The Venetian series

Mystery of Venice has captivated my soul for years. No matter how many days I spent roaming the city, I couldn’t get enough of its beauty, history and culture. This is the place of romance, art, architecture, and love for me. I could listen to its sounds day and night, glide through the morning fog, walk through the twisting streets, and photograph the carnival figures from the bridge.

Back in the studio, I worked from my photographs to create a series of paintings that depict masked figures at heart. The carnival figures become symbols for emotions, capturing the enigma of Venice. These surreal paintings represent my first, solid body of work I’m proud to share with you today.

Watch a short video about the surreal paintings inspired by Venice:

 

To experience art in person:

These oil paintings are available for purchase directly from me or via EmillionsArt. Call to schedule an appointment to see these artworks in person! 814-777-1802

Pricing:

36×48” $7-8,000

24×36” $5,000

18×24″ $2,500

16×20” $2,000

11×14” $1,500

8×10” $1,000

*Price includes framing.

To read about the history of Venice & to look at the pictures, you can buy a digital art book here.

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Paintings of women

 

I arrived at the theme of painting women after painting almost everything for over a decade. While the subject of a beautiful female form has been the artists’ inspiration for centuries, I come to paint women from a different point of view. As a female artist I can express  the inner workings of the feminine soul captured in a model’s gaze, light and color scheme. I refuse to create shocking art to challenge the societal norms in this fashion, rather I wish to bring the gentle warmth into my oil paintings still challenging the viewer’s perception, and inspiring women to enjoy life.

I love painting portraits!  Although I see human anatomy as the most challenging to master, I’m strongly pulled to this subject to depict the beautiful complexity of a human spirit. I paint from real people who hurt, suffer, love, betray, care and ultimately encourage me to become a better person. I’m drawn to faces with enigmatic eyes: I believe in capturing the soul’s essence through my art.

I love color, and I design my oil paintings around a specific color scheme. I have more control over my process and I’m able to create color harmonies that resonate within me and help me channel a special atmosphere in my art.

Creating romantic portraits of women, I’ve formed a painting style that borders realism with magical painting. I find the painting process itself to be incredibly healing where I aim to evoke a world of love and inner strength in every artwork I create. I paint with the romance of a vanished world to record the intricate human experiences with a mission to help girls and women to know themselves and to discover their inner passion. We often give up, find excuses, or settle for less because we don’t fully understand who we are and thus can’t reach our potential.

You you can find strength within yourself and experience beauty every day by ordering an original painting from me. Don’t settle for anything less than a permanent, soulful painting that makes you feel empowered and inspired at heart!

 

Watch this video how to paint realistic portraits

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Cleopatra iconic women painting

Portraits of iconic women throughout history

 

 

I always wanted to paint something meaningful and worth people’s attention. I’ve painted numerous different things to become proficient enough to pursue what I always wanted – helping women succeed. The theme of Iconic Women fascinates me because I can depict many sides of female beauty and inner strength. I’ve chosen to paint strong iconic women who had courage, logic, determination, goal-setting, and other character traits that are often attributed to men. These women overcame their social-economic limitations to become famous personalities who lived with purpose and changed the world around them.

In my surreal paintings of women I explore the inner life of these icons. What they created and exposed to the outside world wasn’t always the reflection of their interior life. I make an attempt to humanize them by painting their emotions and challenges: love, failure, addiction, responsibilities and dreams. So we can see the spectrum of character and understand that those iconic women throughout history were also guided by their emotions as much as by their reason, and were also complex personalities as any of us.

Exploring the vulnerability of the feminine spirit, I take the liberty to interpret the days of their lives based on their biographies processed through my view of the world, observations and artistic sensitivity. I explore the themes of love and delusion, power and powerlessness, spirituality and vanity, abandonment and strength. I aim to give the iconic women new life where contemporary women can identify or recognize a part of themselves, and connect with a famous woman on a much deeper level.

It’s hard to “assign” a particular style to my portraits of women that floats between the surreal paintings and magical realism painting. It’s painting reality that turns surreal that can be compared to writing a fiction novel with the main characters derived from the author’s personal experiences and observations.

My artistic mission is to paint the female heroes to inspire women to find their calling in life. I want to open up a dialogue, to create a visual experience of seeing the female icons in a different light, where women could find answers to their questions, to be able to apply themselves, to define their dreams and to work on their future with certainty. In other words, through my oil paintings I invite others to find their female hero to achieve personal fulfillment.

Art is personal. If I had the opportunities, moral support, and a professional artist/mentor back in high school, my life could have been very different from what I had.  While I have no regrets, I simply know how crucial these years are for personal development, choosing the right path to achieve success in the future, to cut on years spent wondering around the bush, trying to listen to a hidden voice within, and fighting with myself internally. Therefore I choose to paint women who made history, real women who overcame their struggles to achieve success in life.

Watch how I’ve created the Marie Antoinette oil painting

Shop unique art gifts here.

Join the art collector’s circle

In the following months I’d be sharing new oil paintings of women and my thoughts behind each piece. I’m inviting you to subscribe to my monthly e-mail notes where I share my artwork with thoughtful people: www.veronicasart.com or click here for a direct sign up: http://eepurl.com/b-vEXP

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out-of-the-blue-sm-9x12-veronica-winters

Colored Pencil Portrait Drawing

I love to draw in colored pencil! In the following galleries you’ll see some of my pencil drawings that are inspired by moving personalities. In my surreal colored pencil portraits I enjoy capturing the character of each person through expressive eyes. I often add landscapes and symbols around the portrait to create a story. I plan out the drawings around a specific color scheme, and know how it’s going to look like finished before I even start. The realistic colored pencil drawings become my notes on human condition.

My colored pencil artwork has been featured in many publications, including several issues of Leisure Painter, Colored Pencil Student, Colored Pencil magazine, and Artists & Illustrators magazines, Women Artists 2004 and 2013 calendars, in two CP treasures books, Draw portraits in colored pencil book, Flowers in art, Strokes of Genius 8 & Strokes of Genius 9 art books, as well as in Dick Blick’s national ad campaigns.

Step-by-step drawing:

I usually draw on colored paper using professional, lightfast colored pencils. In the following images you can see the drawing sequence. I always begin drawing in one dominant color, and then slowly add the additional colors one by one. This way I have a full control over my values and color.

eleven_stranger things_colored pencil steps
“Eleven” from the TV series The Stranger Things | photo credit Beat productions

 

To buy a colored pencil drawing:

If you’d like to buy any of these drawings, please email me for details. nika@veronicasart.com   .

The price of my 9×12″ unframed, graphite drawing is $249+ Priority Mail shipping cost | 9×12″colored pencil work is $350-450+shipping. Most of the drawings come unframed and are easily shipped in a roll or flat. You will love how it looks on the wall once framed. I guarantee it!

Payment is expected in full once I email you the bill via PayPal. The check out is secure and you can use the service even if you don’t have the paypal account.

Tutorials:

If you are interested in step-by-step drawing tutorials, you can purchase them here.

My thoughts on the art of drawing:

This is my most recent interview for CPSA chapter

 

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10 contemporary male artists painting women realistically

10 Contemporary male artists painting women in classical tradition: the best in figurative art

 

Today I’d like to feature some of the best contemporary male artists who paint women in classical tradition. After decades of abstract art dominating the American culture, figurative painting sees a  gentle come back that is becoming stronger and more popular year after year. While contemporary art is an amalgam of so many subjects and styles, it’s often subjective to the viewer’s personal taste to determine who is the best in painting. Therefore, I don’t aim to say that the following artists deserve more attention than so many others, but I’d like to highlight the ones who show both technical and creative mastery in the depiction of their subjects, finding their inspiration in painting the female form.

1. Pino

Pino Daeni (1939-2010) was an Italian artist who painted women in fresh pastel colors that evoked feelings of love, admiration, and family warmth. Women dance, read or take a stroll in a field of flowers or at the beach. Sweet and lighthearted, the figures are painted in colorful, loose strokes, using the sophisticated color schemes that overlay and harmonize with each other like notes in music. Long skirts, comfy white shirts, and summer dresses get lost in the soft edges of the surroundings. To see the artist’s work, visit: http://www.pino-artist.com/

2. Serge Marshennikov

Russian artist, Serge Marshennikov is the representational painter who solely focuses on painting women. His youthful, semi-nude models rest on a couch in swirls of delicate fabric. The elaborate lace and cotton alike, it feels so gentle and real, the viewer feels tempted to reach out and touch it. Like the 19th-century French artist David, Serge plays with complex fabric folds and the luminous skin tones to create stunning contrast in his paintings.

Besides exhibiting a tremendous technical skill in oil painting, the artist possesses true talent composing his images with honest admiration and sensitivity to his models that transcend time and place. Follow the artist here: http://serge-marshennikov.tumblr.com/

3. Joshua LaRock

Joshua La’Rock

American artist, Joshua LaRock is a classical realist who studied with Jacob Collins to nurture his talents. Deeply rooted in classical painting, his portraits and still lifes are carefully planned and executed in classical tradition. Joshua describes his models in soft, slightly loose brushwork that breath with life. The award-winning artist works and teaches in New York. Connect with the artist here: http://joshualarock.com/

4. Emanuele Dascanio

Italian artist, Emanuele Dascanio draws and paints in the hyperrealism style with the models occupying huge surfaces. His subjects vary from women to old men, to still life. He often controls the light with a single light source (the Rembrandt lighting) to create dramatic charcoal drawings and paintings. To see the artist’s work, go here: http://www.emanueledascanio.com/en

5. Jeremy Mann

The first time I encountered Jeremy Mann’s work I was blown away by his loose style of painting that seemed totally real nevertheless. Painting cityscapes and women in thick, bold strokes of ink brayers and brushes, the artist creates a universe of harmonious, often monochromatic color relationships. Views of Manhattan and reposed models alike, his paintings make us contemplate a moment of beautiful silence that doesn’t scream with melancholy.

6. Gregory Mortenson

Gregory Mortenson is a classically trained artist whose recent body of work features Haitian children, who were painted by the artist after the devastating earthquake hit the country. His subdued color palettes show a beautiful restraint. To see the artist’s work: http://www.gregorymortenson.com/

7. Goyo Dominquez

Goyo Dominguez is a Spanish artist who paints women and still life, combining traditional painting techniques with the loose brushwork of the Impressionists. Influenced by Renaissance, his romantic artwork is colorful and pure with a sense of lightness and tranquility. Early in life he studied for priesthood and was encouraged to pursue the artistic career. His upbringing led the artist to create numerous murals and commissions for the church and more. To see his work: http://goyodominguez.com/

8. Brad Kunkle

American artist, Brad Kunkle paints women on the silver-leafed panels. He employs monochromatic grays and browns to describe his models. Brad often places women against the patterned background or lets the flying leaves revolve around the models like tiny birds. His figures could be the nymphs of magical forests that strike us with primal physical presence. To connect with the artist: http://bradkunkle.com/

9. Adrian Gottlieb 

Adrian Gottlieb is a classical portraitist working from his studio in LA. In his paintings he explores the relationship between color and poetry that unifies in timeless elements of beauty. Inspired by Rembrandt, the artist reigns supreme at capturing the luminosity of skin tones and fabric set against dark backgrounds. The amazing life-like appearance of his models is astonishing in all of his museum-quality paintings. He runs workshops from his studio and around the country. http://www.adriangottlieb.com/gottlieb-studios/

10. Louis Treserras

French artist and photographer, Louis Treserras paints fragile, young women with intense gaze in restrained, carefully controlled color schemes. Unlike Gottlieb, the artist always sets his figures against the light background. His female models possess the enigmatic and intense gaze that show character and thoughtfulness.  

Here you have it. Stay tuned for my future posts about the best contemporary female artists. 🙂

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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.

 

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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.

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Tutorials:

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

 

How long did it take you to paint that?

“How long did it take you to paint that?

This is the most notorious question all artists receive. Viewers really have no idea what it takes, and artists don’t even know where to begin answering this question, because it involves…Well, it involves the entire explanation how long it takes to become good. I think this quote by Jackson Pollock sums it up perfectly, since the production of a single piece of art doesn’t always look like a lot of work, yet the artwork incorporates years of work leading up to this moment. In general, viewers ask this question because they want to open up a conversation with the artist and they don’t know what else to ask.

In general, viewers try to calculate or connect the objectivity of high pricing with the time artist spends painting a particular work. On the surface it looks expensive or overpriced, and a prospect buyer wants to understand where the number comes from. Artists, however, think of a lifetime of effort, hard work, bills, and many other costs they accrue working in their studios. Often times weeks, months and years can’t be quantified into a certain number of hours spent on one work.

In the beginning of the career many artists have to wrestle with the financial burden and make sacrifices while learning the craft. The costs often include education. Besides the obvious tuition and living costs most students have, artists don’t become artists in four to six years after college graduation. This profession starts with zero job prospects or security, and builds up to something meaningful over a very long period of time of hard work and dedication. For many artists it means a continued struggle, a reconciliation of the need to paint with making money to pay the bills. However, if the artist is good at marketing and understanding of the importance of relationships, the struggles most artists face may be reversed into the opportunities.

It takes A LONG time to learn how to paint realistically. There are no cute formulas or shortcuts. No one learns it overnight no matter how much talent you have! It’s a skill that takes the artist’s continuous effort and focus. Until very recently, there were no realist schools available to get the comprehensive education from, which magnified the problem and effort to achieve a certain skill level. Of course, there are exceptions and we can find super talented, self-taught artists, but such instances are rare. Those who have no time to do their art every day don’t become artists. Fear of instability takes their need to paint away from them.

There is a notion that artists just hang out at art festivals, fairs, or their shows enjoying the limelight and attention. Well, maybe for a little bit but… exhibiting at festivals involves a lot of effort, persistence, and investment. On average, a popular festival’s booth fees run around $450-$500/per show, and the artist is responsible for other costs (application fees, hotel, gas, transportation, and the cost of a professional booth itself that runs around $2,500 on average). Many artists hit the road for months, traveling from one state to the next, working way over 8 hours a day. Work at the festivals includes not only the artist’s time present at the booth all day, but also the time and effort to set up and to break down (usually early in the morning and late in the evening,) time to carry, pack, unpack and pack again a number of heavy, framed paintings.

Professional representational  artists also have other costs that include:

  • Custom framing. Artists invest into their frames because it gives them professional presentation that is often required, by the way, to display their work in juried shows.
  • Time to market artwork. E-mails, presentations, social media, research, writing, contacting galleries and editors takes consistent and relentless effort.
  • Artists hire models to paint the figure from life.
  • Art supplies. Artists spend hundreds of dollars on art supplies every year as they keep practicing for years. This is a continuous expense, like going to a grocery store each week. When the time is right, the artist transitions to professional, durable, lightfast materials that cost a lot more that cheaply manufactured canvases and paints. The result is different. Professional art supplies let artists create long lasting, museum-quality pieces, unlike the junk that would fall apart or fade within years. Often times if the artist doesn’t share this information with the buyer, no one can tell visually if the supplies are archival or not.
  • Other office expenses that include professional photo equipment, storage files, a scanner and a printer, camera and video equipment, etc..
  • Some artists chose to advertise online or in magazines.
  • As a surprise to many, the artist’s retail price includes a 50% mark up, sometimes 60-65% that galleries take selling artist’s work. That means that the artist gets only half of his/her money when making a sale.
  • The final cost to the artist is not the financial, but the emotional one. In the U.S. artists don’t have much respect unless they are famous. This leads to stereotypes and generalizations. Often called “lazy artists,” “starving artists,” “stupid artists,” or “flaky artists.” We have become the 2nd class citizens because we often allow it to happen, and because art has become the all encompassing word that incorporates everything into it. Art is everywhere today.

We don’t even pay attention to it, but art is everywhere today: in magazines, book covers, album covers, calendars, and even on plates. This is one of the hardest costs artists encounter. As the society has moved from scarce product production to consumerism, artists get pushed to the side. A lot of work gets devalued by the Chinese manufacturing, cheaply made goods and mass-produced items and reproductions. This trend reinforces the people’s desire to buy a cheap print or new piece of technology rather than a small original artwork. As a result many folks don’t appreciate art, because they simply don’t identify with it, don’t find the emotional connection, and don’t really need it. TV, wall posters, and other goods and entertainment have replaced the enjoyment of looking at a single painting.

In other words, ART has lost or changed its original meaning, evolving into other facets of artful creations that redefined the uniqueness and value of art. Bogus art may receive lots of publicity due to smart marketing campaigns that confuse people, because Quality has nothing to do with Art these days. Those souls who love the arts just get lost trying to understand what’s really valuable and what is not. It’s rare to see someone admitting that he or she doesn’t get art or lacks enough education to have an opinion. And that’s why art appreciation should be taught in schools as a relevant subject along with math and the sciences.

Art is about creating unique experiences. Art is visceral. Art takes care of our emotional life. Often described as healing, art reflects on society and our inner life. Art therapy is a proven technique to make us feel better.

No matter the style or medium, Art makes us human. Art lets us experience joy and see the beauty in ugly circumstances. It also marks the societal change and makes us think of topics we want to ignore. Art can be a protest. Art brings suffering and love to our attention.  When we look at history, we often study it through art. Why is that?

What do you think? Share your thoughts in a comment below. 🙂