fade from your page within 2 years. Literally.
  • Swiss made, Pablo colored pencils is a cheaper alternative to the Luminance manufactured by the same company. These have a very strong core that resists breakage, but they are not as soft and don’t have as much pigment as other pencils listed here. These are great for developing details in my work. The lightfastness star rating is written on them.
  • Coming from Germany, The Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils are different from the brands mentioned above, because they don’t have the wax in them and behave more like soft pastels when you start blending them. Therefore, solvents don’t work on them as well as on wax-based colored pencils. They have a very strong lead with the lightfastness rating written on every pencil.

 

 Some of the tutorials available for download:

how to draw reflections

http://veronicasart.com/step-step-drawing-tutorials/

http://veronicasart.com/step-step-drawing-tutorials/
http://veronicasart.com/step-step-drawing-tutorials/

 

What makes the professional graphite pencils stand out from the rest?

  • High quality of the lead
  • Resistance to breakage
  • Consistent coverage
  • Various degrees of softness and hardness. (9H is the hardest pencil for the lightest shading, and 9B is the softest pencil for the creation of the darkest values).

The best graphite pencils:

  • Coming from Japan, the Tombow Mono graphite pencils are the top of the line for professional drawing.
  • The Cretacolor Monolith woodless pencils
  • Prismacolor ebony graphite pencils are great for beginners in art that don’t need to sacrifice quality over the money spent on art supplies.
  • The Faber-Castell 9000 graphite pencils

Of course, there are many more brands and pencils. Instead of buying a box, buy them separately at a local store or online. Work with them and then invest into the professional box of colored pencils you like best! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

colored pencil drawings

The power of story-telling in colored pencil art

What is art for you? What pulls you in to look at paintings? Is it the beauty that we see? The color? or an idea? A memory or emotion? It’s all of the above for me.

How I create a story:

  • Step 1

Stories come to me as an emotional response to my surroundings and people I encounter. Creating a painting is falling in love with the idea, a visual element, and even the light shaping the form. I see a lot of beauty in people’s faces even when they may appear ordinary to the outside world. Every person has that special, beautiful side to him or her that I so like to capture!

I usually draw or paint from my pictures, but sometimes I brake the rules and follow my aesthetic and perception, working from my  photographs. When I shoot portraits, I aim to tap into a special place, to open the character of a person, to see a novel side of him or her.

I create stories around the models, and not the other way around. Therefore, it’s vital for me to get the “right expression” or the “right pose” before I could proceed with the design of my artwork. It’s shooting blind at times with plenty of trial and error experiences. After the general edit of my pictures, I pick one or two images to work from.

when-she-sails-11x14-colored-pencil-sm-veronica-winters-colored-pencil
When she sails, 15×20 inches, lightfast colored pencils on paper, private collection

In this drawing the model is an avid lover of boats and travel. I created a nautical background here to highlight the man’s romance with the  sea.

  • Step 2

Next I focus on the overall theme and color of a piece. Blues and greens tend to be calm and soothing, while the reds and yellows give an upbeat vibe. Every color carries its own significance to me and affects the perception of my subject. Thus I almost never leave the background to color last. And even if I do, I know what’s supposed to be there. The idea is set in the beginning and I often draw the background simultaneously with my subject. It’s much easier to maintain the color unity and the overall  movement in the piece this way.

nicaraguan-boy-sm-veronica-winters-colored-pencil
Nicaraguan boy, 9×12 inches, lightfast colored pencils on uart paper

This is a very special drawing for me. I took a picture of the boy in Nicaragua. He wore shabby clothes and I didn’t speak English. Yet, he was eager to pose for me as soon as he saw my Nikon aiming at him. The expression in his eyes is infinite.

  • Step 3

I find the artwork with the narrative to be the most fulfilling to me. It lets me create a world  that may exist although it doesn’t. The power of storytelling is more evident in my oil paintings where I let the figures keep their secrets and give the visual enjoyment to people looking at my work.

Some technical tips drawing in colored pencil:

  • It’s vital to draw on smooth paper. I burned out drawing on textured paper every time i tried it. While Bristol smooth paper might be too smooth for you, I find the Stonehenge papers to be exceptional in terms of layering, smoothness, and color choices.
  • Don’t economize on professional colored pencils. If you still draw with crayola, don’t expect the results you see in other students’ work.  🙂 Some professional brands include: the Prismacolor premier, Pablo, and the top of the line is Luminance.
  • If you are the very beginner in drawing, I strongly suggest to draw objects from life using graphite pencils. Draw one object from different points of view and under various lighting conditions. Adding color is like stepping up a notch or two. So if you are not that good drawing shapes correctly, the colored pencils is not going to fix it for you. A few of my art instruction books have demos done in graphite and then progress to colored pencil drawing. You can check them out here: http://www.veronicasart.com/Books.shtml , or find the book descriptions right here in my blog, by doing a title search.
  • Join a few Facebook groups to inspire and be inspired! Sharing helps to get good feedback, if you ask for it.
  • Have fun with it!!!!!!

