Tag: contemporary art

contemporary art

King Woman: contemporary art show review

King Woman

King Woman is a contemporary art show with epic impact. Occupying two floors, the exhibition features several strong pieces in contemporary painting, photography and sculpture. This art show is a rare gem, sparkling in a landscape of mediocre art galleries in New York. Both abstract and realistic, artworks have a single vision where a woman is King. The curator of the show is Mashonda Tifrere. She said, “My goal for this show is to highlight work by women who question history and deny limitations, persevering in their art despite social mores and norms. These artists have also found a way to acknowledge their gender but at the same time move beyond it by owning it in an unabashed way – showing that women can be more than Goddess or Queen, that they are capable of being ‘King,’ at the pinnacle of power and strength and skill.”

Art transcends the gender roles, and while it shouldn’t be about the division between the sexes, it’s important to see women have equal say, being presented in exhibitions. While we don’t see male artists showing in groups where their art challenges stereotypes and disparity they often face, women seem to unite in their message channeled through their art. That vulnerable is beautiful! Women artists often feel unimportant and invisible, working alone in  their studios, walking the streets, interacting with people around them. However, their art becomes very powerful once the forces are united in the show like this one.

Carole A. Feuerman

Carole Feuerman is a pioneer artist in hyper-realist sculpture who started the hyper-realism movement in the 70s. She portrays women in steel, bronze and resin so lifelike, you can’t help it but to reach out and touch the sculptures. Tiny eyelashes, hair and droplets of dew make her figures appear incredibly real.  Large and small, her figurative sculptures can occupy a small space in a room or in the entire garden. The sculptures are often integrated into their environment, like you can see in Venice. http://veronicasart.com/venice-biennial-2017-a-crappy-show-with-rave-reviews/

On the artist’s website Feuerman explains her work. “She creates visual manifestations of the stories she wants to tell of strength, survival, balance, and the struggle to achieve.”

Chrysalis, 2017, resin, 33 x 36 x 18″

Ingrid Baars

Artemis, 2017, C-print face mounted on dibond, edition of 7, 45″x 59″

This incredibly powerful photograph is inspired by African culture, fashion and women. Romantic at heart, the photo manipulation is the image of  striking beauty and ethereal contemplation.

 

Yvonne Michiels

Royal Flowers, 2017, Fuji Crystal on dibond with perspex

Based in the Netherlands, the artist creates incredibly moving digital collages of women with floral crowns.  At first sight her portraits of women express confidence and beauty. Women’s faces look so magnificent, you stare at the image speechless, yet we can feel some hidden vulnerability behind the perfect looks.

 

Roos Van Der Vliet

 

Roos Van Der Vliet, Storytellers XX & XV, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 37 x 29″

These intimate portraits of women feel incredibly sincere and down to earth. Dutch artist paints women realistically to express her inner desire to replicate reality as close as she can. Her paintings give a sense that women are hiding yet want to be seen. Painting process is always a path to understanding oneself. Here we see the artist making discoveries about her own vulnerability and unimportance in a world around her.

 

Reisha Perlmutter

Iris, 2017, oil on canvas, 40 x 60″

Reisha paints women floating in colorful water. Abstracted patterns of body and water channel their healing powers where women are allowed to dwell freely in their ever changing environment.

Victoria Selbach

Kali Ma, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50″

This painting surprises with its size that creates instant sense of power and control found in a figure. She looks like a goddess or warrior who is ready to concur the world.

