Saturday, March 28, 2015

Painting 54.."Spring Equinox"

Almost forgot about my painting #54 - "Spring Equinox" which I painted alla prima in two sessions ..I found it really handy to start with a very quick and direct sketch to through right colors on canvas. 40 minutes for the first session. Next day at the same light situation took me 2 hours to finish it . I'm happy with the result :)

"Spring Equinox" oil on board , 12x16

Day 55 " Ceramic and Bloom"

As my high key painting saga continues, so my personal life saga unfolds, bringing new interesting twists and turns...Someone said "At least your life is not boring!" Yeaa, far from it ...The truth is I welcome all those changes, shifts and twists ...I Love it ..It keeps me excited ..makes me feel so alive and energized ;) How I wish to write this blog in Russian, as it almost impossible to express what I really feel about my Art  and experiencing my Life in other language...'s all good, and here is another little piece and a demo for my class. "Ceramic and Bloom"

"Ceramic and Bloom" oil on linen, 9x12

Monday, March 23, 2015

Notes from Alexander Zimin workshop

So, I finally have a moment to put my notes together from the Sacha workshop.
A few artist friends asked me to act like a stenographer, and take down everything of interest from the lectures with Zimin.
Even though we had an excellent professional translator, oil painting vocabulary is often so specific that many things simply get lost in the translation. 
Here are some of the highlights from the lectures and private conversations with Sacha:
1. Before setting up your still life, think about the concept and plan, and set the tonal key of your future piece. What is a tonal key? There are four basic ones:
a. predominant white value, two mid-subdominant values and dark discord;
b. predominant light mid-tone, subdominant darks and white discord;
c. predominant dark mid-tone, subdominant black and white and light mid-tone discord;
d. predominant darkest, subdominant mid-tones, white discord.
2. After you have decided on your tonal key and are done setting up the still life, it is a good idea to make a small thumbnail tonal sketch and a small color sketch.
3. Alexander never starts with toning the canvas, or any sort of underpainting, washes, etc. He calls himself "Sniper". His concept is shoot straight and don't beat around the bush, find the right color and place it boldly and assertively (well, if only we all can do that!). He never maps the colors -- just through a right tone on the canvas. 
4. Sacha uses a mix of turpentine (the stinky one) and damar varnish -- well you can imagine the smell, but he feels that that exact mix never fails him, versus Gamsol or other mediums. He doesn't use any oils at all. He constantly reminded that it's just HIS way, and may not work for everyone.
5. The high key painting Sacha starts with is a neutral drawing of big masses and general shapes, or what we call "envelope". And placement of a big masses .
6. And right after that he mixes big piles of mid-tones for shadows.
7. It's all about temperature shifts -- not light against dark, but cool against warm, and vise versa.
8. He starts with 2, 3 tones to set up the whole atmosphere of the painting.
9. From general shapes, he transitions to more details, constantly paying attention to the relationship between subjects, background and foreground. But first he is blocking the canvas with his midtones.
10. When we asked about colors, we learned an interesting approach -- Sacha, although he uses lots of colors on his palette, almost never paints with fugitive colors like Alizarin, Veridian and Ultramarin. He still has Ultramarin on his palette. He prefers Cadmiums and Cobalts. He likes Prussian Blue and Golden Green that is "darker and warmer than sap".
11. Lots of big brushes, and lots of oil paint. ... Don't really clean the brushes between strokes. ... putting aside, taking a fresh one and so on. ... It keeps painting fresh and adds texture.
12. And lastly, he stressed that it all depends on "Setting the goal, planning and finding the tonal key''.

"Roses and Lemons" oil on linen, 18x24

"Day 53 -" Blooming"

Finally, a plein air... I'm posting  a second plein air painting of the season ...I tool my class to paint in Arboretum last Monday.What a treat !!! Blooming cherry trees and sakuras are all covered in a pink majestic haze...

"Blooming" oil on linen, 9x12

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Bounty" - painting 51

Im going to combine 2 days of painting in one post, as I"ve got 10 days to catching up.
Day 51, 52  - both paintings are  from Sasha workshop, but in  a very different tonal key...The "Tonal Key" is not really a high key, mid key or low key principles, as many of you think. It's actually more complicated than that! All details are coming up in my notes, so stay tuned ;)
"Bounty" is bold in color and contrast, painting - simply because it was a  plein air set up on a sunny, crisp day..."White Roses" is seemingly monochromatic , but has such a variety of nuances in a very subtle value shifts .
"Bounty" oil on linen, 18 x 24

"White Roses" oil on linen, 11x14

"Spring Romance" painting # 50

Still no notes on Zimin workshop ..Soon, guys :) and here is another painting from Sasha workshop, and my favorite. That "Spring Romance" turned out to be short lived, but experiencing life, learning from it, moving on stronger than ever is how I live and I won't trade it for anything . Knowing how precious, fragile and elusive  Love is, bringing me so much excitement, energy and curiosity...
Speaking of which .....I went to see Cirque du Soleil  "Kurious" IT WAS UNNNBELIEVABLE!!!!
I won't mind to fly to Las Vegas just to see that performance again...

"Spring Romance" oil on linen, 18x24

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Painting 49.."Roses and Lemons"

Yet another piece I created at the Zimin workshop. I finished it today and can have a peace now. Never mind the title :))))) I tried to come with something more original, but totally uninspired about yellow roses and lemons :)
Bare with me ..The next one will be more sophisticated..I think ....:)

"Roses and Lemons" oil on linen, 20x16