How I draw in colored pencil step-by-step:

This demonstration gives you an idea how I draw in colored pencil.

  • Step 1-3

I work out the outlines on a sketch paper and then transfer the lines using the transfer paper. If it’s a portrait, I always begin drawing the eyes first. Nothing works, if the eyes don’t.

  • Step 4

I mass out the hair with the darkest color I see in the model. I don’t look at individual strands, rather focus on major shapes and masses.

  • Step 5

I draw the shadows in the face.

  • Step 6

I work on subtle shifts in color and value in the face. This is not easy to achieve, believe it or not. The trick is to overlap colors, instead of layering colors next to each other.

  • Step 7

I add color to the hair and strengthen the highlights.

  • Step 8

I add flowers as my background using the same color scheme I have in the model. For outlines of the flowers I use gold metallic pencil. I didn’t draw the flowers first because I knew I’d smudge these light colors while drawing the hair.

I always spray my drawings with a final fixative to protect them from the UV rays and moisture.

how to draw

My drawing methods shown on YouTube:

Shading: one mistake every beginner makes https://youtu.be/GaDyhypmWwY

The colored pencil demo of drawing a cherry: https://youtu.be/onvAG_TpV8o

Still life drawing:  https://youtu.be/rP3pUQszhKU

 

 

Russian 19th century art

The 19-th century Russian genre art, the Peredvizhniki (Itinerants)

russian art
Fedotov, choosy bride, 1847

As Russian art is not studied in most art history classes in the U.S., today I’d like to blog about the Peredvizhniki, the 19th-century Russian artistic movement.

This is a very fascinating time period in the history of Western Europe, because the Church and the State lost some of its former influence in their patronage of the arts, which allowed for a new blast of creativity and the development of many art movements. While Russian art remained reserved, developing new ideas somewhat slowly in comparison to France for instance, it did set cause to break away from the Academy as well. The country gave birth to a new movement-the Peredvizhniki (the itinerants) in 1863. It was a group of artists who organized traveling shows, painted common folk, and brought the arts to the people.

These were artists who refused to depict the accepted scenes from the Bible or the Greek mythology, and focused on painting the contemporary world around them instead. They often showed the inequality between the rich and the poor, the noble men and the inferior women. They also brought to attention the widespread abuse of children, who did hard manual labor.  As a result of such movement, Russian art preserved its traditional approach to painting, drastically changing the themes. (Besides the genre painting, artists also created a large body of work in landscape and portrait tradition. I will include their artwork in my next post).

Here are some of the genre paintings completed by the Peredvizhniki.

russian art
Perov, tea party in Mitischi, near Moscow, 1861

 

Perov, Three students carrying water, 1866
Repin, Unexpected, 1886

 

Makovsky, Meeting, 1863
Fedotov, Widow, 1851
Fedotov, Matchmaking of a major, 1848
Perov, Barge haulers on the Volga river, 1870-1873

 

Perov, Easter rural procession, 1861

Perov, Easter rural procession, 1861

 

http://eepurl.com/b-vEXP

What it takes to be an artist

There is no cute formula for success in painting. It’s hard work every day. It’s also keeping a role model in front of me when it gets especially tough. Other artists’ achievements inspire me to move forward, those artists become my guiding stars. That’s why I have no jealousy towards my peers, because I can see what’s possible in due time and practice. We fulfill our dreams with our own work, not the work of others.
Who are my models? Female artists like Tanya Gant, Anne-Marie Kornachuk and Beth Sistrunk to mention a few are tenacious and talented women who push and pull against all odds going upward.
I believe we succeed eventually, because we refuse to quit. Although it often feels like a dead end where there is nothing to go by, when words like ‘nice work’ or ‘good stuff’ can get you only that far. But a strong will, belief in myself, and the internal love for my craft keeps me grounded. And I enjoy the everyday of painting.