 

veronica winters colored pencil drawing
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The list of artists in King Woman includes:

Rebecca Allan; Azi Amiri; Ingrid Baars; Hunter Clarke; Donna Festa; Carole Feuerman; Lola Flash; Meredith Marsone; Yvonne Michiels; Stephanie Hirsch; Kharis Kennedy; Kit King; Lacey McKinney; Jane Olin; Reisha Perlmutter; Renee Phillips; Trixie Pitts; A.V. Rockwell; Victoria Selbach; Lynn Spoor; Swoon; Tiara; Roos Van Der Vliet; Elizabeth Waggett; Lynnie Z

Where:

King Woman is the contemporary art show that runs between October 12th-December 9th, 2017 at Pen+Brush nonprofit art gallery in New York (29 East 22nd street). To read more about the show: http://www.penandbrush.org/articles/press-release/upcoming-exhibition-king-woman 

Khaleesi Drawing from Game of Thrones

Khaleesi Drawing from Game of Thrones

 

There is something about the character that attracts you when you watch a movie. I think it happens because you find part of yourself present in that person. Sometimes it’s not obvious and you need to search deep inside to find the connection. Khaleesi has fragile beauty of course, but she also grows to become a fierce and powerful woman.🌟🌟🌟

Drawing is an essential building block to any representational art form. Pencil drawing is something I practice as much as I can because it improves and informs me of shapes, colors and composition applied to colored pencil and oil painting.

Step by Step drawing

Khaleesi drawing step by step drawing_Emilia Clarke

In this photo you see how I began my pencil drawing by blocking in the darks and leaving out spaces for the lights. Both lights and darks become the two extremes between which I create a range of tones at a later stage. I also work on the eyes in the first step to make sure they line up and rotate at the right diagonal.

Drawing Paper

koh-i-noor drawing paper review

I’m amazed by the quality of this paper.  It’s quickly becoming my favorite because Koh-I-Noor in & out pages are thick, smooth, and versatile. I love how easy it is to layer both graphite and colored pencil on it that hardly needs any blending! Also, I can place my drawings back into the pad for a beautiful presentation. I’ve drawn on Koh-I-Noor Bristol vellum, Bristol smooth, Colored Pencil and Black Drawing drawing papers so far. All of them are fantastic! While Koh-I-Noor Black Drawing has thin pages, the rest of them are thick, and all are smooth with a different degree of light texture present to grab the pencil. Give it a try!

emilia clarke as khaleesi from game of thrones
Emilia Clarke as Khaleesi from Game of Thrones | graphite on Koh-I-Noor Bristol vellum drawing paper

Once I’m done blocking in the values and I have developed a range of tones, I work on textures. In this drawing of Khaleesi you see the texture of clothing that I’ve done via rubbings. I placed a pumice stone under my paper and shaded over it with a soft pencil where the clothing should be. This rubbing gave me the initial texture I worked around in pencil to develop it further.

I also use the kneaded eraser a lot to make soft lift outs, to create subtle edges, and to clean up without leaving grease and residue on paper.

To make texture in the jewelry on Khaleesi’s neck, I used some magic tape. I placed it over the shaded area, made short strokes on the tape with a ballpoint pen and lifted it out to reveal this unique texture.

 

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Venice biennial 2017:  a crappy show with rave reviews

If you regret that you haven’t seen the show yet, don’t. Venice Biennale 2017 is monumental on concept and degraded on visuals, heavy on installations, and weak on any form of painting, huge on scale and tiny on emotion. Chief curator of the Pompidou center in Paris, Christine Macel  has arranged the exhibition in a number of pavilions -realms which flow together with concept art titled “Viva arte Viva!”

While paid entrance to the biennale invites you to visit vast spaces of the Arsenale and the Giardini, a number of other pavilions are scattered throughout Venice in medieval palazzos with gardens with free entrance and somewhat better art. Regardless the location, each pavilion usually represents a single country with its native artists showing off their talent to the multilingual public.

9 chapters or realms, 86 countries, 120 artists- a single feeling of confusion. The show opens up with large-scale installations situated between a long stretch of bare, tall brick halls of the Arsenale (medieval Venetian warehouse for arms and boats).

Karla Black abstract sculptures

 

Venice biennial 2017: the Arsenale

Overall, the show is missing on making a powerful statement simply because the visuals fall far behind the heavy concept. Boring to the eyes and craftsy at best, the viewer has to read lengthy statements in provided brochures to “get” the idea behind the pieces. To install such exhibition in Venice is like to bring a first-grader to perform a concerto. Venice overflows with art and history, while the biennial rejects any slightest idea of having representational art on its grounds. The exception is the Venetian pavilion itself that defies the curator’s voice with sparkling jewelry, chandeliers, gowns and sophisticated glass that highlights artist’s labor and skill.

A woman’s head is picking out from a hole in the floor with piles of clothes arranged in a circle.

The Romanian Pavilion

Like in a fairy-tale about the naked king, fooling of people takes place in the exhibition stating what they see is ART.  Rooms after rooms visitors encounter piles of materials, fabric, metals or abstract sculptures, that often have profound meaning expressed through riveting writing. However these endless primitive installations and videos leave the spectators  confused on what ART signifies or how artful it really is.

First, art exists to bring our attention to something, to make a statement, or to leave a record of times lived. Curated as apolitical and without a clear message, the biennial misses to deliver on any of these points.

The German Pavilion

More rooms

Second, Visual arts are called visual for a reason. Because the artist’s call to attention and its impact is visual, conceptual art rarely leaves considerable emotional impact. Even when the concept is heavy, it’s weakened by the absence of the visual perception we all possess. Therefore, such installations should get a specific classification and not get mixed up or promoted as great ART. Such notion lowers and even abolishes any standard for an artist to aspire to, and for people to learn to understand or appreciate. Why did we keep high standard in music or dance and completely abolished the one in art? It’s not the absence of artists willing to travel years in education to achieve something worthwhile of people’s attention, it’s about few art critics and curators, influential art shakers who pick and choose, add and subtract – curate according to their tastes, business practice and economic whims.

 

The pavilion of Shamans

Art installations that catch attention

On the upside, the exhibition is gender-even, nationality-diverse, with the majority of the unknown artists representing both influential and obscure countries.

There are a few art installations at the main complex of the biennale that caught my eye, making a statement.

The Zimbabwe Pavilion
Zimbabwe pavilion
The Russian pavilion
Russian Pavilion: Change of Decorum. Growing aggression, terror, irrational life of people, control and manipulation of masses are the themes of the art installation with drones, people, soldiers and androids living in the “transparent world.”

The Chile Pavilion
Artist Bernardo Oyarzun explores the theme of the current representation of the Mapuche community, a group of indigenous inhabitants of southcentral Chile and southwestern Argentina. Dark room features an installation of over 1,000 Mapuche kollong masks, traditionally used in ceremonies. Note that 40 Mapuche artisans produced these handmade masks commissioned by the artist who installed them in the pavilion.
The Argentinean Pavilion
Claudia Fontes, The Horse Problem
“Making art is not a luxury. It’s a way of surviving that humans as a species have developed: we are, so far as we know, the only group of living beings capable of calling the attention of others to the meaning of life. That’s something to celebrate.” – Claudia Fontes
Other rooms

The Mongolian Pavilion

The Venetian Pavilion

Official website of the Venice Biennial 2017: www.labiennale.org

Art off the biennial in Venice

A nice surprise is a solo show by Carole A. Feuerman situated in a peaceful corner of a green garden at the Giardino Della Marinaressa, by the Venice Biennale (open and free to the public). The artist makes hyper-realistic, life-size sculptures of women in painted bronze and steel, resin and oil that look so life-like, you just want to reach out and touch the sculptures!

Kendall Island, lacquer on bronze, life-size sculpture

 

Project by Lorenzo Quinn on the Grand Canal in Venice. His monumental sculpture of white hands raises awareness about the climate change and the rising sea levels.

Art off of the biennial: street art in Italy

I must mention the performance that I saw on the streets of Turin. A young man pounded the keys of an old typewriter with rare obsession. Here is one of his finished pieces.

The artwork made using an old type writer.

veronica winters artist

 

Venetian Masks Paintings

Close your eyes to see the winding streets and the tangerine glare of old lamps. Listen to the echo of moving water and voices of strangers. Venice welcomes you to the carnival – its love, mystery and flare. Indulge your love for Venice. Browse original oil paintings of Venice for sale.

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 can listen to its sounds day and night, glide through morning fog, get lost on the narrow streets, and take pictures of masked strangers. Back in my studio, I worked from my photographs to re-create the romantic mystery of Venice in a series of realistic paintings. These Venetian masks paintings represent my first, quality body of work I’m proud to share with you today.

These Venice carnival paintings will wow your guests. Turn your living room, bedroom or office space into your private art gallery. Shop now!
Veronica at Marco Square, Venice, Italy

 

Original oil paintings of Venice for sale | Venice carnival paintings by Veronica Winters | Venetian masks paintings | Venice oil paintings | realistic paintings
Promises, 18×24″ oil on gilded panel, Venice oil paintings

 

Original oil paintings of Venice for sale | Venice carnival paintings by Veronica Winters | Venetian masks paintings | Venice oil paintings | realistic paintings
Creatures of the Sea, 24×48″ oil on canvas | Tenderness, oil on canvas, 24×36″ | Venice carnival paintings

 

Original oil paintings of Venice for sale | Venice carnival paintings by Veronica Winters | Venetian masks paintings | Venice oil paintings | realistic paintings
Keeper, oil on canvas, 36×48″, black wooden frame | Venetian masks paintings

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

Contemporary painting of women

I love painting portraits of women!  Although I see human anatomy as the most challenging to master, I’m strongly pulled to this subject to depict the complexity of our spirit in romantic paintings. As artists we paint what’s inside us and paintings of women’s faces become a record of our lives. Creating romantic portraits of women,  I find the process to be incredibly healing where I aim to evoke a world of love and inner strength in every artwork I create. I paint with a mission to help girls and women understand 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. I hope to touch your life in a positive way with my romantic art.

I arrived at the theme of painting women after working on almost everything for over a decade. While the subject of a beautiful female form has been realist artists’ inspiration for centuries, I come to paint women with the inner sensitivity of a female artist, expressing emotion through color. Color is a lot more than a concoction of bright pigments squeezed out of a tube. It’s been years of practice and learning to develop the color harmonies that excite my eye without being garish. I’m still actively learning the complexity of deliberate color mixing, dragging or glazing one color over the other, overlaying and letting one hue dominate and complement the rest. Controlling the color means letting one hue lead, to see colors in black or white, and to create the atmosphere that transcends painting. I paint in realist tradition with the color of the Impressionists to create myriads of paintings of women that are going to push the boundaries and capture your heart.

 

INSPADES magazine, issue sei, art feature.

I’m very grateful to the INSPADES art magazine that features and shares my art and mission. Issue sei.

Subscribe at https://newsstand.joomag.com/en/inspades-magazine-sei/0329895001501560147

 

How to paint realistic portraits: painting videos

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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 vulnerability of feminine spirit, I take the liberty to interpret the days of their lives based on their biographies processed through 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.

My painting style floats between the surreal painting 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 searching for a hidden voice within. 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

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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

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 personalities. In my surreal colored pencil portraits I enjoy capturing the character of each person through expressive eyes. I often add a mythic landscape or symbols to create a story. I plan out my drawings around a specific color scheme, and know how it’s going to look like finished before I even begin drawing.

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, 2013, 2018 calendars, two Colored Pencil 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.

To buy a colored pencil drawing

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

9 x 12″ unframed, graphite drawing – $249-349+ Priority Mail shipping

9 x 12″ unframed, colored pencil drawing – $449-499 + shipping.

You will love how the colored pencil artwork looks up on your wall once it’s framed!

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

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

 

 

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 painting 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.

 

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 for 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. 🙂

 

 

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