 

On a bad day 🙁

Powered by the ruthless force of frustration, I run with a steep incline, at the speed number that meets my level of emotional pain. The soles of my worn, running shoes fly over the rotating black belt; they build endurance, the survival tactic. And I run as my legs ache and they beg to slow down, but I refuse, I flush out my hurt with tears. My heart’s stomps blow my ears, and I override it with trance beat. My face deep red, I run. I track the whooping breath in my lungs. My insides burn like fire, and I run. My skin prickles, and legs are about to cramp. I’m acid perspiration. Unstoppable I become, feel the rise of resistance to my failures, to painful words and encounters, to the insensitive world that drowns, but teaches, teaches me to survive. And that’s how it feels on a bad day. Drenched in sweat, I run on a treadmill of artist’s life.

On a good day 🙂

The joy of painting runs inside me like the cobalt blue river. The snowflakes dance above its glossy surface and trickle down in my limbs. I feel the rise of God-sent energy and melt into another place, the forth dimension. It’s there, there I create. Through the looking glass I fall, where I hear no judgement and see no stop signs. The round clock on my wall quits ticking. Like a sweet fragrance of blooming roses, my joy flourishes and invigorates me. And that’s how it feels on a good day.

what are the best brushes for painting?

Brushes to start painting in oils or acrylics and how to care for them

Admit it, if you’ve started painting recently you’ve noticed that it’s a challenge to get good brushes for your art. They either don’t last very long, or you get the wrong kind buying them online. Let’s look at their properties first to understand what you need to have in your art box.

Brushes differ in size, shape, and type of bristles.

 

Size

The higher the number the larger the brush you get. For example #0000-0 brushes are for super fine detail, # 2-4 brushes are for small work, # 6-10+ for general application of paint.

Shape

There are rounds, flats, liners, chisel tips, filberts, and fans. The shape of a brush determines the stroke you can make with it. The rounds  have a fine point and are good for small, detailed application of paint, flats are for a large coverage of paint or to make a wide stroke; fans are good for gentle blending of the edges and for creation of some textures like tree foliage. My favorites are the filberts because they give me two distinct strokes. Depending on the rotation of my brush, it can give me either a flat stroke or a thin, fine line that’s great for defining and maintaining straight edges.

Types of brushes

There are very soft watercolor brushes and stiffer, oil/acrylic painting brushes. In general, watercolor brushes are too soft to maintain a point filled with oil paint, but watercolor 1″ flats are great for blending large areas of paint right after a painting session ( it’s a brush with a transparent handle in the picture).

There are three main kinds of oil/acrylic brushes: the bristle ones, the synthetic ones, and a blend of synthetic and sable hairs. Both the bristle and the synthetic ones are necessary for oil or acrylic painting.

The bristle brushes ( shown at the top of the picture) are always used in a first, rough layer of painting to put paint on canvas and to mass out shapes. It’s difficult to paint the first layer with the synthetic ones on canvas, because they are too soft for this step and don’t spread the paint around easily. Use a bit of Gamsol with your first paint layer to dilute and to move paint around a canvas. I find that major manufacturers produce similar bristle brushes that don’t differ much in quality. I would avoid the cheapest ones though because they shed hairs a lot that get embedded into the wet paint, if you don’t take them out of your artwork during painting.

The synthetic brushes are often used in subsequent applications of paint. With each layer your painting becomes more refined just like the brushes. I use #2 round and #2-4 filbert for most work and #6-8 to paint larger areas.

I find that this 5-pack synthetic brush set works best for beginners: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/brushes-and-palette-knives/oil-and-acrylic-brushes/robert-simmons-oil-and-acrylic-brushes/simply-simmons-oil-and-acrylic-brushes-wallet-sets.htm . It has different brush types to try out. Also, the Robert Simmons brushes’ quality is OK for its price. They don’t last forever, but perform quite well in comparison to other more expensive brushes I’ve tried so far. I also buy them separately, if I need a particular size or a tip.

For fine detail I also use a #0 liner “scepter gold II”, a sable/synthetic blend by Windsor & Newton.

If you want your brushes to keep their shape, it’s not only the quality of the hairs to pay attention to, but also how you wash them.

Brush care

If you want your brushes to last, take good care of them. Squeeze all the unused paint out of your brush, using a paper towel. Then use a solvent like Gamsol to swish them around in a glass jar, and then wash them out with a soap bar and warm water. I skip the solvent step most of the time because of the two reasons: one is a plain health precaution and another one is care for my brush hairs. The solvent dilutes the paint and damages the hairs, in my opinion.

I wipe the water off of every brush, and rest them flat on a paper towel, so the excess water doesn’t run underneath the ferrules, damaging them.

One more thing. Brushes wear out a lot faster working on textured canvases. Use smooth panels or slightly textured canvases to keep your brushes like new.

Presto!

 

Visit my website www.veronicasart.com  to see new art. The tutorials page has one oil painting demonstration in both a pdf file and a video found here.

 

Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf